Words and photos by G.
After seeing Lady Gaga perform at Roseland Ballroom on April 4, 2014, I thought I’d seen the biggest spectacle possible that weekend, but I was dead wrong. Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz (sic) tour came to Barclays Center in the dreaded Brooklyn on April 5, 2014 and full disclosure: I expected to despise the show. From what little I’d heard Of Miley’s music up to walking into the venue, I was not impressed with it (despite giving credit where credit is due – she can actually sing). I will say, that I left the venue not thinking very much more of her music (again, giving her full credit for singing live unlike so many other pop stars), but as far as the performance, it was probably one of the best shows of the year (and if this is your first time seeing the site, know that I see several hundred bands a year, so this speaks volumes). As you read my observations about the Bangerz Tour, please note that I’m going to have to get up on my soap box a few times.
1. Miley Cyrus doesn’t give a FUCK! I think it’s commendable that she started off as a squeaky clean child star and not only did a 180 degree turn, but she basically has poured gasoline all over her old self and has lit the match. Soap Box Alert: While oldsters like myself were able to look at the show from an objective point of view, having a blast people watching and also observing the spectacle of the show itself, it made me seriously fear for the future of the planet. The audience featured tons of girls (without their parents) who looked like they were seriously underage and who were all dressed like whores (low cut everything and leaving very little to the imagination). I am not a prude. If you want to dress like a whore or a nun, more power to you! What is concerning is that I am smart and old enough to know the difference between self expression and self degradation. I am not sure the majority of the concert goers are that fortunate. As evidenced by the excessive selfie-taking instead of being present in the moment, if the audience by and large walked away from this concert feeling empowered in ANY way, the world is in serious trouble!
2. Before the show started, the music over the loud system had generous helpings of profanity-laden songs using the “N-Word” and explicit lyrics such as “suck my dick” and “motherfucker” and these songs were audience sing-a-longs. So I am confused – as a white person, if I use the “N-Word,” I am going to hell, yet it’s perfectly ok to use it in a pop song and is appropriate to encourage young kids to sing it?! If people are going to still use the word, the stigma that comes along with it either needs to go away across the board or stop jumping down people’s throats when you are not treated equally. Playing this kind of music before the show started sets such a bad example to her young and impressionable audience. I would have preferred “common sense lessons” being blasted over the loud speakers with phrases such as “IF YOU ARE GOING TO TEXT INCESSANTLY, YOU ARE NOT LIVING IN THE MOMENT” or “YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY PERSON ON THE PLANET SO PLEASE BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS” or “THERE IS SO MUCH AMAZING ART OUT THERE ON THIS PLANET, EXPLORE IT AND QUIT WASTING YOUR TIME WITH THIS CRAP.”
Miley Cyrus Merch
3. The merch featured an inflatable banana (!!!!) that said “Miley Cyrus Bangerz,” low cut panties with a tongue sticking out over the crotch and a poster of Miley where she is pretty much showing her pussy, which appears to be clean shaven and makes her look even younger than her 21 years, according to the picture. Hey, if she can show it, I can talk about it. I am 100% guilt free. I hate sounding like a prude, because I am one of the most liberal people out there, but showing that much skin when her body looks way younger than her 21 years is VERY CREEPY and encourages a lot of bad behavior from the young and old.
4. The visuals Miley used were so good! From the opening of the show, the visual presentation was damn near perfect. A giant version of her face started the show on a screen and as she did one of her signature looks of sticking her tongue out, a giant tongue appeared from the screen which turned into a slide and then she slid down it and the show began! Later on, there was every permutation of trippy visuals that would have not been out of place at a Flaming Lips or Grateful Dead show! But of course, during a costume change, there was a several minute montage of Miley wearing next to nothing and in bondage gear (see below for a tame picture). Again, very artful pictures and for someone like me, I think the pictures were very sexy, but I’m a gay guy who can appreciate fierceness. To so many young kids in the audience who just want to emulate their idol, can you imagine how many extra nudie kid pix are going to be out there because of this?
Miley Cyrus – screen projection
5. Miley Cyrus’ dog died earlier in the week, and she was understandably and visibly distraught. She paid tribute to her dog no less than 5 times, including a gigantic inflatable dog (see below for a glimpse of how large the dog was), which of course she dry humped.
Miley Cyrus paying tribute to her deceased dog Floyd but humping his leg.
