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Bands that didn't meet my expectation live


MotiDave
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Jethro Tull. There. I've said it. I saw them twice (I forget why) during the time that "Bungle in the Jungle" was charting, so they were focusing on that album's material, but I was totally underwhelmed.

Anyone remember Jeffrey Hammond juggling zebra shit?

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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Hated Steely Dan, though I expected to.

 

Hated Elvis Costello even worse, and did not expect to.

 

I was surprised back in their heyday to experience Aerosmith as campy and "queeny," since I only knew them from recordings, but of course that doesn't seem surprising at all in retrospect.

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I can't say I've seen a lot of bands that disappointed me, but there were a few exceptions. Here's one...

 

ELO, 1978 - Yeah, they had the giant "spaceship" thingy on stage for this OUT OF THE BLUE tour, but the music just sounded TOO perfect, just like the record... I discover a couple years later that Jeff Lynne had the ENTIRE PERFORMANCE pre-recorded, including the vocals!! This cost ELO a lot of fans and they never quite filled stadiums the same way again. So, disappointed in retrospect... but the stage show with the spaceship was pretty cool.

 

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I've mentioned this on other threads too, but it's relevant here.

 

Sadly, Rush.

 

I think with them it's much more a matter of the acoustics and just being too damn loud to appreciate any of the intricacies of the music than about any musical shortcomings on their part.

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There have been a few shows where the sound wasn't that great, but I don't blame the band for that. The Peter Gabriel Secret World show was one; it was "in the round" and I wasn't in the best spot. I'll be darned if it wasn't the best *experience* I've had in a show though.

 

The main negatives I've had were at shows where I suspected or just flat-out knew there were tracks being played. There were too many Stings singing at times for instance....and Yes on the Big Generator sounded a bit too good to be true. That is extremely crappy that ELO did that, jeez....

 

And now we have local cover bands running freaking tracks in bars. Guitars, vocals, all of it, on top of actual guitars and vocals playing. Not that I go to see other bands that often (I barely have time to do my own shows) but I'd pay my tab and walk out quickly on any cheesy band doing that crap...I really, really appreciate acts that can do multi-part harmonies and pull off a big sound live (first thing that comes to mind is the Eagles live '77 show, wow)...and really get annoyed at people saying "why bother making the effort"....

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I've mentioned this on other threads too, but it's relevant here.

 

Sadly, Rush.

 

I think with them it's much more a matter of the acoustics and just being too damn loud to appreciate any of the intricacies of the music than about any musical shortcomings on their part.

 

Totally agree with this. Does not diminish my love for those guys one bit, but on the Time Machine tour in 2011, it was oh, so so freakin' loud. Just punishing. When it was just the music playing, I could almost get used to it, but then Geddy's voice would come in even LOUDER over the top of it all, and I just wanted to hide behind my seat, it was so damn loud. I mean, really, is this necessary? Is anyone even listening to this? I felt like I didn't need to see them again after that.

 

Musically, a band that really let me down live was the Spin Doctors (remember them?) I really liked their record, catchy tunes, great hooks, great playing -- I was really looking forward to seeing their guitarist crank out all those cool little riffs. But live, their singer couldn't sing on key, and every other song devolved into "jam band" nonsense, with extended 10-minute bass solos while the guitarist noodled around and the singer just vamped on top of it. I would say it was "Spinal Tap meets Puppet Show," except that Spinal Tap was actually TRYING to entertain their audience.

 

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RHCP.

 

I've seen them twice, and Kiedis was embarrassing both times.

Flea and Chad should perform as a duo. They're just too good for that singer.

 

again, When was this? I saw them in 1989 on the Mother's Milk tour in a small nightclub in Baltimore City. Believe me when I say this, you wish you were there. ;)

 

I guess my point is here if you see a band 20 years or so after they were first hot then certainly expectation would be diminished. For example, look no further than the Rolling Stones. :facepalm:

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ELO, 1978 - Yeah, they had the giant "spaceship" thingy on stage for this OUT OF THE BLUE tour, but the music just sounded TOO perfect, just like the record... I discover a couple years later that Jeff Lynne had the ENTIRE PERFORMANCE pre-recorded, including the vocals!! This cost ELO a lot of fans and they never quite filled stadiums the same way again. So, disappointed in retrospect... but the stage show with the spaceship was pretty cool.

