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Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Wonderland Burlesque's Play It Live Quiz

Wonderland Burlesque's
Play It Live Quiz

There's nothing like participating in a live concert... the urgency and sincerity/integrity of the musicians, the energy created by being part of a crowd, the lights, the noise, the heat...

It's something I'd denied myself for years. Theatre has a way of eating up all your time and bandwidth.

Oh, I would attend something on occasion, but I would say it's only in the past ten years that I really got into going out. I had a list of legacy artists to see before I, or they, kicked off and, for once, a bit of spare change... so, for a period of about five years, I was attending something almost every other week - concerts, theatre, musicals, dance.

I was just in the process of resisting the allure of attending concerts when Covid-19 shut everything down. 

When we start up? I have a feeling I will opt out. I'm afraid of crowds now. 

1/ Your First? Your most recent?

First concert:
Michael Johnson (Bluer Than Blue) and England Dan & John Ford Coley at the MN State Fair - 1980, I think. Could be 1981. Tickets were cheap and seats were not assigned, so just sit anywhere on these wooden bleachers. 

It was a beautiful summer evening and both acts were excellent. 

Most recent: Joan Jett and Heart at the Excel Center, St. Paul, MN

Loved Joan Jett. Just aces. Heart? Well. They were fine... but after all these years of wanting to see them and then getting to see them? It was a bit of a let down. I mean... they did a Simon & Garfunkel cover. And I Heard It Through The Grapevine. I did not go there to hear either song. I wanted to hear Heart. 

2/ Who have you seen? Who's still on your bucket list? Wish list?

Here's a list of those I remember. I've seen a lot of local acts, too... coffee shops, bars, and the like, but have listed only nationally known acts. 

Classical music concerts and musicals, are not included on this list.

Still on bucket list:
 I would love to see Neil Finn / Crowded House. I would go see Blondie. The Weeknd has announced a tour... and I quite fancy him. 

My wish list: Scissor Sisters. Goldfrapp. I hope Kathleen Madigan tours again. Frank Ocean. Boy George. Todd Rundgren. Mary Black. RES. Muse. Macy Gray. 

3/ Merchandise? Concert Program?

A hard pass. I see it, but am never tempted. I don't need anymore tee shirts. I only like wearing white cotton ones. Those logos and stuff? They make me sweat. And concert programs? No. I'm not a collector anymore. I keep the ticket stubs. I think they're cool and enough of a souvenir. 

I realize that this is how some artists make bank. But when you're as accomplished as Madonna - you don't need another $75 of mine.

I have bought CDs from artists. Ones trying to make it. Sometimes I do it out of a sort of... here, wish you well. Or guilt. Or pity. The traveling ones? You want to make sure they get a nice place to stay and some food in their bellies. They live off those CD sales.

4/ Have you ever seen an artist more than once? The one who got away?

Oh, yes. 

Kathy Griffin, twice. Janis Ian, twice. Bobby Caldwell, twice. Post Modern Jukebox, twice. Kristine W, twice. 

Melissa Manchester, four times.

Lucy Wainwright Roche, seven times.

I missed out on seeing Deborah Cox. I will always regret not going. 

I wish I'd had the opportunity to see George Michael.

5/ Best, Oddest, Most Disappointing, Most Surprising, Worst?

Kathy Griffin, 2019, State Theatre, Minneapolis, MN. Explosive. Sold-out. She ruled the stage for three hours and everyone in the audience was absolutely pumped.  Also: Janis Ian, Stoughton Opera House, Stoughton, WI. Just her and her guitar and two hours of stories, songs and her voice... angelic and absolutely one of the most intimate, touching musical experiences in my lifetime. Also: Alison Moyet, The Fine Line, Minneapolis, MN. Powerful voice. Lovely presence. Great songs, great show. Also: Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Excel Center, St. Paul, MN. Blistering set. No filler. Straight ahead rock n' roll.

Oddest: Martha Davis and the Motels. The Dakota, Minneapolis, MN. The gig was announced like only a month before she was to appear, so ticket sales were less than hoped? We got an upgrade and got to sit closer. Martha appeared sans make-up with wet hair and was not happy. Everything sounded fine, but she would hand a song over to her twenty-something guitarist and go sit in a booth and drink red wine. It was weird. She was not feeling it.

