I walked out of a concert last night

So last night mrs andros and I went to get our 80s on: Midge Ure (Ultravox, Visage) and Paul “Every Time You Go Away” Young.

We’ve seen Midge before. He’s a brilliant songwriter, an energetic and engaging performer, shreds like a monster, and is sitting on probably 90% of his peak vocal ability–which is *fantastic *for being 63, and 90% of Midge is still head and shoulders above most other singers anywhere.

Lovely man, lovely songs, lovely set.

Then Paul Young came on.
The first song I thought to myself “he looks like he’s kinda hammered.” He was loose on stage, his bassist had to duck a bit to avoid a rock move with his mic stand, just seemed a bit off physically.

As he started singing, I winced at the first blown key. And the second. But his baritone was pretty solid once his found his notes. The chorus, however, was in considerably higher range…and I couldn’t even *hear *him at first. I thought it was the mix, or the board guy doing something weird, but after a couple choruses I realized that in order to hit the notes he had to back all the way off his volume, so he was almost whispering into his mic. And still couldn’t hit the fucking notes.

He stumbled over his mid-number banter. Not quite slurring, but again sloppy. Next number starts up, bassist has to duck again, Paul misses both the beat and the key, and mrs andros leans over and whispers “Seriously, is he drunk?” She was holding her ears trying to isolate the weirdness in the mix until she came to the same realization: that the problem was his voice. She nodded for the door and I agreed, and we…walked out of a concert.

I’ve sat through a lot of mediocre, even outright bad, music in my day. And I’ve left shows before encores, left because I wasn’t feeling well, left because it was 2:30 in the morning and I had to be at work at 7. I’ve left because I loved the opener and decided the headliner wasn’t my cuppa.
But I’ve never bailed like that: mid-song, two numbers into a set, because it was Just. Too. Painful. To. Stay.
I’m angry about it.

I’m mad that he’s not what he used to be, I’m mad that I’m not what *I *used to be, I’m mad that he sounded like shit. I’m mad that he seemed drunk, or was. I’m mad that his wife died in January. I’m mad that he got old and doesn’t seem to have the self-awareness or respect for his audiences to make the changes needed to put on a good show even *though *he’s gotten old. I’m mad that Midge Ure is a goddamn genius and that Young came off even worse in comparison.

I’m mad that for all I wish otherwise, I saw him as just another sad old man who can’t leave the past.

It’s not kind, it’s not fair, it’s not considerate, it’s not even accurate…but ghod help me, that’s what I saw.
And I *hate *that I did, and I hate more than *anything *that I’ll be there in just a few short decades myself, with my flat wrinkled ass hanging out of my threadbare boxers wondering what the hell just happened.

I’m sorry I walked out last night, Paul.

But it was just too goddamn scary to stay.
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Well written. There’s a lot to be said for recognizing that a big part of our disappointment with shows like that says more about our fears than it says about the performer.

But there’s also a lot to be said for aging gracefully and knowing how to adjust to your age, and one such adjustment might be to not charge people money if you can’t cut it. Your ass might be flat and wrinkly in 20 years, but I don’t think you’ll be charging people for the pleasure of seeing it. Sounds like Paul could use a little of that awareness.

THIS was well-written, too! Thank you for the words of comfort that we aren’t all going to be Over-The-Hill-But-Trying-Not-To-Be.

Now that I’m mid-60s, I’m trying like hell to not be THAT guy. I’m happy going to rock festivals… but not dancing, or taking my shirt off or trying to hit the high notes*.

*This is a tough one. I used to be able to do vocals on YES covers… and even sing harmony above the notes Jon Anderson was hitting. Now I think I’d herniate myself.

As a life-long YES fan, I laughed at this one- thanks !!! :):slight_smile:
( Imagine the inguinal examination in the E.R.???

" You…you’ve done a lot of damage here. What did you lift up? "

" My ego. I tried to sing some YES lyrics "

" You got what you had coming to you. " )

:stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve seen ARW once almost 2 years ago and want to go again. Jon’s voice is remarkably clean and healthy for a guy his age.

Yeah, the pipes go for lots of people. The ageing Boomers are quite prone to not hearing because they’re too busy re-living to realize that their fave band/ singer has become a caricature. An off-key tired out caricature.

Best to read a lot of reviews if possible and save yourself some heartache !

I was a Paul Young fan, many moons ago. I’m sorry to hear he’s a mess. Honestly, though, I don’t think you can blame it on his age. He’s got other issues. There are performers his age, and older, who do just fine. Better than fine. Age is what you make of it. Paul has chosen to make his a drug/drunken haze. This is not your problem or fault.

Buck up, is what I’m saying. Walking out was appropriate.

Just curious, how much were the tickets?

Admittedly, I have pretty much zero clue as to what Paul Young has been up to over the past 30 years. I’m sad to hear that his wife died earlier this year, and that by no means excuses him for putting on a show if he wasn’t up to it. I have no idea if the show that andros saw last night was an isolated bad night for Young, or if he’s consistently putting on a bad show. Nor do I know if the man has any issues with drug or alcohol abuse.

And, finally, nor do I know if he’s touring because he’s flat broke, and needs the money, or if he’s out there because he’s bored, or if he just likes performing (and no one’s been willing to tell him that he’s lost it).

