Hard Rock Live – 05/02/12
I have been reviewing CD’s and performances for about two years, and even though this is my forty-sixth review, it’s the first one I’ve ever done about a venue. Now, when speaking about someone else, my policy is that if I can’t say something nice, then I will say nothing. After all, if they have taken the time, effort and love to create something to share with others, then who am I to disrespect them just because I don’t like it. Personally, I never much cared for either the Rolling Stones or Bruce Springsteen, but that certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t some of the greatest musical artists ever seen or heard. Yet, I don’t think my policy of speak-no-evil applies when it comes to a venue, especially when that venue is – intentionally or not – disruptive to it’s audience.
The Hard Rock has been a musical stalwart here in Southeast Florida for many years, and they present a never-ending smorgasbord of our favorite artists from the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s and beyond, so most of us have seen at least one show there. As a reviewer, I am not trying to be snobbish, rude, or attempting to start another American-Indian War here. In fact, I’ve always said that the Palistineans should take some lessons from the Seminole playbook, surrender, open up casinos, and bankrupt the Isrealis overnight (maybe that’s why I never did get appointed Secretary of State). But there’s something to be said about the platform as well as the presentation when one attends a show. For me, last night was my first time ever going to the Hard Rock and it left a rather distinct impression. Keep in mind that I am in no way referring to the performance I saw of The Musical Box, a Genesis tribute band that was as good as the original which I personally saw live in ’76 and ’78. It’s just that the Hard Rock itself is the WSVN, channel 7, of entertainment, and I found that seeing a show there was about as enjoyable as getting a massage on a roller coaster.
Now I have nothing against massages on roller coasters for those who are into that sort of thing. I for one, however, would find the experience quite diminished by the surrounding atmosphere. When I get a massage I like to totally focus on that experience to the exclusion of all other stimulii. The same goes for when I attend a show. I want to imerse myself in the experience, without dilution, distraction or diversion. Sadly, even though I saw a great show at the Hard Rock, I had a Hard Time staying focused on the event beforehand as it was embedded in the carnival-like atmosphere of both the casino and countless mini-mall franchises; I had a Hard Time enjoying the concert once the venue unleashed it’s house VIP (very intoxicated people) tickets on so-called high-rollers who invaded the performace midway through like a bunch of Monty-Python Twit Olympics marathoners blurting out such intelligent questions as “what the hell are they playing up there?”; and I had a Hard Time hanging onto the last tingling embers of the show as I left and had to re-tromp through the mardi-gras mania that is the mainstay of Hard Rock.
Now I’m sure I’m going to get lambasted with the old-foggie, senior citizen label for writing such things. But remember that you’re talking to someone who attended Gensis’ private show for 200-300 people the night before they played Madison Square Garden in New York City the year Phil Collins became their lead singer; you’re talking to someone who saw Greg Allman and his band perform a nearly two hour show in the late 1980′s to a dozen very lucky people; and you’re talking to someone who used to have his own radio show in the same studio where Elvis Presley made one of his first recordings. So yes, I am an old-foggie senior citizen, but one who knows just a little bit about music and perhaps a tad about venues.
So if a massage on a roller coaster still sounds good to you, then the Hard Rock may just be the place to go. And rest assured that if you do and I return there, too, then you’ll have no problem finding me. I’ll be the one passing by humming Let The Hard Times Roll.
PS – if you’ve never seen the Monty Python Twit Olympics, you really should: