Our biggest hits!

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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby DRUGS SNAKE » 08 Jun 2018, 16:11

Goat Boy wrote:I've seen Sparks twice recently. It helps that their last album was actually really good but they played a mix of old and new that worked. Even if the new stuff isn't great I can tolerate it to a degree if I know the good stuff is coming. Sparks ALWAYS play This Town.... and rightly so. It's like a celebration and they are quite humble about it.


Funnily enough I was thinking about them and this specific song recently.

With its wild vocal lunges and leaps, it's a song that you really can't deliver half-heartedly (unlike, say, 'Heart of Gold'). But Russell Mael throws himself into it time and time again and appears to enjoy it (I'm saying this based on my one Sparks' concert experience last year as well as reports from friends, and youtube clips). And the crowd go fucking nuts. I suppose the expectation of this kind of reception spurs you into giving your all.

What keeps it fresh for them? It intrigues me. Maybe it's less about that, and more about doing a job.

What day-to-day experience do we have that is analogous? Shagging our partners? Greeting work colleagues? I don't know.
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Bent Fabric » 08 Jun 2018, 16:15

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:So why does a guy like that choose to make his tour a slough? Maybe it isn’t for him. Maybe he likes it that way. I’d be bored to tears.


For me, Simon is an especially easy person onto whom to project perceived motives. This seems like a control thing - the dependability, the clockwork, the sense of a well curated representation/narrative of a career in which the proper things are emphasized and others are diminished.

But...yeah - hardly necessary. These guys all have the best musical and technical help money can buy, there are teleprompters hidden everywhere...surely if Brian Wilson's 500 piece band can regularly throw in a new song mid tour, Simon can sing something that he didn't sing last night.

In writing my initial post, I went back and looked at the Rolling Stones (all hovering around their mid 70s) setlists for their current outing. And...actually, a lot of wiggle room! The openers, closers and encores seem to rotate, the deep cuts seem to rotate, the Keith spot seems to rotate. Even with a healthy reverence towards their most iconic classics, they seem to wield maximum flexibility within those parameters. I'm into it.

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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Goat Boy » 08 Jun 2018, 16:20

The Venerable B. Eef wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:I've seen Sparks twice recently. It helps that their last album was actually really good but they played a mix of old and new that worked. Even if the new stuff isn't great I can tolerate it to a degree if I know the good stuff is coming. Sparks ALWAYS play This Town.... and rightly so. It's like a celebration and they are quite humble about it.


Funnily enough I was thinking about them and this specific song recently.

With its wild vocal lunges and leaps, it's a song that you really can't deliver half-heartedly (unlike, say, 'Heart of Gold'). But Russell Mael throws himself into it time and time again and appears to enjoy it (I'm saying this based on my one Sparks' concert experience last year as well as reports from friends, and youtube clips). And the crowd go fucking nuts. I suppose the expectation of this kind of reception spurs you into giving your all.

What keeps it fresh for them? It intrigues me. Maybe it's less about that, and more about doing a job.

What day-to-day experience do we have that is analogous? Shagging our partners? Greeting work colleagues? I don't know.


I think for Sparks that was the moment when they were POP STARS. They are anglophiles after all too. Who wouldn't want to revisit that moment? It was like the fulfillment of a dream I guess.

But yeah, it's a JOB. People like us romanticise it so much but, like any profession if you're in it, it's mostly work with a few moments of otherness. With Sparks there's a real humbleness there that is moving. They are grateful for This Town.... and I love that.

The crowd always go nuts and rightly so.
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby DRUGS SNAKE » 08 Jun 2018, 16:31

Yeah - there was a lot of 'thank you SO MUCH' when I saw them. Very polite, humble, turning to address the whole crowd.
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Bent Fabric » 08 Jun 2018, 16:37

The Venerable B. Eef wrote:Yeah - there was a lot of 'thank you SO MUCH' when I saw them. Very polite, humble, turning to address the whole crowd.


I hear stories about "an older fella" (he'll be 70 later this summer) some of my friends play with who just sits in the front seat on these long car rides between clubs, tour after tour, super happy, contented, smiling like "Isn't this fucking great?"....no sense of being trapped in the repetition of a career that didn't quite go where it could have, but more...a joyous sense of "Man, I wanted to play music, and LOOK AT ME!"

This gets into areas that are analogous with all of our individual lives...maybe some hope that we can all die (and LIVE) happy. You can't very well will that type of ongoing gratitude into existence, but...it's certainly something I envy.

