One of the first people I can ever remember interviewing as a journalist was Woodstock promoter Artie Kornfeld.
He was cool. I liked him.
But then again, I wasn’t jaded back then. It was the summer of 2005. I was young. The future was still bright.
Maybe if we met today, I’d hate him. But I digress.
In any event, one of the things I remember was him warning me that Steely Dan was a horrible live show.
A Steely Disappointment
I never forgot that. Steely Dan has always been one of my favorite bands. Yet I had heard the same thing elsewhere.
In matters like these, it’s best for one to judge for themself. Yet for some reason or other, I never had a chance to see them–until last Saturday.
Well, Kornfeld (and others) were right. Steely Dan was disappointing live. Lead singer Donald Fagan didn’t sound loud enough. He leaned on his backup singers. Nobody paid to hear them.
(Sorry that the clip is upside down, for some reason.)
The guitarist cheapened out on some of his solos. The band didn’t play all of their hits either. I was disappointed.
Fortunately, the band I wasn’t as interested in seeing, opening act The Doobie Brothers, were amazing. They played all their hits, and sounded great doing it. They saved the evening.
But the most impressive thing about the evening was the experience of going. Going to a concert, especially at the Xfinity Comcast Center, is so much different than it was 20 years ago.
An Inconvenient Experience
One thing hasn’t changed. It’s still a royal pain in the ass to get out of the parking lot after the show. That aspect has always sucked.
But now, it takes about 20 minutes to get into the show to begin with. Concert goers must pass through security that almost rivals entering an airport terminal. How fun!
Like most people, I like to enjoy an alcoholic beverage at a concert. I’m also known to dig into a tub of popcorn or to woof down a hot dog. But I don’t like to feel like I need a bank loan to do it.
Well, at this concert, I would have needed to. Would you like a “premium” can of beer? That’s $15! Someone wants a cheeseburger? Well, that’s $9.50.
Your Wallet Will Be Lighter
What’s more, sometimes a bottle of water costs you $7. Others, it’s just $5. What gives here?
Needless to say, I didn’t bother eating or drinking anything. I was there for about 3 hours.
And then there’s the lines to get into the bathroom. I can’t exaggerate how ridiculous the wait was. The picture is worth 1 million words.
Then there was the price of the tickets, which were about $70 apiece on the secondary market–the only way I could obtain them. Initially, I was seated so far away that I would’ve needed binoculars to see the show. I’d need to strain to hear it.
But even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. And every dog has his day in the sun, or something. Which is to say I had some good luck. A supervisor at the concert was moving random people to a closer section. I was allowed to move (after some begging on my part). So that was cool.
Also nice was the weather. It wasn’t overly hot once the sun set. In the end, it’s cool to hear music one likes on a nice night in the summer. There were worst places to be.
But I can’t help but thinking of Kornfeld and how concerts were so much cooler in his day. Heck, they were even so much cooler 20 years ago.