Most Disappointing: Matt Alber. Love a few of his songs. He was fine, but then he tried to do this weird gospel take on a song and... ummm. Matt Alber? Gospel is not in your wheelhouse, dude. 

Most Surprising:
The Pointer Sisters. There were only two original members and a niece, if I remember correctly... or there might have only been one. But man, they brought it. It was so much fun to hear all those songs live and done so well. I was expecting them to sort of phone it in, but nope. We got a great night to remember. Everybody... everybody was dancing. 

Worst: Belinda Carlisle. I love her. And she is an American Sweetheart. Still is. Just a lovely spirit and soul. But... not... a... singer. Well, not live, not one that sings in the same key as the rest of the band or can find a note to save her soul. Still love her, though.

6/ Best Bargain? Most Expensive?

Best Bargain: Always Gay Pride concerts in Loring Park. Tickets are super cheap and it's a party. Missed going this year. Who they offer up is always a pleasant surprise. Plus, there's a beer tent and and a VIP tent and the artists stick around after the show. The warm up acts are always as good as the main show.

Most Expensive:
Madonna. And Lady Gaga. But I gotta/hadda. Cuz I'm gay. 

Madonna's MDNA tour was on a scale I had never experienced before. Exhilarating, for sure. But it was almost frightening and definitely overwhelming. 

I left feeling a little traumatized. 

7/ Favorite Venue? Least Favorite? Strangest Venue?

Favorite: Stoughton Opera House, Stoughton, WI. It's actually part of their city headquarters, but the opera house itself is a historic landmark. It has the loveliest acoustics. Seats? Not all that comfy, but talk about intimacy. Adore. 

Least: Target Center. It's too large. I felt like I was going to pitch forward in my seat and fall to my death. Also getting in and getting out? 

It's like herding cattle through the slaughter shoot. Pass.

I traveled to some small town in MN to see Lucy Wainwright Roche - who, apparently, will perform anywhere. It was in this artist collective in an old church. It was all store, but also had a stage set up where the altar must have been and rows of metal folding chairs. It was just Lucy with her guitar. And her dog. We sat in the front row and petted the dog throughout the performance. Lucy was in fine form and entertaining as always. Still... one of the oddest venues ever. Oh, I would do it again!

8/ Have you met an artist after the show?

I have. With mixed results. I'm not really one of those fans who has to get a piece of the artist to feel good. So, even though I have had the opportunity to meet Melissa Manchester - with whom I would love to have a luncheon date, I have declined to do so. It's always post concert and these folks work hard for their money, honey. 

I met Janis Ian. And was charmed. She is a lovely person and an American treasure. She just announced that she is retiring from live performances, which breaks my heart. 

I met Matt Alber at a party. He was dismissive and rude. So, now I don't like him as much. Still love some of his songs, though.

I met Kristine W. It was odd as hell. She was kind of out of it, or on automatic pilot. It wasn't great. And since then, I always think twice about meeting those I admire. 

I met Frenchie Davis! What a wonderful soul. An absolute sweetheart. I could not get over how generous with her time and gracious she was with her fans after the show. It had been a tough show (she was great, the venue - no - terribly unprofessional). But she was wonderful and could not have been nicer. 

9/ Live Albums? Favorites?

Okay, so some background. Live Albums have always been a part of a recording artist's career. They were cheap to put together and served as filler, filling the gap between new albums. It was win/win. Fans got something. Record companies and artists both made money off them. Sometimes the quality wasn't the best, but they have always served as a great time capture - succinctly defining an artists growth at that point in their career. 

On occasion, a live album has revived a career; Judy Garland's Judy At Carnegie Hall gave our mother diva a chapter two! (Or was it three?)

Peter Frampton's Frampton Comes Alive, briefly changed how these albums were viewed. It was such a runaway success and catapulted Frampton's career into hyperdrive, spanning single after single; essentially, making an artist who was a minor player into a superstar overnight. Suddenly, every artist in the world had a two disc live album out. It was almost comical. 

