By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for hearing aid
Admittedly, I have not attended many concerts. Ok, I've attended one, Ray Charles Live, when he was alive. My knowledge of country western music dates to the time when there was country music and there was western music. Dolly Partin and Porter Wagoner, in sequined costumes that would have made Liberace and Elton John opt for darker sunglasses, twanged their acoustic guitars and sang about Mama crying over her coffee while listening to the train taking her son to Folsom Prison. Not my favorite music genre.
However, when my nine-year-old promises to keep her room clean for a month, clean the kitchen every night, and do her homework without complaining if I would just take her to the Miranda Lambert Concert, it was a deal I couldn't refuse. The price of the tickets would have taken care of a full time housekeeper for a month, but it couldn't buy complaint free homework.
I know that country has crossed over to western but I didn't know they had both leaped to rock and roll. Guitars have become electrified, drums have expanded to the point where a trained octopus would have trouble keeping the beat(s), and fiddles were non-existent. A banjo and an electric slide guitar did make a brief appearance. As near as I could tell, with cotton in my ears, the lyrics still dealt with beer, whiskey, broken relationships, daddy's little girl, and friends.
What I wasn't expecting was that country/western/rock and roll had gone so high tech. There were at least four eighteen wheelers in the rear coliseum parking lot parked next to three motorhomes and about a dozen assorted trucks, vans, and cars. On stage first were four sixteen foot tall light towers, six platforms with speakers, and about eight banks of robotic lights with strobes. On either side of the stage was a rack holding six to ten electric guitars. What? Do the strings get hot with all that wattage flowing through it so they have to get a new guitar after every song? They don't know how to tune the one they have? They are sponsored by several guitar makers? For me, watching the roadies breakdown all that equipment, load it on to a hydraulic lift, and roll it down the alley way of the coliseum without crushing somebody was as entertaining as the pre-show singers.
The stage was essentially bare for Miranda Lambert except for a drum set, assorted guitars and four panels for projections. I wondered if there was a correlation between talent and the amount of special effects equipment needed. I did notice that on some songs the cell phones came out in force. Either they were videotaping the song, taking pictures, looking for the dropped package of corn nuts, or catching up on their e-mails. So I couldn't tell if they liked the song or not.
At 10:30 after noticing the nine-year-old had dozed off to sleep, we left. I told her the concert was just about over. No singer could keep up that pace for much longer. I learned later the concert lasted until midnight.
On the way home I asked what she thought about her first concert. "Well, it was long and loud. I think I would rather have the CD. Then I could listen to the songs I really liked over and over."
I got my kitchen cleaned, her bedroom cleaned for a month, complaint-free homework, and no desire to attend another concert. All in all, not a bad investment of time and money. Thanks, Miranda!