Lady Antebellum & Darius Rucker in concert

Last night Marisa and I went to a performance by Lady Antebellum, with Thompson Square and Darius Rucker opening.  At the HP Pavillion.

I had forgotten how awful the acoustics are there.  Massive reverb, and a closed roof contributing to the cheap-speakers-way-over-driven effect.  Which was very unfortunate.  But nonetheless the show was entertaining.  It just had me sitting there thinking about so-called audiophiles lamenting that digital music doesn’t sound as good as the live version.  Well, yeah, because the studio version sounds good.

Anyway, we were a few minutes late to our seats, so Thompson Square had already started.  I think I’d seen the name pass by somewhere, perhaps in concert listings, but I had figured with a name like that they were probably some irrelevant hipster band from San Francisco.  Not the name you’d expect for a country music band.

Though we couldn’t really make out any of the actual lyrics, per se, it sounded like they knew what they were singing, and were comfortable with it.  So that was something. ;)

Darius Rucker, on the other hand, was the highlight of the show for me.  It was in the back of my mind that the name was familiar, but I had no idea why.  It wasn’t until Marisa looked him up on Wikipedia and showed me that I knew he was the Hootie & the Blowfish frontman.  His voice also was sounding very familiar, though he started off singing songs from his new country career, so that threw me.  He was overall less “polished” or perhaps the word is “processed” than the Hootie albums, at least the ones I have… which is apparently the distinction between mainstream and “true” country, the music critics tell me.  He sounded good, either way.

He did a couple of throw-backs to Hootie, with “Only Wanna Be With You” and “Hold My Hand”.  He also finished up with “Purple Rain”, which was unexpected, but rather good.

It was interesting that most of the people nearby seemed to know who he was, and his songs – especially the Hootie ones.  Lots of lip-syncing going on.  But there were a couple of groups of people who just watched patiently, apparent oblivious to or not interested in his music.  Their loss.

I also noticed, while looking around, that the two couples either side of us, along with the five people in the row in front, all had iPhones.  Mostly 4/4S, though one 3GS.  I saw only two Android phones at the whole concert, some ways off to our left.  Poor bastards.

So then this band called “Lady Antebellum” came on, whom you’ve probably never heard of… if you’re me, anyway. ;)  Marisa had showed me some of their songs last year – “Need You Now” and some others – which I’d liked, and she rather likes them so of course the night was really for her.

I’m not sure how I missed their existence completely, prior to that.  Granted I don’t generally listen to music, but I have to look at the iTunes Music Store front page occasionally… never seen them there.

Anyway… their entrance was supposed to be them rising up through a hatch in the stage, but the lift stopped half way.  I didn’t think much of it at first – just that it was a little bit of an odd presentation.  They had to clamber out themselves.  Later through the show they made references to it, such as “I think that was the most professional entrance I’ve ever seen”.  The lady of the trio, Hillary, also commented at one point about deserving props for having done the clambering in what were apparently very tight leather pants.  Alas back in the boonies were we were, I couldn’t really tell what she was wearing, so I didn’t really get that comment until Marisa explained it later.  In any case, I liked their sense of humour about it.

I was surprised though when they sang what I thought was a Bon Jovi song.  It appears (based on lyrics which sound familiar, and their set lists as past shows on this tour) it was, perhaps, “Our Kind of Love” – though I don’t recognise the studio version as anything like what they sang last night…. so it’s all very confusing.

They also covered Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” later in the show.  I didn’t expect a band high in their successful career to do covers at concert like that… I guess I’m out of touch.

The best parts of the concert were the quieter, acoustic or vocal parts, because they were the only ones that didn’t overwhelm the crappy venue.  The opening verse and chorus of “Need You Now” was really amazing.  “Just a Kiss” was also really well sung.  Likewise with Darius Rucker, earlier,

Though I must say I’m a little suspicious of the lyrics in that song.  It’s 1:15 AM, I’m drunk on whiskey, and I really really want you to come over?  ZOMG it’s the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard!

Oh, and there was some random girl wearing a tiara.  So I guess I must acknowledge that tiaras are real after all.  Just incredibly hard to acquire.  [[ The background being that last Valentine’s day I tried to buy a tiara for Marisa, in reference to an in-joke we’d had a few days earlier, but despite visiting several major department stores and spending two hours hunting online, I could not find a decent tiara for less than several hundred dollars.  I found exactly one tiara in a physical store, and is was for ages 3-8 and was plastic and had a picture of some Disney princess embedded in it.  But I did find cupcakes, which was the other half of the joke, and the more delicious half, so it worked out okay. ]]

And I’m pretty happy with how the photos turned out.  Most of them were taken on maximum zoom (5x) on my wee little Sony TX10, the quality and especially low-light performance of which I’ve been ambivalent about since I got it.  If it hadn’t been so expensive ($400, basically, once you include extended warranty and tax), I’d be quite happy with it.  As it stands… worth it, but not necessarily good value.  I could have bought a Nikon D7000 (second-hand) with kit lense for only $100 more.

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