Summerfest ’09

The last few weeks I’ve been very active in my off-line world. Far more active than I usually am. A few weeks ago, my roommate, her sister, and I went off to see No Doubt in concert at the Marcus Amphitheater at Summerfest. My roommate has always really loved them and was thrilled to hear that they got back together again for a tour, so we happily went and bought tickets to go.

Neither my roommate nor I have ever gone to Summerfest before, well I may have when I was younger. I remember going to some festival in that park in Milwaukee when I was younger but I don’t remember what it was for. It might have been Octoberfest. Regardless, it was the first time I had been there now that I am older and actually know what the heck is going on around me so it was quite an experience for us.

We didn’t really want to see the rest of the festival though, we were really only there for No Doubt so we got there about a half hour before they were scheduled to start. We unfortunately didn’t bring a camera because we thought we’d get into trouble since the tickets said no cameras, but alas the security force didn’t really care since everyone had a camera. But really who cares.

We got to our seats and found that they were way off to the side. Now, we realized they were off to the side when we bought them but we didn’t realize how wide the Marcus Amphitheater was. It also seemed like we were further back than the maps on the internet made it feel. So we were a bit disappointed with the tickets considering the substantial price we paid for them. 1

The first band was forgettable overall but what we did remember was the blaring light directly in our eyes from the side spotlight. We were even more worried that this was going to be in our face the entire show, but luckily as the stage moved back with each band the lights became less of an issue to us. Was kind of annoying all the same though.

The other band that we all really wanted to see was the second band to play, Paramore. I think my roommate and her sister were a bigger fan of them than I am. I really only know them from Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero which to me those songs are awful because they are hard to drum to! However, I do gotta say I always love a chic with dyed hair and their music was overall pretty good. The guitarist did a couple of front flips across the stage which was pretty amazing to see.

No doubt was last to play, of course, and they were pretty amazing. They played all their old classics and though I have since heard that they are in fact working on a new album, they played nothing that hadn’t been heard before. What I thought was kind of nice was that they also played remixed versions of their videos in the background which even though we’ve all seen them before in some form or another, it was a nice trip back memory lane.

The whole performance felt much more scripted than the first couple, this was to be expected from a big band though so it wasn’t too disheartening. It was still really fun. Being the odd drummer geek in high school I appreciated the end when the drummer came out in a tu-tu with a snare marching band drum on. It was very cool. The other highlight were the couple of times that Gwen Stefani let a few happy fans onto the stage to get a hug and get their pictures taken with her. A very cool touch on her behalf and it was fun to watch, she definitely knows how to interact with a crowd and work them.

On our way out of the show, in the throngs of people we stopped for a couple of minutes to get a glimpse or two of Matisyahu who was playing one of the stages on the way back to our car. I have heard one of his songs before on the radio though I don’t remember which one, but generally I gotta say he was pretty good and worth watching.

Overall, I thought the night was OK. It wasn’t great, I don’t think Summerfest is the ideal venue to see a concert but some people dig it. I am not one of those. My roommate is annoyed because she felt she over payed for her tickets and justifiably so. But I still had a good time going.

Personally, I am happy to see that Gwen Stefani rejoined No Doubt. I haven’t cared for their later stuff as it veered away from their Ska roots and I really like Ska. But I still respect them as a band and think they can put out some decent stuff. Though Stefani has had great success as a solo artist, all her music has been utter crap which is too bad. I also miss her blue hair, but again I dig the dyed hair.

Show 1 footnote

  1. They really should price based on smaller areas… center of the same area paid same amount we did but had a much better seat.

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