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We'll be singing when we're winning...

The concert on Satuday was lovely, despite some technical difficulties at the beginning, wherein Elton John's piano pedal kept sticking, which resulted in three roadies - and at one point, Billy Joel, to the approval of the crowd - under the piano trying to fix it.  So, I got the impression that they switched the program around a little, and Joel did his thing first, then John did his, then they performed together.  It was very good - Joel performs his songs pretty straight (I remember this from the last concert), but John goes on wild flights of musical fancy in live performance, resulting at one point in the best rendition of Madman Across The Water that I've ever heard.  Fabulous.

...Not to mention the 10 minute performance of Rocket Man.  Great fun.  Good light show, too.

The crowd was ...


I've never been to a real stadium show before, and so I was not prepared for the constant movement, with people getting up and moving about non-stop, but Bob tells me that's pretty par for the course.  At least I am now prepared for the McCartney concert in August at FedEx stadium, which is considerably bigger than National.  My friend Alice tells me that people use a song they don't care for as a chance to get another snack, or a beer - and there were snacks and beer aplenty to be had.  Believe me, the wine bar at the Warner Theater has nothing - nothing! - on the array of comestibles on display at National - but, as Bob points out (and I concur), there isn't much to do for most of a baseball game except eat and drink.

Good overpriced hot dogs, though.  And they have a Boardwalk Fries.  I loves me some fries.

So - people moving around a lot.  I can deal with that - I may hate people, but people with a plate of nachos and a lite beer are happy people, and not throwing things.  Not that this crowd would be throwing much - they were mostly middle aged and middle class (not much of surprise there, eh?), so a bit more inhibited in everything except their appalling fashion sense.  Hot pants and white jeans (and the kind of stuff that hides in the back of your closet because you wore it as a teenager and can't bear to throw it out) were out in force.

We were lazy and didn't stand up much - it's really not that sort of music - but I noticed a lot of other people also didn't stand much, except down on the field.  Apparently, we're all lazy and old and prefer to sit and butt-dance in our seats.  At the end, when they did the last song (Piano Man), everyone stood and did the concert thing of singing the last chorus without any music (I think it's required), and it was fun, and happy, and ended the evening on a high note, but to my surprise, many people had left before then.

(Uh, the ones that hadn't gotten out of their seats .)

I don't know - it seems a terrible waste of money to me to leave early, but many people did.  Maybe older concert goers feel more strongly about avoiding traffic, or something.  Mind you, some of the missing people had seat-hopped and snuck onto the field - they seemed to give up checking tickets after a while, and there were definitely more people on the field by the end of the concert than at the beginning. 

(I hope they had a good time.  I can't do that with much success unless I can wrangle my way to the very front, as I am too short to see when everyone is standing.  Yes, even when the stage is up in the air.)
But some people really left the concert early.  Myself,  I can't imagine missing out on the last songs.  That's often when fun stuff happens (the performers get a little burst of extra energy as they know the concert is coming to an end, and they often get silly, especially Joel, who is a complete ham). 

One seat-hopping couple that ended up across the aisle from us provided some extra entertainment - I can only assume the guy was attending to humour his girl, since he drank several beers, and then fell asleep.  Girl was unimpressed, and amused herself by waggling his head around, holding him up by his shirt, and generally messing with him.

...If I'd had a Sharpie in my purse, I'd have offered it to her.  I'm sure we'd have had even more fun.

Once nice thing - for someone like me, who isn't a huge fan of crowds (I'm short; masses of people tend to make me fear a stampede), the crowd really wasn't bad.  No-one near us was wearing too much cologne, and really, the only smell was of beer and sweat, which I don't mind, since it reminds me of holidays as a child in then-Yugoslavia (now Croatia).  We would stay with a family who owned a boarding house (friends of my mother's - I still send them Christmas cards every year), and the Patriarch of the family, who was named Branco, would take us out on his motor boat to tour the small Mediterranean islands off the coast.  We'd stop at restaurants, and the adults would drink beer, and no-one wore deodorant (at that point, I'm not sure you could even get deodorant in Communist Yugoslavia), so my memory of those warm summer nights is of the mingled smell of beer and sweat.

Just like Proust with his madelines*, but considerably more pungent.

We did have a guy sitting next to us who was, um, twitchy, but in a very cheerful and happy way - he embodied the phrase "high on life" - but I switched places with Bob at that point, as I was afraid Twitchy McTwitchpants would smack his flailing hands into my arm.  Pain being a good concert-ruiner (and I tell you, I have a serious case of concert hands, despite rationing my clapping and instead "whoo-ing" until I was hoarse), I thought avoidance was good, and I hope he didn't think I thought he was crazy.

...Which I did, but he didn't need to know that.

No, all in all, for a stadium show, the crowd was pretty mellow, and now I am more prepared to deal with having to get up and let people in to the seat row multiple times during a show.  The only slightly annoying thing was getting out, but even that was pretty quick, just delayed somewhat by idiot pedestrians assuming the directions of the traffic cop didn't apply to them.  We got on the road in less than half an hour from the parking lot.  Not bad, eh?

So yes, it was a fabulous concert.  I'm looking forward to the next one.  I'll be wearing my Union Jack Converse knock-offs.  Oh yeah.

*Look it up.


( 18 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
Jul. 13th, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
Good Times!
Man, I'm jonesing for a concert now.... I'm easily led. Yes, I know this. But only by the quality folk. :>
Jul. 13th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
At one of the McCartney concerts Greg and I attended, there was a fellow sitting next to him who was very drunk and *very* enthusiastic, clapping his hands so hard at one point that he managed to smack Greg in the nose.

Greg's a nicer person than I am. I would have at the very least had words with the man. Greg shrugged and said "Honey, he's having a blast. Let it go."

I'd never leave early. That's often the best part!

