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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk bklynboy68's Avatar
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    Default Aging Is Tough On Singers.

    Review: Mariah Carey and Her Can’t-Look-Away Debut in Las Vegas
    By JON CARAMANICA

    MAY 7, 2015



    LAS VEGAS — You watch the crash because you want to see how it will end: near miss or carnage, relief or horror, laughter or tears. Part of the appeal is the feeling of helplessness — you are a viewer, but not an agent. Whatever happens, you’ll be affected, but you can’t chart the course. And looking away is never the right choice.

    In the case of late-period Mariah Carey, it’s the high notes that you can’t avert your eyes — and ears — from. When she began her career in the early 1990s, she was capable of outrageous vocal feats, singing whole octaves higher than almost everyone else, stringing together dog-pitch bleats into ecstatic runs. She brought something superhuman into the otherwise grounded world of pop-soul.

    But the notes have not been there for Ms. Carey of late: Some performances have been markedly off-base, the subject of intense scrutiny. Ms. Carey is still durable, and sometimes excellent, but her once-transcendent voice is like decaying manufacturing machinery: It still churns, but the product might be polished or dinged. You don’t know until it happens.

    On Wednesday night, Ms. Carey performed for a largely difficult two hours at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace here, the first show in what’s to be a two-year residency totaling more than 50 concerts. That she’s embarking upon something like this is already a sign of defeat: The show consists of her 18 No. 1 Billboard hits, and the last of those came in 2008. (There’s a new song, too, called “Infinity” — it won’t be No. 19.)

    But Ms. Carey, 45, has long had a taste for the outsized and gauche, and Vegas, with its grandeur and glitz, seemed like just the place to find redemption. Her portrait, airbrushed and glamorous, graces the covers of Las Vegas and Vegas Player magazines, which are laid out on coffee tables in hotel rooms across town. Last month, at the rollout event for her residency, she arrived in a pink 1936 convertible trailed by 18 billboard trucks bearing the names of each of the hits she would be performing. Maybe the new performance spectacle could resurrect the old vocal spectacle.

    When it came to the notes, though, the struggle was real. From the beginning of the night, she was tentative and inconsistent. She sang parts of several songs an octave lower than the recordings. Often she appeared to be holding back, as if to build up to a big moment, only to shy away from it. As she’s aged, her voice has gotten huskier, but sometimes the rasp felt like a glitch, not a goal.

    On power ballads like “I Don’t Wanna Cry” and “Love Takes Time,” she vacillated between hitting big notes and whiffing. The same happened on her Jackson 5 cover “I’ll Be There,” sung with her longtime backup singer Trey Lorenz. They famously performed a blistering version of this song on “MTV Unplugged” in 1992, but here Mr. Lorenz appeared to be restraining himself so as not to overpower the boss.

    On faster songs, like “Dreamlover,” “Honey” and “Fantasy,” Ms. Carey was practically tiptoeing. “Fantasy” featured Ol’ Dirty Bastard, who died in 2004, rapping via video, and he felt more alive than Ms. Carey, who was right there onstage.


    None of this changes the fact that, somewhere in there, Ms. Carey has one of the greatest pop voices of the last three decades. In the first half of the 1990s, she was unstoppable; in the second half, very close to that. She had at least one No. 1 song each year of that decade.

    Las Vegas has become a safe haven for setting stars, from Celine to Shania to Britney: Ms. Carey’s arrival here was practically inscribed in stone. And yet, in the relatively fallow period since she last topped the charts, she’s made some strong music, especially on “Me. I Am Mariah ... The Elusive Chanteuse” (Def Jam), from last year. Carey has a new record deal, with Epic, and a hits collection, “#1 to Infinity,” due this month.)

    But there’s no room for that in this show. Performing her No. 1s in chronological order is a convenient conceit, but not one best suited to Ms. Carey’s catalog, or her vocal gift. She seemed to be holding back on up-tempo songs so as to have something to give on slower ones with fewer places to hide. Hits like the elegant “Can’t Let Go” and the breezy “Shake It Off” didn’t make the cut.

    All in all, this show displayed a minimum of imagination and effort, from the song order — although she did rally near the end, on “We Belong Together” and “Don’t Forget About Us” — to the strategically lethargic band to the constant reminders of the things Ms. Carey wasn’t doing. During his introduction, the show’s director, Ken Ehrlich, ran down a list of behind-the-scenes people — “Mariah’s asked me to thank them for her” — and it was Mr. Lorenz’s task to introduce the dancers and band members. Even Ms. Carey’s movements were kept to a minimum. Several times, she was wheeled out on stage — singing in a pink convertible, singing on a Jet Ski, singing on a round bed.

