Friday, April 08, 2005

Time and Tide!

I'm not what you'd call popular a concert-goer. In fact, I can list the big-name concerts I've attended on one hand. And that list is one big mittful of embarrassment:

• The Oak Ridge Boys. 1985ish. I went with this cute boy who sat next to me in band ... and his parents. I saw it as a DATE. He probably saw it as a dorky concert with a big old 'mo.

• NKOTB. 1990. I was in grad school, and I (all 150 threatening, storklike pounds of me) got paid one T-shirt and one free ticket to work "security" for the concert. I spent my evening telling lovelorn 30-something losers female audience members to please stay in their seats and not block the aisles. Even the ones who (and I am not making this up) had "Jordan" shaved into the sides of their mullets heads. (Besides, bitches: Jordan was MINE.)

• Billy Joel. Early 1990s. I went with my friend Dave, my mom and my sister. We were about five rows from the ceiling in a huge basketball arena, and I was literally the dividing person between Those Who Got Up And Danced and Those Who Sat Like Bumps On Logs.

• The Indigo Girls. Late 1990s. I was a free-lance reviewer for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, covering art exhibits, musicals, ballets and symphonies—you know: fag stuff—when the regular rock reviewer got sick and I had to fill in at the last minute. I was used to having at least 48 hours to turn in my reviews, but the paper wanted the Indigo Girls review THAT NIGHT. And the bitches (and I use that term out of love) started their concert so late—as in hours late—that I had exactly TWELVE MINUTES to write my review. Which, thankfully, didn't end up sounding too terribly stupid.

• Chanticleer. At least 10 times since the mid-1990s. Chanticleer is an amazing 12-voice male chorus that performs and records everything from early music to jazz to terribly modern atonal crap pieces. I've seen their concerts and listened to their CDs enough that I know a lot of their repertoire—and I even know some of their names and hometowns (because they always introduce themselves, not because I'm a stalker). You could call me a groupie. A once-a-year groupie.

• And this week: Basia! Remember her? This Polish pop siren from the 1980s—most famous for her jazzy, glorious "Time and Tide"—sang a fabulous concert here Wednesday night that included a lot of new material and a hefty dose of her older stuff. Her voice is just as velvety and luscious as it was in the 1980s, and her trademark tight harmonies with her three backup singers sound extra-spectacular live. The highlight of the evening was hearing her belt her way through "Time and Tide"—a song that has been on my top-ten-all-time-favorite list for two decades. Her opening act, a new-ish band called O'2L, wasn't so hot—mostly because they played rockin' versions of the Windam Hill-type stuff I find so painfully tepid. (And, curiously, though they made a big announcement about how their name is pronounced "O'Toole"—and despite the fact that they were touring with Basia as her freakin' OPENING BAND—she kept calling them "Oh Two El." But who really cares! "Time and Tide"! (I've said it four times already!) Live! Pure bliss.


NotShyChiRev said...

Chanticleer groupies unite...and when Matt Alber was still in the group, I came scarily close to being a stalker.

Saw Billy Joel in '87 in Dallas....about as far away as you were.

Earned my toaster oven with front row seats to Madonna in the Astrodome in Houston--she flung her sweat upon me---yuck; and floor seats for Bette's last tour (not the one this year).

But my all-time favorite arena concert was U2 2 years ago in nose-bleed seats and it didn't matter.

David said...

Good God man, you've been to some pretty wretched concerts.

RcktMan Rick said...

None as wretched as my worst... Milli Freakin' Vanilli. That's right. I hold the crown dammit. (Are these diamonds or rhinestones?)

Jeff said...

Basia? I am officially jealous. "Yearning" is one of my favorite songs of all time. And I love her version of "Until You Come Back to Me." I didn't even know she was still around....

windreader said...

I loved Basia back in the day. she had - what - one album? two? was heavy into Swing Out Sister at the time too. cool to be able to catch her in concert!

Jere said...

Basia's mispronunciation is likely due to the fact that she neither speaks nor understands English. At least she didn't in her '80's heyday. She learned all her songs in English phonetically.

She probably honestly looked at the characters "O'2L" on a piece of paper or a TelePrompter and (not having understood the spoken announcement either) was doing the best she could. English is a funny language.