Friday, July 31, 2015

Suede live in Tel Aviv, 30 July 2015

Last night I went to a concert by the British band Suede. I have been listening to their music ever since their first album. I have always loved their ravishing guitar sound and soaring vocals. Sometimes you like a band for a while and then lose interest, or your taste changes, but for me there have been a few bands I have continued to enjoy over the years, and in terms of my taste, their old music holds up, while their newer albums might indicate their changing style over time, but I still enjoy them just as much. I would say Suede was one of my top ten favourite bands.

The show started on time (!) with the warm-up show by Israeli band Siam. This was a one time reunion for the 80s alternative band, who sing in English. I remember knowing and liking a couple of their songs back in the 80s, and their sound triggered some nostalgia for that time. I thought they did well, but it seemed that much of the audience was completely unfamiliar with them. It was also unfortunate that so many people came in just on time or a bit late, perhaps assuming that things would start late, or that the warm-up show is like the commercials and trailers in a cinema.

Suede gave a slick 90 minute show, including songs from all their albums. The audience seemed most familiar with their hits. For me all their songs are very familiar, so I would have been pleased with anything they played. However, I was grateful they played one of my favourite songs, "Everything Will Flow". I was also pleased to hear some songs from their 2013 album, "Bloodsports", and they also played one new song, which was well received.

Brett Anderson is a great vocalist, though it does seem that he can no longer reach some of the high notes of his early career. He gave an energetic rock-star performance, and seemed to be playing especially to the crowd at the front, sometimes touching them or sitting on the edge of the stage. His attempts to get the audience to sing along were not always entirely successful, though the acoustic version of "She's in Fashion" went down well.

I was torn between wanting to experience the show and also wanting to take some photos and videos to have a souvenir. This was the first time I've taken photos at a live concert. Photography and recording used to be forbidden at concerts, but now they are so acceptable that the before the concert screens in the venue displayed an ad for an app, saying "use this app to record the show and get excellent quality audio"! My choice was to take a few photos, knowing they would not be very good from my seat so far above the stage, and to video a few select pieces (quality not good enough to post here), and the rest of the time I just enjoyed the performance.

I haven't seen many rock concerts in my life for various reasons. First of all, not many international artists/bands choose to appear in Israel. Suede have played here five times now, throughout their career, and have never shown signs of giving in to the boycott pressure. Second, there have often been logistical difficulties preventing me from seeing concerts I wanted to, such as ticket price, not having anyone to go with, and getting to/from the venue. Finally, as an introvert I find my dislike of crowds can make live events very draining. In this case I didn't find the experience as exhausting as expected, and it seemed like quite a civilized crowd, mostly in their thirties and forties.

The one criticism I could make has nothing to do with the performance. The venue was a basketball arena, and this made it far from ideal for a rock show, though it was good to have air conditioning. I hope future concerts will be held in more suitable locations.

You can read a review here (Hebrew, with photos and video clips that are better than mine).

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