    She stood the most still when she was aiming the highest: not for the run-of-the-mill big notes, but the stratospheric ones that made her untouchable 25 years ago. She has a routine. Before she sings them, she pauses for a bit, puts her hand to her eardrum, then points to the sky as the laserlike shrieks come out.

    All those gestures were there during this show — at the end of “Emotions,” and on “Heartbreaker” and on “I’ll Be There.” But as the night wore on, it became increasingly unclear whether the sounds coming through the speakers were coming from her mouth. They were crisp and clean, while many of her lesser notes were gruff and unsteady. It’s possible she shines most at the highest difficulty level, but it’s more probable that to fail at those places would have been too great a tragedy to bear.

    And so went this show, which was far more about defense than offense. Whether the decision to undertake this project was born of necessity, hubris or obliviousness, it has put Ms. Carey in a precarious position — she is in decline and trapped in a cage of her own making. It would be so much easier to turn away if the spotlight weren’t so bright.




    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/08/ar...egas.html?_r=0
     "He has a swaggering retro machismo that will give hives to the Steinem cabal" -Camille Paglia on Donald Trump

    "Make way for the bad guy"- Tony Montana

    'This hamburger don't need no helper"- David Lee Roth

    "I wish Bon Jovi would've given me a call before he recorded all of his hits, because the lyrics would've been smarter, the melodies would've been much more smashing, and they would've sold a lot fewer records." -David Lee Roth

    "My beef is people thinking Bon Jovi is good cuz they sold lots of records to housewives." -tango

    "But being number one doesn’t really mean jack fuck all. We sold twice as many records as other records that year (1984) that landed in the Number One position." ~Eddie Van Halen

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk CaboChris's Avatar
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    Aging is tough on singers?

    My gosh...I'm shocked.

    Who would've thought?

    Carey is aging all the way to the bank.

  3. #3
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    Wow. I just read an entire article on Ms. Carey. Never did that before. Thought that was gonna go someplace else other then a review of her show. Odd.

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk CaboChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Number 47 View Post
    Wow. I just read an entire article on Ms. Carey. Never did that before. Thought that was gonna go someplace else other then a review of her show. Odd.
    Very odd.

    I actually read the whole thing too and thought, "Oh, it's just a review".

  5. #5
    ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Number 47's Avatar
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    If you were a great singer once... but got old and suck now... this is your thread.


    We Asked a Van Halen Expert about Their Reunion Performance on Jimmy Kimmel

    On Monday night, veteran rockers Van Halen remerged after nearly two years in hibernation and performed live in Hollywood on the neon-washed set of Jimmy Kimmel Live! Even though they ostensibly came to plug their new ‘Tokyo Dome Live in Concert’ album, the band’s main focus was juicing sales for their upcoming summer tour, which gets underway in July. While the audience got to enjoy the whole set that night, the Kimmel show would broadcast five Van Halen live performances over two nights, “Panama,” “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Hot For Teacher,” “Eruption,” “You Really Got Me” and a portion of "Dance the Night Away."

    So how did frontman extraordinaire David Lee Roth and the three Van Halens, Eddie, Alex, and the band’s newest member, Eddie’s son Wolfie, do in selling America on Van Halen as a live act in 2015? Well if “Panama” represented your first time seeing and hearing the band in a spell, there were some WTF moments right out of the gate.

    To be sure, Van Halen’s patented power and volume is there from the start. Wolfie does a yeoman’s job in holding down the bottom end while his uncle and father thunder away. Eddie and Alex, both now in their sixties, look healthy and happy. As Eddie rips through the song’s riff, Roth appears next to him, grinning and mugging for the crowd, as always. But flashing under Roth’s jeans jacket ensemble is an elaborate Japanese body-suit tattoo that runs the length of his chest. Roth’s shorn brown hair, too, makes him look more like an accountant than a rock star.

    Then there’s his nose. He’s sporting an oversized bandage across the bridge of his nose. Rhinoplasty? A giant Breathe-Right strip? Nope. Turns out that Diamond Dave whacked himself in the face while he spinning a baton during the opening of “Panama.” The band then launched into an improvised jam while Roth staunched the bleeding. Live TV viewers were none the wiser since Van Halen took it from the top once Roth returned.