I’m just saying that there might be extenuating circumstances. Even so, I can’t blame andros for walking out – that show wasn’t likely to get any better.

I guess you could say he took a little piece of you. :wink:
Seriously, sad though.:frowning:

For what it’s worth: Very recent interview.
I always liked him, sorry to hear the show was such a shambles.

$35. Honestly, worth it just for Midge.
Trout, Sunny, I hear you, and I appreciate it.

It’s weird though. I’m not the sort who generally cares about someone acting like a dork, dancing like Elaine, taking their shirt off and going WOOOOO. You wanna dress like you did in 1986? Go for it. Sing off-key, tell dad jokes, wear a shitty hat. You do you. Just…care.

I saw Mellencamp a few years back (opening for, I am not making this up, Bob Dylan). Surprisingly enjoyable set–great backing band, really good arrangements, his voice was showing a ton of wear, but he kept things in his range, and his energy was wonderful. He did a number that was just him and his guitar, and I realized…JCM couldn’t keep time at gunpoint.

Vocs were good, guitar was fine, it was just generally a pretty decent song. But fuck, does he ever need a band around him to stay on a tempo. Maybe it was different 30 years ago, or maybe he just always struggled with it, but it was noticeable. A little annoying, maybe, but not really–I pretty much instantly forgave him. In part because the song was obviously important to him, and in part because he took it, and the rest of his set, and his audience seriously. I got the impression that he cared–about his band and his music and me. He could lose what remaining gravel voice he has left and just straight-up croak about chili dogs outside the Tastee Freez, and I wouldn’t mind because I got the sense that he is just so sincere and humble and focused on making the best music he can make for the people who listen to him. He knows he’s not making High Art To Stand the Tests of Time, he’s just making the very best rock n roll he can, and he gives a damn about it.

Maybe I’m imputing onto Paul Young motivations or thought processes that aren’t accurate. And again, it may be unfair of me to see two songs and decide he didn’t care about his art. But even the bands who completely phone in their 30 year anniversary tours (looking at you, Black Francis) generally at least try to make it sound *competent *if they cannot manage passionate.

Paul didn’t seem to have the self-awareness to even manage that. He looked like he’d just decided “fuck it, I’ll do some rock moves and wear a pretty jacket, they’ll fucking love me.”

He might care, but his seeming obliviousness didn’t show it.

Shit, I dunno, I’m all over the map. Long couple weeks at work, feeling emotional, don’t mind me. This site is my blog now, right?
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$35 is not bad. Even for a concert you wind up walking out of. Glad it wasn’t over $100 each–that would be grounds for real pissed-offed-ness.

darn you to heck! I was going to chime in with that!

Sad indeed though.

I saw post-Ultravox Midge Ure in Darlington arts centre some time ago. Just him and a guitar on stage with songs and anecdotes (he has a lot) and he was brilliant. The audience (perhaps 200 or so) asked him questions which spun off into stories about the music business and then into a song. Still a great voice.

(He did an acoustic “Reap the Wild Wind” which was epic)

Some performers are worth seeing just because of who they are/were. I saw BB King, Son Seals, Koko Taylor, Pinetop Perkins, Sam Myers, and Link Wray near the end of their lives. They were not even close to the performers they were at their peak, but there was something to them just trying that made me happy to be in the audience.

I never was a Paul Young fan. Sorry you had to live through the experience.

This is why I go to The Damned when I get an opportunity. Just being in the same room with them is enough. There’s a lot more to it than that, but I’m not as eloquent as I used to be. Best to not try and let the thought melt away into a vague memory of memories.

I agree with this totally, except. . . I will continue to dance as if no one is watching until the day I die. Hopefully that will be while getting my groove on to whoever is left of the Temps and Tops and their replacements. Not dance at a concert? Never!

Well, maybe not ‘never’. Like, I wouldn’t dance at a Christmas concert of The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir doing Handel’s Messiah. Although, why do they do that during Christmas? Isn’t it an Easter song? I have gone off subject, haven’t I?

Not really. I thought you were referencing that scandalous time that Brahma walked out on a Mozart concert.

LOL. Or Brahms.
Whichever.

I see what you mean, although this crowd seems to be enjoying just singing along with him. I’m sure he’d love to change his entire repertoire to songs that fit his voice today, but then every member of the audience would surely go home whinging that he hadn’t sung the classics they came to hear. Performers really can’t win these days.

I caught John Lee Hooker near the end. Surrounded by a very good band, sitting in a chair. The guitar break would come, he’d rip a quick 6-8 notes, then whip on/off his sunglasses for the rest of the song.

I was still fuckin’ great! :smiley:

Sit right behind drunk Biggirl at a concert? All The Time!

And this talk of old rockers’ voices going really makes me appreciate the old guys I’ve seen who still have a great set of pipes. I’ve seen a lot of 60s bands who are doing the B-List Festivals/State Fairs circuit.

Just this summer I drove to Milwaukee (for Summerfest), mostly for a team-up of Chicago 60s bands:
The Ides of March, the New Colony Six, The Shadows of Knight, The Cryan’ Shames… and especially The Buckinghams all sounded powerful and still nuanced. I couldn’t believe guys in their late 60s and 70s were belting 'em out like that.