Monthly Archives: July 2014

Dear Megadeth, Sara Bareilles and Aretha Franklin,

I know. Weird combo of musicians. I’ve been to a few concerts in the past few weeks though, and haven’t been keeping up with this whole “concert review” thing. So I’m combining the last few that I’ve missed.

First off was Megadeth. Now, I saw them at an outdoor venue in Lewiston, NY. Normally at this venue it’s old people in lawn chairs sitting on a hill. I had nooo idea what to expect going to see a metal show there. And it was… a lot of old people in lawn chairs. People stood during the show, and the front area where people normally stand was a little bit bigger. But there were only 2 miniature mosh pits (probably ’cause someone would’ve broken a hip… I don’t even think security would’ve known what to do). The first one was four drunk guys shoulder checking each other, and the second one was during their encore and it was still pretty tame for Megadeth. Mosh pits or not, it was a FUN show. Dave Mustaine didn’t fall over or anything, and used words I could understand. They only did one song off of their new album (I’m sure a few people were disappointed), but that meant I got to hear all their classics that I knew. Everyone in the audience was into it, and it was cool to see such a different environment in the same venue I’m so used to. Good show, weird venue, but a very good show.

The day after Megadeth, I saw Sara Bareilles, also at the ArtPark in Lewiston. I knew her hit singles, but nothing much beside that. Two weeks before the show I downloaded her discography and listened to it a few times at work. Now… I’m a singer-songwriter, based around the piano, who likes to swear and have fun and wear pretty dresses. Sara and I might be soul mates. I admire her so much for not only for being her own, but for her songwriting as well. It’s so well done. Listening to her albums and to her concert, I just wanted to go home and write my own music and never stop. Not that it would be anywhere close to hers, but still. Her show was actually one of my favorites that I’ve ever been to. Which is saying a lot, because it rained A LOT the entire time. But even with the rain, she was so grateful to the audience for sticking it out to hear her. It’s nice to hear a famous person humbled like that. I loved her music, her stage presence, the interactions of her band, and how REAL she was. Two giant thumbs up for this show, and I would definitely go again. And again. And probably again after that.

A week after Megadeth, we saw the Queen of Soul herself (again, at the ArtPark), Miss Aretha Franklin. We all know Respect. And her rendition of A Natural Woman. But other than that, I didn’t really follow her. I don’t know, call me young, but I guess it was before my time. I respect the shit out of this woman! And I love soul music! Aretha’s collection was just never on my iPod. Still. There was no way I was going to pass up a chance to see such a legend (for only $17!). She’s 72 now and still going! This tour is her 53RD ANNIVERSARY TOUR. Like, that’s mind blowing. That’s 2.5 times my age. She came out (very slowly) in a fancy white gown, and started right off with a cover of Higher and Higher. Which was super cool. After that, it kind of slowed down… She could still sing, especially for a 72 year old, but she’s lost a little bit of that… crispness. I guess that’s the best word for it. She also left the stage for like 15 minutes, and we all thought it was a costume change but she was getting a cake for her conductor for his birthday (oh yeah, did I mention, she had an orchestra to back her?! Not like, full out, philharmonic orchestra, but still. And all the horn players were local to the Lewiston area. That’s awesome.). So that was a dead spot. And they did an instrumental cover of Happy, that Aretha tried a little bit to sing along to, but I think she forgot the words. And then, in between songs, she did this weird singing/talking thing while the band vamped chords. But it went on forever. And I think the moral of the story was that she had cancer but prayed it away, but the whole thing was so uncomfortable that I’m not fully sure. She did Respect for her encore, OF COURSE, but then kept coming out for bows and then she even did a full second song. And it was a ballad and we didn’t know it so at that point we left so we could maybe beat the traffic. It just was a slow show. She’s awesome, I love her, I won’t ever bad talk HER, but the actual concert… Eh.

So. In order of “I would see them again” it would be:

1. In a heart beat – Sara Bareilles

2. If they came to the right place for the right cost – Megadeth

3. I’m glad I had the experience but I won’t go again – Aretha Franklin

So there are my concert reviews for the past week! Keep checking back ’cause I have a few more to go this summer!

Lots of love,

Fiona

PS. A song everyone should know… Not the performance I saw, but one of the highlights of the Sara Bareilles show. 