    But all of that’s window dressing once Roth begins to sing. Roth, it seems, like many aging vocalists, has lost much of the high end off of his voice. Forget his patented whistle register screams that punctuated every great song the band ever released back in the day, the chorus on ‘Panama’ -- hardly an example of a technically challenging vocal part -- gives Roth fits. Things don’t get much better for Roth as the night proceeds. While the band smokes, he struggles with “Devil,” too, before delivering in an adequate performances on “Teacher” and “You Really Got Me.” Still, it’s evident that he’s giving it a go, sticking a finger in his ear to help him stay on key, singing every verse and chorus with gusto.

    In the wake of the band’s appearance, America voted on social media about Van Halen, and delivered a mixed review. Most viewers trashed Roth for his vocal shortcomings. The common wisdom seems to be that while Van Halen is still an instrumental powerhouse, and that Eddie may be playing better than he’s played in two decades, Roth has lost it as a live vocalist.

    Here I must dissent. As a writer who has talked to scores of people who saw Van Halen during their formative years, I can tell you that the knock on David Lee Roth from the first days he partnered with the Van Halen brothers back in 1973 was that as a singer, he was a poor match when measured against the brilliance of Eddie Van Halen. Think about it. The hard rock vocal gods of the 70s -- Roger Daltrey, Robert Plant, and Ian Gillan -- could hit every note live. Roth? Not so much.

    That said, Roth did rise to the occasion by performing well as a singer on Van Halen’s first two world tours in 1978 and 1979, unleashing his spine-tingling screams with abandon, and keeping the melodies intact, even as he entertained the crowd.

    By the early 80s, though, David Lee Roth put his emphasis on turning Van Halen’s giant arena shows into massive parties. If he missed a verse while launching himself off of a giant drum riser, guess what, the armies of teenagers in the audience who’d smoked some Mexican dirt weed and pounded Southern Comfort couldn’t have cared less. I know, because I was one of them. Here was a guy who was half-Tarzan, half-superhero who turned an arena show into a giant keg party punctuated with circus-like acrobatics. Nobody went to see Van Halen live back in the early 80s to enjoy the melodious vocal stylings of one David Lee Roth.

    So here we are in 2015. Roth is still shaking his ass, fucking around with chicks in the audience, and grinning like a manic as he sings. Long gone are the insane leaps, the windmill karate kicks, and backflips that made Van Halen a must-see arena show back in the day. That said, so today do we want Diamond Dave, arguably rock’s greatest frontman ever, to check his party-vibe at the door and stand in front of a mic stand while trying to nail every note? Fuck no.

    And do take note of Eddie and Alex’s expressions on the Kimmel show while Roth does his ADHD thing. They are smiling and laughing, and enjoying the proceedings. They aren’t cringing or frowning while Roth sings. Why? Because they know David Lee Roth as a singer in 2015 isn’t a markedly different vintage from David Lee Roth circa 1973. Vocals were never Job One for David Lee Roth as live performer. Why would we want it to be now?

    My advice? If you go see Van Halen this summer, thank your higher power that Eddie, who looked like walking death in 2004, is out kicking ass with his brother and his son. And when Roth proposes a toast after he flubs another verse, drink up and enjoy the party, just like Van Halen fans have done since 1973.

    http://noisey.vice.com/blog/we-asked...on-performance
    Last edited by Number 47; 05.14.15 at 02:25 PM.

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  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Number 47 View Post
    If you were a great singer once... but got old and suck now... this is your thread.


    We Asked a Van Halen Expert about Their Reunion Performance on Jimmy Kimmel

    .....the armies of teenagers in the audience who’d smoked some Mexican dirt weed and pounded Southern Comfort couldn’t have cared less. I know, because I was one of them. Here was a guy who was half-Tarzan, half-superhero who turned an arena show into a giant keg party punctuated with circus-like acrobatics. Nobody went to see Van Halen live back in the early 80s to enjoy the melodious vocal stylings of one David Lee Roth.


    http://noisey.vice.com/blog/we-asked...on-performance
    I was never one of those teenagers, because I was already 22 when Van Halen's first album came on the scene. Even when I was a teenager, I did not drink. Nothing pious about it, I just didn't. I had a few HS friends that were influnced by some other of their friends to get shit-faced drunk. Listening to the recounting of those outings, I never once thought, gee, I'm missing out, and that's something I need to do now...

