Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sweatin' to the Oldies....54-40, Neil Young, Bob Dylan

The last week (and more) has been crazy busy. Quite frankly the idea of even trying to post something was way too much work. But it's Sunday, and I have 20 minutes free before my next mission (visiting my Dad).

So here goes. At least briefly.

Welcome to my youth.

54-40 were one of my first concert-going obsessions. I used to go see them all the time playing in little grim halls in Vancouver with my friend Barb in the early 80s (unlicensed places that would let 15 year olds in thankfully). They were fantastic. And sometimes the opening band was the Grapes of Wrath. And my friend Barb knew the GoW- she had been on holiday in Kelowna one summer with her parents, and was walking down the main street when a car full of guys (who turned out to be the band) pulled over and said Hi. Barb had blue hair, so they thought she must be cool. There weren't many cool people in Kelowna apparently. So they hung out. And she began a long penpal-friendship with them (oh the complexities of life before email...). This didn't really impact my life very much except we'd get to chat with the band when they were in town playing, and I once watched in horror/amazement as the drummer Chris ate a big mac in two bites when we sat in the MacDonalds at Granville and Smithe before their gig.

Barb and I eventually stopped hanging out. Last I heard of her, she got married in a teepee and joined a cult near Pemberton run by her psychic mother in law and had two blond boys that looked like they should be out of Children of the Corn. But I kept going to 54-40 gigs. And I remember when I hit 19, going to the Savoy and reading some rather complimentary washroom graffiti about Neil Osborne's non-musical talents...which for some reason I have chosen not to forget. But I digress.

SO - it was great to see 54-50 again, and extra great to see Grapes of Wrath's Tom Hooper playing with them. I've got to say they seemed a little mellower than usual - but they sounded great. I can't help but wonder if Neil's slightly ... mocking? jokey? not sure how to put it... performance "I Go Blind" is a result of the happy bouncing oblivion of the audience - like most of the band's songs, it is highly political & am not sure the audience really gets that. Or maybe it is that they are sick of singing a song that is now known more by the Hootie & the Blowfish version than their own (though I know they've got to love the royalties from that). OK, admittedly, I'm just projecting.

Neil Young & Bob Dylan

Oh where to start. Neil put it all out there, thrashy guitar and all. Bob brought his increasingly...unique...voice and a great tight band - and arrangements so different I am guessing they confused a fair chunk of the audience. And before I run out of steam a couple of comments:

1) DAMN you LiveNation. When I bought Neil Young tickets, you were selling them for the 'concert bowl' - HALF of GM Place. My tickets were good. When we arrived, the whole stadium was sold, the stage moved waaaaay further back, making my pre-sale tickets pretty shitty. Since when is changing the stakes part way through ticket sales OK? Grrrr.

2) Who let these people out? I see a lot of live music. A lot. A lot of fairly alternative stuff. These two concerts were as mainstream as you could get. And god help me these were perhaps the most bizarre, rude, loud, annoying audiences I've come across (ok, with the exception of here). Our Neil Young view was partially impared by the distracting view of two guys so...special...ok, I will stop or it will get nasty. But here is a picture of them.

And I will make the comment that if you are such a huge fan of the performer, why do you spend all your time talking to your friend? or turning to face the (seated, except for you) audience as you pump your fists in the air? Please. Go home until you learn some manners. I'm all for audiences enjoying themselves. I'm all for freedom of expression. That is, until it impedes the ability of others to enjoy the experience too. Like the teenage boy sitting behind you who couldn't see a damn thing. Grrr.

Anyway, for those who are interested, a fairly crap Neil Young vid, and a slightly better Bob Dylan one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hate it when people have no manners at shows! It really ruins it for so many people.