Sunday, February 27, 2011
Superstar Stage Charisma
I saw Prince perform this week. A piece of advice: If you have the chance to see a performer who is commonly described as "dripping with superstar stage charisma" - jump at it.
Personally, I feel I have been 5/6 on my musicians who fit that bill. Personal chronological order:
Steven Tyler - OK, Aerosmith was my favorite band growing up (shhhh, don't tell) and I was standing against the stage - but wow. It was the Nine Lives tour - so even though much of the music was so-so - it was incredible to watch him belt out the songs. (Wins at Face)
Mick Jagger- without a doubt the champion of this list. I have always been a mild Rolling Stones fan, but watching Mick Jagger perform is other-worldly. I also got to watch this one in a Cameron Crowe-designed setting: an open, dark, construction-demolished luxury suite at Comiskey. (Wins at Overall)
Madonna - My disappointment. Which was surprising, given that Like a Virgin was (seriously) the first vinyl I ever bought with "my own money" - age 9. Let me be clear - the concert was AMAZING, but it was more about the quality of the performance and nostalgia of the music. Madonna just seemed to be pretty "settled" into the music.
Robert Plant - While I didn't get to see him in the Led Zeppelin days - I did get probably his second (and trust me, I understand this is a distant, DISTANT 2nd) best stage stuff: the stripped-down intimacy of he and Alison Krauss. It also helped that this was an outside, free performance. If it came down to voice alone - he would be the champion of this list for me without a single doubt. (Wins at Voice)
Billie Joe Armstrong - I've never seen energy like this performance. Billie Joe ran out at the beginning of the show and put the entire arena crowd on his back and carried them on his frantic journey for the next few hours. He never stopped, never let us rest - he took the whole production over and made sure we felt it. (Wins at Energy)
Prince -I'm still on my Prince high, so this isn't a fair assessment. The thing about these types of performers are it takes months to completely soak in all the residual impact of their performances. Prince was an absolute tease on stage - he played the crowd even better than he played the guitar he rocked most of the show. His timing was impeccable. Most shows drain me (in a good way) but the Prince show left me full of wonderful energy. (Wins at Timing and Moving)
OK - so looking at this quick evaluation - I appear to define Superstar Stage Charisma with Face, Voice, Energy, Timing and Moving. Yep - that sounds right. I think all of these people (including Madonna, even though I didn't personally feel it in the performance I witnessed) performed beyond expectations early in their career, then had the bar raised, which they performed above again, until the bar was raised to the highest possible level on this planet - and they still vault it with ease. Truly worth every damn penny to witness.
at 7:33 AM