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Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?

The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 16, 2007 02:05PM
How many of you people have gone to see performers from a generation older than your own? Do you think it was worth the price of the ticket? I'm not so much discriminating against older performers as I am asking whether they are really vital past their youth. I am middle-aged, in my forties. What prompts my questions on this topic is that I have seen a few artists that are of a generation older than mine. Some of those shows were in my twenties, some recent shows. I went to their concerts loving their classic material but often left their live shows disappointed because they seem to just blow through their classic songs in some lightwight caberet fashion. Some performers do long, pointless live versions of songs that were tight and exciting on the studio versions years earlier. I saw Bo Diddley in 1982. He played long versions of his old hits that never seemed to go anywhere. He was working with a pickup band. One member of that band played a synthesizer in place of the harmonica on the original records. Awful. I had a similar experience watching Chuck Berry a year earlier. He used a pickup band that seemed to just plod through his songs. I've seen Jerry Lee Lewis. He has his own band and half his show was country music when I saw him in the 80's. I've seen recent Paul McCartney shows where it seems like he's just trying to be a Beatles jukebox, or maybe more acurately, seeming like a leader of a cover band, covering his own stuff. When he goes into a Wings song, people go get beer. Should every performer be put out to pasture before turning thirty to keep from becoming a geezer? Maybe it's a way to preserve art.
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 16, 2007 03:08PM
Chuck Berry is the worst instance of using pick up bands, often ones that aren't even familiar with classic rock and roll.

I saw one of my favorites, Link Wray, in his last years and he was horrendous. But Doc Watson is older than Methuzeleh (sp?) and he has blown my mind. Bob Dylan also seems to get better live as he gets older (I can hear the volleys of outrage already at this assessment). Merle Haggard isn't bad, but the voice doesn't really hit many registers anymore.

I interviewed BB King two years ago and my impression of him wasn't that he was on top of his game. Not that I was ever a fan. And you've got to give him props for making it to 80+

Andy Summers is in his mid-60s now. 65, I think. Weird, right?
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 16, 2007 03:26PM
I saw Bo Diddley in the mid-90s and the two things I remember was that he was sitting down the whole time & one of his band members looked like a punkette. I also saw Carl Perkins perform in Memphis in '97 before he died & it was an enjoyable show.

I saw Brian Wilson twice in 1999 & 2004(Smile) & the talent of the backup musicians & the great song choices made up for Brian's uncertain stage presence.

I remember watching the TV special on Sir Paul's concert tour several years ago & I was wondering why he had to have all the whistles, bells, & videos on stage when he had some of the best songs ever written. On the other hand, I had a great time seeing Ray Davies last year, with a great mix of new songs & Kinks classics, especially a mini-VGPS set
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 16, 2007 03:37PM
I don't think there's any generalization you can make about "older" vs. "younger" performers. As Erik mentioned, Bob Dylan has been one of the best live performers out there for the last 10-12 years. He's truly rediscovered his love of performing. A lot of older jazz cats are still putting on great concerts, e.g. Sonny Rollins and Dave Brubeck.

Sure a lot of older acts put on sub-par shows, but so do a lot of younger acts. If I ever have to sit through another "ironic" punk rendition of a 70s pop hit, I think I'll kill myself.
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 16, 2007 04:59PM

I had totally forgotten about Brubeck! I saw him last summer and he was amazing--at 90 years old.
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 16, 2007 03:54PM
I am finding that, overall, I like seeing older performers better because they have a kinda depth that makes the performance worth my time and $.

For instance, no one can touch The Stooges and those guys are pushing, what, sixty? It's an incredible show and worth every fucking dime (except if it's in a shitty venue).

Also, Radio Birdman comes to mind. Last year those guys were so fucking good! And the young band that played before them were better than decent, precise and tight but they didn't have that thing - that magical whimsical indefinable thing that made Birdman so good. NY Dolls, Pere Ubu, Roger Waters, Patti Smith - all shows worthwhile.

So, when Roky Erickson comes to your town - pay up and show up!
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 16, 2007 06:39PM
Roky Erickson's still performing? Does he still play 13th Floor Elevators songs?
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 16, 2007 08:26PM
I think Pete Seeger is still performing; in his late 80s.

At the rate Vegas is growing...anybody wanna invest with me in an 80s-indie-themed hotel-casino in a few years?

np::Meat Puppets - Mirage
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 17, 2007 12:27AM
How about a Vegas punk rock review with the living members of The Sex Pistols, PiL, The Clash, Jam, Damned and the drummers of The Ramones in a splashy show with dancing girls, flashy lights and comedians between the musical acts? It could happen. John Mellencamp bitched about musicians selling their songs for commercials for years. Doesn't he schill for Chevy now?
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 17, 2007 12:25AM
old people should be seen and not heard.

on second thought...

old people should be.
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 17, 2007 03:21AM
I actually don't mind the splashy shows when I'm in Vegas; they're professionaly done; but this would have to be something a but more punk.

It's always put me in awe to see Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley but I'm also concious of those two every time I touch my guitar. BB king was awesome as well. I think it was Bill Hicks that used to say, if you were really pro-life, you'd ignore the clinics, and blockade the cemeteries.

