Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Maroon 5 and Counting Crows at Walnut Creek

One of the great things about your kids getting older is that they stop being the reason that you don't go to concerts any more and they become the reason that you start going to concerts again. It is great to be living in this transition at the moment. The first gig we went to with Emily and Lauren since coming to America was Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus) and the Jonas Brothers in Greensboro last November, an expensive but enjoyable evening, and a family atmosphere, with thousands of kids there to see Miley Cyrus. But now, as the girls' musical tastes develop, they are pressing us to go to see bands that are not quite so children-orientated, and we are able to take advantage of being in a fantastic location for getting to good concerts.

Last night, Maroon 5 came to Raleigh, to a giant outdoor amphitheatre called Walnut Creek Pavilion. We went for the cheap tickets, on the lawn behind all the seating, but we still had an excellent view. And being on the grass on a balmy summer evening made the whole evening feel like one of the summer festivals I used to like going to in England in my youth. There were three acts. The first, Sarah Bareilles, came on at seven, and she was pretty good, though it had the feeling of background music where we were located, with punters coming and going around us the whole time, putting down their travelling rugs and deck chairs, meeting their friends and chatting. Counting Crows then played for over an hour, beginning at sunset and continuing until it was dark. I can't say that I am a big fan of them, though I enjoyed their hit "Mr Jones" and so, apparently, did everyone else. It was the one track that everyone stood up for. Overall, though, they didn't really catch the excitement of the audience and it was clear that most people had turned up to see the headline act.

Emily introduced me to Maroon 5 and because she plays their most recent CD a lot, I found that I knew most of the tracks. They were a superb live act, one of the best live sets I have seen, not too much messing about ("Everybody say yeah, yeah"; "Yeah Yeah" etc.), and really polished. The lead singer's vocals were pitch perfect -- all very impressive. And they played all their hits. Not much up on Youtube yet, but I'll keep an eye out and add a link if anyone adds anything decent from last night.

Perhaps the most unusual thing to me was the make up of the audience. They were pretty young, mainly college age, and there was an even gender mix. They were all very well scrubbed up and turned out; there was hardly a sweaty fat tattooed denim and leathers merchant in sight. But there were also very few children. That will presumably be all different tonight when we return to Walnut Creek to see the latest teen sensation, the Jonas Brothers, headlining along with Avril Lavigne. So that I don't waste quite as much money as last night, this time we will be taking our own drinks and food ($4 for a bottle of coke! $5 for a cup of chips (fries)!).

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