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Monday, February 22, 2010

When the Song Doesn't Remain the Same

Hard Rock Life single images
On Saturday night, a friend and I went to see a band I've haven't see play live in 17 years or so. From the moment we walked in the door of the venue, everything felt out of sorts.

For starters, ticket prices were double what the newspaper said. Then, all of the tables with chairs were full, so we found a stand up table along the back wall -- which wasn't a bad thing given that my ears don't enjoy loud music like they used to -- and we parked ourselves there.

When it came time for the band to take the stage, another band came on instead. Turns out, the newspaper didn't mention the opening act, nor did the venue's website. The nameless opening band was loud and not good. Which, of course, means they played for a solid hour. Toward the end of their set, the singer announced they had a couple of more songs for us. They actually played five more.

Finally, when they walked off the stage, my friend and I talked about which song the band we wanted to see would open their first set with. Turns out, they opened with a song neither of us knew, and it wasn't good. The bass was about 10 times louder then it should have been and I'm no exaggerating. Then they played a song we both knew and it sounded mediocre at best.

The singer's voice wasn't as crisp and powerful as it used to be. The lead guitar sounded muddy. The bass guitar shook the entire neighborhood. And I didn't even notice the drums.

A couple of songs into the set, the singer brings a couple of people up on stage to announce that it's their birthday. And it goes on forever. They play another song or two and the singer brings a mother and her adult daughter up on stage. Apparently it was their birthday too. I won't even get into the bizzaro world stuff that ensued. 

By this point, I told my friend I already getting close to seeing enough. He was hoping to hear one particular song from the band -- their signature song. So, we stuck it out for a little while longer.

They played one of their popular songs, but they did it reggae style. Nothing against reggae, but this song wasn't recorded in that style and they never used to play it that way and, it sounded weird. And not good. Then they played another one of their popular songs, but this one was Metallica-ized so it no longer sounded like the song I knew and loved.

The band took a break after eight songs. We talked about leaving. I'd seen enough. But we stayed for the beginning of the second set. More bizarreness. Part way into it, we walked out. The thing is, this isn't 1993. I'm not the same person. They aren't the same band. And sometimes, it's best to just walk away.


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