Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2009 was a year for concerts/shows

At the beginning of this year, I promised myself that I would go to several concerts so I can enjoy myself and experience the greatness of the music and the performer. After all, I'm a lifelong fan of the greatest of all entertainment! I claim to have a very diverse taste, with some exceptions here and there (I can tell you in a future blog that I don't care too much for a lot of current stuff people my age call 'cool'), but I wanted to witness what I can before anything happens to me, or the artist or band. So as long as I can afford it, and take off work at the right time, then it was my time to fulfill. Life is too short. Party hard, if not even that!

If you've read a lot of my blogs throughout this year, you probably already know that I've attended a handful of shows. I got the chance to see rock legends Elton John and Billy Joel (together), Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Elvis Costello, among many others. I've even taken the chance to see current and future legends as well. In an earlier blog, I wrote about artists performing 'full-length albums' in concert. This year, I got to see four classic albums performed live. In this order, I saw Aerosmith perform their 1975 album Toys In The Attic. In August, I watched Motley Crue perform 1989's Dr. Feelgood as part of their 20th anniversary for the album. It was cool hearing Vince Neil saying 'Okay, that was the end of Side One. And now, on to Side Two....'. In October I witnessed They Might Be Giants performing one of my favorite albums, Flood. All the songs were not in order, but it was still cool. Later that month, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band performed the album that put them on the map, Born To Run.

But some weird things have happened throughout the year, associating with those acts. Aerosmith, for one. Today it is in question if the group will be together. As a lifelong fan of Aerosmith (since fifth-grade), I know they have had a long history together, going through one breakup which turned out for the best as they entered a second successful chapter in their career during the late 80s. My friend Liz (who is also a huge fan) once had a conversation that groups like Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones will never break up, unless death occurs or if something bad happens to a main member, like Mick Jagger or Joe Perry. When I saw Aerosmith back in mid-June, it was their first stop on the tour as they proudly started in St. Louis. I remember the rain delay as well as Perry and Steven Tyler singing the hits together on stage, often leaning against one another. Then a month later, Steve Tyler fell off a stage in South Dakota and that was it for the tour. Last month, it was reported in the media that Tyler hadn't 'spoke with any of the band members as well as his longtime songwriting/musical partner Joe Perry, in months'. There were several drama reports as Aerosmith band members went back and forth at each other, often denying 'a breakup'. According to Wikipedia, since that time Perry and Tyler have performed together a couple times on occasion. So who knows. I really don't want to see a breakup to one of the greatest American bands of all time, or someone taking Steven Tyler's place for that matter. Also, with Bruce Springsteen, I was quite shocked to hear that the next day (after I attended their St. Louis show) that they had to cancel their Kansas City show at the last minute because of a sudden death of one of Springsteen's family members. While I did felt bad for Springsteen, I considered myself very lucky to catch the show at good timing.

Last night, I went to Harrah's St. Louis to see Straight No Chaser. They are an acapella group (ten guys) who found success two years ago with their comical version of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas', which combined some humorous elements as well as a rendition of Toto's 'Africa'. The group found fame thanks to Youtube when a video of them performing the song in 1998 gained over 8 million views. Atlantic Records president got hold of what was going on and signed the group to a five-album deal. It was their first ever stop in the St. Louis area, and I was proud to be at the sold-out show. They said they will be performing a sold-out event at Madison Square Garden in NY tonight, and on Christmas Day they will be on the Today show. It was an amazing opportunity to meet the group after the show as all 10 members autographed my CD. I simply stated to all members that what they did was awesome and very creative, as well as impressive. It was my first concert that did not rely on instruments of any sort, although a harmonica was sometimes used to start a song. All it took was the power of voice, and all ten of the members were on the same page the whole time. Not one person was singled out as it was always a group effort. I think these guys will be around for a long time. The only challenge I believe would be distancing themselves as 'a holiday act'.

So, for 2010 and on, I will keep the promise on attending shows at the right time. I do hope to make it to a festival show down the road, meaning Coachella or Bonnaroo, or maybe the Memphis Blues festival. I'm already thinking about Rock Fest in Kansas City.

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