Tuesday, June 23, 2009
It's all about the music...
The first concert I ever went to was Kiss. For years, I wouldn't admit this fact & I would tell people that my first concert was Aerosmith. At the time, Kiss was a 'party band,' fun & a good time, but not known for their musicianship. They put on a great show, lots of pyrotechnics, stages that would rise from the floor & of course, costumes & make up. Musically, though, it was rumored that they could only play a couple of chords & most of their song where about partying & having a good time (sorry to all those "Beth" fans out there, but really, did they ever have another song like "Beth?") Some thought of them as metal, but I never really thought of them that way. To me (& many others, come on, admit it) they where more of a pop phenomena. There where some elements of metal, but for the most part, it was all about the party & the stage show (and, yes it was a great show).
The second concert I went to was Aerosmith. This was either before their great fall & triumphant return, or at a rare lucid moment during the fall. I actually enjoyed this concert more than Kiss. It was more about the music & Stephen Tyler was great at engaging a crowd, without all the excess staging. It didn't hurt that my big crush at the time was on stage with him, Joe Perry. In the music I saw blues influences. Stephen Tyler had an amazing voice & they could just flat out rock, when they wanted to. The songs wove stories & the band was great at telling these stories.
They didn't need all the extras, it was there, that night, anyway, in the music & the music was more varied, had a greater depth, than many of the other bands at the time.
The last concert I saw was Sting (not exactly, but we'll get to that in a moment) This was his "Dream of the Blue Turtles" tour. This concert was in Munich, GE. The stadium seemed more like a gym than a concert hall, but it didn't matter. not only did Sting take the stage (another great performer, able to engage an audience, without a lot of extras) but, on this particular tour he had with him a dizzying array of some of the world's best jazz musicians. The concert, at times, took on more of a jam session feel, than that of a big stadium. Truly a great visual & auditory feast.
In between, there where several other memorable concerts. I've seen The Eurythmics, at the U of A (the same venue where I saw a lecture by Ansel Adams, a beautiful old theater.) Annie Lennox has one of the most amazing voices I've ever heard & talk about engaging an audience. Few can match her skill. I saw The Blasters at The Backstage, an old punk venue in Tucson Arizona, an awesome show, in it's own way. The lead singer had these weird facial expressions that where fascinating. His mouth would open so wide, it looked like he could swallow the audience. They had such amazing energy & their own style (rockabilly/punk) that you couldn't help but love the show. An Alice Cooper show is one of the more memorable shows I was able to see. This was right after he had left rehab & the show was sort of a nightmarish re-enactment of his experiences. Almost more of a theater performance than a concert. What else? The Kinks (lots of energy, smallish venue), Styx (lots of staging)...more that I'm not remembering right now. Each had something that made it interesting to see.
A couple of nights ago, i went to see LeRoy Bell at the Midland Music Hall (ok, so I lied, Sting wasn't really the last show I've seen.) The hall is a small venue, just opened in May of this year, in the Tacoma, WA area. If you're in the area & you get a chance, I suggest you stop by & take in an event. It's a music hall, rather than a bar, so you get the effect of an intimate concert more than you would in an actual bar (less in the way of distractions.) As for LeRoy Bell & His Only Friends, it's an interesting group, kind of along the lines of Dave Matthews, but with a little more blues & actual rock thrown in. LeRoy Bell has written for many famous musicians over the years & he & his band give an enjoyable live experience. They're currently touring, so, if you're nearby one of their venues & you get a chance, check them out too.
I love music & now that I've gone back, I think That I should get out & enjoy more concerts myself! SAM