In Chile, the Concert-Going Me

Like most people (who aren’t Captain Von Trapp), I really like music. Now, by NO MEANS do I consider myself to be a music snob, like these guys:

"...I agreed that what really matters is what you like, not what you are like... Books, records, films - these things matter. Call me shallow but it's the fuckin' truth..."

(Actually the video is much funnier.)

Music, in all its shapes and forms, has served my life in so many ways. I guess that in short, music is my diary. It keeps me company and has been my best friend during the loneliest of times. I listen to music constantly and since the invention of the ipod, there has not been a place where music wasn’t right there with me. Not just any music, but MY music. Again, not the most fantastic of music, not the most genius, but it’s the most comforting (to me.)

But here’s a weird thing to ponder, considering my like/love of music – concerts weren’t really my thing when I lived in California. In fact, after having lived there for 29 years of my life, I’ve attended the following concerts: Billy Joel, New Kids on the Block, Dave Matthews Band, Tibetan Freedom Concert …. and I think that’s about it. For reals that sums up my entire concert going experience during my time in California. Why didn’t I go to more concerts? I don’t have the answer to that because I honestly don’t know. Considering I lived near San Francisco, my excuse can’t be the lack of good concerts – EVERYONE and their mom was in concert at some point or another in San Francisco. If I had to pinpoint one possible excuse, I’d probably blame economics. I mean, who has $200 to spend on Madonna concert tickets? Yes, I wish I’d seen Madge live but the fact is, those $200 were better spent on rent, groceries, bills or even clothes (which would last longer than just a night.)

All this changed when I moved to Chile.

I’ve lived in Santiago for just about two years and already I’ve been to as many concerts as I attended while living in California. I thank G for this because he loves going to concerts. The mountain of concert DVDs he owns (not pirated, mind you) are a testament to this and so of course, each time a band or singer he likes announces a tour stop in Santiago, within in a matter of days I hear the magical chime “Cosita, do you want to go to a concert with me?”

WHY OF COURSE I DO!

Sister *IS* fierce.

The first concert we attended together (and in fact, my first concert-going experience of my Chilean life) was a birthday gift from him. None other than larger-than-life, POP/R&B-holier-than-thou Beyoncé. It was her first tour through Lat Am and arguably right at the peak of her career (thus far) with the success of “I Am …. Sasha Fierce” humming across the world to the tune of “Single Ladies.”
In the simplest terms, she was amazing. It was the first introduction to Beyoncé that G experienced (if we don’t count his daughter’s countless practices in front of the tv as she attempted to master the Single Ladies dance moves). Owning up to her alter-ego titled album, Ms. Sasha Fierce herself most certainly did not disappoint and literally had the fans, Chilean and not, enchanted with her singing, moves, personality and engagement with the audience. Of course for me it was the ultimate experience considering I have been a fan of Beyoncé since her days in Destiny’s Child (and by that I mean when DC had four members and not the three people normally recall.) Yes, there was once a time when there were four of them… during “Writing’s on the Wall,” their 2nd album released in 1999. G came away from that concert completely and totally in love, 100% assured to the fact that Beyoncé was, if not the single, most attractive woman in the world, then surely the second one (after yours truly, why of course.) I walked away in awe as well and simply appreciative of the artists who perform an entire concert without lip syncing and dancing until the very end. Truly a performance we’d repeatedly attend.

Our second concert-going experience was one that initiated with what I now come to know as the “pretty-please-go-with-me-because-I-love-this-singer/band-and-no-one-else-will-go-with-me-if-you-don’t” look.

Um, Tom Jones? Sex Bomb?

Oh, the Tom Jones concert. It was like we fast-forwarded into our mid-40s and met up with similar middle-aged people, ready to “rock it” with good ol’ Tom. And I’m talking G was right there  with the best of them, swiveling his hips to the croons of Tom Jones, singing and clapping along, completely and totally mesmerized. It was a good concert actually, despite the fact that I wouldn’t dream of attending another one, and the crowd was pleased with his stage charm. They went wiiiiiild when he finally performed “Sex Bomb,” an experience completely in line with the cliché of being in a foreign country still trapped in the 80s. I can always count on G to take me out of my routine and for introducing me to old-yet-wildly popular artists (in Chile) I’d otherwise never know. So much so, Tom Jones might very well have been super popular in the U.S. and I simply had no idea.

