Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spent The Night In A Tent

You know how when you were a kid and if you or a friend had a camping tent you would BEG your parents to let you put it up in the yard so you could sleep in it? Only you didn't actually sleep because some neighborhood boy and his best friend, in the interest of being obnoxious, decided that it would be an absolute scream (literally) to sneak around in the middle of the night and mess with you?

Ah, memories....

OK, I'm back. Last night was nothing like that, anyway. I was just having an ADD moment. Yes, we were in a tent, but no, we didn't giggle and talk about boys and then have the sh*t scared out of us by somebody's older brother.

I do not know why the whole idea of writing concert reviews is so painful a process for me that I would rather flash-back to Junior High School sleepovers. I just never quite understood why anyone ever cared about the set list or what the guitarist was wearing or how many times the drummer looked up and smiled. I figure that is their job, and if they are good at their job then all of those things will work nicely together somehow. BoDeans are good at their job. I consider that a given, which is why if I write about going to a BoDeans concert, I'll usually focus on something other than, "Gee, they're a really good show," because that kind of talk bores the crap out of me. If they were not at least that good, they'd be playing for free somewhere and probably nobody would go to the trouble of setting up a giant circus tent that holds a couple thousand people drunken Catholics, just so they could play there.

Having said all of that, I will say that watching Kurt play Fadeaway is always a lot of fun. You know he's played it 70 kajillion times and could probably do it in his sleep, but it still seems to be fun to him. I guess if it ever got to the point where these guys didn't appear to be having a good time doing this, that would be the day they should retire, right?

So let's talk about the stuff that was interesting above the expected....

Speaking of drunken Catholics, this was a fund-raiser for a local Catholic school. I walked up to the bar and asked if their water and pop were in bottles or on tap like the beer, and the guy said to me, "You know...I'm going to have to check on that, because the be honest, I haven't served pop or water to anyone yet tonight--it's been all beer and wine." This was at about 9:30, and the party started 3 hours before that, so you know this crowd was lit. (Yeah, I beer, Shelly? Nah...I had one early, but I was driving, so just the one...)

I often joke to my friends, when out at events like this one, that you can tell which people don't get out much--you can see the people for whom going to a live music event is an extreme novelty. They're giddy and goofy, God love 'em. They don't know how to stand in a crowd of people (ahem...personal space), they don't know how to control their drinking, and they appear genuinely stunned by how fun it is to see good musicians perform. I almost feel bad for them--I mean, I like live music a lot, and I try to get out as much as I can. It is a much more joyful thing to me to be on hand when someone is sharing their gift/love/talent than it is to do almost anything else. I happen to believe that people who allow watching someone perform fall to a back burner behind "What's on TV" or any number of other things are missing out, big time. When they finally do get to an event, it is because of a circumstance like this one, where a good band is asked to play at something right in their neighborhood. The would have probably gone to the fundraiser if there was no band playing and it was just a silent auction or something, so, happy accident. You hope that some, after having a great time, would make the connection and venture outside of their yard to go see that same band or someone like them play when it isn't a convenient event that they would have attended anyway.

There are some good aspects to seeing shows surrounded by people who never get out to shows. For one thing, they are definitely enthusiastic. Of course, the flip side to that is that they are...uh....enthusiastic. Like, climb up on the stage, enthusiastic. For the record, I think people who climb up on a stage during a concert are huge assholes--just my opinion. It takes a special kind of Look At Me to want to do that--not the good kind, but the kind that makes you believe that the people who paid money to see someone else should look at you instead. Ick. Go away.

Stage dancers and other silliness aside, I got to witness a 5 foot tall woman threaten to duke it out with a 5'6" women who made the mistake of standing in front of her, blocking her view. The taller of the two took the high road. Then there was a woman who, for some reason ended up standing on the opposite side of me as her friend was standing, so she kept leaning over to talk to her, right in front of me. (Move, maybe? Just sayin'.) We can't forget the two in front of me who kept saying, "Oh, I bet this is going to be a good one!" right before every song--you could tell that they had probably heard very few of these songs before, but they loved all of them. They were cute. And, as usual, I ended up standing behind some dude with a very thick neck who danced like....well, like a guy with a very thick neck. That would be the muscle-y dude moving awkwardly back and forth, for those of you who forgot to open your Shelly Thesaurus before reading.

In other words, I think the story on the floor was equally as entertaining as the story on the stage. Which is why I suck at writing concert reviews.


  1. People watching with a backdrop of awesome music & a great stage presence is always a good time. One I don't get out often enough to do....

  2. It's always some kind of extreme people watching when you find yourself in a crowd of people who rarely go to live music shows. They lose their damn minds!

    Or maybe I'm just too jaded or mellow. Either/Or. I mean I still manage to have fun without climbing up on stage...Just sayin'. HA!

    The thing about BoDeans is that they do a really, really great live show--just knocks everybody out. Even with all the technical problems they were having, it was still really great, so if you come into that as an audience member who has never seen that before? Kinda crazy...and cool, as long as you don't spill my drink in your mania. ;-)


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