So, the Michael Learns to Rock concert came and went and now comes the task of compiling my thoughts to write about it. As always, I resort to lists because it helps clear the jumble-bumble in my head:
1) I WENT!
So, I didn’t give a hoot about Bryan Adams coming here whenever he came because I’m not a big fan of the guy, but MLTR was integral to my years where I learned to appreciate music. Musically the band is sure up for criticism as Nepa Li himself said the music is simple, but I think there’s a beauty to that. Most things that are complicated go waaay over people’s head (YOU try reading and understanding Kierkegaard) and MLTR has been able to provide true soft rock, and one that sticks.
The three of them (and joining them at the concert was a new bassist) have been together for a long time, and any band that can stick together for so long deserves respect (if even they’re not my kinda music).
So, point being: I WENT… and I thought it was FANTASTISH! (<– fiiiiiiiiine, so that’s not Danish for ‘fantastic’ but, whatever.)
2) Segregation of seats
Okay, so I wasn’t a huge fan of the seating arrangement. I mean, if you bought a Silver ticket you might as well have stayed at home or helped yourself to french fries on Kathmandu Mall’s rooftop restaurant because there wasn’t much to see. Being with the press we were supposed to get press passes but for reasons unknown (I assume general lack of organizational skills) left us with mere tickets into the Silver seating.
Being press, this was high unacceptable (I mean, we did have work to do too) and something had to be done. I mean, WTF.
So, my friends and I took it upon ourselves to use a connection (my goodness do those come in handy here!) and we flashed our smiles to get into the Gold area. Better than Silver but even then, there was a bit of distance to the stage. Not ones to easily take defeat, my resourceful friends and I politely talked to the guard-dais and explained that we were press who didn’t get our all access passes and BAM…Platinum section was conquered.
From where we were – the view was AWESOME.
3) Sounds, lights, and action
So, why was the Platinum section so great? There are several reasons. I am assuming those up front and center (besides the VVIP snobs in seats (who SITS at a rock concert?!) who paid stupid amounts to crane their necks) saved up and paid a decent sum because they are legit fans. Pretty much everyone around me knew most of the lyrics, and if not, they were fan enough to sing along even if they were making up some of the lyrics as they went.
I will say this, simple the songs may be, but they do know how to draw the crowd in. Even if they’re not the hot and swanky youngsters they once were, and maybe they can’t light up a stage like Bruce Sprinsteen even though he’d most definitely aged, the boys put on a good show. Talking to the crowd, using the concert for a video for their upcoming album, – they did know what they were doing. Playing most of their top numbers was a good idea, the solo was great, the acoustic was well well well done, and saving their three best hits (and most requested by the crowd) for right at the end – ingenious.
Sadly, the sound system was not so excellent. Quality could have been better, but where clarity in speakers failed, I do believe the lights and the back-screen made up somewhat. The stage, though a little high for my liking, was decent and the thank goodness load shedding doesn’t seem to bow down to our Danish stars! Pretty lights in an array of colors definitely added to the mood of the songs, which we know can get a tad romantic, and oh baby baby, was there some sex appeal on the stage.
4) What bringing sexy back REALLY is
I propose the band name be changed to “Michael teaches how to bring sexy back” (Boo to JT… can’t STAND him. Also, any guy who singers higher than a larger number of girls has got to have something wrong somewhere…most likely in the balls-region). Wearing a suit with a gray coat, accenting his style with a skinny tie, and oh my flipping the longish shaggy hair over, my friend and I still ***sigh*** over the man’s ability to throw a mean riff out there and look so.damn.fine. Let me repeat: so.damn.fine.
So others were hidden behind drums, in standard black, or even changing outfits mid-concert from pimpin’ white to pimpin’ black, Michael, Michael, Michael, made me swooooon and so now The Man is throwing (empty) threats of punches in the future (but let’s be honest, My Man, adorable as he is, has his own style that I like and Michael has his own style that I really really really like!)
In other news of sexy: the bass. so.effing.hot. There is nothing finer than a solid bass that is so subtle but sooooooo seeeeexy. Most bassist don’t get the attention they deserve, while they’re not in the limelight like the singer, or even busting out crazy chords like the lead guitar, the vibration from the bass that moved through speakers into my belly and up to my heart was like a drug. So delicious and so divine.
5) Music and the memories they breath
So, I’ll be honest, I probably stopped listening to MLTR back in elementary when their fame was at their peak – but their peak was so high that most of their songs are still engraved in my brain and it took almost nothing for me to remember just about all of the lyrics.