Dear Pat Benatar,

So the other night, I went to see Rick Springfield and Pat Benatar in concert. And to say the least, it is NOT what I was expecting. My older brother works at a radio station and happened to get 2 lawn tickets. I had wanted to go, but $40 for lawn seemed a little silly, so it was a very happy coincidence that my bro got free tickets! Anyways, I just wanted to share my opinion of the show, just in case for some reason you end up at a Rick Springfield/Pat Benatar concert and you’re thinking of me.

 

First off, there was some guy opening for them. William Beckett. He used to be in The Academy Is… but he was doing his solo stuff this time. It was just him and an acoustic guitar. Now, don’t get me wrong, he sounded pretty good! But I ended up leaving halfway through the second song to get food because I was bored. He had a 30-40 minute opening set, and he only played 4 or 5 songs, because he talked so damn much! Come on dude! As an acoustic, solo act, I know better than to do that. You have a very short time to impress the audience as much as possible, and you don’t do that by talking for 10 minutes before each song. Also, another common problem with acoustic guitar playing singer-songwriters: almost all of the songs sounded the same. Not exactly the same, but very very similar. I was unimpressed. If they wanted an acoustic singer-songwriter, I would’ve totally volunteered and blown this guy out of the water. I’m sure he has a wonderful personality though.

 

After Mr. Beckett, Rick Springfield came on but I’m going to save his part of this review for the end (as they should have done with the show).

 

Pat Benatar. I like her a lot. She’s a female rock/pop singer, and I get a lot of inspiration from female rock/pop singers. And really, who hasn’t rocked out to “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”? And even though Pat doesn’t know it, we have a lot in common, her and I. She was classically trained before she turned to rock, as was I. She has rocked some pretty short hair, just like me. We also have a common interest in spandex. So yeah, I’m a fan. And even as a fan, I was about ready to leave during her portion of the concert. Which makes me really sad. She can still sing! I mean, I could hear her age in her voice, but she still had all the notes, and at 61, that’s impressive. But she didn’t really move very much. Which is always a buzz kill. And she didn’t have a stage show. At all. She had a full screen and what looked like an elaborate set up, but it just had the logo for the 35th anniversary tour on it the whoooole time. And what may be my biggest concert pet peeve: SHE TALKED TOO MUCH. She was performing with her husband, Neil Giraldo, and between the two of them I was almost talked to death. I didn’t know half of the songs she performed, but I do now know the backstory behind all of them… I should’ve listened to my mom when she told me she fell asleep at a Pat Benatar concert. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”, “Heartbreaker” and “Love is a Battlefield” were obviously the highlights, “We Belong” felt a little weird, and I really enjoyed “Hell is for Children”. But still, it was a slow show to say the least.

 

Now Rick Springfield… He completely, 100% stole the evening (as well as my heart). First off, that man is 65 years old and he is RIPPED and he was running around like a 20 year old the entire time. He was running back forth on the stage, he was out in the audience for a while… And I don’t mean, making a quick lap. He was deep into the crowd for at least a full song. He had members of the audience sing the signature line in “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, and he even put a security guard on the spot to sing a little bit. He also brought a little 9 year old girl up on stage with him and danced with her. And the best part of him being so active, was HE was enjoying it. It wasn’t just a show to him, he was having fun. That’s so cool to see. He also did a few covers that totally rocked. He goes “Now, I can appreciate a good girl’s anthem…” and jumps into Katy Perry’s “Roar”. Like, did you see that coming? ‘Cause I didn’t. He also did a little bit of “Wild Thing” and of course everyone loved that. At one point, he picked up his guitar and was like, “I haven’t played this thing in a while” and rips a big fat solo on it! Coming from the guy who did “Jessie’s Girl” I didn’t expect him to be able to shred like that. Damn. He teased us a few times with the intro riff for “Jessie’s Girl, but of course he saved it for his encore. Before they came back out they showed a montage of all the TV shows and movies that have featured “Jessie’s Girl” (which is a lot). He was so much fun and made the evening worth it. Well, I mean free tickets made the evening worth it. But even without that, he was awesome.

 

So. I mean. It was a good show. It was slow at points, but overall I had a really good time and got to see a few classics. Plus I had some pretty decent mac and cheese balls. And it was nice to go to a concert with just my big brother (most of the shows we go to are with the family or a group of friends).

 

How’d I do with my first official concert review? I go to a bunch of shows and I’d love to keep sharing my (usually very strong and judgmental) opinions if you want to keep reading them. And if you aren’t digging the reviews, let me know what you want to read instead!

 

So much love,

Fiona

 

PS. This isn’t from the show I was at, but here’s Rick covering Katy Perry: