Friday, September 3, 2010

Worst Shows Ever #8

As a music lover, I've been to A LOT of shows - huge sold out stadium shows, tiny bar shows with a handful of people, awesome shows that lived up to and exceeded all expectations and shows that were great but for a reason I never could have anticipated.  But this isn't about those shows...this is about the AWFUL shows.  The shows that make you feel like you wasted your time and money...the ones that leave a pit in your stomach and may even make you dislike a band that you used to love.  Sometimes its the band, sometimes other factors but no matter what the cause these shows were terrible.  These are my top 10 horrible shows.*

8. The Black Crowes - Val-Air Ballroom, Des Moines 2006

I've seen The Black Crowes many times at all stages of their career.  Opening for Heart in 1990/91 when they were still relatively unknown - had to tell many people at that concert who this band in crushed velvet suits was.  On their Amorica and Three Snakes tours where they completely rocked, but you could see pot starting to be more and more important to Chris.  Several shows in the late 90's and mid-2000's where they became more and more of a jam band.


However, I think the show in May 2006 ruined them for me for all time.  Admittedly this concert already had one strike against it before it even started because when I bought tickets, I was hoping a certain girl would join me for the show.  That didn't happen, so I went to the show with somewhat of a heavy heart.  I was really looking forward to great show to pick me up out of the doldurms, that didn't happen either.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this show.  The Black Crowes didn't have a new album out, so I wasn't sure what they were promoting.  Chris and Rich had done a small tour earlier this year called the Birds of a Feather Tour where they played almost entirely acoustic sets.  I was torn.  I had seen the Crowes do a few acoustic songs here and there (like She Talks to Angels) but would love to hear the other songs performed in a different manner, but I also really felt the need for a high energy rock fest to release some of the emotions and tension I was feeling.  I guess I would have been happy with either.  I did not end up being happy with the show.

I'll be the first to admit that I am not the hugest Black Crowes fan in the world.  I really like their first three albums but then I think they started to wander quite a bit and their music didn't appeal to me as much once did.  Much of it was still decent but as it grew more meandering instead of a nice tight rock song, I lost interest.  Nothing really stood out and caught my ear.  A concert, however, usually features a good mix of new and old music and can help me appreciate music that I might not otherwise have picked up on.

Where forth art thou, good music?  Not live.
I don't remember who opened, it was nothing special and very forgettable.  It did not really help my mood, I was feeling very blah.  After a long wait.  Much longer than the usually 30-45 minutes, probably closer to an hour and 45 minutes, The Black Crowes come out.  The sounded OK, not great.  The vocals sound a little muffled but nothing terrible...I've heard worse, I've heard better.  The sound engineer continued to play with the levels and stuff and by the end of the second song it all sounded good.  Well, good for what it was - the first three or four songs, I didn't recognize at all.  Then a new song that I hadn't heard - Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution.  It was decent and somewhat catchy so I thought the concert was taking a turn for the better.  It was short lived, the next song they were back to stuff that I hadn't heard or was unrecognizable...but that wasn't even the worst bit.  They then started, to jam.  I don't mind a improvisation when a band plays live but I hate when then get into jam band mode and each song drags into 20 minute diatribe of musical diarrhea.  Just because you can twist the musical interlude in a song into a long improv session and bring it back 15 minutes later doesn't mean you should. Maybe I have ADD or ADHD, but after seven minutes I get bored and my mind starts wandering away from whatever you are playing.  It is watering down music.  It sucks.

The show went on like this for another song and then Chris got pissed and walked off stage.  I am not sure what happened.  You could hear the vocals crackle a little but nothing too terrible...I mean they he was singing crappy songs anyway so it didn't really bother me.  The Crowes come back on after 25 minutes and sing another song...again crappy jam song.  Chris looks more than obviously high.  Then Chris spends about 20 minutes saying thing like "Fuck this shitty venue.  This place has shitty equipment."  It sounded very petty.  Finally, the Crowes play Jealous Again which makes me happy and I am hoping for some Twice as Hard, Remedy, She Talks to Angels, Thorn in my Pride, etc...anything any more hits.  It was not to be, the Crowes left the stage and came back to play Good Friday as their encore.  A decent song but not what I would have ended with.  90 minutes and a single song that I consider a hit.  It was a very disappointing night...and of course since it was the Black Crowes, I smelled horribly of pot when I left.  I hate that.  I really have no desire to see the Black Crowes again.  I was bored!  Thanks to their jam band ways, lack of playing hits, and Chris' whining at this show, I haven't been able to bring myself to buy tickets to any of their last 3 shows in Des Moines.  Even thinking about putting one the CDs in my player gives me a little pit in my stomach after this show.

*These are off the top of my head, I am sure that I could go through my stubs and find more.  I don't think I left out any major suck-fests though.

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