Saturday, May 09, 2009

Concert update

For those checking back and wondering how the concert was GREAT! 3-1/2 hours of music with no intermission. We had seats behind the stage *behind Elton John), which turned out to be pretty good as we had a clear view of the stage--when the guy's head in front of me wasn't in the way. I swear he was 7 feet tall. Okay, maybe only 6-1/2, but you get the idea. This is the first time in this arena I've not been able to see over the person in front of me when seated. (This was not a problem when we were standing during the entire last set, it was only when we were seated that I couldn't see over him.)

Anyway, from where we were sitting we could see the different trap doors along the back of the stage opening to raise the different daises (six total--percussion, drums and keyboard for each band) or pianos at front of the stage, and could even see their hands flying across the piano keys. Billy's piano was on a rotating disc so that his back wasn't to one side of the audience the entire show--cool idea, no? There were also two screens set up behind the stage, one of which was directly in front of us, and one jumbo screen in front of the stage for everyone else.

The age of the audience ranged from college kids to aging hippies, and all us in-betweens. The latter were seated to my left, the former in front and behind. And the chicks directly behind us? They did not stop talking the entire concert. And because they were talking over the music, we had to listen to them all night. At one point I just wanted to turn around and tell them to shut up, or take it to the lobby. I find this sort of behavior incredibly rude, no matter what the venue or what kind of concert. The occasional comment to someone next to you is one thing, but when an entire group is talking so loud that everyone around them has to listen to it? How many people do they think came to hear them? That was the only negative aspect of the evening. Well, that and not going to the bathroom for four hours.

The way the concert is structured, the two pianists begin by performing some of each other's songs together, first just them and one keyboardist, then adding in other members of their bands. After six or eight songs, BJ left the stage, his piano was lowered, and there was a long set by EJ. Then the pianos and bands switched out and BJ played a long set, followed by another set of songs togther.

In our opinion, aside from a couple songs (I'm Still Standing, Crocodile Rock), EJ's set was more...sedate. With the exception of one guitarist who actually seemed to enjoy what he was doing, EJ's band almost catatonic . His people stayed in their assigned positions (except for that one guitarist who interacted with BJ's people at the end), and every time they showed someone in his band...blank looks on their faces, except that one guitarist, as though they wished they were someplace else. That is not to say people weren't singing along to the songs they knew, but it was a very mellow feeling. In fact, during one of the two songs no one in the audience seemed to know -- me included -- I found myself zoning out and could have easily fallen asleep. Good thing he kicked it up a notch after that one!

Billy Joel's band on the other hand...they were moving about the stage, hamming it up, laughing and having a good time together, and that energy carried over into the crowd. He was more personable and awknowledged those sitting behind the stage throughout the concert, even thanking "the people up there in Eau Claire"* at one point as he pointed to the nose-bleed section. His set was definitely the best. I would love to see him again in a solo concert some day.

All in all, a pretty good night!

*Eau Claire is a city northwest of Madison


Jana said...

Sounds like you had a great time...despite the chattering girls, the tall dude and the lethargic EJ musicians.

Maybe all of EJ's musicians hate him and would have rather been cleaning their toenails than playing music for him. LOL Just a guess. ;-)

Heather said...

ROFL at your speculation of EJ's crew. Ya never know, huh? LOL