(in soviet russia, guitar touches you)
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 17, 2007 09:32AM
I guess I've been lucky. Either that, or I'm easy to please.

For me, the rock & roll I remember hearing first, as a kid, was The Ventures. My father really dug them in the '60s, and played their records at home often. The Ventures played in our town right after I turned 18; my dad took me and my older brother to see them. It wasn't my first concert, but I was eager to see them. That was the first act I saw from "the generation older than my own." We all had a terrific time at that show.

Six or seven years later, Dad took my brother and me to the state fair to see Roy Orbison. We had third-row seats, and Orbison's performance, from beginning to end, was glorious. We all were speechless as we walked back to the car afterward.

In 2001, I got to see two of the greatest in American music: B.B. King and James Brown. (Two separate shows, that kind of book-ended the year for me.) King was 76 years old at the time. He entered and left the stage with the aid of a cane, and spent his entire set seated. But his playing was terrific, and he was in very strong voice.

Brown was 68 when I saw him. I didn't expect him to move like he did in video clips I've seen of him onstage in the Sixties, but I was still impressed by how much energy and stamina he had onstage. He was in good voice, and he hit all the high points I could've hoped for. And his band was unbelievably tight and sharp.

Considering his age, George Clinton certainly qualifies as being from "the generation older than my own." (Hell, his touring band includes at least one of his children and at least two of his grandchildren!) Since 1982, I've seen George and his "P-Funk All-Stars" perform at least half a dozen times ... and will be seeing them again next weekend. The only time I didn't enjoy it very much was at Lollapalooza. A truncated set from the P-Funk All-Stars just doesn't work; the band needs time and room to stretch out. Apart from that one time, George has never let me down.

I suppose, when it comes to more senior musical artists, it's like anything else: some just do it better than others.

Post Edited (02-17-07 11:20)
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 17, 2007 12:37PM
Jeff Beck has put on amazing shows the last 3 times I've seen him and he's somewhere in the 55-60 year old range. It's kind of shocking how fast he can still play when he sets his mind to it - and all 3 of the shows I saw were incredibly loud too.

Plus he still has great hair......can't underestimate the importance of the hair.

Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 17, 2007 03:26PM
I agree with Mats: Jeff Beck definitely still delivers the goods live, at 62. (His age, not the volume setting on his amp.) I saw him last year, and he and his band gave a terrific show.

I didn't think his hair was that great, though. I mean, he obviously dyes it.

Of course, no discussion of "older performers" is complete without mentioning The Rolling Stones or The Who. I would've loved to have seen both those bands last year, but had to pass. Jagger or Townshend may have trouble grasping this, but in my world, $500 has to go farther than just one pair of concert tickets.

Post Edited (02-18-07 04:48)
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 17, 2007 02:41PM
Oldsters have been a mixed bag for me:

Wire was excellent and still vital. I enjoyed the new songs nearly as much as the classics.

Alex Chilton is good when he wants to be. I saw him on back-to-back nights at the old Coney Island High. He was pretty mediocre the first night and great the second.

Keith Richards put on a great show about 18 years ago supporting his first solo record.

Dave Davies was kind of cheesy. "Hey, everybody! Rock 'n' roll! All right!!!" It wasn't a horrible show, but I wouldn't shell out the 20 samoleans to see him again.

Jerry Lee Lewis was pretty good. He ended songs whenever he wanted, whether they were actually done or not, but a fun time was had by all -- and he had James Burton playing guitar with him.

I saw a Robert Plant show about 20 years ago that, while I'm not a huge Zeppelin fan, was fabulous. The band was tight, he played some Zep covers, couldn't have asked for more.
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 19, 2007 07:31PM
Bo Diddly sits down because he had one foot amputated from complications of diabetes and his circulation is really bad. That doesn't free him and his crap band from doing what they call a show. He spent 15 minutes running a guitar pick across the bottom strings of his guitar like in the opening of "Roadrunner" while his punkette bass player answered him. People were leaving in droves.
Chuck Berry is just a rip off who comes into town and has the promoter put a band onstage to back him. The first three songs he does is the rehearsal, and then he sings a song about "doing his show, Can we do our show?" at $120 a ticket.

Old'uns but good'uns I've seen (through bi-focals, no spring chicken meself)

New York Dolls
Bill Wyman's Rythm Kings
Neil Young
Rocket from the Tombs/Ubu
Sky Saxon
The Dictators
Charlie Harper/UK Subs
Les Paul
Eugene Chadbourne
Lou Reed
John Cale
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 20, 2007 06:32AM
Charlie Harper! Bloody hell, he was copping it for being a senior citizen in the '80s (remember The Gonads' 'I Lost My Love To A UK Sub'). He IS a stayer.
Re: The Value of Watching an Older Performer?
February 19, 2007 08:54PM
Everyone's skirting around the elephant in the room: The Stones.

And I must say that seeing the Who in 2000, was an incredible experience for me. I wasn't old enough to see them in the '60s and '70s--and hear from my seniors that there is no comparison--but I thought they were amazing. Zack Starkey was great and Entwhistle was still alive.
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