Stiff Knees: A Small Price To Pay

22 12 2012

I just purchased a ticket to go and see Mental As Anything on New Year’s Eve (well actually, I got a friend to pick it up for me and I just paid him back). So that’ll make 8 bands in the last 11 weeks (I’m making quite a hobby of this aren’t I?)

For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why I was going to purchase the damn thing. I don’t have any of their albums, have no intention of buying any and I can only name a few of their songs of the top of my head. But today, I remembered.

The guy who bought the tickets is a pretty big Mentals fan and that fanaticism can be infectious. The tickets were reasonably cheap too (only $30 for non-members of the club) and I live only a stone’s throw away from the joint, so I can walk there in plenty of time, have a meal and still make the start of the show.

Regurgitating old photos: that's th way - ed.

Regurgitating old photos: that’s the way – ed.

When I got my ticket off George, I asked him what time he was going and if he was having a meal. He told me he was just going to have something at home, because that was one of two things that he couldn’t do; he can’t have a meal and then go and see a show. If he has a big meal and wants to listen to music, then he must sit at home and just veg out to something.

The other thing that he can’t do is go to a show and sit there, it doesn’t feel nature apparently. It was this that got me thinking about all my other live show experiences and how I felt about the issue. And, well, I totally agree with him. Going to a show and not standing is like buying a remote control car and not using it, a waste of money.

Told you I was a long way from the stage

Told you I was a long way from the stage

I remember my first show, The Church’s ‘Future, Past, Perfect’ show last year. They played three albums in their entirety, but for the first two, I was seated (admittedly quite close), but for the third album, I was up by the stage and it was freaking awesome. You really got a sense of the energy required by the band members to do the show. I remember during ‘Hotel Womb’ just seeing the sweat just dripping of Steve’s face, it was something that I’ll never forget.

Then with Icehouse a few months back, front and slightly off centre, there I was; totally worth it. Got some good photos out of it and the experience was awesome. Despite not being my favourite band, the atmosphere was way better than that of The Church (to be honest though, Icehouse are a much more commercially successful band than The Church, so people know who they are without needing an explanation).

Best photo I've taken yet

Best photo I’ve taken yet

My next show was the INXS/Matchbox Twenty show at the Win Entertainment Centre (WEC). Because I didn’t know much about the new lead singer of INXS, Ciaran Gribben, I wasn’t sure what the show would be like. And Matchbox Twenty, despite being my favourite band growing up as a kid, don’t really rate that high on my list any more. But I did felt like I owed them one for past memories, and their song ‘She’s So Mean’ actually meant something to me. So this show was more a case of ‘I’m going just to be able to say that I’ve seen them live’. As a result, I may have skimped on the ticket and didn’t go all out like I had done previously. The ticket still cost a cool $129 though. The seat was up high and off to the extreme right of stage. Initially it was bearable, but looking at the crowd build up below played on my nerves and made me regret not spending the $160. Later in the show I really did regret it, because I actually yawned mid-song. So if anyone from Matchbox Twenty is reading this, I didn’t mean it as an offence, I just didn’t feel the magic. So when I was asked about it, I was honest and said that I didn’t feel anything, but didn’t know if it was the venue or my seat.

Then just last week, I was able to tell; it was just my seat. Seeing The Church, DEVO and Simple Minds but right in front of the stage was awesome. Admittedly I risked getting kicked out (on more than one occasion) but it was well worth it. Despite not knowing some of the DEVO or Simple Minds songs, the atmosphere was truly memorable.

This one's quite cool though

This one’s quite cool though

With the Matchbox Twenty show though, there were no seats down on ground level, it really was just standing space. With the Church, DEVO, Simple Minds gig, you could tell that the main audience members were of an older age demographic; as there were seats on ground level that went pretty close to the stage. Despite this though, I don’t think anyone used them, I didn’t. Even Amanda, who had cancer and a raft of other health issues had the energy to stand up for the full 3 and a bit hours (that’s dedication – ed.).

So I think it quite definitive then; standing up is far superior to sitting down when seeing live music. About the only circumstance that might be good to sit down is an outdoor concert. Even then, it would only be cool if it was on a grassy hill, not got seating outside. I’ve not been to one as yet, but there’s still time.

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