Friday, August 19, 2005

Watching Some Concerts on TV...

I have to fly JetBlue a lot, much to my chagrin, because that is my company's preferred airline for cost reasons. However, I've always had problems when I fly them. One time, the lovely folks at JetBlue had the nerve to tell me that I checked my bags too early! That's why my bags got on the earlier flight to Boston. Geez, the nerve of me. I've also had seat issues. It seems my seat always gets double-booked with someone else, and more often than not, I get stuck with the crappiest seat on the entire damn plane. And don't get me started on the clientele. Ew...budget travelers, little kids. Bleh.

Everyone who likes flying JetBlue always talks about the DirecTV service. I've always maintained that it's nice, but I wouldn't go out of my way to fly JetBlue just for that. I usually sleep on planes (which is probably why I've never been hit on by any cute fellow passengers). But while flipping the channels on DirecTV on one of the many flights I've taken to Oakland, I came across some music channel that shows live concerts. I kind of tuned in, but just in passing because I was really sleepy and wanted to get some sleep. Soon, though, I was glued to the TV set. I remember the first concert I saw was Tina Turner. Now I have never been a huge fan of hers. I don't have any of her albums or anything and I barely know what songs she sings. She's always seemed so "adult contemporary" to me, which I guess is the genre that she caters to now as opposed to her "What's Love Got to Do With it" and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome days.

Well, I got really into this concert. Before you know it, I'm singing and bopping along to all of Tina's songs, surprised at how many songs I knew. Ms. Turner really knows how to put on a show. I hope I'm in as good shape as her when I'm in my 60s.

I liked the concert so much that I even wrote a letter to JetBlue asking why this channel isn't on every flight I take with them. Well, they told me that DirecTV only shows this channel on weekends. I responded saying that as silly as it sounds, I choose JetBlue solely for that one channel. I wish I could get it at home. This email exchange between me and the JetBlue guy is actually funny for another reason. Me and this guy actually became email buddies and wrote back and forth for a while. Maybe we'll go out for a drink sometime and maybe he'll turn out to be gay and single and of course cute.

So, the other night, I watched some performances from Live 8. Now I won't go too much into the B.S. behind this concert because it's been talked about to death. But I mean, first, come on, raise awareness? What wonderful lukewarm sentiments. Having watched "Live 8," I can't really say I'm more "aware" of poverty. Secondly, the concert was supposed to be a message to the leaders of the G8 to shape up and forgive the debts of Africa. While noble, the developed world has been giving money to Africa since the beginning of time. People also need to focus on world commerce and the actual government infrastructure inside Africa. It's gonna take a lot more than a concert, obviously, to even take a stab at helping the situation.

I don't want to sound too churlish or cynical. Live 8 had great intentions and I don't doubt Bob Geldof's sincerity (although a Nobel Peace Prize sounds a bit like overkill). I'm a bit dubious, though, of some of the other stars' reasons for being there especially after it was reported that every star got lavish gifts which I'm sure gave the corporate sponsors a nice tax write-off (in Philly, the gifts were valued at $12,000 per artist). I just hope that not too many people came away from the concert with the belief that all it takes is throwing some money or forgiving debts to "Make Poverty History". That's an utterly naive notion.

Some people, though, can only be reached through popular culture, and if this concert got some people thinking, that's a good thing. In any event, as a concert, Live 8 was great, and while watching, I became enthralled again with another easy-listening diva. Annie Lennox (introduced by a very gay looking bleach blond Brad Pitt at London--actually Annie and Brad could have been twin sister and brother) was great. Although, I have to admit, she could take it easy with the "wooh, wooh" and "la la la" noises she makes with her chirpy voice. That aside, I was singing along to "Little Bird" & "Sweet Dreams" like her biggest fan.

Some of my other observations:

- Stereophonics (London) - These guys were the ultimate in cool, dressed in all black with black sunglasses. They sang "Maybe Tomorrow" with so much emotion.

- Will Smith (Philadelphia) - He had some great beats, and he was so clearly proud to be host in his hometown. It was great when that drum corps marching band came out when Will was singing "Switch."

- Green Day (Berlin) - I love Green Day's latest album and the band has made a great comeback. They were awesome in Berlin, and Billie Joe's jet-black cabaret hair-do is perfect for the Berlin scene. A-Ha (Berlin), right before Green Day, was also great "taking on" everybody.

- Shakira (Paris) - Her new song, "La Tortura", is so catchy and I'm singing along even though I don't speak or understand a word of Spanish. But, I swear, that girl has like acrobatic breasts or something. Reminds me of those bodybuilder guys who could flex and gyrate their huge man-boobs.

