Huh. I just saw that show, and I thought the Zappa band rocked. But I’ve never been a huge Zappa fan and always liked his more straight up rock music to his weirdness and raunchiness.
Hmmm… maybe The Eagles around 2010ish. Literally 1/3 of the set list was members solo songs. Now, I like a lot of the solo stuff, but I went to hear The Eagles. They must have been taking turns back then, because none of Glenn Frey’s solo stuff was played. Speaking of which, they didn’t play “Already Gone” either. I was very disappointed.
In 2015 I attended the Lock’n festival in Virginia. One of the acts I was most anticipating was Phil Lesh’s band with guest Carlos Santana. I was really looking forward to hearing Carlos jamming with the Lesh band. It was a huge letdown. Carlos didn’t seem to be familiar with the songs, and he spent a lot of time just standing there watching the others play, without touching his guitar. Occasionally he would strum a few chords or play a short lick, but he was barely participating. Really disappointing.
It was oddly reminiscent of a time I saw him sit in for a few songs with the Grateful Dead, in 1993 I think. He was so unfamiliar with the music that Bob Weir was shouting notes to him while they were playing (“C … now E sharp …”) and again Carlos seemed to be barely keeping up.
Oye cómo va mi ritmo!
Led Zeppelin, Oakland 1977–the band’s last concert in the US. They came on something like 2 hours late (after a great set by Rick Derringer) and by that time my enthusiasm had pretty much evaporated. The sound was horrible (although it never was that good at Days On The Green) and Jimmy was even sloppier than what I’d heard on the bootleg records I’d heard, I’ve read good reviews of that performance but that show was probably the worst of any big-name band I’ve seen. (Second worst would probably be the bloated 1989 “Who On Ice” show at the same venue)
This reminded me of seeing Interpol there. Halfway into their second song, with no “Hello” or saying anything between songs, I thought “We’re just listening to their albums.” Turned out that was true, for hours.
Well, the Rave (or The Eagles Club, if you’re as old as I am) has the kinda-mosh-y floor, then a nice balcony around it where about 200 people can stand. And then, there’s a second floor bar way off to the side. Where I decided to hang out because this was getting boring.
Well, they did put in the hours, like three of them, one perfectly-like-the-studio-track after another, no talking or eye contact.
Bored ADHD Graphic Designer, bad combination…
So I got my hand stamped, ran down the street to a Walgreen’s, where I’d seen cheap baseball caps and a multi-color set of Sharpies. Went back to the little balcony bar and made a dozen or so Interpol hats (with witty sayings, cute animals, funky typography… nothing that Interpol would ever market).
Then I pushed my way through to the front of the balcony and passed them out to anyone who wanted to frisbee a hat out over the mosh pit. Best part of a boring concert.
If you own a homemade Interpol hat, you’re welcome. Oh, and it only cost two bucks.
Speaking of shows starting late, my wife and I went to see the Brian Setzer Orchestra, maybe around 1999 or 2000.
The ticketed start time was, I believe, 8:30. The opening act went up around 9:45. They were fine, and they played for about an hour, then there was a LONG intermission. It was well after midnight before Setzer started, and nearly 3 a.m. by the time it was over. I recall the show actually being quite good, but I was fighting off sleep through much of it, and cranky as a result. Not a great experience.
Saw the Butt Hole Surfers as they were playing up the street only to discover they’ve given up all their old stuff and basically play only bluegrass. Not that I was ever a huge fan, but that still pretty underwhelming.
Likewise I am not usually expecting too much from support acts the but the time Billy Bragg had a human beatboxing Canadian folk poet open for him will take some beating in terms of worse act I have ever seen play at a professional concert (he’d be pretty disappointing at a free open mike night with a good happy hour )
That’s too bad. I’ve never seen a bad Santana show and I’ve seen him many times. You can count on a short, spiritual speech but otherwise one the most polished acts out there.
psst - that may also have been part of the show.
