Monday, September 1, 2008

My concert experience

So, I went to a concert by myself last night. I wanted to see One Republic and John Mayer, and I couldn't get anyone interested in going with me. Unless I bought at least 2 more tickets, LOL.

It was outdoors, at the Cruzan Amphitheater in West Palm Beach and it didn't really rain, although it spit once or twice as though it wanted to. Other than the occasional gust of wind or landing jet plane (we were under the landing route) nature was pretty quiet.

The crowd was definitely there for John Mayer, I hate to say it but when One Republic started playing a lot of people were still milling around. He tried the usual things to engage us by having us clap along, etc. One guy in front of me said halfway thru the set, "That's actually a good band". Like he was surprised.

The cello player got a special introduction as the "world's sexiest cello player" which they supposedly found on Craig's list. I for one was thrilled they had a live cello player and didn't try to fake it with an organ like I've seen unusual instruments done in concerts past. (Totally off topic, but my personal pet peeve is when the original recording has a prominent instrument like an accordion, and on tour they substitute keyboards. FOO!)

The audience warmed up to them when they played "Stop and Stare" which gets decent airplay on the local "eighties, nineties and today" station. Ryan was wonderful, so full of energy he danced his shoe off and across the stage. High notes? Oh boy.

He filmed the audience. (!) David Cook does that at all his concert stops too. Is that the newest thing?

My favorite cover of the night was One Republic's cover of "For What It's Worth". Bless his heart, Ryan said the song was 34 years old, I'm thinking more like 42, LOL.

There was a lot of dissonance during the performance that I thought was feedback. I know acoustics can be better at an outdoor venue; I've been to 2 live outdoor broadcasts of A Prairie Home Companion where the sound was crystal clear and radio-ready. But some of this noise went on to become a song after the banter, so maybe they wanted it like that?

They played about 45 minutes, but I could have listened longer. The crowd was not so attentive.

OK, here's where I admit I'm probably an old foggy, but whatever happened to respect for the performer? I sat in the next-to-last row of actual seats before the lawn people and I could see a lot of folks kept getting up and walking around, taking pictures of each other, even during John Mayer, which toned it down a little but not all. Is it because it's an outdoor venue? The food vendors must encourage that since a lot of these people got up for food and beer multiple times. On my row especially, it seemed.

I was pretty far back and the only screens were behind me for the lawn people. Yeah, I should have brought binoculars. But in my defense I didn't want to carry a bunch of stuff that might get wet if it rained. We are still getting some of the effects of Gustav feeder bands. So I didn't take my camera either. I couldn't see their faces. Also I couldn't understand some the banter, although I don't always catch it all on TV either. The girl to my right was quite a screamer. At least for the first hour before she got bored. The boys on my left (late teens or early 20's) were incredibly quiet, and mostly were messing with a camera, or their iPhones.

I knew we were in for a spectacular light show when One Republic was done and they started setting up for John Mayer. A swaged white backdrop descended, many lights were assembled and men climbed to astounding heights on little rope ladders and did stuff. Since I was alone I had time to watch all that. I wasn't disappointed either. John wore all white and the colored lights were mostly behind him, leaving him in front of a sea of changing colored smoke. OOOOOOHHHHHHH.

Here's a little sample.

I was not surprised it was a rock concert as opposed to the sound on his recordings, since I had seen John Mayer in concert on one of my local obscure cable channels before. As it was on the TV concert, this one was heavy into the blues. Man that boy can play guitar! The band was on fire, too.

I don't know if it is common for live performances to be more musically driven, but I have seen other "live" shows on TV and live that were much more rock or jazz or blues and less of their wonderful vocals or typical recording style (Juanes, John Prine, Al Jarreau come to mind).

He said that this was the last stop on the tour and kind of talked about the families and real lives of all the band and background people.

For his encore John came back out shirtless and did Panama. I didn't recognize it but it was great. I originally thought he sang it with Ryan, but now that more YouTubes are up I see that it is a guy from his own band instead. That's what I get for sitting so far back. Then John sang a couple more songs. At the end all the band members of both bands stood on stage and did group bows, hugs, took pictures of each other, and some other fun stuff. Awww.

This was, as to be expected, a younger-than-me crowd. I saw maybe 8 or 9 people who could have been as old as me. Yes, I was looking for that, since I'm self-conscious. Most of them were with younger people. Oh well.

I loved it and would do it again anytime I can't find someone of like mind to go with me. You know, like when David Cook does his solo tour! Rock on!