Monday, October 19, 2009

Arena Show? No Thanks.

There's nothing more opinionated than a music critic. Well, maybe a beer critic, but that's stretching things. I'm a huge music fan, and a critic, and I'm very opinionated. Here's a favorite topic.

I do not understand the appeal of large arena shows. I do not understand people who shell out several hundred dollars a ticket to see a band who (with a few exceptions), couldn't hold their own on a stage against area talent in a local bar open-mic night. Very few seats in an arena are close enough to actually see any of the musicians without watching the jumbo-trons next to the stage. Hell, if I wanted that, I'd buy the DVD. Or for the amount spent on tickets, several box sets. Can you see who's actually playing lead without looking at the jumbo-tron? Can you see the expressions, the interplay between the musicians? No? WTF is the attraction? It goes back to when concerts were a social gathering. When you could spend less than ten bucks to see the top bands. When you would hang out on the floor, see all your friends, and share a joint with everyone. Today you can spend $250 a ticket, $12 a beer, and $40 (or more) for a t-shirt. Hell, take away their High-Life. And be careful not to step on the person's $600 loafers who's sitting next to you when you get up out of your padded seat to jam with your bimbo date with the boob-job. Don't forget to boo when they don't play your favorite song exactly like they played it on the radio!

The quality of entertainment playing small clubs and festivals is better today then it's been since the early days of rock or jazz. Within the last couple years I have seen performances standing or sitting close enough to touch some of the best musicians the world has to offer today. I have chatted, in a conversational tone, with world-class musicians on stage in small clubs. I have talked to many of these performers in the audience before or after shows. I live in a smaller community (relatively speaking) yet can find such entertainment almost any night.

Stop going to shows just to say you did. Expand your musical horizons and explore artists you may not have heard. It's a much more rewarding experience.

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