Biggest Musical Disappointments of 2002
There's no point in doing a "worst of" list. The targets are too numerous
and too obvious. So instead I'll focus on what didn't live up to my
The Who Tweeter Center, August 24. There is no reason to fault
Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey for choosing to go ahead with the tour right
after John Entwistle's death. Financial concerns aside, there are good emotional
arguments for carrying on with established plans after the loss of a loved
But the show ended up too "Who By Numbers." Replacement bass player Pino
Pallidino was wise to not take the spotlight of someone who shunned the spotlight
anyway. He could only be described as adequate. When a teammate was killed
in the Tour de France in 1995, Lance Armstrong won a stage a few days later
and proclaimed, "Today I rode with the strength of two men." Pete and Roger
may have been trying to honor John's spirit, but they didn't absorb his strength.
I left feeling the need to add an asterisk and footnote when saying that
the Who is my favorite band and craving a new solo album and tour from Pete.
The end of the Chameleons UK concert Metro, October 14. As wondrous
as opening number "Swamp Thing" was (see yesterday's post), the Chameleons
couldn't sustain their momentum. As the set wore on, one guitarist got more
drunk and more argumentative, complaining about various aspects of the club.
When they returned for an encore, he went on an endless, meandering tirade.
It was already late, and who knew when he'd finally shut up and allow the
band to start playing again. For a group that never had a lot of fans in
the first place, they should be more concerned about attracting new ones
than alienating the few they have left.
Radio 4 Empty Bottle, November 4. Maybe it can be chalked up to a
bad sound mix. The edgy, metallic guitar got lost behind the wall of percussion.
Maybe it can be chalked up to timing. They urged, "Get behind the struggled,"
so on the eve of Election Day I was preoccupied with getting up early the
next morning to vote. In any case, they didn't match the electricity of Gotham.
Concerts missed because of cycling: The Church, The Woggles, Cinerama
The problem with having multiple passions is that it creates scheduling conflicts.
I was out of town attending bicycling events when three great live
bands came through Chicago.
Canceled Fall tour Originally, the Fall would have been in the above
list of concerts missed for cycling, but their spring tour was canceled.
They rescheduled for October and I had tickets, but the tour was canceled
again. Visa problems or something. Mark E. Smith & Co. are maddeningly
erratic, horrible in one performance but the greatest band in the world at
that moment the next time. It's always worth it to take that gamble that
it'll be a good night and frustrating when the chance is lost.
New Bomb Turks Metro, June 5. It was the perfect opportunity. The
Columbus quartet had been plying their garage punk for about a decade to
small but appreciative audiences. They aren't young and cute like the Strokes
and they have an aggressive edge, but an opening slot with the Hives gave
them a shot at reaching out to the MTV crowd. Front man Eric Davidson tried
to incite the audience and the rest of the band worked hard, but they just
never achieved their usual tightness.
Rob Zombie Aragon Ballroom, April 5. Rob Zombie is a cut above most
metallers. Yeah, he owes a few back royalty payments to Al Jourgensen for
his appearance. But he's intelligently humorous in interviews. Rather than
exploiting teens' desire to piss off and shock their parents, his brand of
scariness is an homage to the horror movies he worships. In other words,
he respects his audience. Or so I thought until I got to the Aragon. Staff
of the band or venue were shining lights on women, egging the rest of the
audience to encourage them to flash. It was such a sexually oppressive atmosphere
that Rob and the band and the dancers and puppet masters would have to be
great to make up for it, and their were too leaden. I left wanting to listen
to Belle & Sebastian. Making matters worse, scheduled openers the Damned
back out of the tour due to the hostile audience and the only opening act
was cliche-riddled in their "rebelliousness."
Tweeter Center How can you build a venue designed to hold 30,000
people without any public transportation access and only one four-lane exit
to funnel cars in and out? Getting to and from the place is such torture
that it puts a hurdle in front of enjoying any concert there.