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Sunday, October 7, 2007

The worst concerts I've ever attended

I've seen about 170 major concerts now (Yes, I have a chronological list), and a few months back I listed the best of those. Which means it's only fair that I now list the worst. This time I'm going to count down in reverse order:

8 DAVE MATTHEWS BAND Bryce Jordan Center, State College PA 4.5.02
I’ve seen Dave 15 times, and 14 have been thoroughly satisfying, but this show at Penn State was completely unacceptable. It was only the second show of their spring tour, and it showed. They played for barely 90 minutes, instead of the usual 3 hours; there was only one violin solo the entire night and very little jamming; and they closed with the two songs most despised by hardcore DMB fans – The Space Between and I Did It. When Dave hit the first notes of I Did It, the guy next to me, realizing this would be the last song, stood up, directed a middle finger towards the stage, and walked out in disgust. He was not alone in feeling that way.

7 AFRO MAN Crowbar, State College PA 10.1.01
Remember him, the “Because I Was High” guy? I went for the novelty of it. It was entertaining to some degree, he actually played guitar quite well, and he was able to keep the crowd’s attention when they clearly were interested in just one song. In one song, Afro Man sang, “They think I’m a novelty act/They need to step the fuck back.” But even he knew that was a hollow statement. This guy had little to offer. He invited the brass section from an opening act, Town Hall, onstage for a bit, and they were the highlight of the concert.

6 BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB Mr. Small's Theater, Pittsburgh 2.14.06 During shows I usually keep a count of how many songs have been played, so I have a general idea of how much time is left. During this one, thee song count went higher than ever. When it hit 15, I thought, wow, these guys are playing for a really long time. When it hit 20, I thought, this is excruciating! Let me out of here! Finally, around song #23, me and my friends couldn’t take it anymore and hit the road. There was absolutely no reason for this band to play that long. They might have continued playing for another hour, for all I know.

5 BETH ORTON Bowery Ballroom, New York City 6.10.02 This was my first show in NYC. I lived there in the summer of ’02 and I was excited about my first time being on a guest list and in a VIP box. Unfortunately I was also very tired, and that, along with the fact that Beth played a solo acoustic show, combined to put me to sleep. I was trying like hell to stay awake – I was discreetly pinching myself, tapping my feet, chugging water, doing whatever I could to not fall asleep in front of my co-workers, but I still nodded off. By far the most boring show I’ve ever been to.

4 BRENDAN BENSON
The Fillmore, San Francisco 7.25.05
This one is very similar to #5. Benson was opening for the Kaiser Chiefs, and, even in the beautiful and legendary Fillmore, I could not stay awake. I finally had to walk back against the wall, close my eyes, and catch some Zs. It didn’t help that this idiot played 12 songs – 12 songs as an opening act! Benson’s in the Raconteurs now with Jack White, but I will never give that band a chance because I will hate Benson until the day I die.

3 MOS DEF Rec Hall, State College PA 1.11.02 Socially-conscious rapper played a free show at Penn State, but it was incredibly boring. He never really tried to connect with the crowd, and it was impossible to understand what he was saying. For artists, college shows are often a simple means of collecting a hefty paycheck, and that seemed to be the case with this one.

2 THE VINES Metropol, Pittsburgh 11.20.02 This was around the time that all the "The" bands were making headlines - The Hives, The Strokes, The Vines, etc. I was excited to see these guys, but they were awful. They played about 75% ballads, including a dumb-ass cover of "Ms. Jackson" that was neither funny nor ironic. I was stunned. At one point singer Craig Nicholls tried to be a badass and took off his shirt, but that resulted in widespread laughter at his mushy physique. When they finished, they smashed their instruments, an absurd gesture given how lame the show was. It was almost as if they were trying to be a parody of a rock band.

1 EVERCLEAR Point State Park, Pittsburgh 7.2.05 I'd heard that Everclear wasn't a good live band, and that was confirmed when I saw them perform on some talk show (I think Donny & Marie?), but seeing them in person, it was still eye-opening how bad they were. First, I should point out that this was not the original incarnation of Everclear - this was just singer Art Alexakis and some bums he picked up off the street. Second, Alexakis absolutely cannot sing. He can't hit any of the high notes, and he'll skip the first few and last few words of every line, because he can't keep up. He tried to hide it by having the audience sing several of the lyrics, but I saw through the charade. It's embarrassing, and disappointing, because I like a lot of this band's work (So Much for the Afterglow was in my top 5 albums of 1997...)

This Everclear performance was a free show, and I still wanted to demand a refund.

3 comments:

Beth said...

My worst concerts?

1. My sister and sister-in-law talked us into seeing [please don't tell anyone as I cringe] Kenny Loggins. My brother and I used the opportunity to get nasty, stinkin' drunk ... so maybe it wasn't a complete wash of a night.

2. Patty Griffin. Slept during half the show. Just not into the singer-songwriter chicks like I used to be.

3. The Cars (circa 1981). They played for 45 minutes, left the stage, never came back.

Scott said...

Wow, I'd have thought the Cars would be a good show! 'Drive' is one of my karaoke favorites lately...

Carles said...

So much for the afterglow!!!!!