Monday, September 04, 2006

(Taking Back) Sunday at the Fair

Yesterday I spent the day at the New York state fair (my first fair). I don't want to spend this precious time that I should be using to do homework to talk about the animals, the fried food, or even Hip Hop Harry,* but instead to focus on the two concerts, Foreigner and Taking Back Sunday with Honorary Title and Circa Survive.

These seemingly very different shows, one a rock band from the late '70s and early '80s appealing to a larger crowd and the other emo bands appealing to high school girls, have more in common than you might think. The musicians knew their target audience .and played to them, performing the songs that people wanted to hear.

Foreigner gave a free concert and the audience varied from families with young children to collge students to grandparents. This meant that not everybody was a hard core Foreigner fan, but the band put on a show that would appeal to everyone. Even the most casual rock fans in the audience probably recognized at least one of their standards--"Cold as Ice," "Hot Blooded," or "Double Vision," they played them all.

To me, all the songs that Taking Back Sunday performed sounded exactly the same, but most of the high schoolers in the audience could easily distinguish between songs, cheering and squeling when their favorites were played. I don't personally understand why anybody listens to this type of music, but it was a good concert for what it was.

This leads me to a broader point which I've been thinking about since these two shows. If a good concert is putting on an entertaining show that people enjoy, both these concerts accomplished that. So when you review a concert, should you be reviewing the show or the music itself? I guess you should do both, but how do you remove yourself from the equation and do you have to? I may not think Taking Back Sunday is good music, but other people do. These are just some questions I've been thinking about and I don't have all the answers yet, but hopefully that's what I'll be learning this year.

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