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Sunday, June 6, 2010
So, tonight, I'm going to my first Seattle-area concert. It's not in a little hole-in-the-wall club or at the Paramount or Key Arena. Nope, tonight we go outdoor, to the White River Amphitheatre where Sting will be performing his greatest hits (both from the Police era as well as solo works) with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.
I love going to concerts-- from dark jazz clubs to symphony halls to arenas to stadiums-- And they all have such unique memories attached. My first rock concert: Rick Springfield when I was fourteen years old. Hey, don't mock-- forget the pretty boy actor on General Hospital, this cat could rock out. It was a fantastic concert that even my sister, who grew up on seeing Cream and Led Zeppelin and The Who, loved. I had such a giggle when I spotted him at BEA in New York last week and kind of wanted to tell him he popped my concert cherry, but figured a) he might take a statement like that wrong and b) not like I could get all that close, what with the middle-aged ladies clamoring to take pictures. (Yeah, yeah... I know how old I am, but I don't clamor.)
My first week at college, my roommate and I bonded over an REO Speedwagon concert-- I still remember Kevin Cronin's impossibly curly hair and breaking the heel of my boot on the cracked sidewalks walking back to our dorm from the Tallahassee Civic Center (crummy acoustics, but best place to have a large concert in town). College gave me some great concert memories: The Moody Blues, Pat Metheny (oh my heavens, bliss!), the first time I saw YES, when it was such a magical, transcendent experience that if the entire stage had levitated and raised towards the heavens, I wouldn't have been surprised (and that was without smoking or ingesting anything-- I was a boring concert goer that way). College also brought me the first time I ever saw Sting-- on his Dream of the Blue Turtles tour, with Branford Marsalis as one of his band members. Best moment? Singing "Roxanne" with nothing but his guitar and Branford on his soprano sax as counterpoint. *le sigh*
Jimmy Buffett was... interesting. Good thing I was in college when I saw him. I think it's probably the best time to take a visit to Margaritaville.
Jazz trumpeter, Chris Botti is another concert favorite, mostly because I can see him in a multitude of different venues. The man is a touring beast. I've seen him at open-air jazz festivals, in arenas, at concert halls, and my favorite, at the Blue Note in NYC, with some guy named Sting, coming up to sing a song with him. (Chris got his start as a member of Sting's touring band-- the music world, she can be crazy-incestuous that way.) I've seen Josh Groban perform a couple of times (yeah, I know but seriously, he's a very, very good and naturally gifted musician), but while I love watching him perform, I do not love his die-hard fans. There's a pack of them who will follow him from concert to concert, sort of like Dead Heads, but without the mellow, herb-assisted goodwill. Nope, these ladies are aggressive and entitled and do their very best to ruin the concert experience for everyone around them because they won't stop talking, they shriek during the on-stage chatter because they already know the punchlines to the jokes, and they think they're being noticed from the stage. Got news for them-- I've been up on many a theatre stage. You can't see squat.
It's because of people like that, that my concert-going has become more selective I don't really love out-of-control screaming throngs, so a lot of rock concerts have gone by the wayside for me (it'll be interesting to note the makeup of the crowd tonight). However, there are some artists I'd make that exception for-- I'd love to see Jason Mraz, because I think he's an amazing musician as well. The Dave Matthews Band is renowned as a jam band and I love nothing more than to see musicians just go off and let the music take them where it will. There are tons more, but I could keep blathering until the cows come home and still keeping going.
Which brings me back to tonight and Sting. I mean, seriously, commence the squeeing and bouncing. At least, that's what I'm doing. Sting is absolutely one of my favorite musicians,and has been an artistic inspiration since I was probably ten years old. To me, he embodies everything I respect in an artist-- he's talented, but refuses to rest on his laurels, chafes at being contained in any one box, is always expanding his knowledge of world music and allowing it to inform his own work, and is always, always, expanding his horizons.
Kind of how I want my writing to be.
Any concerts you're looking forward to this summer?
ETA: BTW, my recap of the concert and how Sting reasserted himself as my total writing Yoda is up on my regular blog.