Friday, July 28, 2017

Hodgepodge 272/365 - Concert (Colin Hay)

Last night we went to hear Colin Hay perform at our local historic theater in downtown Monterey, the Golden State. It was a pretty full house, and the energy was good.

Unfortunately, where we sat—in row E—the acoustics seemed a bit muddy, so I never caught the names of the Cuban singer and band that played with him. I'd like to remedy that, because they were awfully good: young, talented, and happy energy that was a treat to experience. The band comprised a guitar player (in addition to Colin), a bass player, a percussionist, a drummer, and a horn player (sax, flute, also a little keyboard).

But let me get my griping out of the way before I return to a few of the highlights of the evening. I had already had a day full of petty irritations, and when I entered the theater I was hoping to leave annoyance behind and just sit and enjoy. But nooooooo.

First, halfway through the warm-up set (the band fronted by the Cuban singer), a crowd of about ten people arrived and took up seats in the two rows in front of us. Now, being late isn't a crime; but what was annoying was that the apparent ringleader of this group spent the next ten minutes bopping up and down, checking in with her crew, making sure they were happily seated. And then she proceeded to pull out her phone, call up an apparently very important photo, and show it around to all her friends. This was right in front of us. It made it difficult, to say the least, to pay attention to the music.

Lesson 1: If you're late, enter as quietly and unobtrusively as possible, and then just sit down.

The next complaint centers on the woman in front of us also, and that wretched phone: she kept videoing (which may or may not have been prohibited, but since she wasn't there for the opening greeting, she wouldn't know, would she?). Pretty much every song, she'd hold the phone up, keep tapping it for focus. Not for the whole song, thank goodness, but for enough of it. My thoughts: (1) Why don't you be here now and just watch the show? Who, exactly is going to benefit from this low-quality video you're making? And (2) Get that bright screen out of my line of vision!

Lesson 2 (a): You're not in this world alone! Show some consideration! Notice that you are, in fact, surrounded by other people who may not appreciate your personal "needs."

Lesson 2 (b, self-directed): Sometimes, you just have to shake things off, let them go. Alternatively, you could raise a fuss. Fortunately, except during one song, I was able to direct my attention where it needed to go (the stage) and I didn't feel a need to lecture this inconsiderate woman. During that one song, though, I was on the verge. Believe me.

The final gripe concerns the concert itself. The Cuban singer had a lovely voice, and that's what she contributed: her lovely voice, plus a little maraca action. But apparently she felt she needed to perform. And so while Colin and the band blasted out fabulous music in their understated playing-an-instrument sort of way, she . . . danced! she swam around the stage! she performed a whole little pas-de-deux with a big red fan! she did the cancan! she jumped and cavorted and waved her arms, up and down and all around! she twirled, her long hair spinning! a couple of times she mimed a trucker downshifting. Did I mention the kangaroo hops? At one point, she was behind Colin as he was ending a song, holding on to his shoulders jumping up and down, and then she swatted him on the butt!

I cannot begin to explain how annoyingly distracting all that was. I was glad to have the silver-headed Asian man sitting in front of me to split the stage between left (bass player and guitarist) and right (the fandango), with Colin shifting back and forth depending on my head placement.

Sometimes I even watched the videographer's phone tapping by way of relief.

Lesson 3: I'm not sure what lesson 3 is. It's hard to accept something that just drives you batty. Unless, that is, it's something you've been living with for going on 40 years. (I am talking marriage here.) Then not only do you have no choice, but you're pretty happy to just go with it.

Okay, those were my gripes. As for the show, it was really good. I only became aware of Colin Hay a few years ago, in particular his album Going Somewhere. I am especially delighted (see big goofy grin on my face) by his song "It's a Beautiful World," for some reason. I mean, it's a silly song. And also serious. Mostly, it makes me so happy!

Sadly, he did not perform that song last night. But he did perform "Waiting for My Real Life to Begin," which is my second favorite song. And he did it part solo, part with the band, which really worked.

And probably the best song was—of course (poor Colin Hay: he'll never escape this one, written in 1979 and performed with his band Men at Work)—"Down Under." Each musician had a fabulous solo, and the entire stage was lit by smiles. Here's the original official video, very unlike what we experienced last night, but so it goes! Expectations are not always met.

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