I saw the NINJA tour (Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction) when it came to SD on May 16th. As ususal, NIN, was excellent. Jane’s Addiction was good too, but I truly couldn’t appreciate it because I don’t particularly care for their songs with exception, of course, to “Got Caught Stealing.” Anyhow, I took some EXTREMELY horrible pictures with my iPhone and posted them to FuzzyShot. Here’s a link if you dare. If you like NIN, go to this tour and sing your lungs out (I did, along with a little dancing). Rumor is that this may be the last time Trent Reznor goes on tour as NIN (I hope this isn’t true). Whether you stay for JA is up to you (I stayed for about 1-hour of JA). Also, check nin.com for some fund raising activities in conjunction with the NINJA tour.
It was an early Christmas for me — Bjork in Las Vegas and on a Saturday! The Bjork concert itself was excellent. I can’t say that for the opening act, L.E.T, a trio consisting of one keyboardist, one guitarist, and a guy that switched between playing guitar and banging on a drum. This trio played slide-guitar-techno at a volume that could easily rival a jet plane. The first two songs were interestingly novel (when heard though finger stuffed ears), but then the next 7 or 8 songs they played sounded all the same and didn’t match the enthusiasm of the trio as they played their mellow tunes. The keyboardist was doing weird back bending and legging twisting contortions while banging his head to a beat apparently he was only hearing, the slide guitarist was bending over backwards most of the time with his head in some smoke that would intermittedly shoot onto the stage and the other guitarist/percussionist — well, I didn’t take too much note of because I was fascinated by the keyboardist. My husband, at times couldn’t decide whether to giggle or be outraged. The third song they played came mighty close to hitting the “brown note” — we’d wondered if we’d make it through the experience.
After L.E.T. finished rocking my insides, the stage hands came out and spent about 30-mins rearranging the stage for Bjork against a background of some of the strangest Japanese/swing/folkish music I’ve heard in a while. The stage hands brought out a bunch of flags, removed the video screen L.E.T. used, and brought in some thing that looked like an electric witch’s cauldron . Hmm… what could this be about Steve and I wondered (it was used for produce some screeching sound effects). And then the lights dimmed and a 9-pieces brass band oomp-pahed their way across the stage signifying the start of the concert. I lost count of how many songs Bjork performed. The concert lasted for ~1-hr, 45-mins and she performed songs from all of her solo albums, alternating between some powerful singing and her weird friend-of-the-forest dancing. She looked like a beat-possessed fairy spraying confetti and silly string across the stage — I love Bjork.
Onto Bjork fans — in short they are geeks — glasses wearing, boot wearing geeks. I had my boots on earlier in the day, but foot swelling prevented me from making it through the day with them. My husband looked at these fans in horror and then laughed intensely as he realized that he had married one of these boot wearing geeks. Within the concert, 3 types of fans appeared: those like me, who enjoy Bjork quietly — we were a minority, those who like to rave, and those who think that Bjork is somehow linked to them and calls out to them. Some of THOSE fans had trouble keeping their clothes on and had security on alert as they approached the stage reaching out to Bjork as she sang the closing refrain of “Pagan Poetry.” Either way, by the end, the ravers and lunatics were stirred into a frenzy by a rendition of “Hyperballad” that gave way to raviness at the end and melted into the charged “Pluto” and then were whipped into a frenzy, again, by the encore, “Declare Independence” during which Bjork shrieked “raise your flag” followed by the audience chanting back “higher and higher.” My poor conservative husband was frightened by the raw emotion that had been unleashed.
All was great and wonderful, except for theater security that intruded upon the fans, kicking some of them out for taking pictures or recording video. (One of the security people stepped on my feet and elbowed me in the face as she left the aisle after booting a fan from the show. I was so mad!) After experiencing the fun photography brings to the concert experience at the Gwen Stefani concert, I felt that limiting fans this way was wrong. The concert experience belongs to the fans and the performers and not the promoter. Letting fans document the experience empowers the them. After thinking about it, I can’t think of any reason to restrict photography. Well, hopefully, in the future, the power of fan photography at concerts will be realized.
Last night Gwen Stefani made her “Sweet Escape Tour” stop in San Diego. It was truly a special event because all the proceeds from the show were donated to the victims of the recent San Diego fires.
This is the first concert that I’ve gone to in 5 or 6 years since I went to see Bjork’s Vespertine Tour when it came to the Hollywood Bowl. At that time I thought it was pretty cool that Bjork introduced her system administrator as part of the band ;p. This time, the experience was very different because the glow of cigarette lighters and the like were replaced with the glow of digital camera and cell phone screens. Wow! I forgot to bring my camera (I was so sad), but I’d say nearly everyone else in the arena had some so sort of way of taking a digital image or video. This was truly amazing because recording is not always allowed at concerts.
I think the show lasted about 1.5 hours (we missed Sean Kingston, the opening act — we were not very sad about that) and within in that 90-minutes, there was lots of singing, dancing, costume changes, set changes, and direct interaction with audience. Gwen Stephani really puts on a good show. It was also nice that she left the dancing to her dancers so she could concentrate on singing (Her dancers were really good. It was obvious that some of them were former gymnasts). The show itself was very audience participatory. We were encouraged to get on our feet to dance and sing. I’m a sucker for a sing-a-long and bass, so I had a really good time singing and doing my little Jen-dance. I sung my voice out by the end of the concert and I’m still feeling the effects of the loud singing today.