Thursday, August 21, 2008

Young Guns, Old Men, and You(tube)

Continuing the musical theme of this week...a big concert was just announced (okay, big for Buttkick) - Neil Young... with opening act Death Cab For Cutie (which is okay, but eastern Canada gets Wilco as the warmup...grrr!)

I was never a hardcore Young fan, and suppose I was more about electric Neil than acoustic Neil...but I do like and admire him, and really enjoyed some phases of his long and varied career. Like his mid-70's album run of Tonights The Night, Zuma, and On The Beach, which introduced me to the dark side of folk rock music. And then his 1980-ish run of Rust Never Sleeps, Reactor, and Live Rust, which made me start to think about issues and stuff yet still wanna bang my head at the same time.

He's an interesting cat...a musical artist who's managed to not only be a folk/hippie icon, but the Godfather of Grunge as well. There's a fantastic Charlie Rose interview with Young from last month...very insightful and it HERE.

Anyway, my point today is how the concert going experience has changed since the the internets became part of everyday life. Way back when, like when I saw Cheap Trick in '78, or The Stones in 81, or Bowie in '83, or Iggy Pop in '84, or Waits in '87, or Jackson Browne in '93...there was a giddy excitement that always accompanied the outing. No, it wasn't from inhaling something illegal (I know what you're thinking), but from... 1) actually 'seeing' the band perform, and... 2) having no idea what songs they were going to play. That was always an exciting and nerve wracking surprise.... either for better or for worse.

But now, with the internets and the YouTubes, surprise is pretty much taken out of the equation. When the Young concert was announced, I immediately checked online to see if he's presently on tour. He is, over in Europe. A search for current set lists revealed the lineup of songs he played two nights ago in Berlin, Germany. A good mix of tunes...mostly electric...very nice --- presumably that's what he'll play this fall. Then a quick peruse of Youtube revealed a video of nearly every song from said set list, professionally filmed at Rock in Rio in Madrid about a month ago.

I watched a few clips (I could've watched the whole concert if I wanted...which kinda diminishes the 'seeing' a band/artist thrill)...and concluded that even at the age of 62, Young still has a lot of the "Hey Hey My My" in today tickets were ordered (online) for the show when they went on sale.

Now, don't get me wrong...I'm looking forward to the concert (hell, Young's on Q Magazine's list of 50 Bands You Need To See Before You Die for crying out loud!). But the 'surprise' element won't really be a factor. I suppose I could exercise some discipline and not look up all this information we have at our internet fingertips...but like knowing your Xmas presents are hidden in your parents bedroom closet when you're a kid, it's really hard not to take a little peek.

And we all know when you do that, you still receive something at the end of the day...but you also kinda lose out on getting the most out of 'the experience'.

Oh well...Walk On.


Anonymous said...

I half-ass agree with you. I still enjoy going to shows more so for the demeanor of the character rather than worry about the songs they play. So knowing affects me little. Which is why I'd say there is something to expectation that creates excitement. Is Neil gonna do that thing he does when he plays that song, will he introduce it the same way etc. Also Neil has been around and I am sure knows how to put on a great show, I am also sure he knows that changes even little changes keep an audience at bay. It allows him to play with expectations. Youtube can only show you so much. amateurs capture only moments and professionals show you what they want you to see. In the end when you sit back and take it all in there will be highs there will be lows but I am sure you'll be happy at the end of the show, after all that's why you bought tickets.

On that note I'm only going if I win Tix not cause I'm cheap I'm just not that big of a fan but it should be a good show.

Ken said...

Count your lucky stars, amigo. The last time I saw Mr. Young live was about five years ago at the Coors Amphitheatre in San Diego. The man was magical, his voice as raw and pure as the driven snow. It was a beautiful thing that show, and I'd guess you're going to see more of the same. He hasn't disappointed me in the five concerts I've seen. It takes an iconoclast like him to keep the flame of "hard working musician" alive. I really don't think the venue matters with this guy. He just makes his particular kind of art work the scene he's in. You'll convert completely to him once you've seen the real thing.