Went to Summerfest (Milwaukee) last week! (hint: on a Thursday, noon to 7 pm, it’s easy to ‘social distance’ if you stay away from the front rows of all the various free stages).
And those free stages are the place to see that band you liked decades ago, only now they’re affordable.
Well, I’m so often amazed to find that those old bands still sound great (The Zombies were awesome). And I’m often thinking “Hey, that balding guy with the gut can still belt 'em out!”…
That’s why I was surprised when one of my favorite artists of the 70s/80s didn’t have much of a voice anymore, but was also writing cutesy poetry full of stupid puns and setting it to really basic melodies for synthesizer and oboe (huh, that was his wife on oboe, probably just a coincidence).
Only concert I’ve ever walked out on, it was painful after a while.
On the other hand, Soul Asylum rocked, and Third World, Joan Jett and Coheed&Cambria made it worth the trip.
Hey now! Who was it?
If he was trying to make me read his post twice, it worked! Now I want to know too.
Thought of another one…or two. And it wasn’t a problem with the music, more just presentation. And I’m going to sound like an ass because there were noble intentions involved.
In the fall of 1997 I caught Nina Hagen twice in L.A., once at the Viper Room and once at Billboard Live. Both of the shows turned out be benefits, kind of, for a school in India that she was trying to build. Nina was going through this Hindu phase, not sure if she ever converted, but she released an entire album (Om Namah Shivay) that was all chanting done in her Germanic opera style. The concerts had various odds-and-sods guests, like Stacey Q. doing an acoustic version of “Two of Hearts,” but also some bookish, bearded, sweater-wearing caricature of an aging hippie who came onstage to show an interminable slideshow about horrible living conditions in India, who seemed peeved that the Rodney-on-the-ROQ audience wasn’t hanging off his every word. Nina sounded great, I especially loved “Born to Die in Berlin” and “Giant Step” both nights, but we got half as much Nina as we should have, and instead were getting a lecture.
I saw Tori Amos in a smaller, theater setting, and she sounded amazing, like wine glass cracking amazing. I can see how it wouldn’t translate to an arena though.
Bob Dylan a few years ago. Bad sound, terrible voice, no enthusiasm, songs forgettable, Like a Rolling Stone pretty much unrecognizable, no other hits. Which is bizarre because Mark Knopfler was the warm up band and they were fantastic! Great sound, total musicianship from the whole band, lots of hits, lots of dynamics. It was a weird night.
Me too! In 1986 and again about ten years ago. Or maybe it was closer to fifteen years ago. Whenever he last came to Canada.
Aww, I was trying to be kind to an old guy who was an electronic music pioneer (and the name won’t mean much outside Wisconsin)…
But it was Sigmund Snopek III.
I loved this guy (and his bands Bloomsbury People and Snopek). Back in the late 60s he was experimenting with wild concerts: synthesizers and full orchestra and rock band and actors. Kept going for decades, even collaborated with the Violent Femmes. I’ve seen him probably a dozen times but not for a decade, and this summer his edgy humor turned into Dad Jokes, his lyrics actually devolved into "how many rhymes can I make with moon?", and his “Ooh, I can make this synthesizer sound like 'a 60s sci-fi movie” got old real fast.
First Buddy Guy show: he opened for B.B. King. He was awesome, energetic, and really funny. Walked out in the crowd, did the whole bit. I loved it. (B.B. King was in his last days, and it was sad to see. As described above, he barely played. I don’t feel that I “saw” B.B. from that show).
Second Buddy Guy show: headliner at a smaller club, so I’m thinking this is going to be even better. Much more stories than music. Less energy. But the same “jokes”/lines - nothing much original. After that show I decided I wouldn’t need to see him again, as much as I love his music.
I saw Martina McBride very early in her career. I’m not a Country fan, but a friend with RCA/BMG got me backstage passes, so I went.
She was very nice, and obviously very talented.
She won Country artist of the year and came back to Pittsburgh to play a much larger venue. Again I got backstage passes. Again the music was great. Disappointedly, her stories/jokes/chitchat were identical word-for-word from her previous show.