Moving along to the worst concert G and I have attended thus far – Luis Miguel. Here are my two cents regarding his concert:

1) He performed a perfectly calculated concert, simply inserting the word  “Chile” about five times throughout the performance to the point that I wondered if he was merely saying “Chile” so as to remind himself of where he was in the world. Because, I mean, obviously we knew we were in Chile. Did he?

2) He couldn’t be bothered to engage the audience. There was no conversation, no anecdotes. Not even a whole sentence!

3) He went from one song, to the next, to the next, without so much as a pause. It was as if he was checking songs off of some list he had tacked up on a wall somewhere backstage… “No Sé Tú” – check!

4) He didn’t encore!!!! Call me crazy, but if fans are screaming for me, I’d go out and give ’em more!! (Everyone else does it, even Beyoncé! I do believe Bey-Bey and Luis Miguel are equal parts diva … one is just rude and a totally flat performer).

Mish! … moving on … to one of my favorite artists of all time (G says I say that about everyone, but in this case, it’s true) – Dave Matthews Band.

Image courtesy of lachilenguita.blogspot.com - DMB live in Santiago, Oct 2010.

Now, let me preface by saying that I’ve seen DMB perform twice before in California. When I attended his first concert, I knew all of one song “Crash Into Me” and I could barely consider myself a fan at that point. Last October when DMB came to Chile (for the first time ever, mind you), it was the third time I had seen them live, but this time around I could call myself a full-fledged DMB fan. As hard is it was for me to believe, when a girlfriend here in Chile sent an email to a group of us asking who would be interested in attending, she and I both learned that we were the cheeses that stood alone on with any love for DMB – no one else was interested in going!! In the end, she and I went together and we loved.every.minute.of.it. Clearly my other fellow expats friends and acquaintances have no idea what they’re missing. Dave Matthews himself sounds just as good live as he does on his recordings and his band is AH-mazing – from the drummer, to the sax player to the guitarist and um, hi, the ever famous violinist! Those boys sure know how to carry a good diddy and certainly know a thing or two about showing a girl a good time at a concert.

On tap so far in 2011 …

A couple of weeks ago G asked me if I wanted to go see an Argentine tribute band to Queen called “Dios Salve a la Reina” or “God Save the Queen.” This experience was about as close as I’ll ever come to seeing Freddy Mercury live and the lead singer seriously FLOORED us. His appearance, his moves, his voice – eerily similar to the videos and images I’ve seen of Freddy Mercury performing with Queen and it’s a testament to the dedication this guy has surely injected into his art. If you ever have the chance, this singer is worth seeing … however … his band falls ridiculously short. Seriously, their talents PALE in comparison, both as back up singers and as musicians. Again, I’m no music guru and my knowledge of music is pretty limited, I get that and I’m not pretending otherwise here. But the talent the lead singer of this band has is so overwhelmingly good that even if the musicians are any good or have decent voices, we simply couldn’t tell. Freddy Mercury v.2 was just THAT good. He carried the show. Below, a very short video I took during the concert. See what I mean about his voice?? Freddy Part Deux.

Mmm-mmm-mmmm, man do I enjoy some good vocals on a skinny dude.

And finally, we come to the biggest surprise of them all when it comes to concerts.

About a month ago G once again came to me with that “pretty-please-go-with-me-because-I-love-this-singer/band-and-no-one-else-will-go-with-me-if-you-don’t” look. I said, sure, what band? He tells me Mr. Big.

