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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Go Between

- As I've said, I can't resist writing about great concerts I see; and if you came here expecting to read about Go Between the horse, then sorry, I lured you under false pretenses. On Monday, I saw Robert Forster at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater. Forster was one half of the singer-songwriting team behind Australia's The Go Betweens, whose grand second coming after 12 years apart was shattered when Grant McLennan died tragically in 2006. (I'd posted a video from the original incarnation in this post, bottom.) Fortunately, Forster decided to carry on as a solo artist, and he has an excellent new album, The Evangelist, which is streamed in its entirety at his website.

Some, but certainly not all performers provide non-downloadable audio on their websites; and, as with racetracks and their live video, I wonder why others don't do so. I imagine there's some risk in both cases - gamblers not betting into the pari-mutuel pools can see the simulcast feed, utilize the information, and watch the races; and I suppose that one can simply listen to a stream on a computer until he/she is sick of the album, and never buy it. (Or the music can suck.) But these days, endeavoring to respect intellectual property (and not having the RIAA knocking at my door.....and don't even get me started on them!!!), and resisting Apple at 99 cents a song, I appreciate the artists who invite you to listen, and I'm far more likely to buy their records or see them live.

For example, you can go to the Metallica site, and find there ample evidence that their new album really does recall their material from the 80's, and that it doesn't at all suck.

Anyway, Joe's Pub is as intimate as one gets in NYC; I was sitting close enough so that it was almost like Robert Forster and his band were playing in my living room. Even better, it was only 7:30; they have two sets per night there, so one can actually see live music and get to bed on time. It was all quite special, and this being NYC, you never know who you might see. I was alone, and overheard a guy behind me go,"Ooo, I'm going to see what Bob is doing." He disappeared and came back all excited. "Christgau is going to sit with us!"

Robert Christgau. The so-called "Dean of American Rock Critics," is probably best known in New York, for his long stint at the Village Voice which ended in 2006 when he was fired, "for taste," by new ownership. His annual "Pazz and Jop" music poll in the paper was a highly anticipated event for me at one time, and he's certainly had an influence in shaping my collection. And there he was, with his little notepad, small entourage in tow. I heard them telling old Grant McLennan stories before the set started.

I was excited to tell the Head Chef, by far the top celebrity-spotter in the family. And, of course, she had a Christgau story of her own. It was 1981, and she was seeing The Clash in Manhattan. At the time, I was living in Philly, still emerging from an unfortunate and ill-timed jazz fusion stage. The Clash did a now-legendary series of 17 shows at Bond's Casino, a former clothing store in Times Square (not a casino). As she recalls, it was just non-stop greatness, song after song, without a pause, relentlessly amazing, with the balcony literally bouncing up and down. She thought it might collapse and that she might die, but didn't care. (I'm glad she survived.)

Afterwards however, her friend Henry, who was also there the night before, is strangely dissatisfied. They walk out onto the street, and he spots Christgau. Henry approaches him and asks: "You were here last night, weren't you?"


"It was better than tonight, wasn't it?"

And Christgau goes,"Yes! It WAS a little better!" And so, just like that, the Head Chef's once-in-a-lifetime, euphoric music experience was tempered, if just a bit; but enough so that I sense that she's never quite forgiven either of them.

As for the Robert Forster show, Christgau seemed quite pleased. But if I read him saying that the second set was better, I'm gonna be really pissed.


Anonymous said...

El A, sorry I misconstrued your prior post comment.

First, if your example result actually happens, I will be in a very good mood $$$$$.

But I digress off topic again.

If Curlin and BB both run and finish off the board, HOY voters need to look elsewhere, and yes Zenyatta, and even Proud Spell if she runs her table might be near the top of my list.

IF another 3yo finishes ahead of Big Brown, even the 3yo crown could be up for grabs.

Has there ever been a 3yo winner of the Classic that did not win championship honors?

Alan Mann said...

>>Has there ever been a 3yo winner of the Classic that did not win championship honors?

Cat Thief