Monday, June 9, 2008

Saturday at The 'Head

Darren has already posted some of his thoughts about Radiohead and my good friend Pissy Guy in a clever post that moves quickly onto more important matters so I'll take the angle of talking about the music and the average Irish concert-goer.

Over at Jim Carroll's blog I've already fallen victim to the biting wit of a couple of posters whose sarcastic comments about the lack of Creep I mistakenly took seriously. But, you see, when Iwasn't fending off the advances of Pissy Guy, I was having the quieter songs ruined by a couple of lads behind me banging on about the fact the band were just "playing all their new shite, none of the classics". I imagine they would have been happier if there had been some sort of 'text-your-request' number scrolling along the bottom of the big screen. Of course, we might well have ended up with Creep 12 times, a handful of Karma Polices and a High and Dry or two as the entire setlist. Personally, I felt disappointed not to hear Paranoid Android or Just, not because I felt I have any right to hear those songs, but simply because they have been playing them on this tour. No matter though - Idioteque worked superbly as a closer and a re-worked Planet Telex was just brilliant. Bangers and Mash was also a highlight for me, though the blank looks from the majority of the crowd showed just how few people shelled out for the In Rainbows discbox, which featured that song on a second CD.

My point really is, does the average Irsh concert-goer now think they have a divine right to a greatest hits set by whatever artist they're watching? A common complaint I heard after Bruce Springsteen's phenomenal gigs was that he didn't play Born in the USA. Well, how very dare he?

Two of my favourite concerts I attended last year were REM's live rehearsals at The Olympia, where they played all their new and unreleased songs, along with some really early, more obscure ones. They were fan's concerts and I didn't pick up on anyone saying 'Ah Jaysus, they coulda given us Losing My Religion'. Concerts are for fans and people who wnat to hear new and interesting things, and those who just want all the songs that got lots of radio-play should just invest in a greatest hits CD and look up a couple of old live clips on Youtube. It'll work out a hell of a lot cheaper than the 60-100 euro that most big acts charge for a show now.

5 comment(s):

Darragh said...

Okay I don't get the "no creep" thing - can you explain?

The text your request thing - now that's not a bad thing to do Andrew. Hmmm. *has ideas*

I think the point of a smaller venue for the die-hard fans who'd know the b-sides and then a big anonymous venue for the masses isn't a bad thing either. If I go to a big field I want to be able to sing along to the great hits, the ones we all know.

It's a huge part of Irish culture to do that, to feel we are part of something bigger. Phoenix Park 1979 showed that with over a million singing Ave Maria with Bishop Casey. Croke Park with Garth Brooks showed it - feck, Croke Park for any match shows that, be it the National Anthem or Ireland's Call. Bryan Adams, George Michael, Oasis all show it in their gigs.

Alsan show it every time they play a gig, and it's not for lack of new material, it's knowing what the fans want and what they'll respond to.

Let's face it, you don't go to somewhere like Croker or Malahide to see a band and hear them - you go for a gig with friends and to say you're there. To see the musicians it's Vicar Street or the ould live DVD...

or am I completely wrong?

Ian said...

Yes, yes you are.

Darragh said...

@ian - care to explain?

Andrew said...

You're far from completely wrong Darragh, but I can't totally agree with you either. Big sing-along anthems are great, I just feel that any artist has the right to choose what they want to play rather than being all-singing, all-dancing jukeboxes.
If bands like Bon Jovi or the Stones (or, indeed, Aslan) want to spend year after year after year singing the same old songs then fair play to them, but I don't think I could handle that if I were a musician. And I get the impression Radiohead can't either.
About my no Creep policy, I was overstating it somewhat on Jim's blog. Saturday was my sixth Radiohead concert, believe it or not. I think they have played Creep at two of them. Its always great for an oul' singalong but the last time I heard it it seemed massively out of place - almost like Radiohead left the stage and a cabaret group came on - because it was so far removed from everything else they were playing and seemed to be thrown in simply as a crowd-pleaser. Brilliant song in its own right but doesn't realy fit with their direction in the last ten years or so.

Helen said...

Hey Andrew
Long time no see! How are you getting on? I was just on bebo looking for a way to amuse myself for a few minutes when I can across your blog...very interesting indeed!! I felt compelled to leave a comment about Radiohead because I have to agree with you about the Creep phenomenon. I remember when they played the Point back in 2003 and they played Creep and I actually got annoyed because everyone got so excited and singing along. I think real fans of any band would be more excited about hearing new songs rather than the "big hit"...if you get what I mean. Saying all that I would have liked if they threw in some more of the OK Computer songs into the Malahide date, but you can't always get what you want eh?