 

Came here to say this. Saw the same show, had the same impression. And LOUD!. Really f@#$ing loud. Loudest show I've ever been to. Painful. Bev Bevan didn't even try to "play" the recorded fills. The string guys hopped around. Hard to tell what Tandy was pretending to play. Felt cheated.

 

And maybe this is nit-picking, but when I saw Stevie Wonder about two years before he began doing album concerts he played Do I Do for 18 minutes and then we got a good 10 minutes of self-indulgent vocoder nonsense. Likewise Aretha Franklin who sang about her surgery and time in the hospital to a churchy play-behind-the-sermon style for a good 15 minutes. I realize that both of them have earned the right to do whatever the f#$k they want but they lost us at that point.

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Jethro Tull. There. I've said it. I saw them twice (I forget why) during the time that "Bungle in the Jungle" was charting, so they were focusing on that album's material, but I was totally underwhelmed.

Anyone remember Jeffrey Hammond juggling zebra shit?

 

no, don't recall that lol. I attended a bungle jungle tour date, want to say it was '76 or '77, i was a wee young teen. they played with Yes and Santana, in reverse order. santana wasn't my thing, i remember some hippy gave me some of his "ice tea" and i was feeling weird for half that set anyway. a bit to rambling jam thing for me.

 

Yes was EPIC! I was already completely hooked on yessongs, they were the band I went to see. one of my personal signature concert experiences. Not the Zep but still - its on my top shelf of memories.

 

then Tull came on - made me wish Yes played longer. i was never big Tull fan so I figure its as much me as the band. I loved aqualung but didn't like earlier or later material oddly. Wasn't big fan of Bungle, which was their focus that tour. Can't say they disappointed as I didn't have an expectation, but i hear ya on the bungle part

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Boston.

 

The album hit and they were huge. They played over in Durham with, if I recall correctly, Starcastle. Neither band had one iota of stage presence. Stood there, rooted to the floor, looking as if they were terrified of the audience.

 

I've heard people talk about how good Boston was in concert. Maybe later, after they'd gotten some experience, but they were just plain awful when I saw them. Like a bad bar band. Amateurish. Lame. Starcastle seemed cut from the same cloth. Wasted ticket money. Yes, I get to say that I saw Boston, but I kinda wish I hadn't. It'd be more fun to hear others talk about how great they were--and wish enviously that I had seen them--than to have the memories I've got of them staring at their shoes, looking lost and homesick.

 

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Saw The Black Keys a few years ago at Madison Square Garden. Half the time it was only guitar and drums but there was so much booming low end that I couldn't enjoy it. Also, they didn't come close enough to their recorded vocal sound. I think they have since improved in this area. Opening act The Arctic Monkeys sounded fine.
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Sadly, Rush.

 

when? I saw them twice in 1977, Hemispheres tour and Farewell To Kings tour. Haven't seen them in the 40 years since but they were incredible back then.

 

Same experience for the Test For Echo, Vapor Trails, R30, and Time Machine tours, so it certainly wasn't just a one-off bad night. So disappointing because I love their music from all eras.

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The Yellow Jackets - Beacon Theater - New York. I don't know if it was their sound, the sound engineer, or the venue sound system, but they had the subs cranked up so dam high, I couldn't hear any other frequency they were playing. We ALMOST walked out. I guess this would be a good topic for a thread of it's own. How many artists have been let down by their sound men/system.
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The Yellow Jackets - Beacon Theater - New York. I don't know if it was their sound, the sound engineer, or the venue sound system, but they had the subs cranked up so dam high, I couldn't hear any other frequency they were playing. We ALMOST walked out. I guess this would be a good topic for a thread of it's own. How many artists have been let down by their sound men/system.

I went and saw Frank Hannon (re Tesla) and Bullet Boys at a local watering hole, along with a local originals band we all know and enjoy. Frank was phenomenal, he played a few Tesla songs but mostly his own music which was a cool fusion of 60shippy-folk-hardrock Haight Ashbury vibe. Then BB came on. Lourdest damn venue sound i have ever been subjected to. Ive heard a lot of shows that were too loud, distorted or muddled or otherwise degraded quality due to the loud. This was an another level of loud - it literally hurt my ear drums. I left in 3rd song and by then half the crowd had left. Still no idea what the sound guy was doing or thinking. In that moment i swore to never go to another show without a pair of -20dB earplug buds in my pocket.

