Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Oak Ridge Boys in Kelowna

August 1, 2010

Just returned from seeing the Oak Ridge Boys at the Kelowna Community Theatre. They put on a great, high energy show to a packed theatre.

Old crowd for the most part though, but then we all go back a long ways with the The Oak Ridge Boys. Although there was a 13 year old there that impressed them when they saw her singing along to all of the old songs.

I think that they were pleased with the reception they got from the Kelowna crowd. They got a spontaneous standing ovation at the end of one song, mid concert.  Something you don’t see too often – especially with a seniors crowd. They claimed they were coming back next year.

Anyway, a great performance, they still sound good and look like they’re having fun up there. It was also a pleasure to see a group like that in a smaller theatre. They advertise that there are 853 seats in total.

After finishing at Kelowna tonight their next show was in Sweet Home, Oregon (I think near Eugene) tomorrow at 2:00 PM. They have a brutal traveling schedule. I hope they really love what they do.

Climategate (Hide the Decline)

February 4, 2010

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the link.

The 10,000 Hour Rule

September 5, 2009

In his excellent and interesting book, The Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell posits that those individuals who achieve brilliance in what they do – examples being Bill Gates, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, to name a few – expend in the area of 10,000 hours of practice to achieve the mastery of their given pursuits. (A fascinating book and highly recommended.)

Which is a segue into this YouTube video featuring some musicians who have obviously put in their 10,000 hours.

Thanks to Instapundit for the link.

I see dead celebrities

July 2, 2009

So Michael Jackson has passed to the great MTV show in the sky and from all of the media hype there is apparent concern that civilization teeters on the brink of the abyss.

I must admit that he was outside of my era but I can accept the apparent consensus that he was an innovator and a brilliant performer. But I’m afraid that from my point of view his weirdness trumped his musical heritage.

From his friend the chimp (the best line I read that was that Bubbles had been relegated to a sanctuary because he knew too much),  to his flamboyant dress and the gloves and the face masks, the ongoing facial surgery that left him looking more and more like a fugitive from a horror movie and the numerous stories, lawsuits and charges that tainted him with the evilness of pedophilia, he had become more of a caricature than  a real person.

Heavily in debt and living far beyond his means he was in the process of engineering a ‘comeback’ through a series of concerts, which no doubt would have brought the crowds and money in, but would in reality have been, shades of the Rolling Stones, Neil Diamond and others,  just one more trip down memory lane.

A comeback would have entailed  new material and acceptance by the young crowd that drives the pop market and that was not likely. Jackson had his time and his place in the fickle world of pop music and he was unlikely to ever regain the glory years.

But what fascinates me in all of this is the public reaction, with people in tears and apparent trauma over the death. It’s not like Jackson has done anything positive in recent years – just the opposite, but his passing seems to generate a hysterical response in a certain section of the populace. Is this a ”get a life’ factor coming into play?

Of course it’s not just with Jackson. When Princess Diana was killed the reaction worldwide was even more pronounced. And even when Pierre Elliot Trudeau died at the advanced age of 81 and many years removed from the political process, there were people calling in to talk shows concerned about the future of Canada with PET no longer there to steer the country.

There is always the public fascination with celebrity death – even minor celebrities – as witness the never-ending soap opera regarding the death of Anna Nicole, but only a few of them generate the mass grieving syndrome.

It’s not as though it is a new phenomenon either. The death of Rudolf Valentino in 1926 saw a massive turnout of people.

An estimated 100,000 people lined the streets of New York City to pay their respects at his funeral, handled by the Frank Campbell Funeral Home. The event was a drama itself: Suicides of despondent fans were reported. Windows were smashed as fans tried to get in and an all day riot erupted on August 24. Over 100 Mounted officers and NYPD’s Police Reserve was deployed to restore order. A phalanx of officers would line the streets for the remainder of the viewing. The drama inside would not be outdone. Polish Actress Pola Negri, claiming to be Valentino’s fiance, collapsed in hysterics while standing over the coffin, and Campbell’s hired four actors to impersonate a Fascist Blackshirt honor guard, which claimed to have been sent by Benito Mussolini. It was later revealed as a planned publicity stunt.[69] Media reports that the body on display in the main salon was not Valentino but a decoy were continually refuted by Campbell.

This article purports to give an explanation for the phenomenon:

The rise of celebrity also corresponds with a public increasingly devoid of total relationships with others, individuals’ connectedness with others and the broader society dampened by the anonymity of urban life, reduced civic involvements, increasing rates of singlehood and living alone, and by the instrumental relationships demanded by the workplace and marketplace. Further amplifying appetites for celebrities’ stories is the new personality type populating the social landscape, characterized by sociologist David Riesman as being “other-directed,” relying on others to define one’s own lifestyles and beliefs— particularly those publicly identified as living more interesting, glamorous, or important lives. Thus the public may know more about the celebrities’ stories than they do of those of their neighbors and associates.

And who knows, maybe he has it pegged right. But maybe it’s’simply that there are just a lot of nutbars out there.

Haggard and Kristofferson in concert

April 5, 2009

I had the opportunity to see Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson this past Friday at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. The Paramount is not a big theatre and we  had seats right up front which was a real plus, A great venue to see a performance.

Haggtard is 72 years old and his voice is still amazingly strong, Can’t say the same for Kristofferson who never had a great voice to begin with and doesn’t even have much of that left. But he wrote some great songs over the years and sang them with enthusiasm and looked like he was having fun, even when he messed up on the delivery a couple of times.

