Monday, April 28, 2008

The Eels @ The Tivoli 24th April, 2008

[Courtesy of Paul, who went to the gig last Thursday]

I'd been looking forward to this gig for ages as I remember The Eels playing a hard and tight rock set last time I saw them. Unfortunately by the end of the night I wished I hadn't gone as I really don't think I would pay to see them again and that sux when a favourite band lets you down in such a big way.

When we arrived at the Tivoli we noticed the unfortunate set up of seating, which is usually a sign that the gig has struggled to sell tickets. After purchasing a drink for the same price as feeding an African village for a month ($8.50 each) we found a seat, dead centre on the top balcony. A large white curtain was set up in front of the stage so you couldn't see the set up. I was trying to find out who the support were but the reason I couldn't find out was because there wasn't one. This was really the Mr E ego night. Nice and early a documentary started showing about E's search to understand his father's famous Quantum Mechanics theory. We sat there expecting after a few minutes the curtain would drop and The Eels would be there rocking out a big number. After 55 minutes it was clear that this was not going to happen.

After the doco the sheet was removed and an interval took place, by now the crowd was restless and you could see people starting to wonder what was going on. The stage setup was incredible. An upright piano, drums, guitars, a drawbar organ and several other antique looking keyboards familiar to The Eels fans. It looked like it was going to be special.

E came to the stage and sat down (he sat for the entire concert) and started to play the first song. No sooner had he started, he stopped to complain about people using cameras. This was the beginning of the end. He played about 3 or 4 numbers by himself swapping guitars with his roadie at the end of every song which gave an odd feeling because he would start to hand over the guitar as he strummed the last chord. He wasn't really interested in being there.<

He played a couple of numbers on piano, for which he had his back to the audience and the piano obviously hadn't been tuned and not amplified very well. I know he likes a bit of a honky tonk sound sometimes but this was just insulting for an $80 gig. It was like a school assembly.

Finally he was joined on stage by the only other band member Chett(?). He was quite talented and played everything from guitar, piano, drums to slide guitar and the saw. After a few numbers Chett did a reading from E's autobiography and obviously a few in the audience decided that they had had enough and were giving him a hard time. E didn't take this well and started to heckle them back and complain about people talking. They played a couple more songs and then did another reading, well people were really restless now and I don't blame them, no one paid to see someone read a book, they wanted music. The final nail came when E started to play the next song and people down the front were still talking. At The Tivoli the noise really carries and he was obviously put off by this. He stopped playing looked over at the guy and told him it was ridiculous and he had to shut up. He kept on at the guy telling him that he was going to start playing soon and he better shut up. !
Well this brought the room to silence. I don't think people were brave enough to even clap, they were just scared that they would be next.

The next couple of songs had some really good free rock sections and would have been very entertaining but he had really soured the audience. The set eventually finished and they left the stage. They came back for one encore. E had obviously had someone in his ear when they went off because he started to make excuses about a long flight and not feeling well. This didn't wash and he copped a bit of abuse for which his reply was. '"It took 24 hours to get here, I didn't really want to come anyway, and this will be our last show in Brisbane"".

For what musically was a pretty good gig I don't think anyone (except the hardcore fans) will remember it that way. I know E can be a bit strange around people, but this was beyond strange. This was just rude. People pay good money for gigs and they deserve some respect. E's ego has obvioulsy destroyed his ability to remain humble and remember how privlidged he is to be able to tour the world doing what he loves best. I really don't think the audience was to blame. I actually think they put up with a lot and he should have known that people were restless because he wasn't entertaining them.

In some ways, I still would have liked to have gone to the gig, if only to see how it panned out first hand. But at the same time, maybe it will turn out for the best and I won't be jaded if and when they tour next time.

Thanks for the review Paul!

1 comment:

Julien said...

Thanks Paul for the write-up and Kristian for the posting. I really enjoyed E's gig last year at the Tivoli and I'm happy that's the one I'll remember.