6. Miley Cyrus delivers a stadium-worthy performance, unquestionably. She interacts with the audience, gets them all riled up and has them eating out of the palm of her hand. So many bands have forgotten what you are supposed to do when you perform in a stadium. Bands like Arctic Monkeys who stand in front of a thin row of lights that are placed over the letters AM, clearly don’t need to have dancing midgets, but come on bands, give us a show! And Miley’s show featured insanely cool visual projections, midget dancers, dancers dressed up as fluorescent teddy bears, movable parts on the stage (including a car and a bed), and of course my favorite part of the show – a flying hot dog (see picture later)! The costumes were over the top and speaking of costumes, it’s a wonder why Miley even bothered getting dressed at all because she was practically naked and shaking her ass (which was visible) for the duration of the 2 hour show (except for one outfit, though that was sheer). Again, as a 21 year old, her body is in great shape (I personally think she looks like a 15 year old girl, which is what makes her nudity so creepy to me), so I say get naked, live long and prosper. But again (soap box alert), do the people in her audience know the difference of when it’s appropriate to express yourself and when you are inviting lots of perverts to stare at your way young looking body by exploiting yourself? Miley has a team of people working with her (and exploiting her with her consent for assloads of money that she is surely raking in during this sold out tour), but do your children have someone to turn to when they set themselves up for the inevitable exploitation and the emotional scarring that is almost certain to come from emulating Miley? And if not, you just have to think about all the negativity that puts out into the world whether that comes in the form of kids growing up with trust issues or negative body issues, etc. It’s scary and completely avoidable.
7. Miley encouraged the crowd to express themselves too. She encouraged pot smoking, same sex kissing and even had a song where she told the crowd to get naked and the more naked they got, the better chance they had of appearing on the big screen projecting out to the crowd. I am all for pot smoking, nudity and same sex kissing, so it’s hard not to sound like a curmudgeon, but it only seems like Miley is trying to be controversial by being so extreme. I recently saw footage of old interviews with her where she pretty much denounced homosexuality and drug taking due to her religious upbringing, so I feel like she is not only full of shit in her new found independence, but she is setting such a bad example purposely when she knows there are tons of young people looking up to her when she’s not going to be there for them when they develop complexes about all the things she encouraged them to do.
8. She covered Bob Dylan (“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”), Lana Del Rey (“Summertime Sadness”), Coldplay (“The Scientist”) and Dolly Parton (“Jolene”). Amazing to me that she can dabble in music this diverse when her own songs sound completely generic, overproduced and unoriginal. And the sad thing is, because her audience is so young and inexperienced, they don’t know that there is a world of amazing music out there because they are being force fed this auto-tuned crapola.
9. Each number seemed to get more ridiculous than the one before it, and though it was visually amusing, it seemed like a desperate cry for attention. In the two hour show, we saw Miley dancing with midgets, spreading her legs on top of a gold car, humping the leg of a blow up dog, Miley touching herself on a bed surrounded by all of her dancers, leotards creeping so far up her ass they were practically wiping her pancreas (to quote Andrew Dice Clay), twerking, inflatable animals, fluorescent life sized teddy bears, insanely trippy visual projections, people in the audience throwing masks on stage and Miley putting them on and singing with them on and last but not least, my favorite part of this show…
Miley Cyrus Rides A Flying Hot Dog!!!
10. She rode a flying hot dog!!!!! EPIC!!!!
Again, parents please talk to your kids and tell them what is up. Please teach them common sense. I’m not saying “right and wrong.” Those are a matter of opinion. Common sense is being cognoscente of the fact that YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY PERSON ON THE PLANET, SO PAY ATTENTION AND BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS! Please tell them when it’s appropriate to express yourself and when it makes you look like a fucking slut. And foremost, please culture them in art and entertainment so this horrible music will die once and for all.
The setlist (spelling errors in tact) was:
SMS (Bangerz) / 4×4 / Love Money Party / My Darlin’ / Maybe You’re Right / FU / Do My Thang / #GETITRIGHT / Can’t Be Tamed / Adore You / Drive / Rooting For My Baby / You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Bob Dylan Cover) / Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey Cover) / The Scientist (Coldplay Cover) / Jolene (Dolly Parton Cover) / 23 / On My Own / Someone Else.
Encore: We Can’t Stop / Wrecking Ball
Encore 2: Party in the USA
G Rides A Flying Hot Dog!
For the record: Will I put any Miley Cyrus music on my ipod? Doubtful. Will I go see her in concert again? Absofuckinglutely.
Photos and words by G.
Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014
Lady Gaga is performing 7 shows at the iconic New York venue Roseland Ballroom shuts its doors for good on April 7, 2014. I attended her show on April 4, 2014 and before I give you 10 observations from the show, I’d like to reminisce a bit about Roseland. I’ve seen countless shows at Roseland from Radiohead to Lily Allen to New Order. The venue housed The Black Party and it was also where I danced on stage with Grace Jones! Such memories! Roseland you will be missed and it’s tragic that the rumour is that the building will be turned into condominiums! But anyway, here are 10 observations from the Lady Gaga show on April 4, 2014.
Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014
1. Lady Gaga performed for a paltry one hour. Even new bands that barely have one album out play for longer. I totally get that these are “warm up” shows for her ArtPop Ball tour, but that is ridiculously short. Let the rumours start as to why she was unable to play for longer? Is she on drugs? Is she getting off drugs? Is she just lazy? The show should have been advertised differently if it was going to be that short. For someone that loves her fans as much as she does, that’s a shitty thing to do to them. Which brings me to observation number two:
Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014
2. The VIP package made you pay twice as much as a normal ticket cost for the show. Though it did get you early entry to the venue (Entry at 5:30 pm. She went on at 9:15-ish), you did not have a special section to stand in, so if you got there late, you were screwed! In essence, the “VIP Access” made you have to stand there longer than everyone else and though it was nice that you were given a commemorative bag and poster (with poster tube), they gave it to you when you walked into the venue, so you have to schelp it around all night! In the mob scene that was the “pit” at Roseland, that was not a nice thing to do to your fans. However, as Roseland has notoriously bad sight lines, I guess it was either this or not be able to see at all.
Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014
3. Her voice sounds great. If the drug rumours are in deed true, it hasn’t affected her voice. She can genuinely sing! In fact, you can see a video of “Born This Way” shot by yours truly at this link (which will open in a new window).
4. If you tried to sneak up to the front, the Little Monsters will cut you! Granted, I thought that was kind of awesome because those of us in the front paid our dues for those coveted spots, but still – there ain’t no fury like a Little Monster scorned. The people standing near me and my friend at the show were total characters – on our left, we had a guy with the best biceps I’ve ever seen arguing with his sister about family business all night and on our right, a woman who literally had brought a drug store with her to the show. In the course of the evening, the woman drank mini bottles of alcohol which can be found at liquor stores, smoked several joints (she did share though!), had an E-cigarette and snorted coke – and ALL in plain view. Go on, girl!
5. When Gaga addressed the crowd, she used a squeaky Olive Oyl type voice which was ridiculous and annoying. When you are performing with your pussy out, it’s really hard to buy the “I’m so innocent” act.
6. 4 of the 11 songs she played featured her sitting down behind the piano. Also, one of the pianos was stationed in a spot where the over $500 tickets were, and while those people got a little extra value for their ticket price, the rest of the venue could pretty much not see a thing during that section of the show. When 15 minutes of her 60 minute show are being cockblocked by bad sight lines, that is NOT COOL!
7. Performing in your panties and grabbing your crotch is all the rage!
8. Gaga looked bloated. I’m not trying to start any blasphemous rumours, but as we all know, if you really break your hip, the recovery time is around a year and a half, not 4 months. Just sayin’.
Lady Gaga Roseland Merch
9. The Merch. – “Lady Fucking Gaga” T-shirts and cups. Enough said.
10. She lives for the applause.
As I got to the end of my list, I realized it sounds like I am complaining. To some extent, I am complaining because I see A LOT of live entertainment, and I look at everything objectively (though I am completely grateful for the experience). I feel it’s the job of the performer to make me leave with a smile on my face. Gaga definitely did that and she puts on a good show (despite this one being criminally short) but in some ways the joy I felt was overshadowed by a bunch of douchey moves that her team concocted to torture her fans that have little or no basis in comparison to know the difference.
What was your experience like? Tell us in the comments section.
The setlist was:
Born This Way (acoustic) / Black Jesus – Amen Fashion / Monster / Bad Romance / Sexxx Dreams / Dope / You and I / Poker Face (acoustic) / Just Dance / Applause.
Photos by G.
To say the Kraftwerk show (their second of 2 sold out nights) at the United Palace Theater in New York on April 2, 2014 was mind-blowing is taking the easy way out. The show took all of your senses on a journey for 2 solid hours and frankly, I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same again. Here are 10 things I observed at the Kraftwerk show. As you look through these pictures, please note that the show was in 3-D, which pushed the boundaries out a little further on the definition of the word “epic.”
