If there's anything I've learned from the September 30 Bruce Springsteen concert at the Xcel Energy Center, it's that some concertgoers are lazy. Too lazy to keep sparking a simple cigarette lighter during "Dancing in the Dark." (So much for not starting a fire without a spark: One woman held a small, self-fueling torch gun that could have been responsible for setting all of those toilets ablaze at the last Leeds Festival.) Too lazy to remember the words. ("Born in the U.S.A." is not a death threat to Billy Joel, although "Send me off to a foreign land to go and kill Piano Man" is a war cry that would unite us all.) And most of all, too damn lazy to stand while the Boss man is performing. During an encore performance of "My City of Ruins," Bruce sang "Come on, rise up!" while a huge section of his audience was moved to the point of, well, sitting in their seats and chugging Miller Genuine Draft.
At least the energetic people down in front were on their feet for the entire three-hour show, which featured a pretty good balance between new singles like "Nothing Man" and older classics like "Badlands." Still, there's nothing more annoying than to be in the midst of a really good show and then see one person sit down, causing a wave of 25 rows behind him to get sucked down into their chairs. I mean, how are we supposed to see guitarist Steve Van Zandt's amazing pirate costume from that angle?
Speaking of rock stars inclined to wear purple scarves, the Associated Press reports that Prince's production company is suing Matthew Lankford, operator of the Me'Shell Ndegeocello Web site FreeMyHeart.com, which allegedly offered pirated recordings of the Rainbow Child's live performances from his Xenophobia concert series in June. The lawsuit alleges that Lankford broke federal copyright laws by allowing Web users to download Prince songs, but Lankford contends that he simply used links to other sites that offered the downloads. We thought Prince had filed enough lawsuits (nine, to be exact) against Web sites three years ago! So now he's gonna party like it's 1999?
Actually, Prince is partly right in thinking that downloads of Xenophobia's songs are no substitute for the actual live concert. Take one extraordinary experience from the show, as posted by an NPG Music Club "fam": "My little Pets.Com Puppet Puppy had a great time singing along to 'Dolphin' at the show!" Now aren't you iPod users sorry you missed that?
Apparently, Prince isn't the only local music-scene icon having a run-in with the law: On September 18, Eclipse Records owner Joe P. Furth pleaded guilty to one count of operating a cabaret without a license. Furth reports that on Friday, May 10, 2002 eight officers showed up for an in-store performance by Chromatic Black and Leolo Ferone--and not just to play air guitar along with C.B.'s "Detailing the Grunge." They cited Furth for a noise-ordinance violation and a violation of the cabaret-license law. Although they skipped the Saturday performance, the police appeared at Eclipse again on Sunday, May 12--10 minutes before closing, and during a time when Furth says no music was playing--and issued another noise-ordinance and cabaret-license citation. After Furth pleaded guilty to one count of operating a cabaret without a license and agreed to pay $350 in fines, the other violations were subsequently thrown out.
"I was like, okay, you win. I just want to get the music back," Furth explained during a recent phone conversation. A benefit for Furth and Eclipse is tentatively planned for December 11 at the Turf Club.
No more benefit concerts will be necessary for S.U.S.P.E.C.T.S.: Twin Cities underground hip-hop Web site D.U. Nation reports that the promising local crew have broken up. Members Jayechs, Squeeze, and Golden will be continuing their own solo projects. In a recent e-mail, Golden noted that S.U.S.P.E.C.T.S.' label, Souls of Life, will continue to releasee albums. At the time of the breakup, S.U.S.P.E.C.T.S. were in the middle of recording a new release. But now we'll never get to hear it on the radio. Fortunately, we can call in and harass the few stations that support local music until they pick up a copy of the group's debut, Delusions of Grandeur. You should stand up for what you believe in, people! Unless you're a Springsteen fan, in which case you can just sit down and have a beer.