Feb 162007

When the whole discussion about The Rolling Stones’lackluster performance in “Rock & Roll Circus” came up on RTH recently, it got me to thinking, Are The Stones ever good live? I’ve seen firsthand the “mach schau” they put on in concert (September 1981 at Philly’s old JFK stadium). No frontman before or since one moved like the nancy-pants Mick Jagger did. No one looked less pleased to be playing live than Bill Wyman. No one looked smaller on the big stage than Charlie Watts did at that show. Only Ron Woodand Keith Richards seemed up to the task of rocking the 100,000 or so fans in attendance. The only thing that saved me from completely hating the show was getting high for the second time in my life (the first time being the night before on my 18th birthday).

So they may be over-the-top live – too much so for my taste – but some fans counter that they are a “great live band” in a musical sense. The People must be right? They have released at least 8 live albums so the thinking could go, They must be doing something good live. But do people actually like these albums? I had Got Live if You Want It and Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out and I could never get into them. You know what always bummed me out? All the songs were sluggish! It’s like Charlie Watts thought he could get some extra oomph in the songs by playing them 15% slower. No thank you! I want to see some ENERGY live. I want to hear some ENERGY live.

Jagger’s vocals also bum me out. I know it is hard to sing when you are shaking your butt like Charo and skipping across the stage but some of fans actually want to hear the melodies and hear the tone of the singer’s voice they’ve grown accustomed to hearing on record.

Am I alone in this half-assed rant? Anyone care to back me up? What does RTH think?

Jan 312007

Is there any city as cool as Chicago that has produced a legacy of such insignificant rock bands? I’m not talking about Chicago’s excellent R&B and Blues scenes, but rather the Windy City’s white-boy rock lineage.

Starting with the 1960’s, the Second City gave us such musical luminaries as The Shadows of Night, The Buckinghams (kind of a drag, indeed!), The Cryin’ Shames, New Colony Six, The Ides of March, and of course, Chicago. With the exception of Chicago (the band), the compete sum of the above mentioned bands’ hits could barely fill a Greatest Hits CD (believe me, I know my GH collections).

The 1970s gave us, if we consider the broad Chicago region, Styx, Cheap Trick, Shoes, Survivor, and that’s probably – thankfully – it. With the exception of the number of strings that a bass guitar can hold, none of these bands is going down in history as having changed anything.
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