Why do artists feel the need to change the music of their most popular songs? When I buy the album (now from Itunes – how times have changed!), I usually love two or three songs, like a couple more, and am ambivalent about the rest. Every now and then, there will be an album, like Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions, where I love just about every song on the thing. But I fall for the song the way it’s played on the album. Now I understand there will be changes between studio recordings and hearing the song in concert. There are some that come across much better when played live – songs that I’ve been “eh” about before that now stand out as real winners.
I know that singers get bored singing the same standards every concert because those songs have become their anthems, almost, and they like to switch things up periodically. Springsteen tried it once with Born To Run (the geriatric version) but thank god that didn’t stick. He sings Born in the USA a different way every time I hear it and I never know what it is until I pick out the words but that’s never been a favorite of mine, so I really don’t care. Born to Run you just don’t mess with. Anyway, I get that but I don’t like it. I have a set version in my head (after listening to them over and over again) and it puts me off a little bit when the song the artist is singing doesn’t match.
Helen and I went to see Rod Stewart last night at the PNC Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ. I had bought the tickets back in April when I got my refund check. We’d just lost Tigger and we needed something good to look forward to when the tickets went on sale. We haven’t seen him in concert for about 15 years but he was amazing last time. Let me tell you something – Stupid Rod Stewart went and got old! Did he not get the memo that says that rock icons are not allowed to age? Well, maybe, because his face looks the same from all the work he’s had done. He started with Some Guys Have All the Luck and we all started bopping in time. It was a little slower than when originally recorded, but that was okay.
15 years ago, he’d disappear every 10 songs or so and come back in a costume change. We joked that he went to shoot up or drink up because he came back bounding with new found energy. This time, after 3 or 4 songs off he’d go and come back slurry but without the wardrobe changes. And then he had to start messing with his classics. Downtown Train? I didn’t even recognize if from the beginning music. And the end of it was horrible! It kept dragging on and on and on. And when he ruined Rhythm of My Heart, partially by having his backup singers sing parts of the song which they murdered, we left. Yes, we left in the middle of the concert. We didn’t stay to hear if he sang When We Were the New Boys (my #1 Rod Stewart song) because if he changed that, I’d just have started crying right there and then. And I was surprised to see how many others were leaving at the same time.
We didn’t pay a fortune for these seats. They were on the lawn (the grass around the outside of the amphitheater) and while we couldn’t really see much because we got there so late, it was okay because we both love his music. Changing the songs was bad enough. But when you have to have others sing the song for you because you are too old or too drunk or too whatever to finish it, the time may have come for you to say “enough is enough!” It did piss me off though because we’ve been looking forward to this for 4 months and boy, what a let down. So now I know, no more Rod Stewart concerts. I’d rather keep him in my mind where he doesn’t age, where he sings the songs the way their supposed to be sung, and I can control who sings what, when.


  1. noble pig Says:

    Wow, you left? It must have been horrible, what a bummer. The only old rocker I enjoy seeing is Sting, he seems to remain timeless in his performances.

  2. Ms. Huis Herself Says:

    Argh! How frustrating that must have been!

  3. amanda Says:

    Oh that sucks!

  4. Helen/Dudley Says:

    Part of the problem was he was too drunk to stand up straight…i was amazed he remembered as many of the words that he did…

  5. Mike Says:

    That stinks. I saw Dylan recently and it was BAD. He can’t sing at all anymore – I know people have always said that – but now he can’t even project his voice over the loud band. To top it all off he plays piano instead of guitar now! I’d see him again though…give him another shot…especially since I’ve seen some great Dylan concerts in the past.

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