I’ve written before about how music is a time machine and this concert was another reminder of that. Hearing song after song I was taken back to a time to cassettes (which children born post 90’s won’t even know about thanks to CD players and iPods), being tuned to the radio, and rocking to at our school’s talent show where the ‘cool kids’ busted out the so in vogue numbers.
Perhaps the most vivid memory I have of MLTR was induced when they decided to play “25 minutes”. This song is staple to the way I remember my cousin. Over 10 years older than me, I recall being no more than 9 when my cousin was swallowed whole by the song and took it upon himself to teach me the lyrics, which I remember till this day. A teenager and experiencing some young-love-induced drama the words were always hanging off his lips and pouring into my ear and I sang them back to MLTR on the stage.
6) Not musical and yet…still singing
So, like I’ve mentioned, the crowd was singing, but ‘singing’ makes it sound like it was socially acceptable and enjoyable. It wasn’t. People around me (men and women both) were belting songs out and if they could hold a tune I’d have been more tolerant but the fact that my ears literally hurt by the end is indication of how the experience wasn’t pleasant.
This is where I have beef with the audience: why do you pay money to go see a band you love IF YOU CAN’T HEAR THEM SING BECAUSE YOU’RE SINGING SO EFFING LOUD AND NOT LETTING OTHERS HEAR THEM SING EITHER?!!!?!??! I understand the desire to want to sing along – I really do, I don’t have a great voice but I just can’t help but sing whenever I hear The Beatles play (now that’s a band I’d happily sell an organ for if I could go back in time to see in concert) and I get why people feel the need to sing along at shows – I’ll admit, I’ve done it. But why SCREAM along? I just think it’s a little disrespectful to the band/performers.
And… speaking of screaming and disrespecting – WHAT’S WITH THE FREAKING GIRLS THAT JUST SCREAM?!! Not even scream-along-in-an-attempt-to-sing, but legit just let out a high pitch ear shattering EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKK. So much disrespect to the people on stage, and just down right effing annoying to others in the crowd trying so hard to enjoy the music.
7) Another thing to take a piss on
Toilets. Oh.Em.Gee. I tried to take a picture with my phone but alas it was terrible. The toilet was a huge hold dug in the ground behind a thin black curtain. Not even a large hole where you can spread you legs far enough and relieve yourself, but a hole so big you could easily fit three or four coffins in. I’m not even kidding, like, this is too good for me to even make up.
And so the toilet was this: HUGE MASSIVE DUG OUT with a lining of sand… I saw it and literally laughed.
8) What it’s all about.
Anyways, despite my criticisms, I still really enjoyed the show. Even though I was (no-joke) mildly worried my hearing would be impaired, there is such a thrill to being at a show with other people who love the music and are there just for that exactly. No pretense, not for Facebook albums, not because they had money and nothing else to do (which might have been the case for some people) but because they really truly admire the music and the people behind it. That’s why I go to concerts, because I’m there to see who’s performing, and I’d like to let them perform. And being in a crowd that shares your enthusiasm, it’s exhilarating!
Everyone trying to get close to the stage, getting amped up, oh man, I was so in the crowd I actually felt hot and forgot that I was in a massive open space. It really felt like a steamy indoor concert at some point – who knew that was even possible in Tudikhel??!
So…I think the crowd was decent (at least in terms of way-up-there energy level), the location was decent, the music rocked, the band rocked, and I would have left on this epic high had it not been for the annoying Malvika Subba and some guy coming on stage and whining something into the mic. Really? They were a disappointment in trying to get the crowd going before MLTR got on stage (lame jokes about his side of the crowd and her side of the crowd blah blah blah), and the only thing they really did for me was leave the taste of fart in my mouth after a really good meal (assuming I was gorging on a heavy feast of MLTR!). I really could have done without her.
ANYWAYS, I still had a great time (not sure the skank girls in small skirts and extra high heels would say the same) and even though I didn’t have my camera on me, I was able to take audio clips, video clips, and photos on my phone! Sadly it’s a phone for a reason and not a camera/recorder/video camera and for some reason I can’t figure out the format to upload the audio and video on here, so, you’re left with some not-so-good photos.
The photography hobbyist in me is slightly ashamed, but ladies and gentlemen, I present to you (bad photos) of MLTR, live in Kathmandum Nov 19, 2011:
mmmmmm…sexy sexy man in a sexy sexy sexy suit
Next up, I hear the Scorpions are coming to town? Will I be attending that? You bet your ass I’m not. Why? – because I’m not a Scorpions fan.