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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Toby » 08 Jun 2018, 17:05

Bent Fabric wrote:
Toby wrote:
The Venerable B. Eef wrote:I admire those artists who have played their biggest hits hundreds if not thousands of times, and yet continue to perform them with enthusiasm and (and this is just as important) without fucking about too much with the basic melody.

But fuck - it HAS to be hard.


Kraftwerk. Pretty much in the same order give or take a few changes, since 1981.


How "into it" do you reckon them to be (and I know their whole format/premise is obviously a great deal different from, say, Bruce Springsteen)?


It's all part of what they are about. I wonder whether the other musicians are as into it as Ralf, but then they are "workers" and Ralf is the head honcho.

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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby sloopjohnc » 08 Jun 2018, 17:19

On PBS last night, I watched the Stones play Sticky Fingers. While some of those songs might have been fun to revisit, how fucking sick must Jagger be to sing Brown Sugar? I bet he counts his mansions while he sings the verses. These guys go a year or so without playing these songs, so maybe not.

At some time, maybe some kind of fond reminiscence kicks in during the song, but even as a low level artist myself, it's all about creating something new. I would think it would be kind of frustrating to have people not recognize your current works and know that your best creative ideas are behind you.

I can't play hoops on the level that I once did, and neither can my friends - it is extremely hard to step onto a basketball court and not physically do things I used to be able to do with ease. I love the sport, but I feel betrayed in a small way by time and my own naivete that it would last forever.
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Charlie O. » 08 Jun 2018, 18:39

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:I always scratch my head when I see the set lists of major artists on tour - and the set hardly varies from night to night. Surely that has to contribute to the fact that these songs go stale.

My wife went to see Paul Simon a few weeks ago. After the show she wanted to talk about it, so we pulled up the set list online. It was listed with more than a year’s worth of set lists - and it was pretty clear that he was only changing up 10 to 20% of the set at all over that time. Closer to 10% from night to night. So if you go to see Simon on this tour, you can be assured of hearing” Homeward Bound” and “The Obvious Child” - but there’s almost no chance of hearing “Peace Like a River” or “Kathy’s Song.”

The guy has an immense song catalogue, and enough “hits” that he can even switch those up. He doesn’t HAVE TO play any specific song every night (as opposed to artists with THAT ONE SONG).

So why does a guy like that choose to make his tour a slough? Maybe it isn’t for him. Maybe he likes it that way. I’d be bored to tears.

I think Bent's point about control and security is probably right on. But Simon also has a large band (at least he did when I saw him), and the arrangements are tight. In those situations you probably can't expect the band to learn the catalog too deeply. Of course, Paul could always change up his solo numbers. But I get the impression he's more into playing with the band anyway.
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 08 Jun 2018, 19:34

It really depends on how much you want to invest in having them learn the catalogue deeply, doesn’t it.

Not knocking Simon. He clearly likes it this way, and I’ve heard it was a good show. I’d hate a tour like that.
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 08 Jun 2018, 19:37

I’ll add that back when I was playing a lot, I got to open for a lot of interesting acts on tour. Some of them seemed to care about keeping it fresh. Some went on auto-pilot. Two of them (Michelle Shocked and Donovan) did the exact same show night after night...down to every word of their between song patter. You could set a watch to them.
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby pcqgod » 08 Jun 2018, 19:54

I'm fine with a show that's mainly the big hits, even prefer that these days 'cause a lot of the shows I see these days are the older guys who might not be around much longer. It can feel too much like a cover band show if there aren't at least a couple of token new songs in the set, even if I would probably be just politely bobbing my head a little during them. Iron Maiden is probably the oldest band I've seen recently that still featured a lot of new material in their set, but I was longing for the classic stuff during the more plodding numbers.
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Bent Fabric » 08 Jun 2018, 19:57

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:I’ll add that back when I was playing a lot, I got to open for a lot of interesting acts on tour. Some of them seemed to care about keeping it fresh. Some went on auto-pilot. Two of them (Michelle Shocked and Donovan) did the exact same show night after night...down to every word of their between song patter. You could set a watch to them.


This is a funny thing to me - I mean, even if I only knew that my crew, bandmates, support act were going to be aware of my reciting a rote routine of between song banter, jokes and anecdotes, it would mortify me into not repeating that patter even once. I did a series of regional dates with my old band about four years ago, and I had some awareness of people (friends) who were seeing us more than once, and was determined to give them something they hadn't gotten on the previous occasion. Maybe it's not "the done thing", and it may speak to a certain idealism that I can afford as an unknown act, but...you know?

