Tag Archives: paul mccartney

Opinion: Does age matter?

There comes a certain point in life where retirement is inevitable.  Most civilians have to wait until their 60’s before they can even think about retiring from work.  Conversely, most major sport athletes are not expected to continue working past their 30’s or 40’s.  If only some well-established musicians decided to retire from music, fans would not have to turn away due to “washed-up” artists.

Of course, there are exceptions as with any other theory ever logically constructed. For instance, Paul McCartney will be 72 years young this June.  While he may be far past his “prime,” he continues to properly perform to his celebrity level standards, not to mention he put out a solid set of new material in the form of New in 2013.  With that said, his type of music does not require much movement to maintain an enjoyable concert atmosphere.  Sir Paul has also perfected his brand of stage presence without exerting too much energy on stage.  Considering his age, that is a key skill to possess.  No fan wants to see their favorite music idol drop dead on stage from a heart attack.

Continuing with that last point, it is only a matter of time before Ozzy Osbourne and the rest of the Sabbath gents permanently retire, willingly or not.  Ozzy aimlessly bounces around on stage, missing vocal notes and keys in almost every line while performing live.  The Prince of Darkness is not what he used to be, considering how much toxicity he has ingested over the years.  As for the others, Tony Iommi is currently fighting cancer. Geezer Butler seems to be healthy, at least in comparison to his band mates.  In terms of age, all three are in their 60’s and not getting any younger.  It is actually surprising how excellent 13 turned out.  That would be a phenomenal departure release once they complete this grueling world tour.

To clarify, I love Black Sabbath, but they are not honoring their legacy if they keep going until fate takes them.

Another example is The Rolling Stones.  Although they have not been in the limelight recently, that Super Bowl performance several years ago should never have happened. Old Mick Jagger prancing around in tights is a disturbing image burned into millions of viewers’ eyes for eternity.

While “washed-up” musicians may be ruining their respective legacies by continuing until they physically cannot, we should respect their wishes, as fans.  They won’t be around forever and if they don’t keep doing what they love, how will they keep busy? What would keep them wanting to live if not their lifelong passion?


Don’t Just Play. Perform!

From the fifty-plus concerts I have attended thus far in my life, I have formulated some strong opinions regarding live performances.  Take note that I am, by no means, offering disrespect toward any of the acts I mention in this article.  I am simply stating my personal opinions and views.  With that said, let’s get to it.

First off, when I experience a live concert, I expect a performance, not just a live run-through of the music.  Let me explain.  A lot of bands these days, especially those in the heavy metal genre, seem to think the fans only want to hear the music in a live setting.  Wrong!  Well, at least for myself, that is not a correct theory.

For an act to “wow” me and convince me that they offer great performances, they need to meet several characteristics during their show:

1. Crowd Interaction.

This is easily the most important characteristic in my eyes.  I like to experience the music played to me, not at me.  If it’s a band performing, any and all of the members can take part, even if they lack a microphone.  For instance, 10 Years’ drummer played catch with the audience with his drumsticks.  When a fan threw one back too short, the bassist caught it and used it like a violin on his bass guitar.  Bruce Springsteen brings fans on stage to dance, takes song requests, and holds his microphone to fans in the pit to sing along.  Mitch Lucker of Suicide Silence brought his fans into the performance by dividing the crowd to make more noise along with other little gimmicks like that.  Although it’s a bit cliché, it is still better than playing at the crowd.

2. Stage Presence & Energy.

This part can be paired with crowd interaction.  It can also create exceptions for the first aspect.  For instance, if an act appears to be having fun with their performance, they may not have to engage in the audience as much as other acts.  They should still do it, though.  One example for this piece is Incubus.  When I witnessed their live show, frontman Brandon Boyd did not share many words with the crowd.  However, the band was clearly having fun playing to a packed ampi-theater audience with a well-chosen set list.  Still, Boyd engaged with the crowd by holding out his microphone during the chorus of “Wish You Were Here” for the fans to sing along, and boy, they sang!

3. Overall Sound.

The music has to sound good.  I remember when I saw Slayer at Mayhem Fest ’09, something was off.  Their microphones or speakers kept fading out, which definitely tainted their overall performance.

4. Time.

This one is pretty self-explanatory.  If you are one of the main acts in the show and a lot of people are mainly there to see you, do not just play a forty-minute set, especially if you are in the direct support slot.  Black Stone Cherry, I am talking to you.  If you are the second-to-last band of the night, I want to hear at least one hour out of you.  You guys have enough material to do that.

Anyway, that is my spiel.  I love concerts and seeing all different kinds of performances.  I am used to attending metal shows, but a lot of those shows are more or less the same experience.  Therefore, seeing acts like Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Childish Gambino, etc. is refreshing.

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