August 24, 2002 ... Theatre Of Living Arts
Lose Me On the Way
On the Low
Friends of a Smile
Bavarian Fruit Bread
Silver and Gold
Around My Smile
- Colin: Soledad Brothers were great. I don't know what else to say, they have a unique sound and it works.
Hope & the band came out an hour later and started with Lose Me On the Way. It was evident from the beginning that something was wrong with the sound as we could barely hear Hope's vocals. After more of the same during On the Low, Hope left stage, the band finished the song and then they left too.
There was a break during which an announcement regarding the technical difficulties was made and the techs worked on the mics. The band returned and sounded much better. Hope's vocals had obviously been raised and it made a world of difference -- she sounded as smooth & majestic as she does on albums. Hope also played the harmonica & xylophone and Nicole had the tape recorder playing during Friends Of A Smile again.
The show certainly had some problems, but as a former stagehand I know that these things happen. They were great once they got past the technical difficulties and everyone enjoyed the songs after the initial hiccup. The encore was skipped so some people got upset because they wanted to hear more.
- Mike Andersen: I tried to stay open minded. When the sound sucked for the first few songs I gave Hope the benefit of the doubt.
When the concert was over at the T.L.A. I yelled out "I want my money back!" and everyone laughed in the crowd. I spoke to a bunch of people who heard me yell that and they totally agreed.
I am an avid concert goer. I hit over 100 shows a year. I love Mazzy Star. I forced myself to enjoy the new Hope album, like everyone else. What makes me soooo mad about the show tonight besides the bad lighting and lax proformance was that Hope gave two shits if we were there or not. No "Thank You" or "Hello". She should have said "Fuck You Philadelphia!" when she came out after the long break. Everyone around me was pissed. I used to like Hope Sandoval, but now I am convined that I was dead wrong.
- Espana27: Hands down the worst concert experience I've had.
1) Hope comes on well over an hour after opening band finishes, leaving fans sitting there with nothing to do
2) The sound was horrible. The problem could have been prevented with a soundcheck.
3) Hope walked off-stage because of sound problems, leaving fans to sit there bored for another 20 min.
4) Hope comes back on and says "NOTHING". No apology, no "thanks for being patient". Nothing. It's like we (the fans) didn't matter. We would hear her music WHEN and IF she wanted us to and we would LIKE it on her terms.
5) She starts playing again, and is starting to redeem herself because she sounds good........but then comes the "final slap in the face".........
6) After about 5-6 songs, the band leaves, and the crowd begins to clap for an encore. After a few minutes of clapping, the house lights go on and she was GONE, without ever having said "Good Night" or "Thanks for coming". Actually, she never said a word to us at all, which might have been OK had everything gone well, but due to the problems, a few words seemed to be in order.
- HJ: This concert was superb! All in all an amazing experience.
As expected, Hope waited an hour to appear, after SoledadBrothers ended. It occurred to me that this might be by design - Soledad Brothers are raucous, loud, energetic - an hour-long silent delay is *needed*, to give your ears and mind a rest and prepare you for something so opposite - quiet, mellow, subtle. Good move, whether or not that was their intent.
I was in the front row, about 4 feet from Hope - I was one of the lucky ones who could actually see her unlit face. Hope came out, (she's absolutely tiny), but left the stage in the middle of the second song. There were sound problems - she couldn't hear herself, in the monitors. She waited 25 minutes to reappear. I overheard some of her roadies saying she was having an anxiety attack. (And who wouldn't? Geeze, after hearing about Boston the night before, she must have been really on edge.)
The rest of the performance was perfect. The Philadelphia audience behaved well. The band was great - they got this ethereal and dreamy warmth from their guitars, that was very different from any other band I've heard. Perfect compliment to Hope's voice. Hope sounded perfect. She also played harmonica in every song, and quite well.
Now for the more "subjective" stuff: As someone mentioned in a previous review, she was indeed her usual, miserable, irritable self. It's part of her allure, actually. How can we expect anything different? We already know she's not a people-person, she'd said it herself.
She is a purist, in that she's in it for the *music*, and that's that. She's said in numerous interviews, that when she performs, she wants to be invisible, she wants people only to listen to the *music*, she doesn't want to entertain in any other way. Why should we care if she doesn't say hello or thankyou, or light up her face, or if she gets angry at disruptive people and soundtechs? Why should it matter that she sometimes hates performing live? Why does her musical perfectionism and demand for appropriate respect make her an "unprofessional diva", while the same behavior from a male would be considered "confidence" or "hardcore" or "on top of things"?
Standing so close to her, watching her face, I was able to understand what was going on. She was incredibly intense, very much into the music, and in deep, deep concentration. Every note she sang was perfectly placed, she had this intense passion which was downright startling at times. She wasn't there just to make a buck, or to stroke her own ego, or to have fun, or even to enjoy herself; she was there because she loves singing, and she loves the music. All the other stuff - touring to promote her CD, dealing with inconsiderate audiences, sound problems, seem like a necessary evil, to her. She challenges us to deal with her as a musician, not as a sex object or pretentious "rock star" or even a NiceHappyPerson(TM). She's real, so damn real. It's yummy.
(on a completely unrelated note - is it me, or did she look like a 12-year-old when she played the glockenspiel? It was charming, in a weird sort of way.)