1. Mind-blowing visuals were not saved for the finale. The show got better and better with each new song. With a 20 song set list, my brain was so over-stimulated, I could barely even function once the show was over! Of course, I pulled it together eventually
2. The United Palace Theater is absolutely stunning. It’s very ornate (more so than the Beacon Theatre), and though it’s located on 179th Street, the trek was completely worth it. Security would not let you find your own seat. They insisted they help you to your seat which caused a traffic jam of epic (and extremely annoying) proportions.
Ralf Hutter of Kraftwerk
3. Ralf Hutter is the only original member of Kraftwerk that is still in the band.
4. Despite being one of the most visually stunning shows I’ve ever seen, SO MANY PEOPLE felt compelled to keep getting up during the show and walked back and forth thus obstructing the views of so many people who actually attended the show to WATCH IT! I swear, what is wrong with people?! Either they text too much, talk too much, or in this case walk around too much. What’s the point of going to a show if you aren’t going to be present?
5. The lone words Ralf uttered to the crowd were “Auf Wiedersehen.”
6. Even though some of their songs are 40 years old, they still sounded fresh and contemporary. Accept no other robot substitutes (read: Daft Punk)
7. Being in a room filled with nearly 4,000 people wearing 3-D glasses was super cool!
8. This show definitely goes down as one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, and I’ve seen thousands of bands.
9. Coldplay (on their song “Talk”) basically stole the music for “Computer Love” and 2 Live Crew (on their song “Dick Almighty”) took “The Man-Machine.” I hope they paid royalties! Hearing their music makes you realize what pioneers Kraftwerk are and how many musicians owe them a lot for being so forward thinking.
10. If Kraftwerk ever comes to your town, DO NOT MISS THE SHOW UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!
And now, enjoy some more stunning photos from the show!
Ralf Hutter of Kraftwerk and Geoffrey Dicker
Great meeting you Ralf, and as I told you in person – thanks again for one of the most amazing shows I’ve ever attended! You are a god!
Stay tuned for a video of “The Man-Machine” (where you will see what I complained about in Observation #4).
The setlist was:
The Robots / Metropolis / Numbers – Computer World / It’s More Fun To Compute / Home Computer / Computer Love / The Man-Machine / Spacelab / The Model / Neon Lights / Autobahn / Prologue / Tour De France 1983 / Tour De France 2003 (Etape 1) / Tour De France 2003 (Etape 2) / Airwaves / News / Geiger Counter – Radioactivity/ Ohm Sweet Ohm / Trans-Europe Express – Metal On Metal – Abzug / Boing Boom Tschak – Techno Pop – Musique Non Stop
Encore: Aero Dynamic / Planet of Visions
Photos by G.
Chelsea Clinton and Lily Cole
On March 19, 2014, Chelsea Clinton and model/actress Lily Cole discussed Lily’s new app “Impossible” at the Apple Store in SoHo, New York. Despite the negative connotation with the title of the app, “Impossible” seeks to help connect people to find others out there with the same interests, connect people to make their impossible dreams come true (sort of like how Craig’s List offers services) and also just gives a space for people to just show their gratitude.
The information presented was quite awesome. It gives you the feeling that there can be an self-moderated online community that seeks positivity instead of whining and bitching about all that is wrong with the world. It also seems to present an alternative to the time wasting and ever-present negativity that you find on Facebook and Twitter.
On a personal note, I’ve fallen for celebrity/politician bullshit many times in the past where you see them speak (either on TV or in real life, for me mostly in real life) and they seem to be such pleasant people, but once the cameras are off and they have the chance to really ‘put their money where their mouth is’ so to speak, you see a different side of them completely. Lily and Chelsea Clinton spent a good amount of time talking about giving gratitude and being thankful for all their blessings and moments after the talk, Clinton showed her
gratitude true colors by having ZERO intention of stopping to talk to the couple of fans that were interested in meeting her. What happened to all that gratitude she just mentioned? Hmmmm….. The moral of the story: NEVER TRUST A POLITICIAN. I’m grateful that I never have and I never will. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Photos by G.
Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys
If you read any music website these days, they can’t stop stroking it over the band Arctic Monkeys. During the release of last year’s “AM” album, their fifth record, the band blew up and are now playing arenas. Despite their growing popularity, prior to seeing them live, I’d only heard two of their songs. Because I am in a position to meet the people that create the art, I often choose to meet the artist before I take a look at their work because from experience, countless artists of all genres that have severely rocked my world have been super cool and others whose art I could take or leave have turned out to be pricks. There is too much choice in the world for me to waste my time with people that have little or no respect for the very people that have contributed to their success. Despite having TWO bad experiences meeting this band, I fully admit that the two songs I know from this band I quite enjoy, so I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and see them live.