I'm sure I'll keep going to see Paul McCartney until he stops performing, but...Jesus fucking Christ - some of those anecdotes...by the 500th onstage telling, even his biggest fan in the world must be like "Fuck - THIS is why people call you a lightweight!"

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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Charlie O. » 08 Jun 2018, 20:36

I totally get what you're saying, and I'd probably be the same as you, but... on the other hand, it's all performance, right? The typical comedian says essentially the same stuff every night, and they might play around with the phrasing and timing, but... if they notice that a particular joke consistently gets a laugh when they do it this way as opposed to that way, then they're probably gonna be more likely to do it this way from now on. Pretty much the same principle, no?
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 08 Jun 2018, 20:42

Bent Fabric wrote:
Davey the Fat Boy wrote:I’ll add that back when I was playing a lot, I got to open for a lot of interesting acts on tour. Some of them seemed to care about keeping it fresh. Some went on auto-pilot. Two of them (Michelle Shocked and Donovan) did the exact same show night after night...down to every word of their between song patter. You could set a watch to them.


This is a funny thing to me - I mean, even if I only knew that my crew, bandmates, support act were going to be aware of my reciting a rote routine of between song banter, jokes and anecdotes, it would mortify me into not repeating that patter even once. I did a series of regional dates with my old band about four years ago, and I had some awareness of people (friends) who were seeing us more than once, and was determined to give them something they hadn't gotten on the previous occasion. Maybe it's not "the done thing", and it may speak to a certain idealism that I can afford as an unknown act, but...you know?
"


I DO know. I was strangely hung up on this exact thing when I was playing. So much so, that I used to feel like I needed to have a new song for every show.

I played a lot in those days. So it pushed me to write something new every week. I would even find myself panicked in the car on the way to a gig, scrambling for a last minute idea that I would then improvise live on stage. There were a lot of songs like that...gone as quickly as they came, because I’d promptly forget them after the show.

I’m sure some of them were weak as hell, but people still bring up a bunch of them and assure me that they were good. So who knows?

Let’s see Paul Simon try that!
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 08 Jun 2018, 20:46

Charlie O. wrote:I totally get what you're saying, and I'd probably be the same as you, but... on the other hand, it's all performance, right? The typical comedian says essentially the same stuff every night, and they might play around with the phrasing and timing, but... if they notice that a particular joke consistently gets a laugh when they do it this way as opposed to that way, then they're probably gonna be more likely to do it this way from now on. Pretty much the same principle, no?


Yeah. Like a Broadway show.

Probably the sane way to do things, but pop musicians have all this pretense about being in and of the moment. It’s a tough thing to admit that the whole thing is an “act”.

Is any other art form bound to the same ideas around being spontaneous and “real”?
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 08 Jun 2018, 20:50

The Venerable B. Eef wrote:
What day-to-day experience do we have that is analogous? Shagging our partners? Greeting work colleagues? I don't know.


This is an interesting question. I have to make dinner a lot more often than Mick Jagger has to sing “Satisfaction.” I still enjoy it most of the time.
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby DRUGS SNAKE » 08 Jun 2018, 20:58

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:
Charlie O. wrote:I totally get what you're saying, and I'd probably be the same as you, but... on the other hand, it's all performance, right? The typical comedian says essentially the same stuff every night, and they might play around with the phrasing and timing, but... if they notice that a particular joke consistently gets a laugh when they do it this way as opposed to that way, then they're probably gonna be more likely to do it this way from now on. Pretty much the same principle, no?


Yeah. Like a Broadway show.

Probably the sane way to do things, but pop musicians have all this pretense about being in and of the moment. It’s a tough thing to admit that the whole thing is an “act”.

Is any other art form bound to the same ideas around being spontaneous and “real”?


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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby DRUGS SNAKE » 08 Jun 2018, 20:59

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:
The Venerable B. Eef wrote:
What day-to-day experience do we have that is analogous? Shagging our partners? Greeting work colleagues? I don't know.


This is an interesting question. I have to make dinner a lot more often than Mick Jagger has to sing “Satisfaction.” I still enjoy it most of the time.


Making dinner is satisfaction ( :) ) for yourself. He has to satisfy an audience. Huge difference.
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 08 Jun 2018, 21:09

My wife is a cruel judge.
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby DRUGS SNAKE » 08 Jun 2018, 21:25

:)
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