Full album concerts do little for us
In Sunday's Arts & Style section Chris Richards wrote a piece titled "Frozen in their tracks" about the continuing trend that finds bands playing concerts at which they perform an entire album, start-to-finish, in order. The gist of his argument: What's the point?
There's more to that, of course, and Chris makes those arguments. But I've talked to a few musicians who share our point of view.
Craig Wedren of Shudder To Think, last year before Virgin Mobile Festival, about reunions and the full-album concerts: "To be totally honest with you I think (playing an album start-to-finish) is weirder. It's totally splitting hairs but there's something wax museum, mausoleum-esque about watching somebody play their classic album. It's so Pink Floyd, because they're already such a [expletive] weird kind of relic. You expect them to go note-for-note, song-for-song through their nostalgia trip. But I think it's weird, Sonic Youth doing 'Daydream Nation.'"
Tortoise performed its album "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" at a concert in 2006. This past summer I asked drummer John Herndon about that experience: "Well, you know. The band was divided about whether or not to agree to do that thing. We did it. And we're done with it. And we won't be doing it again. It was fun. It was fine. But it wasn't exciting. It was fine."
The Pixies will roll into to town for a pair of "Doolittle" shows in a couple of weeks. I talked to Frank Black this past summer and he said: "You go out with the old songs because you earned it. You wrote the songs and people want to hear them again and the market calls you or you sort of ask the market to take you again. In the case of the Pixies it was definitely a case of the market asking us to come back. It's just what you do as a musician or a performer."
"Wax museum," "it wasn't exciting," "the market." Not exactly words you associate with rock-and-roll. Are we wrong to be hating on this trend? Are we being joykillers? At the very least we came up with 10 albums we'd love to see re-created by the original players -- but that will never happen because of unflagging eccentricity, fidelity to notions of artistic integrity, lingering animus between collaborators, public disownment of the material and/or death.
That list: The Beatles -- "The Beatles" ("The White Album"), Prince -- "The Black Album," Minor Threat -- "Complete Discography," Bob Dylan and the Band -- "The Basement Tapes," N.W.A. -- "Straight Outta Compton," Patsy Cline -- "Sentimentally Yours," Trouble Funk -- "Drop the Bomb," Led Zeppelin -- "Houses of the Holy," Minnie Riperton -- "Adventures in Paradise," Talking Heads -- "Remain in Light"
Any to add to the list?
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