Monday, January 27, 2003

I’ve never been a fan of No Doubt, but after watching them on the Superbowl halftime show, I have to give them credit for being a rock band, not a pop band. Why the distinction? Because, unlike Shania Twain, Gwen Stefani sang live rather than lip-sinking. My mom wondered how I could tell immediately that Twain was lip-sinking. The biggest giveaway was that her body was not displaying the moment needed to create sound; her lips moved and she strutted around the stage, but she wasn’t exerting any other muscles. At least Gwen was notably breathless for jumping up and down, an indication of a genuine live performance. And it’s really pathetic that actually performing live is no longer expected of a live performance and that fulfilling the basic definition of a live performance earns bonus points.

I didn’t watch Shania’s band as closely, but I thought they couldn’t be using the lame excuse for lip-sinking that it’s too hard sing and dance at the same time. On the other hand, they looked too air guitar showy to really be playing. I gave them the benefit of the doubt when I saw the monitors on the stage. But the monitors were probably just waiting for No Doubt to use.

As for Sting, it was semi-inspired to have him do a reggae-inflected Police number backed by No Doubt even if Adrian Young is no Stewart Copeland. Unlike Elvis Costello and Joe Strummer until his untimely demise, Sting is now too stodgy too play his old songs. He looked like he didn’t want to move, lest he risk wrinkling his designer pants and artfully slashed t-shirt. Maybe he’ll be willing to cut loose and look less establishment/dignified at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction reunion with his old band.

No comments: