I had a blog half-written about e-book royalties, but it’s going to have to wait because I’m too tired to be analytical this late Saturday night (early Sunday morning.) Why? Because I just returned from my first rock concert in ages.
Before I had kids, I went to a lot of concerts. I’m sure this is standard fare for most of us. For me, I love rock. LOVE it. But I’m still pretty traditional in my rock taste. In the 80s, I was a throwback to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who and a touch of harder rock like AC/DC and The Scorpions. In the 90s, I still liked the same bands, but add in U2 and The Eagles and The Steve Miller Band and Kansas. A little less hard. But current bands? Ugh. I couldn’t find anything new I really liked.
After kids? Getting out to concerts is difficult, to say the least. I think we’ve been to 2 or 3. I know Steve Miller was one, a long time ago.
The 2000s have seen a resurgence in real rock bands. When I said “real” I mean rockers who can actually play an instrument AND entertain. Saturday night I saw Nickelback with Three Days Grace.
To say the concert was fabulous is an understatement. And even though I’m over 40 and brought my two teenage daughters and my eldest’s boyfriend, I still enjoyed myself. One thing I noted immediately is that these bands drew in a wide range of ages. There were a lot of older teens, but just as many 30 and 40 somethings–so I felt right at home. (Unlike “Jingle Ball” a couple years ago which was all pre teens and teenagers and other than Katie Perry who can actually play the guitar and belt out a song, none of the performers were anything more than mediocre.)
Both bands have real talent for music, songwriting, and singing. But as we all know, talent is only one component of a successful artist. These bands both know how to entertain. They put on shows–Nickelback complete with pyrotechnics. But it wasn’t just the bells and whistles. Nickelback came out to a stage in the middle, away from the lights and gimmicks, and just sat on stools playing guitar and singing. That shows confidence. That they don’t need all the other stuff to play good music.
Some of the fun stuff was playing riffs from popular and timeless songs –such as Pink Floyd’s THE WALL and Journey and Bon Jovi, among others. It not only showed the bands roots and influences, but showed an appreciation of those who came before them.
Needless to say, I was impressed. I loved the entire concert (perhaps even more than my teenagers!) and would go again in a heartbeat.
A talented band is certainly necessary to enjoy a concert, though there are some musicians who are more performers than artists (such as so many of the popular “pop” bands of today.) These type of performers couldn’t put the gimmicks aside and sit on a stool and play guitar and give the audience an amazing show. Because they are nothing outside of the bells and whistles; their talent is only in the performance itself.
One highlight was Daniel Adair, Nickelback’s drummer. Not only is he talented, but he is reminiscent of the best drummers of my favorite bands. While no one compares (IMO) to Jon Bonham, Adair was amazing to listen to, and his solo was truly remarkable. The drummer often is overlooked in bands, but a bad drummer is noticeable, and a good drummer makes every song better. Drummers are the backbone of rock.
Writers are different in that we don’t “perform”, but we do need to entertain. No one is going to pay to listen to us read from our books (at least not most of us!) but they do buy books because they want to have a few hours of enjoyment. Whether they take their pleasure from the thrill of a suspense, the puzzle of a mystery, or the heart of a romance, they want to close the book and think, “That was a good story.”
There are a few other bands I would love to see in concert, and maybe I’ll have to track them down. The Howling Diablos are one, but I haven’t heard them playing outside of Michigan yet. They’re more bluesy, maybe I could see them in a club. And then there’s The Dropkick Murphys from Boston who my friend Carla Neggers saw before attending the 2009 Thrillerfest (and yes, I was jealous.) And maybe Eagles of Death Metal because they have such fun songs. But if Nickelback or Three Days Grace came back? I’ll be there.
What current band would you like to see? What band would you have loved to see? (For me? Hands down, Pink Floyd’s THE WALL. Though The Who would be a close second.)
For your enjoyment:
Nickelback performing Burn it to the Ground in 2009
Nickelback performing Animals in 2006
Daniel Adair’s drum solo in London last year:
Three Days Grace performing Riot in Detroit
Three Days Grace “Break” music video