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Re: Sparks in Boulder

Sparks in Boulder
July 12, 2023 02:11PM
Sparks didn't include a stop in the Pacific Northwest on their current tour. So when we saw the Colorado date on their web site, conveniently scheduled at the beginning of our intended vacation, we made up our minds quickly and got tickets. (They were pretty affordable too; no secondary vendor involved.) It was our first time seeing Sparks, although I saw the Mael brothers with FFS in 2015.

The show was great! No opening act, just Ron and Russell and their band coming out to entertain the very enthusiastic crowd. Russell wore a black & red two-tone jacket over a black dress shirt and slacks, and Ron wore what appeared to be a dark green cardigan over his usual white shirt and tie. The four backing musicians (two guitars, drums and bass) all were dressed in black.

The stage set consisted mainly of a dark backdrop, with what appeared to be rows of vertical fluorescent tubes spanning the scrim (although I'm sure they were more high-tech than that). The tubes could change colors, turn on & off in patterns and even spell words. The other stage lights were more or less conventional, and very well deployed.

Russell, who turns 75 in a few months, is still as physical as ever onstage, moving and jumping around as if he was leading an aerobics class. And his voice has ceded nothing to age; he still could trot out that scarifying yet enthralling falsetto for songs like "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us" and "The Number One Song in Heaven." Ron sang "Shopping Mall of Love," to even greater comic effect than his dance routine. Sound quality inside the Boulder Theater (a venue I'd never actually visited before) was great.

The audience appeared to run a wide range of ages -- a lot of college-age people (no surprise in Boulder), but even junior-high-age kids visible among the boomers. Not a lot of racial diversity, although a beautiful young black woman was sitting right in front of my wife. She looked as though she was enjoying the music, but rapidly getting sick & tired of her date. (I'm referring to the black woman, not my wife.)

I couldn't believe the show didn't sell out, though! There was a block of five unoccupied seats to my immediate right. This came in handy, though, with all the tall guys seated in front of us, four or five rows deep.

So May We Start
The Girl Is Crying in Her Latté
Angst in My Pants
Beaver O'Lindy
When I'm with You
Nothing Is As Good As They Say It Is
It Doesn't Have to Be That Way
Shopping Mall of Love
The Toughest Girl in Town
We Go Dancing
Bon Voyage
Music That You Can Dance To
When Do I Get to Sing "My Way"?
The Number One Song in Heaven
This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us
Gee, That Was Fun

My Baby's Taking Me Home
All That

After the show, we sat outside at a sidewalk bar enjoying a nightcap. I was wearing a t-shirt from Sonic Boom Records, and my wife was wearing a Sub Pop t-shirt. A couple stopped on the sidewalk and told us excitedly, "We come down from Seattle for the concert too!"
Re: Sparks in Boulder
July 12, 2023 02:54PM
Sounds like a fantastic show. I saw them in Washington last year and it was awesome. I have a friend who photographed their most recent DC show — I missed it because my wife and I got tickets to another show — and I noted that they seemed to have a bigger budget for their stage productions!
Re: Sparks in Boulder
July 12, 2023 08:38PM
So nice to the the great "The Toughest Girl In Town" spared from the ignominy of being unfairly marooned on the worst Sparks album! And longtime fave "Music That You Can Dance To" as well? Most excellent!

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®
Re: Sparks in Boulder
July 13, 2023 09:35AM
A few of my Seattle friends have expressed jealousy that I got to see Sparks in a decent venue. They played at the Showbox on their last tour. We couldn't make that show, because of a vacation to visit the other side of the family (on the other side of the Mississippi). My friends said it was a great performance, but the Showbox is rather unpleasant when it's sold out.
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