I used to like to buy them, because all (or most) of their hits were on there and, since it was highly unlikely that - in my teen years - I was going to get to see anyone live, this was the next best thing. Also, they used to offer them at a special price.

I still enjoy Frampton Comes Alive. My older brother played it non-stop for awhile. I have a warm feeling about it. 

I remember Paul McCartney and Wings came out with Wings Over America - a three record set. It was amazing. 

And another I loved was Alive! by Kiss. Never a fan of the band until I heard it. Something homemade, grungy and basic about it that I adore.

Bette Midler's The Rose Soundtrack is essentially a live album (lots of overdubbed crowd noise). It's great. Live is where Bette shines most. Skip Divine Madness (muted Bette) and find Live At Last. I adore it. I laughed so much.

10/ Had you purchased tickets for a show that was postponed due to Covid-19?

Don't laugh.

I have tickets to see Christopher Cross at a Casino. Yes... the king of yacht rock! 

My work wife got all excited that he was coming, so I bought us a pair of tickets. We were going to make a night of it, staying at the hotel and everything. But, then Covid-19. 

The show has been rescheduled twice. 

We're in the sixth row, and I still have the tickets. Part of me wants to bail, but part of me is waiting to see what happens. 

But after that? 

It will take a lot to get me to go out. Which is why I suspect I will not be going to see Christopher Cross, or much of anyone anymore. 

Funny. In the future? I will risk having one on one encounters with dudes, but the idea of being in a crowd? 

No thanks.

--- ---

Okay... your turn. You know what to do. 

Leave your answers in the comments section or post them on your blog and leave a link here. 

I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane.

Thanks for reading!

Symphony - Clean Bandit feat. Zara Larsson

I Love It Loud - Kiss


Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Ohh.. naked men and guitars is not a combo I'd think I'd enjoy this much.
And this one is a meaty one. Let's see: My first was Janet Jackson. TLC opened. My most recent was Robyn. I've seen so many! From Aretha Franklin to Muse to Shakira I've ran the gamut. In my bucket list? I wanna go see Billie Eillish eventually. Omar Apolo is also in my list. I have gotten some t-shirts and one or two concert programs. Madonna and Gaga.
I've seen Kathy Griffin three times and Margaret Cho twice. Madonna twice. They have also been some of the best experiences. Gaga and Madonna were superb. Most surprising? Chic opening for Cher. It was such a fantastic night.
Best bargain? Steve Grand during Market Days. Most expensive? Madonna and Gaga, of course. And COVID came right when I was thinking I was going to go see L.P. again. Darn.


Jimmy said...

Jeez, I'm going to sound boring...but her goes.
1. First concert was Ft. Lauderdale Symphony when I was in junior high school. The last concert was , The Gay Men's Chorus of South Florida.

2. The big names I've seen are Prince, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie.

3. no

4. I've seen Prince twice. Controversy and Purple Rain tours.

5. David Bowie. (BIG Yawn)

6. Fleetwood Mac.

7. Fav was University of North Carolina Arena

8. yes, I got Judy Collins autograph

9. pass......

10. no

I've seen many opera recitals and operas, but I don't think that was what you are going for.

Bob said...

1/ Your First? Your most recent?
The first was Rod Stewart and the most recent was Audra MacDonald. No, my tastes haven’t shifted that much, they are just varied beyond belief.
2/ Who have you seen? Who's still on your bucket list? Wish list?
I’ve seen Rod Stewart, Peter Frampton, the Grateful Dead, Loggins and Messina, Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles, The Police, Sting, Diana Ross, Willie Nelson, INXS, Billy Idol, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, Anita Baker, Cher, Patti LuPone Idina Menzel, Adele, Little Johnny Cougar, then John Cougar, then Jon Cougar Mellencamp and finally John Mellencamp; Audra MacDonald, Crowded House, The BoDeans, REM, U2, UB40, The Pretenders …. Bea Arthur—don’t knock Bea, she was fabulous! And I’ve seen many obscure acts …Michael Fracasso, John Gorka, John Hiatt, Johnny Clegg.
On the bucket list? I dunno; I’ve kinda given up on convert going so I can’t really think of any. Same goes for a wish list.
3/ Merchandise? Concert Program?