The baiting I do is purely for entertainment value. Please feel free to ignore it.
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Yes in 2014. The sound was punishingly load for a theatre gig with some really strange and painful things going on in the high mids. And Geoff Downes wimped out of playing the intro to Awaken. Interestingly they released the concert on the "Like It Is" live album, I should probably give it a listen some time!

 

I've seen Yes twice and walked away incredibly disappointed both times. The first time was when they released 90210 or whatever it was called. It was just sample playback and pre-recorded hell. Chris Squire played what seemed like a 20 minute bass solo playing one fricken' note. It was probably the worst concert I had ever seen.

 

I saw them again maybe in the 2008/2009 time frame in Asbury Park - it was when they had Benoit David with them. I took my then college age son who was really into prog rock at the time. Once again a disappointing show. They all just looked lost, tired and like it was the last place on the planet they wanted to be. Just terrible energy and the keyboards were completely missing from the sound system. The organ solo in Roundabout sounded like it was being played on a transistor radio. Just awful.

 

Steely Dan - it was the first tour they did after reuniting. I had seen Fagen in the 2nd version of the New York Rock & Soul Review and was very impressed with the band. Becker was part of that tour and they did a few Dan songs, but not many. The band was smokin' - Phoebe Snow, Mike McDonald, Boz Skaggs, Drew Zing and some woman on violin who just just amazing. A year or two later Steely Dan went back on tour, coinciding with the "Two Against Nature" album. I saw them at the Izod Arena, which had the worst acoustics on the planet. The band was terrible - pretty much phoning their parts in. Fagen even said during the concert that they were doing it for the money, and that's exactly how it sounded. It really turned me off to those guys for quite a few years. As innovative as they were, I can't get past Fagen's smarmy attitude. And I'm a Jersey Guy!

 

Overall, though, my days of seeing pop or rock bands live are over. I'm sick of the audiences. I'd much rather see a good jazz or classical performance where the audience respects the musicians.

 

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Steely Dan in 1993. Felt like I was listening to a CD. Boring and sounded like it was too rehearsed. No energy. I know people have a hard on for them and they write good songs but they are boring. Also Bonnie Raitt. I like her and her songs but the band was playing with Bruce Hornsby in the 90's and it just fell flat. Mind you in both examples I really didn't have huge expectations.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

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RHCP.

 

I've seen them twice, and Kiedis was embarrassing both times.

Flea and Chad should perform as a duo. They're just too good for that singer.

 

again, When was this? I saw them in 1989 on the Mother's Milk tour in a small nightclub in Baltimore City. Believe me when I say this, you wish you were there. ;)

 

I guess my point is here if you see a band 20 years or so after they were first hot then certainly expectation would be diminished. For example, look no further than the Rolling Stones. :facepalm:

 

It was the Californication tour, and the one after that.

Maybe the disappointment was from the starking contrast between the energy and musicianship of the rhythm section against the sloppiness of the singer.

 

Anyway yes, I tend to agree that bands should be seen in their prime or it's easy to be disappointed, but fortunately it's not always true, especially for the old rockers.

Springsteen and Aerosmith can still blow away any youngster band.

Pearl Jam are great too.

And opposite from the Sting solo work, I loved the Police reunion tour -no tracks, no special effects, just 3 amazing musicians going at it like they were 20 again.

 

Conversely, when I saw Joe Cocker and Jethro Tull I agree, it was just sad.

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+1 on Steely Dan. Very disappointing sound, and musos seemed half asleep. Performances were competent, but perfunctory and uninspiring. (Same Two Against Nature tour as Rusty Mike, I think).

 

By contrast @Outkaster I saw Bonnie Raitt in about 2005 and she aced it. Jon Cleary on keys helped, obvs.

 

@kbrkr I hate it when the sound guys do the "check out our subs" mix. In the band I play with regularly, they're proud of their PA, and the subs do the thing of simply maintaining sonic balance and proportion, only a couple of octaves lower than you'd expect. Very cool, but no sense of showing off.

 

Cheers, Mike.

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