Journey

Jul. 21st, 2014 09:27 am
bigmog: (moogle mog)
The rags to riches story of Arnel Pineda revived my interest in classic rock band "Journey". It's rare for a band to get a second or even third comeback like they did.

Steve Miller opened and like many other bands of that era, Steve's voice has degraded through the years of singing. He too employs a backup singer to help cover up his vocal shortcomings. Curiously, this backup singer stole the show with his dancing antics.

Journey put on a well-produced show just as you might expect. Their songs are quite taxing to sing and Arnel has learned from his predecessors. Every couple of songs, he takes a break and one of the other band members does a solo. The rest of the band is also very talented so this doesn't subtract from the show. I believe this is the first concert I've seen that had credits at the end. It's a nice touch to recognize all the behind the scenes work. Still, it just goes to show just how coordinated and structured a modern concert is.

Also, in a rare act of bravery, I jumped in to stop a couple's fight in front of me. He was getting a bit too physical with her and some buried chivalry induced me to intervene. All of this in the middle of an 80's love ballad. Go figure.
bigmog: (moogle mog)
A concert featuring Sting and Paul Simon is so obvious I wonder why it never happened before. Two acclaimed singer-songwriters; one English and the other American. One plays the bass and the other guitar. As a duo it would make for an interesting combo.

Before I continue, a short story of what happened as I arrived at the venue. A stranger approached me and asked where the scalpers propagate. Since I was headed that way too, I showed him. Like me, he often goes to shows with no ticket and no plans. We got to talking and he taught me much. He told me about some of the hundreds of shows he’s seen and just how little he has to pay for a ticket. Frequently he pays a quarter of the face value and sometimes even gets in for free. Patience really does pay off here. Hold out until after the curtain rises and scalpers get desperate. Sure you might miss the very beginning but it’s a small sacrifice to make for potential savings. Of course this can also backfire and you may not get into the show at all. An acceptable risk I suppose when you see that many shows.

Even with that knowledge I took an assessment of the market at that moment and bought a ticket for 25% less than the face value. Not a big win but it beats paying all those fees. Also it was cold outside which affected my level of patience that night. Once inside I grabbed a beer, found my seat, then took an abandoned seat 10 rows closer. Waste not, want not.

Now, on to the show. Overall it was a good show but not as great as I was hoping. I certainly enjoy the music of both acts. The show started off strong. Sting and his band next to Paul Simon and his band. Every instrument was doubled and in some cases tripled. Otherwise the stage show was minimal. I supposed established musicians rely less and less on stage gimmicks. Still, in a giant arena, some spectacle adds a lot.

If there's such a thing as a concert editor, there was a need for one here. After the big start, the show slowed to a crawl with down-tempo bluesy, folk music. Not bad but not exactly toe-tapping, dancing music. This went on for over an hour and I could feel the energy levels evaporate away. Between the two of these guys, they have enough hits to fill the entire playlist. I understand that mixing in lesser-known songs is part of the show but you can't line them all up in a row. Pepper in some chart-toppers to keep the audience engaged.

At several points I was tempted to leave. Most of the audience was sitting like they were on an overseas flight. I had to stand up just to stretch my legs. The ending blitz did deliver but here too it fell a bit short. So many famous songs were neglected that I left a slightly disappointed. At least I didn't pay full price.
bigmog: (moogle mog)
Outside of work, life has been uneventful. Generally I consider routine to be a healthy and happy lifestyle but it does require a bit of variation now and then. To add that bit of spice, I decided a the last minute to go see a concert. The act? Jimmy Buffett.

Now I'm not a serious fan by any means but I'm aware of some of his hits. I was more interested in the live aspect of his show. Jimmy carries a reputation for great live performances which enticed me more than his songs. He is a touring musician more than anyone else. In fact, he has toured every year for the past 36 years!

The show was very festive and if fan service can apply to concerts, Jimmy applies it generously. Lyrics are changed to include references to Colorado. Stage graphics too are adapted to Colorado imagery. Of course he does this at every city on the tour but people enjoy it just the same.

It's not totally ingenious however. Jimmy really does have ties to Colorado having lived here. After the concert was officially over, he performed an old song called "A Mile High in Denver" just for us. My appreciation for his work was much greater after I saw this show.
bigmog: (moogle mog)

I completed my Denver concert venue trifecta by seeing Muse perform at the Pepsi Center this week. The show itself was very impressive all around. I especially enjoyed the theater aspect which included lots and lots of lasers. Lasers have replaced pyro as the safer, cheaper means to produce a visual aid. Even some Fourth of July shows have abandoned fire works in favor of lasers.


The setlist was very good with quite a few older hits perhaps acknowledging that the latest album wasn’t as big of hit. Being a bass player of sorts I always look to that side of the stage first but Muse music doesn’t feature a distinct bass sound. Lead guitar however was incredible to see. A shadowed humanoid figure standing behind a keyboard got no love despite his (her?) contributions to the songs. Muse songs often rely on a synthesizer to achieve their sound so I applaud you mysterious keyboard ninja.


On a social behavior note, a friend was surprised that people would actually stand up during the show. I am surprised at this surprisal. If music doesn’t get you on your feet, it can’t be much of a show.


Finally, opening act “Cage the Elephant” was pretty bad. It was a sloppy performance hindered even further by terrible sound engineering. Curiously, my experience was confirmed by a friend who saw the same show at a different stop on the tour. I guess they just suck live.

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