I'm not a huge Phil Collins fan, but Greg is, and dragged me along to his Dance Into The Light tour. Turned out to be one of the best concerts I've ever seen. It's so much better when the performer is having as much as the audience.

Just a few left on my list--Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, and Jimmy Buffett.
Jul. 13th, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
I LOVE Jimmy Buffett. His concerts are a BLAST. I've been to about 3-4 of them at various venues. It's all the songs you know by heart, some really old ones (I thought I would never get to hear "Gypsies in the Palace" or "Desperation Samba" live, but I DID and it was GREAT!), and some from whatever new album he has out. You can always tell which songs those are, too, because the crowd (except for die-hard Parrotheads) doesn't know the lyrics. He plays it pretty straight, but they have a lot of fun, and the Coral Reefers get showcased as well.

That being said... While most of the people are middle-aged and happy, be prepared for the people who have tailgated all day. There are people who are dressed up, people who are drunk off their butts before the concert even starts, and those who are sparking during the concert or in the parking lot. There is always a certain ... let's call it "aroma" at a Jimmy Buffett concert. You, too, may be invited to puff, puff, pass by your neighbors at a Jimmy Buffett concert (the cops are usually looking, though). It's a very mellow crowd. Lots of drinking. Happy drunks, for the most part, but lots and LOTS of drinking.
Jul. 14th, 2009 03:27 am (UTC)
What is that in your icon? Is it a coronet and where did you find it?
Jul. 14th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
It is the oldest extant English crown (1370-1380)and is recorded on a list of jewels, etc. from 1399.

The crown came to Germany with Princess Blanche (daughter of Henry IV) who married Ludwig III in 1402 and was part of her dowry. The crown is originally thought to have belonged to either Edward III or Anne of Bohemia (Richard II's queen). Now it can be seen at the Residenz in Munich in the Schatzkammer (the Treasury at the Imperial Palace).

I loved this crown the first time I saw it and in doing some research, I came across a picture of it and totally swiped it without shame or fear to use as an icon. That's right-- shameless and fearless! 8~) The other one I lovelovelove from the Schatzkammer is St. George and the Dragon. Fantastic. Actually, the whole Residenz rocks!

Jul. 14th, 2009 02:15 am (UTC)
I got to see Rod Stewart with a friend when I was in High School. He changed bright suits so many times during the concert. It was pretty cool, especially since my only other concert experience at the time was thenewkidsontheblock.

Been to a few Buffett concerts too. Awesome fun time. The best one was on Buckeye Lake in OH. You either become a drunk or be amused by the drunks, but everyone sings and dances along. Good fun.

encores are always worth holding hope out for!

Edited at 2009-07-14 02:16 am (UTC)
Jul. 13th, 2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
My husband worked the concert, he was one of the stagehands you saw fixing the piano. He said it was a “not a bad concert”, which for a man who works 5 plus concerts a month is a great complement. I wish I had gotten a chance to go.
Jul. 15th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
Hee! Small world!

Like I said, the Joel part was pretty straighforward, but the John part was amazingly musical - though I'm not sure a lot of the crowd "got" it. :)
Jul. 13th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
We got to see Billy Joel a couple of years ago at Staples Center in LA. He was fantastic! I can't imagine leaving early--he did three encores, each a little better than the last. Definitely the best part!

We get to see Pink in September, which should be interesting for us almost 40-somethings...
Jul. 13th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
Billy Joel
We saw Billy Joel a year (or two) ago at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. The guy sitting next to me spent his entire concert involved in a personal conversation with Billy. I don't know if Billy ever answered him, but the guy was more than ready and willing to give him a critique of the whole performance (which was absolutely incredible!) Leaving before it was over would have been a mistake of gargantuan proportions.

I really wanted to go to the Billy and Elton concert, I just couldn't pay for the tickets in good conscience.
Jul. 13th, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)
I saw Billy Joel / Elton John during their head-to-head tour (or whatever) at RFK many years ago. I knew you'd love it. :-D
Jul. 13th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
Me too! I saw them at Vet's Stadium (may it rest in peace)
Jul. 13th, 2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
I attribute my love of madelines to my grandmother, who was an excellent baker, but who never read Proust. Still, glad I can find them in Starbucks, since her recipe died with her 10 years ago.
Jul. 13th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
I brought madeleines and tea to my senior seminar (on the Bloomsbury Group no less) once. It was grand. Until my professor refused to believe that I got the idea from Proust. "No, really, how did you know about madeleines and tea?"

Now I want tea and cookies. Mmm.
Jul. 13th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
Sooooo very jealous of the fabulous concert experience you just had... I love Elton John & Billy Joel and I am sure it was a great show. *sigh*

Maybe they'll come to an arena near me soon

And now I want tea and cookies, too...

Jul. 13th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
The first time I saw Elton John in concert was in 1977. I went with my best friend and dance partner, who passed away in 1990, so those are very bittersweet memories. Last year I got to see him again with both my daughters, at the youngest's college Mom's Weekend. It was a great show, and, because we got our tickets late, we were seated behind the stage, which turned out to be really great seats, close enough to see everything on stage, including facial expressions.
Jul. 14th, 2009 07:07 pm (UTC)
Turns out, it wasn't actually madelines and tea that brought on Proust's flood of memories, it was a rusk of toast dipped in tea, like his father had given him as a very small child.

He discussed it with someone and they decided it was too rustic an image, so changed it to the much more genteel tiny cakes.

I read this years ago, in an article on literature and evoking memories, they had a quote from him on the decision and the original incident. For some reason I just love that story, both of his original memories, and the decision to change it to this iconic image people have now.
Jul. 14th, 2009 07:09 pm (UTC)
I need to add that I still want madelines and tea whenever I hear them mentioned, too!
( 18 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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