Saturday, November 1, 2008

"ULTIMATE" Retrospective

WARNING: the pictures in this post suck. So why post them, you ask. Because some parts of a trip you just can't put into words. Something about seeing fans' candid shots shows you how the concert feels - and no words can match that. Even if the pics suck.

I always feel torn in half when I'm getting settled in for a show. To shoot or not to shoot. Thursday, I was in the center section, under the right side of the catwalk. Great vantage point. But I figured, nah, just enjoy the show and shoot later. Next two nights I'm on the right side, still really close and I saved my picture-taking for then. I'm glad I got them but now I wish I had my camera out for Thursday as well. But then you can't really just let loose and enjoy the show if you're focusing your point-and-pray camera. No pleasing some people. :-)
OK, so here's what I saw and felt a couple of weeks ago:
The obligatory opening screen. Just to show you the vantage point. I've seen a bunch of these and no matter how many you see, you don't get a feel for how close you REALLY are until you get there. Or how low the stage is compared to the arena shows.

Shadow Man.

The greatest challenge for every fan photographer is to get Barry's entrance.

I was suprised that I actually got a decent one of these when Barry came to Atlanta.

That one is my computer screen wallpaper.

This one was my best attempt.

OK, this shot isn't so bad. Can't remember what song this was from.

What I noticed about this show that was different from Atlanta and some others I've seen on video, the props et al are stripped down and every aspect of the staging and production is made to underscore the emotional impact of the music. I don't think any of the other music acts in town cram this much material into their shows and I'm sure that the headliner isn't on stage as much as Barry is.

What I like about this is you catch a bit of the lighting behind him.

The light show was choreographed like nothing I have ever seen, short of IntelliBeam laser animation, like at Stone Mountain in the summer.

Best light show moment: the "starlight" effect during "Memory" that stretched past the proscenium. Second best: TIE -the end of "Ships" where he moves back to dead-center stage with the five white spots on him and the synchronized glowsticks in "I Write the Songs"

"Weekend in New England"

The scrim behind him was lit with clouds and raindrops. I lived up there for a while so I can tell you how perfect that is.

It doesn't take a whole lot, production-wise, to bring more emotion out of each song.
"Most romantic" song, Barry? It's in the running to be sure. But it also has "Not What You See" and "If I Should Love Again" as competition. It's a close call. I have "Please Don't Be Scared" in that category as well.

Now the following picture is not mine. It was one of those moments where I came thisclose to clawing my way through my purse for my camera, but there was NO way I was going to sacrifice even a second of this scene for a "maybe" shot.

This was EXACTLY the view that I had Thursday night. Oh, it was gonna be a goooooooooooood weekend!!!

Once I got past the tongue-lolling over the sexual gestures I remembered one of the bonus interview features from the M&P DVD, where Barry is describing how he mentally preps himself for going on stage. I think the words he used were "blowing himself up" (sic) or something close to this. The thing is - the audience does exactly the same thing. You don't think that the women in the audience (esp in stage seats or under the catwalk) dress like that every day, do you?? And we really don't act like that every day either. Before the show we're picking out our outfits, primping hair and makeup, meeting each other, drinking, having dinner, and egging each other on. It's the same thing that Barry and the band do before the scrim goes up.

So you have all of these people playing their parts in one big living fantasy and the benefit looks mutual. Barry looked like he was getting his rocks off watching the reactions he got at each of those shows with that scene. You don't need me to tell you how the female side of the audience felt.

There's one shot that is related to these that was taken after I got home. Like everyone else I wandered down to the M Store. I needed a polo shirt. (I don't do Tshirts anymore and collared polo shirts are never available at the arena shows.) I thought of my daughter, TLF, just as I laid eyes on a display of feather boas. It would be a crime not to bring her something, not just because she missed me while I was away, but because Barry's music is what got her interest in music started. (I went into detail on that in Barry's birthday note.)

Here's how it looked a second after I gave it to her:
When things get complicated, I spend some time with her and try to see the world through her eyes. Then I can enjoy the things that I like (including music) as honestly as she does without any strings attached.
Have a great weekend, everybody.
(Barry - there's always going to be some chatter if you have to pull a show. The only words you should be listening to are your doctor's. Everyone and everything else can wait.)

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