Thursday, October 06, 2011

That Funny Tingle...

We'll be seeing singer/songwriter Nick Lowe in concert this weekend, probably the sixth or seventh time I've seen him perform over the last (gulp) 30+ years... and it got me to thinking about what makes seeing folks live so much fun. For me, it's those "tingle up your spine" moments where you know you're seeing something amazing and totally unique to that singular moment in time. It got me to mulling over past concert experiences, and that tingle feeling... and thought I'd kick it off with two performances 33 years apart

6/24/78 - Bruce Springsteen, Portland, Or. My first Springsteen concert and the one that cemented my infatuation with his music for the next three plus decades. The whole show qualified for "the tingle", but it was the first time I'd seen and heard the extended "Prove It All Night" and... well, wow. Saw him again 12/17/78, heard the full blown "Detroit Medley" for the first time, and the fish, already hooked, was now in the bucket.

5/11/11 - Elvis Costello, Los Angeles. I've seen virtually every Costello tour since 1979, and this show ranks up in the top five of the 25 - 30 concerts I've enjoyed. The tingle moment in this show came mid way, when Costello performed "A Slow Drag With Josephine", a quiet 30's-esque song from his National Ransom album. That was swell enough, but as the song closed, Costello dropped the mic and closed the number with an un-amplified rendering of the first couple lines from "Brother Can You Spare A Dime." Big room, lots of people, and except for the yayhoo who had to yelp, you could have heard the proverbial pin drop. Second place award goes to the piano-only version of "All Grown Up", one of Costello's more beautiful melodies, exquisitely sung on this fine evening.

More tingles to come...

2 Comments:

OpenID muldfeld said...

I know exactly what you mean about wanting to witness that once in a lifetime performance in all its subtlety, but nearly every single time, it's ruined by people sticking up their cellphones and cameras to constantly take pictures and film several seconds of a song, if not the whole song! People don't respect the way classical music/opera fans do by shutting up and not interfering with another's ability to enjoy the show to the fullest (and I don't even really enjoy those classical music/opera shows my mother drags me to).

I've asked people nicely to not scream as humanly possible or sing DURING THE SONGS and they react like I'M THE ONE interfering with THEIR freedom to enjoy the show.

I'm seriously considering never going to another concert because I can't handle the stress of worrying if I can see the band at all and if I'm going to hear a group of friends talking incessantly throughout the show. We need a revolution to get those who want quiet to demand it; unfortunately, I'm tired of trying to lead it.

Interestingly enough, one of the best places to see a pop concert is among French Canadians because they're less likely to speak English, know the lyrics to songs, and sing along.

Enjoy your show and good luck!

12:49 AM  
Blogger Mark Verheiden said...

When someone like Costello goes mic-less (he's done it in other concerts too), I love it and yet cringe waiting/anticipating some knucklehead wrecking the mood with a shriek or yell. I was checking out some recent Costello concert reviews, and a few days ago in New York, during Costello's performance of "Josephine", the crowd was so rowdy that Costello walked off at the end of the song and ended the show. This whole audience participation thing is just... unfortunate.

8:40 AM  

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