I accidentally nuked this post, so it was rebuilt from Google's cache. It may or not be filled with errors that were fixed at a later date...
Mandy Moore in Concert
I haven't been able to see the Police in concert, but I did just see....wait for it...wait...Mandy Moore!
Yeah, I know. It's not even close to the same, but it wasn't as painful as I thought it would be. She opened for Paula Cole (yeah, I don't get it either - shouldn't the bigger name on the ticket be the main act?) at 4th & B on Saturday. There was even an opening act for Mandy: Chris Stills.
There's no way I would have gone if the little wifey wasn't Mandy Moore's #1 fan, but...well, she is. Sadly, there weren't many people there (around 100, I'd guess), but I suppose that's to be expected for a 21 & up venue hosting a performer with fans who are generally 21 & under.
Candy (new version)
Before last week, I'd never listened to any of Mandy Moore's music. Sure, I'd heard that horrible bubblegum pop song from a million years ago: Candy, but who hasn't? Needless to say, I wasn't really very sure what to expect. Ironically, I'd had every opportunity to hear her new stuff since the little woman had been listening to Wild Hope (Mandy's latest CD) for the past couple of weeks, but I had managed to avoid hearing more than a few seconds here and there. And what I had heard hadn't overly impressed me.
So in preparation for the big event, I did a little research with the help of my good friend, Google. I confirmed that her old music (what little I heard) was bad. Real bad. It sounds just like all the other soulless, monotonous teeny-bopper crap that was - and still is - infecting the radio airwaves. But I decided that her new stuff isn't really all that bad. It borders on country and still leans a little to the pop-side of the spectrum, but it's definitely better than her old stuff. Mandy has a little bit of country-crooner in her voice, so the "country" comparisons are probably unavoidable.
All Good Things (live)
Man, did I ever underestimate Mandy's (yeah, I've decided we're on a first name basis now) music. On the album, she was wishy-washy, but live...she and her band rocked hard (except on the less "hard-rocking" songs, of course). There was none of that pre-recorded, lip-synched, carefully-choreographed pop crap here. Whatever Mandy Moore may have been when she started singing, she is now on her way to becoming a skilled musician, one that I would actually consider buying CDs from (though the wife will inevitably get one first, so I suppose I can just borrow hers).
There are 5 other members of the band: two guitarists (one of whom alternated between an electric and an acoustic guitar while the other stuck to the electric), a bass player (who looked totally out-of-place and also happens to be one of the album's producers, oddly enough), a percussionist and a pianist (both of whom are geeks from the Weezer school of geekiness) - all of whom were masters at their game. Mandy doesn't play an instrument, though she did have a brief stint banging on a tambourine. She did mention that she's learning to play the guitar...so she may be whaling away by the next tour. I suspect that Mandy is suffering from "instrumentalist envy" because she often played the air guitar throughout her performance (as well as the butt-bongos, which I found perversely fun).
Mandy and her band rocked so hard that my thoughts were drawn to another chick-led band that I like a lot: The Cranberries. I think, if Mandy can find the rocker inside her, she might just have the potential to become one of my favorite performers.
I wish I could share one of the live songs from the show, but I didn't have the presence of mind to record anything during the show and cameras were banned at the door (with some serious screening by big-guys-with-metal-detector-wands who seemed pretty intent on keeping the cameras out), so I have no photos to share either. Only the folks with camera-phones were able to take photos (I guess there's not much the door-dudes can do about these)...and since I consider camera phones to be for two kinds of people - teenagers and opportunist pervs - I don't have one. I'm sure the photos will turn up online before too long, though (I've only seen one so far - it's at the top of this entry).
As far as the show itself, Mandy seems to be following the same set list for all of her shows so far, so there weren't any real surprises there. She did talk to the audience several times (eliciting responses from a fat, flamboyantly gay, super fan next to me who was screaming, flailing his arms and shouting non-stop throughout the show - now I understand why so many gays get beat up), but most of her banter seemed rehearsed and insincere. The last song of the night was a less-poppy version of Candy that she told the audience she was only willing to perform because she felt that we had "a connection" with her. Goofy. She also mentioned the tour's Myspace page, Brown Tidal Wave, and told the story behind the name (I think it explains it on the page, it's not what you think).
I found Mandy's choice of attire for the show strange, but oddly endearing. She wore this baggy shapeless black shirt with tight black pants and 5-inch red heels with an over-long necklace sporting a huge gold pendant (not exactly rapper bling, but kinda weird). Her flat, parted-down-the-middle hair was definitely not "fresh from the salon" and covered her face for the first few songs (it was eventually pushed further back to show more of her very expressive features).
But it wasn't the clothes or the hair that made her performance. It was the emotion that she conveyed so openly and honestly as she sang. You can see some of this in the videos, but I think you have to see her in person to really understand the emotion she channels. Emotions ranging from joyful and aroused to frighteningly angry.
I didn't stick around for Paula Cole's set (there were no seats and I didn't feel like standing in place for another hour or more). I did wait about twenty minutes for Paula Cole to start her act, but when nothing had happened by then, I gave up. So I didn't get to see or hear Paula Cole. Oh well.
There are still no movie or book reviews. I just haven't felt up to it. I do have a bunch of crappy sketches I may put up one of these days...