I just did something I’ve only done once before. I stopped a concert before finishing it.
This is such a monumental feat for me, because I almost take it as a masochistic challenge when I find I’ve rented a really bad flick or show. It’s a contest between me and the flick – which one says uncle first?
I’m proud to say (in my own somewhat-skewed way) that I’ve outlasted many a stupid flick. I’ve yet to be able to outdo Lifetime movies… I’ll climb that mountain when I’m able. But back to my rant.
You see, I had just rented this concert DVD – Peter Gabriel’s Growing Up Live – from the local Hollywood Video. I was about to settle in for a nice two-hour concert, something I have done many times in the past. You see, I am a concert connoisseur of sorts. I’ve seen and heard many, many concert recordings in my time. It’s a passion with me; I am always fascinated at how a song metamorphoses from the calm, controlled studio environment of its youth to its adolescence and eventual adulthood on the battleground of the live stage.
Now I must admit I’m not at all familiar with Peter Gabriel’s work. I’ve heard snippets of his work on XM Radio, but it never grabbed my attention, so I would move on to find another channel or artist. This time I was bound and determined to give him a very generous shake at my attention and interest.
I lasted just over an hour. Between the bombastic, atonal ‘melodies’ of his writing, the surreal-just-for-its-own-sake photography and stage setting, or the positively bland, uninsightful lyrics, I felt not only bored, but somehow dimly insulted, as if Mr. Gabriel was trying to pull a fast one on the audience and thought he was the only one who knew.
As a concert connoisseur, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of seeing many artists from many fields and levels of popularity at work. It also makes me very sensitive to artistic bootlegging.
Now, I’m not referring to the unauthorized recordings of fame and infamy. I’m speaking of one artist mining others for ideas and then selling them as his own. I could not shake the impression that I was watching a bad knock-off of ZooTV (“The Barry Williams Show”) or PopMart (“Digging in the Dirt”).
In short: Don’t bother. Buy a U2 DVD and see the original. Then buy a Phil Collins DVD just to rub the salt in.