Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Virgin Festival: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (plus some pictures)

I promised my take on the Virgin Festival, so here it is:

The Good:
  • Regina Spektor. Man, is that girl talented! And quirky.

    If you haven't heard her stuff, download Fidelity, Samson, and Better.

  • The Police. They're amazing musicians who played nonstop hits, and - surprisingly - seemed to genuinely like playing with each other.

  • Cheap Trick. They just know how to put on a fun show. And Surrender and I Want You To Want Me kick ass.

  • Velvet Revolver. Them boys can rock!

  • The Beastie Boys. Ditto.

The Bad:
  • Amy Winehouse. Bo-ring.

    I was half-expecting her to not show up, or to be wasted, or to do something crazy. I was not expecting her to give a halfhearted performance of her songs in front of a bunch of annoying college kids that only wanted to hear Rehab.

  • The Smashing Pumpkins' song selection. The performance was good, but perhaps Billy Corgan should have realized that people came to hear the hits, not 66% of the new album.

  • Fountains of Wayne. See note re: The Smashing Pumpkins. Not playing Stacy's Mom was not cool.

The Ugly:
  • The schedule. It sucked to have to choose between The Police and Modest Mouse and Regina Spektor and Matisyahu. While a lot of the shows were somewhat staggered, it was inconsistent, and could have been done better.

  • The weather. 100 degrees one day, then thunderstorms the next. August in Baltimore is not the best time for an outdoor concert.

  • The garbage thrown all over the place.

    People, it's not that hard to throw out your cups and bottles, especially when there are manned stations every 10 feet or so for you to recycle or compost your litter. This goes doubly so when it's supposed to be a "green" event.

    And throwing the free condoms all over the place? Ick. Show some respect.

For the critics' take, read this and this.


Justin S. said...

How was the Beastie Boys song selection? Did they play hits or did they play alot of stuff from their new instrumental album?

I wish I would have known the Police added an Atlantic City date before they sold out (at least the affordable tickets). If they extend their tour again, or tour again next year or whatever, I'd still like to see them at some point.

dara said...

Unlike The Smashing Pumpkins, the Beastie Boys played mostly hits, and just a little bit of new stuff. The Pumpkins got the equation backwards.

I'd like to see The Police again, in a non-festival setting. But I wasn't disappointed with this.

Anonymous said...

The Pumpkins are here to stay, not to play their greatest hits like a novelty reunion (see: The Police, Alice in Chains, etc.). Deal with it.

dara said...

Anonymous: I disagree, but only because it's a festival, where the custom is to play a short set of your hits to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Save the new stuff for the regular concerts, which are longer and populated with a legion of fans.

Oh, and the Pumpkins's new stuff is just not all that captivating. Maybe it'll grow on me.

Evil Spock said...

Amy Winehouse is sooooooo overrated. All of her songs sound exactly alike.

Did Fountains of Wayne play Radiation Vibe and Hey Julie? Saw them in Chicago like 3-4 years ago and they played both; Hey Julie the first time live. Good times.

dara said...

They closed with Radiation Vibe. I was late for the beginning of their set, but from what I heard/read, they did play Hey Julie as one of the first couple of songs.

Miss Scarlet said...

You are right about festival set lists. I was actually surprised how many hits the Smashing Pumpkins played until I remembered for whom they were playing. I didn't think they played too much new stuff, but I also really like it so maybe I didn't notice as much.

Good review/pics!

dara said...

It's all about knowing your audience -- in a festival, you have to assume that it's a more casual fan. That's why Velvet Revolver, Cheap Trick, and The Beastie Boys were so good -- they played their biggest hits for the more casual fans. Heck, Velvet Revolver played GNR and STP songs, too!

And that's one of the reasons why Amy Winehouse wasn't successful -- on top of a lethargic performance, she played Rehab last (and You Know That I'm No Good next-to-last), buried in a sea of other songs that no one had heard.

Do I like The Smashing Pumpkins? Hell yeah. But I can't sing along with the Zeitgeist songs as much as I can with the stuff from Siamese Dream, Mellon Collie, etc.

Heather said...

No comment on LCD Soundsystem? That was an AMAZING set. I was bummed i missed the first 10 mins of Beastie Boys, but it was worth the wait. I would say out of all the weekend's performances, those two were the best. awesome stuff.

dara said...

Heather: I missed LCD Soundsystem -- I watched Ben Harper instead. And he put on a pretty good -- albeit mellow -- performance. It was a good way to relax in the middle of the day.

Chaim said...

I share your impression of Winehouse's live act. I saw her the day after you did, at Lollapalooza. I had heard she was a lackluster show, but nothing could have prepared me. First she came out 15 minutes late. Then she paraded onto the stage with a 10 piece band and, amazingly, managed to produce no energy. In fact, her set produced the opposite of energy. It was shockingly bad, especially since I was hoping to finally find out what all the fuss is about. I still don't know.

I am assuming you got the same show I did.