- Jann Arden (Toronto) - I remember liking her song, "Insensitive," from the early '90s. But she sounded like a dying cow here. Someone put her out of her misery. Ditto for Dido (London). She sounded like a muppet. Sarah McLachlan (Philadelphia) did the best job out of everyone at the "I'm a strong, independent, socially-conscious woman" persona and her angelic voice was perfect. Mariah Carey (London), on the flip side, was pathetic during her interviews while trying to talk about the cause, but in reality promoting her album and showing off her two sizes too small dress. And not to be outdone, Celine Dion (Toronto, but really Vegas) did a lame-ass satellite appearance from Caesar's Palace. Oh my god. Of course you're gonna get booed.

- Scissor Sisters (London) - Jake Shears looks like he'd be fun in bed.

- Duran Duran (Rome) - Someone needs to tell Simon LeBon to e-nun-ci-ate. You couldn't understand a word he was singing.

- Rob Thomas (Philadelphia) - He said the strangest thing. He compared poverty to "two 9/11s a day." Kind of a weird and heavy-handed comparison to make.

- Robbie Williams (London) - I miss Robbie Williams. He is soooo cute. And he does a great show. He can totally hold his own against a crowd of 1 million. I only wish he had actually sung more. He kept doing that annoying thing of pointing his microphone to the crowd so we hear them sing.

- Bryan Adams (Toronto) - I used to be the BIGGEST Bryan Adams fan. "Summer of '69" is one of the best singles ever recorded, I think. After trying to stay relevant with current music trends as evidenced by his really lame 18 Till I Die album where he looked like this creepy, sleazy perv, he finally has a cool song out now, the anthemic "This Side of Paradise" and his raspy voice sounds great. I can't say the same thing though for his current tour partner, Def Leppard (Philadelphia). They sounded like wheezing aging rockers.

- Stevie Wonder (Philadelphia) - He gave an awesome performance. He can still wow a crowd, but what was with the all-white uniform for every african or african-whatever nationality performing at Live 8? From that Ethiopian girl who came out with Madonna (London) to that Senegalese guy who did a duet with Dido, they were all wearing white robes or caftans or whatever they're called.

- The Cure (Paris) & UB40 (London) - It's great to see them still around.

- Snoop Dogg (London) - I'm sure he's got lots of connections from his ex-con, drug-dealing days. We should send him and his thugs to find Al-Qaeda.

- Dave Matthews Band (Philadelphia) - Dave Matthews played in my home town before his band got big, so I grew up with them. Their set was ok, but I am so tired of their jamming. End a song, damn it. They just go on and on and on. Also, I can't look at them the same way ever since they dumped feces into the Chicago River.

Other good performances were given by Sting, Madonna, Jet, Keith Urban (best Aussie country rocker I've ever heard), Razorlight, U2, The Killers, Toby Keith (I might be becoming a country music fan), Coldplay (the duet with that guy from The Verve was very cool). The Pink Floyd reunion, on the other hand, was so underwhelming. They sounded like crap. Also I don't know what Travis was thinking doing a cover of "Stayin Alive". I think I would have liked to have seen Kylie Minogue perform at one of the Live 8 concerts. She could have replaced Faith Hill (Rome), which was just bizarre. Didn't realize there were a lot of country music fans in Italy.

Anyways, back to the original topic at hand, I like watching concerts and I love listening to music and have a very eclectic taste. Songs have a great way of attaching themselves to a special memory, which makes them so comforting.


GrooveTheory said...

I've never traveled anywhere using JetBlue, but then again, they don't serve Jersey people. And I'll be damned if I drive all the way to freaking JFK when I'm only 15 min. away from Newark Airport ;)

I actually recorded Live8, but I never saw the whole thing. Sad isn't it?

Kristy said...

"When I Come Around" always reminds me of our trip to NC after graduation when your stereo broke in the car. =)

When did DMB dump feces in the Chicago River and WHY?!?!?! The jamming thing is cool for one or two songs, but yeah...every song...seriously...get on with it.

Xtine said...

I missed so many Live 8 performances, even though I was tuned in all day. I hope they release it on DVD or something, I really wanted to see the Robbie Williams set.

Xtine said...

I watched Robbie thanks to your links! I gave you a shout out in my blog-- hope thats ok with you).

teahouse said... do fly Jet Blue a lot! I've never flown it before.

Yeah, like you, I never saw what all the fuss was about with Tina Turner..until a couple of years ago I was going through a rough patch in a relationship and I randomly turned on the radio one morning and heard, "I Don't Really Wanna Fight No More." And I had this moment of clarity, like, wow she's really brilliant, and this song really speaks to me. Ever since then I've been really into her. And she has amazing legs for a 60-something year old!