    Since I was 14, I had a great love for Hard Rock music, and that was all without drugs or alcohol. Later in college, I smoked pot. But, I always did some reefer to enjoy the music even better. Which is in contrast, to many HS kids, who easily become drunkards and druggies, that use some kind of rock music to make their stupor better.

    In 1978, was holding down a real job, and paying for an apartment, and my life was not "one big teenage party". So that's who I was then.

    I never went to a VH concert, or any concert for that matter, to be part of a big "Party". I went to a VH concert, just like I went to an Aerosmith concert, or a ZZ Top concert, or a Deep Purple concert, or a Grand Funk Railroad concert..... to be entertained by a Hard Rock (music) band.

    So, no, I won't be paying good money to go to a "party", and I won't be "drinkin up" as you have so advised.

    I never ever thought of DLR as a master MC, or some special rock acrobat. Those that have bought into that 100% can never be disuaded. I get that. But I will never be persuaded that VH is great party band. I was never drugged enough or childlike, to come to that realization, nor will I ever be.
    Last edited by The Rover; 05.14.15 at 04:07 PM.

    ~~8 U.S.C. § 1182(f)~~

  8. #7
    Atomic Punk bklynboy68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Rover View Post
    I was never one of those teenagers, because I was already 22 when Van Halen's first album came on the scene. Even when I was a teenager, I did not drink. Nothing pious about it, I just didn't. I had a few HS friends that were influnced by some other of their friends to get shit-faced drunk. Listening to the recounting of those outings, I never once thought, gee, I'm missing out, and that's something I need to do now...

    Since I was 14, I had a great love for Hard Rock music, and that was all without drugs or alcohol. Later in college, I smoked pot. But, I always did some reefer to enjoy the music even better. Which is in contrast, to many HS kids, who easily become drunkards and druggies, that use some kind of rock music to make their stupor better.

    In 1978, was holding down a real job, and paying for an apartment, and my life was not "one big teenage party". So that's who I was then.

    I never went to a VH concert, or any concert for that matter, to be part of a big "Party". I went to a VH concert, just like I went to an Aerosmith concert, or a ZZ Top concert, or a Deep Purple concert, or a Grand Funk Railroad concert..... to be entertained by a Hard Rock (music) band.

    So, no, I won't be paying good money to go to a "party".

    I never ever thought of DLR as a master MC, or some special rock acrobat. Those that have bought into that 100% can never be disuaded. I get that. But I will never be persuaded that VH is great party band. I was never drugged enough or childlike, to come to that realization, nor will I ever be.
    Lighten up, man. Whether you want to believe it or not, Van Halen was a party band. It's not childlike , or a sign of drug addiction to say or believe that.

    The "Women And Children First" tour was named the "World Invasion Party 'Til You Die Tour" for crying out loud!

     "He has a swaggering retro machismo that will give hives to the Steinem cabal" -Camille Paglia on Donald Trump

    "Make way for the bad guy"- Tony Montana

    'This hamburger don't need no helper"- David Lee Roth

    "I wish Bon Jovi would've given me a call before he recorded all of his hits, because the lyrics would've been smarter, the melodies would've been much more smashing, and they would've sold a lot fewer records." -David Lee Roth

    "My beef is people thinking Bon Jovi is good cuz they sold lots of records to housewives." -tango

    "But being number one doesn’t really mean jack fuck all. We sold twice as many records as other records that year (1984) that landed in the Number One position." ~Eddie Van Halen

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  10. #8
    Good Enough DRFC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Rover View Post
    I always did some reefer to enjoy the music even better. Which is in contrast, to many HS kids, who easily become drunkards and druggies, that use some kind of rock music to make their stupor better.
    So, you doing drugs to help yourself enjoy something in life better is ok, because you took having a good time much more seriously than they did.

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  12. #9
    Atomic Punk RRvh1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bklynboy68 View Post
    Lighten up, man. Whether you want to believe it or not, Van Halen was a party band. It's not childlike , or a sign of drug addiction to say or believe that.

    The "Women And Children First" tour was named the "World Invasion Party 'Til You Die Tour" for crying out loud!

    Van Halen are THE premiere party band , to me .
    Not Motley Crue type of heroin poking , but real honest to goodness FUN partying . And with a killer soundtrack in the background
    "There's too many people on this basketball that's floating around the sun, who are too afraid to allow themselves to FEEL" - Edward Van Halen
    "Van Halen was never about the singer..." - a very wise fan.
    "Embrace the past. Live in the moment but keep your eyes on the future, and keep on moving forward..." - Richie Sambora

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