Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Ingredients for a great concert

I saw Jeff Tweedy in Lincoln this past Saturday. The venue was great - a restored theatre. The musician - well, he's Jeff Tweedy (enough said). The set list was acoustic. And it featured whatever the hell Tweedy wanted to play. He's been known to dip way back into his days with Uncle Tupelo. For the few solo dates this year, he's been hitting Mermaid Avenue - Volumes One and Two pretty heavily.

This amounted to a great recipe for a flawless show. The only things that could mar this show would be the inescapable technical glitches and - maybe one or two unruly audience members.

... or a few dozen.

I saw a show that could have easily placed in my Top Five Concerts of All-Time list quickly derail as drunken sorority-age girls yelled out "California Stars!" - repeatedly. Guys with backwards baseball hats raised their arms and yelled out as Tweedy played through painfully quiet numbers like "Someone Else's Song." I can see how excited fans may have a hard time calming themselves down for a show like this - but many other audience members talked to each other - about their jobs, their neighbors, their roommates - with Tweedy simply being in the background, like someone playing at a piano bar.

Tweedy got off some nice blasts. He suggested that he should change the format of the show to be more in the style of a campfire "since you all like to use your mouths so much," he quipped. Tweedy also made the general observation about why it was strange that people would pay $25 to see a show and talk to each other just like they were at a bar ... when there were dozens of bars in the area where they could talk for free.

I took my sister's dogs running this Sunday. The samoyed got unruly. He playfully barked and antagonized a few other dogs. He started humping one of the dogs. Fortunately, the hump-ee sank her teeth into his fur and dragged him down. It's the pack mentality. One dog gets out of line, there's a few dogs in the pack who correct the dog with the attitude. That pack mentality is sorely needed for concerts like the one that was damn near ruined this past Saturday.


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