Monday, July 27, 2009

The Dangling Conversation

Who is better Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson? It’s no contest...Emily Dickinson. But this is why I’m unnerved every time I listen to Simon and Garfunkel's “The Dangling Conversation” and hear the lines “you read your Emily Dickinson / And I my Robert Frost.”

Seriously, Robert Frost?

Do not get my wrong, I don’t have a secret vendetta against Robert Frost. I mean, every elementary student must salute him for providing them with a perfectly pleasant poem to memorize. Which poem? The poem that is a fixture in our American public school curriculum:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

This song is about the communication barrier between a couple. In my opinion the cause of communication barrier is revealed in this line - it derives from their differing taste and intellect. Someone who prefers Robert Frost to Emily Dickinson obviously has elementary taste in poetry. I know my conversation would be stifled if someone started talking about the merits of Robert Frost and I was reading Emily Dickinson. Talk about a conversation killer.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Coldpay at The Gorge

Viva la Vida

Eugène Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People

This was the banner behind Coldplay for the first quarter of the concert. I nearly went insane trying to remember the artist and title of the painting. Although I could not name the title, I did guess Delacroix as the artist - two points for me. But this is a French revolutionary piece and the tour is Viva la Vida which is Spanish. So in my elitist opinion, Francisco Goya or Pablo Picasso would have been more appropriate.

The Gorge

The Gorge is a unique out-door musical venue and geological phenomenon that draws a variety of people. At Saturday's performance by Coldplay, the audience was more of a "tossed salad" -let's be politically correct now - than your average concert. The audience included my brother's high school teachers, grandparents, high school kids, parents and college students. And all of these random people sat with us on the grassy hill in the stifling hot weather. Because of the heat, I saw more nudity at this concert than at my high school prom. Women wore string bikini's, while the men showed off their hairy chests and big bellys while sporting never-nude cutoffs. To complete the white trash look, many had moustaches that would make Nietzsche envious. So I felt a little out of place in my modest sundress. But by the end of the concert I felt included because my clothes were perfumed with a mixture of every one's scents: weed, Heineken, sweat, b.o. and grass.

The Concert

Coldplay understands showmanship. They were able to keep the interest of those of us on the hill - who could barley see - by dramatic lighting and large TV screens to provided artistic camera shots of the action on stage. My favorite effect were these enormous balls - 5x your average exercise ball - on stage that reminded me of Chinese lanterns. They projected images, words and colors on these balls throughout the show. One of there most dramatic and clever spectacle was during their performance of the song "Yellow". They had yellow beach volleyball sized balloons blown out among the audience while the lighting on the stage mirrored the lyrics of the song.

Besides the spectacle, Coldplay delivered a brilliant musical performance that sounded better than their Cd's. Chris Martin managed to sing perfectly while literally running about on stage. His mannerisms and enthusiasm reminds me of a small kid whose thoroughly enjoying himself - he skips about on stage and does some moves that credit his British heritage: a bit river danish . It sounds rather silly, and it would appear to be silly if he did not have his raw unabashed enthusiasm that portrayed how deeply he feels the music while he performs.


During this concert Chris Martin exhibited his brilliant skills as a pianist. From his CD's you know he plays the piano, but you do not realize how talented he is. For example, one of my favorite portions of the concert was at the conclusion of one of the songs he included a piano solo of Gnossiene No. 1 by Erik Satie. It was incredible! However, the highlight of the concert was Coldplay's tribute to Michael Jackson by singing an acoustic, blue-grass inspired rendition of "Billie Jean". Brilliant, simply brilliant.