Prisoners are persons whom most of us would rather not think about. Banished from everyday sight, they exist in a shadow world that only dimly enters our awareness. They are members of a "total institution" that controls their daily existence in a way that few of us can imagine. "[P]rison is a complex of physical arrangements and of measures, all wholly governmental, all wholly performed by agents of government, which determine the total existence of certain human beings (except perhaps in the realm of the spirit, and inevitably there as well) from sundown to sundown, sleeping, walking, speaking, silent, working, playing, viewing, eating, voiding, reading, alone, with others. . . ." It is thus easy to think of prisoners as members of a separate netherworld, driven by its own demands, ordered by its own customs, ruled by those whose claim to power rests on raw necessity. -- Justice William Brennan, dissenting in O’Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 354-55 (1987).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Keith Urban Concert Review

My wife recently complained that I don't take her to concerts anymore.

Like the good husband that I am, I rectified that situation quickly.

I write about it to let some of you know I actually have a life outside of writing about the evils of the police state we live in (which can get a little wearisome), but I hate to disappoint those of you who think Rage Against the Machine is my favorite band.

Instead, I awoke Friday morning and read in the paper that Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban were in town that night, one of the final stops in the "Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Carnival Ride Tour." The concert was at newly renamed Time Warner Cable Arena (formerly Charlotte Bobcats Arena).

We actually knew more about Carrie Underwood due, of course, to her American Idol fame but I checked out Keith Urban, and his music, a couple of years ago when someone in a bar told me I looked like him. (Nothing like being told you look like a celebrity to motivate one to check out that celebrity.) My wife knew almost nothing about him.

We made reservations at a restaurant a block from the arena, I scalped a couple tickets to the sold out show -- don't tell my PO -- and there we were.

I assumed Carrie Underwood would be the main attraction and star of the show. Was I ever wrong!

Consistent with what another concert reviewer experienced, Carrie was rather mechanical and her vocals were often drowned out by her band. Of course, she has only just released her second album so the song list isn't all that long. She performed for an hour and 15 minutes.

Then, after a 30 minute stage redesign, the REAL show begain. If there was any doubt about who everyone really came to see, the audience settled that as soon as Urban and band appeared. Urban's 2-hour performance made Carrie look like an amateur. He was as engaged as Carrie was distant and stiff. In fact, I have never seen an artist give so much of himself to his audience. His band was tight and the music was perfectly balanced with the vocals.

Despite being the 21st stop on a 24-city tour, he performed as if this was their only stop. When he said it was an amazing night, I believed him, even though I'm sure he says that at every stop.

At one point, Urban brought a couple on stage so the husband could take a picture of his wife with him. (He had been carrying a sign: "Please take a picture with my wife so she will quite nagging me about this sign." Urban noticed and took the bait, much to the envy of every other woman in the crowd.)

Later, he took his guitar into the crowd, walking onto the floor then 10 rows up, while singing. After completing the song, he autographed the guitar and gave it to a fan. I don't know if the recipient was pre-arranged or not, but it was a nice touch that the audience loved.

The entire show was such a polished, tight, professional performance. I was so impressed.

The only disappointment was that Nicole Kidman, his wife of 3 years (with baby due in July), did not make an appearance. :(

I've never been to a show that is still paying emotional dividends 3 days after. I still smile every time I think about it. Hopefully the smile will go away soon so I can get back into the proper frame of mind for bashing the government.

PS We're seeing Sara Bareilles -- my latest favorite new artist -- next Tuesday (4/29/08). Mabye I will write another review after that.


Tea N. Crumpet said...

I'd wondered if you had a life outside bashing the government, Bill! I enjoy all your posts no matter what you write about but reading of Christina made my heart glow for you. You must be so proud of her!

Anonymous said...

Bill I would NOT call it bashing, more like Awareness. You have lived the good bad and ugly. Your POSTS are very informative and as REAL as they can get.

Take a look at the statistics,and tax payers money to support such activity. Could not find 2007 stats yet.

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