This has happened to me many times before where I am literally sitting in an arena filled with 18,000 people and I have NO IDEA of any of the music I am about to hear. This method is not for everyone, but I highly recommend it. You can truly go in with an open mind and let these people do their jobs as rock stars and turn you into a fan before the night is over. Arctic Monkeys played their largest ever US show on February 8, 2014 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Here are 10 observations from my experience at the show.
1. The concert was not much of a ‘show.’ Playing Madison Square Garden is a privilege and not a right, so one would have thought this show would have been a spectacle as most concerts at the Garden are, especially since the band has spent 5 albums working up to this moment. Instead, the Arctic Monkeys had a gigantic but thin “A M” sign behind the band that lit up predictably during most songs. It was definitely a medium sized show placed in a large venue.
2. Arctic Monkeys do very little to get the crowd engaged. There was little banter between lead singer Alex Turner and the crowd. Turner played guitar for most songs and as a result, he stood in one place behind the microphone stand for the majority of the show. Crowd sing-a-longs were not happening either, which brings me to point number 3…
3. Arctic Monkeys songs are mostly forgettable. They do have some catchy moments, but would I rather listen to or see a band like Kasabian, Fratellis or Scissor Sisters whose music will not leave your head once it burrows itself inside? Yeah, any day! I mention these three bands because to me, Arctic Monkeys are an amalgamation of these 3 bands. I made myself a playlist of all the songs they performed in concert so I can focus on the studio versions and like I felt at the show, the music is pleasant and not offensive, but that’s about all I can say for it. I don’t see myself listening to their music on constant repeat.
4. Their music is very formulaic overall. Not very exciting verses and large choruses. So original. NOT!
5. They focused too much on their new album. They played all but 2 tracks off their newest record so fans that have been with Arctic Monkeys since the beginning have effectively been forgotten at their largest show to date in America. What a way to say thanks to your fans. Based on my not good experiences of meeting them, I am not surprised one bit.
6. The crowd was limp. As I said earlier, the band did very little to get the crowd engaged but for this bullet point, I’d like to focus on the lack of the crowd getting excited during songs. Sure there was generous applause in between songs, but it seemed that once a song started, people went back to texting and taking annoying cell phone pictures of either the band or the people they came with instead of getting involved with the show. I spent a lot of time looking around at the crowd reaction during the songs and for the lack of excitement I saw, I think people would have been better off playing the records at home and saving the expense and hassle of going to an arena. This is actually an observation that can be noted at most concerts as technology has really hindered people’s ability to live in the moment, but that’s a grievance for another day.
7. Their music, though popular, had little crossover appeal with people over 30. The crowd was extremely young and I felt like a dinosaur. For a rock band, I thought the crowd would be a bit more diverse, but I was wrong.
8. Lead singer Alex Turner is cute. Not the hottest guy I’ve ever seen, but he definitely has a 1950s greaser vibe going on and when I found myself getting bored, I was happy that I had some eye candy.
9. They covered The Beatles as safely as possible. It was the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles being on the Ed Sullivan Show on the weekend of the Arctic Monkeys concert so they played a little tribute to the Fab Four. They chose “All My Loving.” It was a “by the numbers” cover. No risk involved. Of course, every music site is juicing all over it like they took a risk and played “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” or “Helter Skelter” which would have been much more suited to their style. But with the new trend in playing covers, I am grateful they didn’t do an ironic cover where they played an acoustic version of a song that has no business being disrespected that way.
10. Final thoughts. I am more familiar with Arctic Monkeys than I was before I walked into the show. I can’t say I hated the show, because I did not. I also can’t say that I will become a die hard after seeing them live. They have a handful of songs that I can see myself revisiting and they have many more that were completely forgettable to me. I make it my mission to have fun wherever I go, in spite of my surroundings, and yes, I had fun. But that says more about me than it says about Arctic Monkeys. I can’t believe that in the two times I’ve seen this band in “autograph situations” they chose to ignore fans because I see no reason to patronize a mediocre band who have let a tiny bit of fame go to their heads. There are plenty of other bands who appreciate the position they are in and who are better performers.
The setlist was:
Do I Wanna Know? / Brainstorm / Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair / Snap Out of It / Crying Lightning / Old Yellow Bricks / Fireside/ Knee Socks / Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? / Arabella / Dancing Shoes / Pretty Visitors / I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor / Cornerstone / I Wanna Be Yours / Fluorescent Adolescent / 505 (with Miles Kane)
All My Loving (The Beatles cover) (with Miles Kane) / One For The Road / R U Mine?
Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys