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Blog post No. 3,124: Live concerts

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Live concerts. They’re the orgasm of being a fan of a band. It’s the crowning moment of your fandom. You buy the records, read the interviews, argue their corner with non-believers, and then you see them live and it’s aMaZiNg. “I saw them live” is what we say, “and they were aMaZiNg!” If you’re lucky, you saw them live more than once. Two, three, four times. Whenever New Order or Super Furry Animals are mentioned, I will at some point mention that I’ve seen them “five times” and “six times.” Things like this take on extra kudos in Mexico City where a lot of bands have never been. When New Order came here in 2012, it was, apparently, their first visit. When Super Furry Animals play at a festival next month, it will be their first time here too.

After writing about the Roger Waters concert, (and, for me, they are always concerts, never “gigs,” I don’t like that word) I got to thinking: did I really enjoy it?

The music was good. I really like most of the stuff Pink Floyd did (I can live without Animals, though, which I never really enjoyed). But was it better than listening to the records? Not at all. It would be silly to ignore the fact that David Gilmour is my favourite part of most Pink Floyd songs, but seeing them played live by the main member of the band is way down my list of top Pink Floyd moments. (At the top of that list, it’s pretty much a tie: 1a) listening to Dark Side of the Moon on my iPod, lying in a hammock on a beach in Belize drinking a few Belikins, and 1b) listening to Meddle with my then-girlfriend, having a nice cozy evening, and realising halfway through Echoes that we’d been playing it at 45rpm.)

Some of the issues I maybe have nowadays is that I’m older. No desire to get sweaty and jump around down the front any more, (tangent: I’ve only ever been on the very first row once, at a My Bloody Valentine concert in Sheffield in 1989, I think) just a desire to stand relatively close to the mixing desk thingy so it sounds good.

Buying tickets in advance of a show is all well and good but how many times have I woken up the day of the show thinking, urgh, I wish this was tomorrow, or Saturday instead of tonight. Sometimes, I’m just not in the mood to go to a concert. I find the whole process a little tedious now: standing in a line outside a hall to be frisked by some dude, paying over-the-odds for a beer, standing around waiting for the band to grace us with their presence, being stood behind tall dudes or a forest of arms holding cameras shooting footage they’ll never watch again.

And back to the the point a couple of paragraphs ago: how many bands are actually better live than on record? Bands love to tell you that’s the case, but I have a sneaking suspicion that that’s cos the band like to do coke with groupies, and the guitarist loves to do massive solos which a producer will, rightly, cut down on the records.

It is good to be in a room where everyone loves the same band, though. Especially if it’s a band that none of your friends like. I remember seeing Kylie at the NEC in Birmingham in 1990 (that is to say, just before her third album was released) and while it was a touch odd for me and my mate to be 19-year-old dudes in a sea of screaming teens, it was great to be in a place where I could enjoy Kylie’s music and not have people question why I liked it and, in this particular case, whether I was being ironic. Hashtag kylieforever.

But the main thing is my own issues. I find it difficult to be in the moment. To just enjoy myself. I get distracted. It all feels unnatural and contrived for me now: be at this place at this time and this band will play this amount of songs and will then go off and come back on and play two more and then you will leave and then you will wonder if you should buy a bootleg t-shirt.

Of course, some concerts have been amongst the best moments of my life. Seeing Lou Reed do Berlin in Berlin, Kraftwerk in Berlin, the aforementioned Kylie show, Pulp in Mexico City on their reunion tour. But the best live music experience I’ve had in recent memory was in Hopkins, Belize in 2014. I went to a bar, and after a couple of beers, there was a group of musicians playing punta. I wasn’t expecting it, I wasn’t massively into that type of music, but hearing it there right in front of me in a small bar, it was fantastic. I wish more concerts were as electricying as that.

A wee bit of artwork
I wish MLB would let me do their graphics…

Other business
A recent-ish Cruz Azul cup game on telly. It was raining, the field was a bit waterlogged. This patch of water looks like a human. A little bit. Kinda.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
1958 Notting Hill race riots

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Messages by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Written by Craig

October 13th, 2016 at 10:18 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

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