Heroes and Villains

And we didn't even get to the Beach Boys


The point of live shows is to get caught up in the euphoria, not to relive your mediocre teen years. In this week’s show, Todd and I take a look at live shows and revisit our discussion about tribute acts. He is a fan, I am not.

For Todd, the energy of younger people, especially if the tribute band is right on, is superior to the older voices that sometimes are too weak for the music and the entitlement that comes with having had a hit song in the 1980s (or whenever), mixed with the reeking must of decline.

I guess it’s better to say that he used to be a fan of tribute acts. A recent REO Speedwagon show disabused him of that notion.

What it comes down to in live music is that the act has to genuinely enjoy their work, or at least they have to come across as if they genuinely enjoy their work, which is too hard for many bands.

I was working at the Sheraton Inn in Salisbury when I first moved here. The place was no less a dump then than it is now, but the Moody Blues were genuinely offended by its condition.

In fact, they were so openly hostile to the fact that I worked for a millionaire too cheap to keep his hotel nice that I bring up their priggishness whenever the opportunity presents itself.

What I wanted to say (but lacked the courage as well as other job opportunities) was that if they didn’t want to stay in a dump, they should have more hits and get a nicer bus the way the more popular acts did.

That was their vibe: Here we has-been rockers go through all this trouble to whine our way through that awful poem at the end of Nights in White Satin for the millionth time, and you’re not even grateful enough to have a nice hotel for us to stay in.

There’s no telling what they thought of the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center green rooms, but I’m guessing they weren’t impressed.

REO Speedwagon was, according to Todd, the opposite of that. He wasn’t a fan before the show, but he knew all of the songs and was an avid fan by the time they took their curtain calls. It was good to hear. I like when musicians appreciate the fact that they're appreciated rather than expect it.