Beautiful senses are gone
Canary in a gilded cage
Have you been to a concert where you were standing, watching and thinking “uh, okay, I’ve seen this before somewhere”? Have you been to a concert so formal that you left it before it even ended, or even before the half-time of it? If you are an avid music admirer as I am, you most probably have been to one like that. And did so.
Just a week ago I went to check out the good ol’ fellas from Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA). The concert was held in heart of the city of Ljubljana, Slovenia in venue called Križanke. The place itself is outstanding – it’s open-air and indoor in the same time, great place for concerts of that altitude – 1000-2000 people.
I didn’t go with really high expectations most of all because we all know that feeling when expectations don’t meet reality. Also, I’ve seen quite a lot of bands recently so I was looking forward for a decent, maybe even exciting gig. Well, it didn’t go that good.
Firstly, I have to give credits to the band before QOTSA – small, 3-piece-all-girls band which came straight from Zagreb, Croatia. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the band (they weren’t on the ticket either). To be honest, they didn’t do the best performance neither of their life, nor I’ve seen from a small, not so popular band. But they played from the bottom of their hearts, as like they are playing in front of 20 people. They were nervous but they didn’t care that much.
And then, after short 15-minute break, QOTSA came on stage. Shortly after I became a witness of something that I am observing in the last 10 or more years – another “youtube concert”. That term, that idea flashed across my mind for the first time in 2005 when I was watching Iron Maiden in Sofia, Bulgaria. Slowly evolved and became what it is today – a standard term to me and some close relatives to describe concert which you can see (have seen) in YouTube (YT). Another gig that I have to mention is the one of Metallica and Machine Head in Belgrade, Serbia in 2012. What I mean by that definition of mine?
Well, nowadays we are used to idea of watching/checking some band/artist in YouTube prior to the actual concert. Just to see how it is, what to expect and so on. Or just because you are follower of that band and you love to watch them “live”. I put quotation marks here just because currently most of the bands are not even giving them a hard time playing real live performances. They either play on playback (that awkward singing where the singer moves his lips but not actually singing because the song/singing is prerecorded) or just are doing their best to play the song “as it is in original/recorded in studio, for the album” (which is usually a lot easier than improvisation). But about that some other time.
So let’s go back on that very topic about YouTube concerts and QOTSA’s one. They are great band, the concert wasn’t bad per se. But it wasn’t anything special, too. It was just another concert, 50th concert in a row in the last 2 months. For them. For you is the 1st in 2 months. So when YOU pay reasonable amount of money for your (or one of) favourite band – in my case 35 EUR (47 USD, 50 AUD) – you expect something really exciting, or maybe even extraordinary. Because out of those 50 concerts for them, you are attending only 1, right? So for YOU it IS a big deal whether they’ll make a good show or not. For them is just business. Or in most cases is like that.
They did aaaall of the most-known show-tricks that we all already know from YT. Yes, we love them when we are hanging out with friends in someone’s house but when the singer is at a kick-distance and you are willing to take that kick in your chin, you definitely expect a bit more than the studio versions of your favourite tracks. Or the ones that are in YT. Or at least I do. For example on “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” (widely known just as “Cocaine”) they did all the stuff that you can see on every live show in YT – they prolonged the original from 2,43 to around 7 minutes – something normal these days. They did small-wait-for-it-pause few times in-between the song. And so on and so on.
Other symptom of “Youtube concert”-these-days-fashion, which I noticed, is very short, indifferent contact with the audience. Josh Homme, the singer for QOTSA, talked just once or twice through the show. Just to say the regular stuff. Why? Am I (are we) there to listen to such concert jabber talk? Most definitely – no!
I left the concert maybe around the 2/3 of it. I missed “Go With the Flow”, one of their biggest and most popular hits. But I don’t really miss it. But I decided that I’ll catch up later in YouTube and save some of my hearing. I really don’t want to go with the flow of the… song for the deaf road. If you know what I mean.
I am leaving the topic open and probably will discuss the other part of the show business – the one where small, not so popular bands are making every single one of their shows as they are their last. And you remember those shows forever. Because they are not another “youtube concert”.
 Verse from “A Song for the Deaf” by QOTSA