I always bought the t-shirts. I have an amazing collection of concert t’s,
4/ Have you ever seen an artist more than once? The one who got away?

A friend and I chased Sting up and down the West Coast years back, seeing him seven times in nine days. It was always a different show. Loved it.
I’ve seen The BoDeans nearly every time they performed in California and saw Diana Ross every time she came near.
5/ Best, Oddest, Most Disappointing, Most Surprising, Worst?
Diana Ross, the night she asked me to dance with her onstage at Caesar’s Tahoe.
I don’t now that I was ever disappointed because I love live music and really went to see only those performers I truly enjoyed.
Surprising? We saw Dolly Parton quite by accident when we got stuck in Tahoe in a snowstorm. We found a room and then wandered around the casinos. Dolly was performing at Harrah’s and because of the show there were a lot of open seats, so we bought tickets. I liked Dolly before that, but I loved her after,
I cannot think of a worst, for the same reasons why I was never disappointed.
6/ Best Bargain? Most Expensive?

I’m with you about Gay Pride concerts. Best bargain ever.
Well, all those Sting tickets cost a pretty penny,
7/ Favorite Venue? Least Favorite? Strangest Venue?
I always liked The Warfield and The Fillmore in San Francisco, the Oracle across The Bay. The Shoreline amphitheater. Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento. The Oakland Coliseum.
The Worst was Arco Arena in Sacramento; horrible acoustics and once, during a concert, it rained so hard the roof began to leak and from that day on it was dubbed Echo Marina.
8/ Have you met an artist after the show?
I haven’t. though Miss Ross did come over after her last bow to thank my friends and I for coming to her show.
9/ Live Albums? Favorites?
Sting, the BoDeans, Diana Ross, Patti LuPone, Idina Menzel, Adele …and on and on.
10/ Had you purchased tickets for a show that was postponed due to Covid-19?
I have not.
And, while I might snicker, I won’t laugh at Christopher Cross.

whkattk said...

1. My first: Neil Diamond. Pretty empty venue and he invited everyone to move down front. Fantastic concert. Most recent: Barbra
2. Babs, Bette Midler, Celine, Cher, Rod Stewart, Billy Joel, Melissa Manchester, Elton, Lady Gaga, Pink, Adam Lambert, Kathy Griffin, Miami Sound Machine. Still on the list: Adele, Queen.
3. Mech: Cher (t-shirt) and Babs t-shirt and program
4. Babs...4 times, Cher, twice. Bette, twice. Kathy Griffin, three times. Who got away: Queen.
5. Best: Babs. Disappointing: Celine (but we didn't have high expectations anyway), Surprising: Rod Stewart. Worst: Celine.
6. Best Bargain: Pink - $12; Adam Lambert - $15. Hah! Yep, before they really hit it big. Most expensive: Babs - $1,000 and worth every penny, the last time was a comped Box Suite (saweet!).
7. Favorite: Desert Inn, Least: Colliseum (Caesars Palace); Strangest: The Beach (Mandalay Bay)
8. Nope.
9. Meh...
10. Nope. Stopped because prices got out-fucking-rageous.

SickoRicko said...

Can't say that I've ever been to a naked concert.

Xersex said...

Those naked players are so sexY! I'm going to steal some pics from this post!

anne marie in philly said...

1 - john denver, the bacon brothers (kevin & michael)

2 - OMG, so damn many...roy orbison, ray charles, the judds farewell tour, reba mcentire, mary chapin carpenter, neil sedaka, the 5th dimension, paul williams, martina mcbride, the mavericks, willie nelson, andre rieu, leon redbone, michael nesmith, junior brown...would like to see itzhak perlman

3 - purchased music CDs

4 - mary chapin carpenter, the monkees

5 - I've loved them all; I'm pretty damn selective when it comes to shows

6 - bargain concerts were at the smaller venues, like the birchmere in alexandria VA. most expensive were the concerts at wolf trap in vienna VA.

7 - wolf trap; not a bad seat in the house.

8 - junior brown and the mavericks

9 - don't have any live albums

10 - nope, cause everybody stopped touring