My Rant on PlantJuly 21, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Concert, Review | 1 Comment
Tags: Band of Joy, BandofJoy, bluegrass, Blues, Concert, Concert Etiquette, Country, DodgeTheatre, Review, RobertPlant
I have to admit, that I almost didn’t take the time to write this review. It feels almost like treason, or at least a high crime in the rock and roll court of law. I will toss out my fifth amendment right and write it anyway. Before I get into the review itself, however, I would like to cover some concert etiquette.
Concert Etiquette 101
If the artist requests no cameras, then respect the wish. At least turn your flash off. Flash in a concert environment does absolutely nothing helpful for your pictures , unless you happen to be Todd Owyoung or one of his immediate peers.
Don’t take pictures of yourself with your cell phone camera. Superbright LEDs are phenomenal devices, but they happen to be highly annoying to those sitting behind you, in a darkened environment, when you have to retake the picture twelve times. Trust me, you could get the exact same picture of you and your date while sitting at home on the couch, in a dark living room. Those pictures never tell the story of where you were. They could be anywhere.
If you are an usher or security guard at a concert venue, I implore you to ditch the high-tech LED flashlight and switch to a standard mini-mag with a krypton or xenon bulb. Those LEDs cast a blue light which scatters across the retina, just like HID headlamps. Both are totally irritating to everyone but the person using them.
Cell phones. Turn them off. Turn them to buzz. Whatever. Knock it off with the lame ringtones that we have to hear while you fumble thru your belongings to answer them. Speaking of answering them, don’t. If your babysitter can’t be trusted to not call you every 15 minutes, why are they watching your kids? I really don’t care what your wife/girfriend/significant other is shopping for at the moment either.
Bathroom and beer runs. Hey, everyone needs these. I get it. Arizona law does not allow you to buy two large beers by yourself. Understand this rule. You both need to go get beer, or suffer with two small ones. Since you both have to make everyone stand up in order for you to get out of the middle of the seating row, why not go at the same time and chat while in line? Don’t do it in tag-team shifts. Tag teaming shifts makes four times we have to stand up, rather than two. Do us all the favor. Thanks.
Betty Lavette Review
Not my cup of tea, but a great band for sure. Her voice is super strong and every note was hit well. I have no complaints with this band at all. Would I buy their album, no. Would I go to Char’s and see them one night? Hell yes.
Robert Plant and The Band of Joy Review
I finally got to see Robert Plant, live. I was disappointed. Mind you, I fully went in knowing Jimmy wasn’t going to be there and they probably wouldn’t open up with Rock and Roll. I understood this wasn’t going to be the Honeydrippers or Zeppelin.
What I wasn’t prepared for was a set design more suitable for an off-broadway play than a concert. Sure, it was quaint with the old school color changers on the PAR cans standing dutifully as side washes on trees, and the big ass wash lights with the barn doors hanging artfully in the back. It got old pretty quick, and seemed to sit there mocking the fact that they were there to illuminate one of the greatest personas in rock history. This man is one rung down from being a British Knight! Design appropriately, please.
The Band of Joy is definitely chock full of good musicians. They had a good groove, as long as Robert was playing harmonica in the back, or singing backup on the tunes. However, when Plant stepped forward it all changed. The band seemed to lose their groove, or the soundman tried to hard. I’m not sure. When plant was fronting the ensemble, the sound seemed disconnected. The drummer could have easily been offstage, and sending in a two-track mixdown. The mix changed to focus on vocals, and the band seemed far away. Jimmy Page never would have allowed that mix, I’m sure of that.
As for the vocals, Plant sang some passages that if I were to hear them blind I would have recognized who it was immediately. That was not the case for most of the show, however. Luckily Patty Griffin was onhand to hit the higher registers that he apparently no longer has. Often, her voice overpowered his. Apparently soundmen have forgotten how to use compressor/limiters artfully and effectively.
The rest of the band, as I said before, all played very well. They played a lot of instruments, which I admire and respect. At one point, Robert even played the washboard. In fact, he even grabbed a tambourine for a moment and set it back down; perhaps as a joke that fell flat. I wish he hadn’t. Perhaps it would have helped him find his groove and become part of the Band of Joy rather than a name above them on a backdrop banner.
The whole thing felt, forced. It really sucks when great musicians are so worried about what the set list in front of them says than about playing music. I am confident that when this group hangs out at Robert’s house and jams that it kicks ass and everyone has a good time. At Dodge Theatre, however, I felt that many people enjoyed it because they were finally seeing their idol onstage rather than because he was onstage jamming his heart out. He wasn’t.
We left before they did their encore. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. All I can hope is they didn’t perform Black Dog, D’yer Maker, or Stairway as bluegrass versions.
Sorry, no pictures this time. The venue and artist requested no cameras, and I complied.