Rants 11 Jun 2014 21:38:05

Concerning Concerts

On Tuesday 3rd, 2014, I finally concluded that I just don’t enjoy rock concerts or music festivals. They’re just not the kind of emotional experience that they apparently are for many others. I long suspected this, but since I’ve mostly been to concerts where I didn’t really care much about the music, I couldn’t really draw any conclusions.

The Mastodon Sayler

This time, though, Raven and I went to the Metallica By Request mini-festival in Horsens, Denmark – and I really like a lot of Metallica’s music.

We arrived just before Gojira were scheduled to go on stage, so we got to see them, Mastodon, Slayer, and ultimately Metallica.

The first thing that struck me as odd was the fact that nobody introduced Gojira – they just started playing, and I guess assumed everyone would know it was them. This happened again with Mastodon (and later Slayer), but as I didn’t see Mastodon walk on stage, I wasn’t actually sure whether they had started playing, or if it was still instrument checks combined with interlude music. It’s such a small thing, but it would really add to the whole experience if someone would give the bands playing a short introduction.

The second thing was the awful sound quality, but I expected that. I have some excellent earplugs that only cut out the damaging ranges, so I get to hear everything in the best possible quality – and even so, it’s just awful sound. Even my laptop speakers are better than that. But this has been true of every live music performance I’ve ever been to, so I knew what to expect.

The third thing that struck me was that the warm-up bands started and stopped like clockwork. No going a bit over time to play an extra song. While I can absolutely see the necessity of this from a time management point of view, they could have planned for it – tell the fans that the band would be playing from 17:30 till 18:00, but actually plan for them to end at 18:10 to make room for a “spontaneous extra number”.

The fourth thing off was the lack of anywhere to sit. Not even in the chill-out area could one find benches or concrete slabs or anything more comfortable to sit on than the wet trodden muddy grass or ground. Standing up for 7-8 hours is not my idea of a good time, and my back most certainly agreed with me.

The fifth thing was the poor handicapped people who were placed so far from the stage that it looked rather insulting.

The sixth thing was the food. Now, I am extremely picky, but even so, having a choice of burger, hotdog, or shawarma (I think it was), is far too limited. And then not have anywhere to sit down to enjoy whatever food you do get…

The seventh and biggest nag occurred when Metallica themselves started playing. The way I see it, whomever arranges and manages the tour grouping is a bunch of asshats.

Up to this point, we’ve been watching the stage and two medium sized screens, and it’s all felt a bit small. Then Metallica starts up and suddenly I realize that the entire stage is a screen or projection surface, and that the information monitors around the field are also capable of showing the band playing. And there’s lasers, ‘cause lasers.

So, why couldn’t the warm-up bands take advantage of all that? It was all set up and ready to be used, so why deny them the chance to spiff up their act a bit? Metallica without a doubt still gets the absolute best performance, simply due to the fact that they get to play after dark so all the fancy effects can be seen properly, and they have much more time. There would be no harm in letting Ghost, Gojira, Mastodon, and Slayer put on a bigger show. This could even play in Metallica’s favour, as they’d be seen as the benevolent overlords letting the smaller guys set up a bigger stage act than they otherwise would be able to afford on their own.

I do realize that simply being on tour with Metallica and drawing in crowds of 35000+ people is in itself an amazing opportunity for the warm-up bands, but right in the moment, my first thought when Metallica started playing was “wow, what a bunch of arrogant asses”.

Oh well, I can now say that Metallica’s music is not any better or worse when played live. They’re able to match the recordings rather perfectly, so I don’t see much point in having to uncomfortably stand in a crowd of 35000 people just to listen to half of their good songs.

But if they ever put on another S&M concert, I’ll definitely want to go to that.

2 Responses to “Concerning Concerts”

  1. on 07 Aug 2014 at 17:44:32 1.Brian said …

    Hi, I was reading your comments about concerts and I wondered how good your seats were at these concerts. I actually have a somewhat different view of live music in any venue, be it a hall playing classical music or rock concert, the energy of the performance and “liveness” of the music and performance really is neat. I really like live music or live events. But because it is about energy and that energy is coming from the stage (and the fans — it helps to be around enthusastic fans), I find the proximity of the seats to the stage to be almost proportional to the quality of the experience. Being able to see the faces and see cleartly the actions of the guys on stage really makes a difference. And the fans in these areas tend to be a little more enthusastic too. So before you write live music off, try buying some good seats like no more than 7 rows back and not too far off center. They’re typically pricey but you know the addage, you often get what you pay for.

  2. on 07 Aug 2014 at 18:50:15 2.Tino Didriksen said …

    From the post: “The fourth thing off was the lack of anywhere to sit.” So, our seats were non-existent. Nobody had seats.

    I could have shoved my way through the crowd to get up front, but even at mid-range there were people spilling beer on me or leaning against me or shoving me around or etc…which is not something that I enjoy. This kind of experience is just not for me.

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