Mr. Big, huh? That 80s glam one-hit wonder band whose one song is known by every single person who grew up watching MTV videos in the 80s and 90s? I didn’t even know that they had other songs (I don’t include their remake of Cat Stevens’ “Wild World,” mind you because I’m not particularly fond of that version, but that’s just me), let alone enough songs to warrant an entire concert. But hey, I totally dig their one song so I thought, “Cool, let’s go see them live.”

Right now, right here, I’m fully disclosing my rock ignorance. I know this, I embrace this and I’m willing to remedy this. You see, what I was expecting was a long-haired band, rocking out on a soft and breezy acoustic guitar, almost singing a Capella versions of “To Be With You” and “Wild World.” What I got, was this:

(This video is obviously not from the concert we attended last week but trust me, it’s a fairly accurate account of what the concert was like.)

Now, I can’t say that I’m all of a sudden a huge Mr. Big fan, but I can certainly appreciate a good guitar rip and I can most certainly become entranced when one goes on and on and, finally, I can certainly bow down to an IMPROV guitar jam by two great artists such are the guitarist and bassist of this band. This is what the Mr. Big concert was like and let me tell you folks, if you were like me and thought that Mr. Big was a ballad-loving 80s glam rock band, you are sorely mistaken. Let me be the first to tell you that this band is quite a bit more than that. Eric Martin, the band’s lead singer, has an amazingly solid rock voice, wailing like a champion without so much as a crack or a quiver. Even though I was completely lost, as far as concerts are concerned, with absolutely NO idea what was going on between one song and the next,  with no knowledge of the song lyrics or the music I was listening to, I had a really good time. The singer and the band in general were – yes, that word again – engaging. And you know what, somehow, thanks to this, the language barrier just ceased to exist.

There are actually some pretty good artists that are making their way down to Chile these days. In fact, just a couple of months ago Chile hosted the one and only Lollapalooza (first time in Lat Am) and due its success, a 2012 concert has already been confirmed. Though we didn’t attend the festival which was held in April of this year, G and I continue on with our concert-going plans, pumped like flannel-wearing teenagers to go see Guns N’ Roses as well as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, both of whom will be in Santiago between Sept and Oct of this year. Not to be eclipsed by our shared love of 80s and 90s rock, our taste in pop is also well represented as we most definitely plan to check out Lady Gaga in 2012, awaiting her official dates to be confirmed so that we can add that notch to our concert-going bedpost. Other groups that have also been announced thus far this year include Judas Priest, Whitesnake, Erasure, Aerosmith, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Limp Bizkit and dumb ass Avril Lavigne (whose bright idea was that? I’ll only care if she comes with Brody Jenner. G will only care if Brody happens to bring his stepsister Kim Kardashian. Otherwise we aren’t interested NOR can we imagine how she plans to fill Movistar Arena with said fans.)
Though G and I aren’t planning to attend any of the above-mentioned concerts (Guns and Chili Peppers aside), it’s great to see such variety exists here in Chile. One less thing to miss from back home and that’s always a welcomed, guitar-ripped, cherry on top of life as an Expat.

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3 thoughts on “In Chile, the Concert-Going Me

  1. Great post! Your town is teeming with rock stars! When my folks were in Santiago last year, my mom found one of her fellow hotel guests surrounded by young fans. She went up and introduced herself. He introduced himself as Mike from Faith No More. Having no idea who they were or if I liked them (not really), she got me an autograph.

    By the way, I had no idea Faith No More were so popular in Chile!

  2. Oh I loved this post…and you are so right about Beyonce…she is certainly larger than life. I met her back in 2007 at her concert and I swear I could barely speak I was so excited. I must do a post about that someday. She played here in Ireland last night and I really wanted to go, but I’m 5 months pregnant and was a bit terrified of being pushed around the place for a few hours. It’s great that all these big stars are including Chile in their tours. I hope to make it to Lollapalooza 2012!!!

    1. You had me at “I met Beyonce” … ahhhh so jealous!!!
      I’m actually thoroughly impressed and quite pleased that Chile is actually a great place to live if concerts are your thing. Like I said, they didn’t used to be my thing but now that I’m here, I’ve definitely taken the “When in Rome” attitude.

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