The musicians in Haggard’s band, The Travelers, were excellent and we were particularly impressed by his young lead guitarist. It turns out that he was Haggard’s 16 year old son. Hard to believe that anyone that young could be that good. Amazing.

The show started at 8:00 PM and the whole crew was onstage for a solid two hours. No encores, but what the hell.

All in all it was a great show and worth the money just to watch a seasoned professional like Haggard, up close and personal, do his job on stage.

They played to a full house and an enthusiastic crowd. Some a little overly enthusiastic. There are always a number of people who come, apparently not to watch the show, but to insert themselves into the proceedings. Obviously fortified by a little alcohol, recognized by Haggard when he dedicated one of his songs to the drunks in the crowd.

Nice to see that the good old boys are still hummin’ and strummin’.

A bad rap

January 19, 2009

Not the post I sat down here to write, but the Ellen Degeneres TV show is on in the background and she has some rapper on as the “musical” entertainer – don’t know who he is, but he is probably semi-famous. My God, it’s bad. Probably an indication of my advanced age and early roots, but I don’t see how it qualifies as music.Actually I don’t see how it qualifies as entertainment. It’s just annoying.

I was able to move from my youth and a love of jazz and blues, up through the singers of the day, Sinatra, Crosby, Sammy D., through Rock and into country, but I’ve hit the wall. Some of this stuff that passes as popular music today really sucks.

There – I’ve said it.

Odetta gone at 77

December 7, 2008

Odetta, one of the great voices of our time died earlier this month.

I first heard her voice on ‘Rawhide’, Max Feguson‘s CBC radio show during the mid-1950s. Feguson, always in character as his host, old Rawhide, featured an eclectic variety of music and performers and Odetta was only one of many talents that he showcased.

One thing that has always stayed in my memory was one Christmas season when Ferguson played a recording of Odetta singing Silent Night. It was a gorgeous rendition of the old Christmas carol. The following week he received a letter, which he read on air, from a woman complaining about playing that most holy of carols sung by ‘that woman’. The letter writer never said just what it was that offended her, but I could only assume that it was because because Odetta was a black woman and somehow that should have disqualified her from singing Silent Night, or at least having it played on the airwaves.

What I do remember is Ferguson sounding uncomfortable and embarrassed, not by being taken to task for his song selection, but by the abysmal ignorance of the woman writing the letter.

Because of the genre of her music, Odetta never became a household name. But that really isn’t important. She left an amazing legacy and it is unlikely that we will ever again hear a voice with her power, emotion and soul.

Indeed, in my opinion, she truly deserves the title of First Lady of Soul.

Sweet Georgia Brown and tractor

November 30, 2008

This is just too cool.

Thanks to Instapundit.

Return from Vegas

November 20, 2008

Just returned from a four day trip to Las Vegas where we had tickets for Bette Midler at Caesar’s and ventriloquist Terry Fator, last year’s ‘America’s Got Talent’ winner, at the Hilton.

Both great shows. Midler is a performer of the first order. Funny and still raunchy. The voice isn’t quite what it used to be, but she’s Bette Midler.

I was really looking forward to seeing Fator, and he didn’t disappoint. The theatre at the Hilton is smaller, which makes for a much more intimate venue, which works well for his act. Very funny and imaginative and the man is incredibly talented. It is hard to believe that he needed the TV win to become a star.

We didn’t spend much time on the Strip so I can’t honestly speculate on how the downturn in the U.S. economy has affected the revenue coming into the casinos. Although they didn’t look too busy from what little we did see. Lots of people on the street though, but who knows how much money they’re spending.

On the other hand, if the line-up for the $32 (taxes included) Sunday buffet at Wynn’s is any measure you wouldn’t think that there was any trouble in paradise.

The trip had its exciting moments. We almost had our rental car wiped out by an idiot who decided to suddenly change lanes in order to make a right turn. Unfortunately we were already occupying that space. Good brakes were the saviour. Then we were almost run over by a cabbie who decided to proceed forward while we were directly in front of his car. Uncomplementary words were spoken at high volume.

The weather was good – in the mid to high seventies F. A bit warmer than here at home where it was forecast to be +2 C today. But sunny and today I may have played my last game of golf for the season. Although we’ll keep our options open for next week.

Crowd behaviour at live concerts

October 14, 2008

A few weeks back we went in to Vancouver to take in the Neil Diamond tour. It was held in GM Stadium and the seats were very good, but it is a big venue. Not the intimate setting you would like but if you couldn’t fill a stadium for these events they would never happen.

What fascinates me about concerts today is the crowd behaviour. It seems to me that years ago the events that I attended were relatively quiet affairs. The patrons came to see the performer, listened and enjoyed, applauding where appropriate, absorbed the music and basically let themselves be entertained.

That doesn’t seem to be the case any more. Today it seems that the audience wants to be part of event. They stand and wave and whistle and cheer. Some dance and rows of people wave their arms back and forth in some semblance of rhythm. In some cases segments of the audience are as entertaining as the professionals up on the stage.

No doubt some of this at least is fueled by the sale of alcohol on site. A fellow in front of us at the Diamond concert could hardly stand up by the end of the show and I am sure he wasn’t the only one who had enjoyed himself up to a state of incomprehension. Let the good times roll.

At least with a ballad singer like Diamond the crowd quiets down pretty much during the actual song. During a rock concert I doubt that they hear a word. They just vibrate with the wall of sound.

One thing for sure, the performers love the reaction from the crowd. There could be no question in Neil Diamond’s mind that the crowd loved and appreciated his talent.


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