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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Andrew Bird, if you're listening...

Yesterday was a full day. Again. It began with a trip to the Microsoft Campus in Mountain View to an Install Fair for Windows Vista SP1. This was done so they could collect additional data on a wide range of hardware and software configurations as they finalize the product for release next year. This is my second Install Fair and as last time, the folks at Microsoft were kind and helpful. For my time, they're sending me a copy of Office 2007 and gave me a nice parting gift. Thanks for playing...

After that, I headed for BookBuyers, a massive used bookstore in Mountain View. In addition to an enormous selection of books, old Life magazines, and audio books and DVDs, they support the book lover with nicieties like blank books and plastic  slip covers for your prized hardcover collection.

And then there ane the calendars.

These guys carry more calendar than about away other store I've ever visited. And all 2008 calendars are always 50% off! 2007 calendars, of which they have hundreds of titles still, are $1.99 or 3 for $5.00. 2007 calendar are perfect for crafter and teachers looking for images.

Every Xmas, I visit to buy calendars for friends and family. At 50% off, that means most are $6 to $7. You simply can't beat it.

When I returned home, it was time to meet friends for dinner and the Andrew Bird concert. Dinner was great (though I'd already eaten and wasn't in the mood to eat, rude, huh?), because the companionship was grade A. So after dinner, we walked to The Warfield for the show. I was pretty stoked. I love Andrew Bird's stuff. After a boring opening act (The Handsome Family), the show began in earnest.

Andrew's whistling was as amazing as ever, and his violin eerilybeautiful as he played among a cacophony of electronic and traditional sounds, and all looked like it was going to be swell, but then things went downhill.

Oh, I know that, I thought, as he plunged headlong into "Plasticities". And then again, maybe not. Yeah, that's it! Maybe. Oh yeah. that's it, I know I heard him say "We'll fight for your musicals and dying cities," that time. I think.

And that's how it went all night. Okay, that exaggeration was gross, but he remade EVERY song, charging melodies, obscuring lyrics, adding elaborate bridges, and even changing the notes he whistled, making it hard to feel that connection to the original.

And worst of all? He left no nuance in tact

And for me, once the melody hooks in, It's the little nuances, the pauses, the turns of phase and the phraseology that makes a composition unique, personal, and memorable. It's all about the nuance. Last's night's performance was intentionally bereft, and it severed the connection between performer and audience. At least between Andrew and me; and I suspect, based on the response to his best songs--thunderous applause afterwards, following a strangely uninvolved response while the song was being performed--I don't think I was alone.

Sigh.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Sorry it didn't go as well as hoped. I often have a problem with revisits to songs that alter some of the basic rhythms. I'd often prefer they not do it.

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This is me and one of my two cats. His name is Cougar, and he’s an F1 Chausie. A chausie is a new breed of cat under development. Chausies are the result of a cross between a domestic cat (in Cougar’s case, a Bengal) and a jungle cat (Felis Chaus). Cougar’s mom is 8 pounds and his father is a 30-pound jungle cat. He’s about 16 pounds, super intelligent, spirited, and toilet trained. A writer without a cat (or two) is not to be trusted.