Show review: Maroon 5 in Birmingham

2 Oct

EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s guest blogger, April Perea, may be better known to Scene Now readers as popculturefairy. If you like what you read here, check out April’s pop culture blog at Pop Culture Overdose.

Maroon 5

BY APRIL PEREA

I was given some free tickets to see a show in Birmingham – Maroon 5, Counting Crows and Augustana. I wasn’t really a fan of either band, but I’m a music lover and couldn’t turn down a free show. I’d listened to Counting Crows a little back in the ’90s when they had hits like “Mr. Jones” and “Long December.” I’d heard a few of the catchy little ditties by Maroon 5 and they were alright. I’d never even heard of Augustana, but I figured I’d give them a chance along with the others.

I mean, as a musician myself, who better to be objective about a group of bands that I’m not a fan of?

First, I tried desperately to find someone else to go with me…My sister and her friend had already bought tickets and so we had one extra! Turns out none of my friends like any of those bands and are absolutely terrified someone will call them out as a poseur for going to something that mainstream. The few that were interested in going had other plans.

I wasn’t happy with the venue at all. I’m more of an indie music kind of gal. I usually visit small bars and places where you stand the whole show next to a booming speaker, you are jumping up and down, and your ears ring for the next couple of days (and you like it that way!). A huge outdoor arena (and other large venues) make you feel disconnected with the artists and therefore it’s not as enjoyable.
I had seats so far up that I couldn’t even properly read the stuff on the giant screen! Part of the reason you are paying money for a concert is that you want to see these folks up close and personal, and you really aren’t getting that in this situation. I digress, because I can’t really think of a solution and also because my tickets were free and I don’t really have a right to complain. (Also, food and drinks were BEYOND outrageous, at $10-12 per mixed drink, $7 slices of pizza, and $4 hot dogs…we didn’t have time to stop and eat, then decided we’d wait until afterwards when we saw those prices!)

Augustana came out and to be honest; it just wasn’t my thing. The vast majority of their songs were slow, and after waking up early that morning and then travelling for the show, it almost put me to sleep first thing. They got a huge pop for their one hit, “Boston,” but other than that song, it seemed everyone else was as clueless about them as me. Their show didn’t pick up till their final song, which was a cover that I didn’t catch the name of.

During the set-up time for the next band, you could send texts to the big screen and some of them were pretty funny. Most were standard, “I LOVE YOU, ADAM,” “HI MOM” or “ROLL TIDE,” but one said “Global warming is a crock. Drill me some oil!!!” I found this endlessly entertaining. I actually sent a couple myself out of boredom, but I’m not telling what I sent!

Maroon 5 came out and really rocked the place. It was pretty clear who everyone was there for. They started with “Harder to Breathe.” The thing that impressed me most about these guys is that they spaced their set really well. I know from experience how damaging a badly put-together set list is. Every other song was one I actually knew to some extent. They mixed the hits with the other stuff so well that it never got boring. Their lighting was extraordinary, and the sound was peak performance. It sounded almost record quality, which is rare in live performance. There was enough variance from the record that it was entertaining, but still A+++ quality. Adam Levine’s voice is so powerful that I pondered if he could belt it to the nosebleed seats without a mic! As a sidenote though, it weirded me out a little bit that his speaking voice was pretty much exactly like his singing voice – an odd falsetto. He broke out in a little refrain of The Police’s “Roxanne,” during one point, which made my sister pretty giddy. He also sang a bit of “Wicked Games” by Chris Isaak and went into “She Will Be Loved” from there. I’m a huge Chris Isaak fan, so that made me enjoy the show more. They ended the show with “This Love” (of course!) and Adam threw his guitar sky high and it landed dead on the last beat, so that was impressive.

Counting Crows came next and it was four songs in before they played a recognizable song (“Mr. Jones”) and I was getting restless .The performance itself was technically good and the singer was jumping around like crazy for a guy in his 40’s. I think if they’d done a better job of spacing their set list, I could have enjoyed it more, but I left immediately after “Mr. Jones,” because, you guessed it: I didn’t recognize the next song! When a band plays songs we don’t recognize or enjoy four out of five times, they might need to rethink their set list. Maybe the hardcore fans enjoyed it more, but we headed home (and had a blowout on the way so it’s probably good we left early).

Overall it was an enjoyable experience and you can’t beat free!!!

5 Responses to “Show review: Maroon 5 in Birmingham”

  1. popculturefairy October 3, 2008 at 9:33 am #

    Or they may know me as Mangled Fairy- a local musician or as a photographer, writer, award-winning filmmaker (I won the music video category last year at Tupelo Film Festival!)

    Or as many people know me, Dr. Daniel’s other half.

  2. beagle October 3, 2008 at 10:32 am #

    Great review! Sounds like an interesting show! Free is always nice! 😛

  3. brian October 3, 2008 at 1:17 pm #

    Indie music fan-musician my a–! Better serve some fast poppy recognizable songs with some flashy lights so you don’t fall asleep. What a poser!

  4. popculturefairy October 5, 2008 at 9:42 pm #

    Thanks, beagle…yep free is almost always worth it! =D

  5. sheenabarnett October 6, 2008 at 8:47 am #

    Brian, let’s keep in mind the No. 1 rule here at Scene Now: Feel free to disagree all you want, but do not personally attack bloggers or fellow commenters. Full rules at “House Rules” page.

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