Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Please Forgive Me, Maestro

Our 4th of July weekend was spectacular and we settled in last night to wrap it up by watching the holiday celebration on the Esplanade.

Big mistake.

The Pops is the Pops - storied and excellent to listen to. Although Maestro Keith Lockhart is frightening to watch. The man looks pissed off most of the time. He conducts like he's in a boxing match. Even when he smiles it appears to be strained.

By the way, titles amuse me. Maestro. Do we really need to refer to him as Maestro? I am impressed with who the man is and what he has accomplished. The name Keith Lockhart carries enough weight in my mind. In fact, putting Maestro in front of the name makes it sound a bit silly. Maybe I have watched too many Three Stooges episodes.

I understand that is the tradition but still, it feels a bit pompous to me. If I were the Maestro of the Boston Pops I would not want people to call me Maestro. Joe would work nicely. But the musical community would probably not allow that. They would probably insist on calling me Maestro.

How bizarre, how bizarre.

Anyway, the Pops rocked like they always do. Unfortunately the entertainment was watered down by the performances of.............................

Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, and Little Big Town.

Holy Christ, who the hell are these people? And why are they sharing the stage with the Boston Pops?

In a certain way, my age creates a wide gulf between me and today's musical performers. I am just not going to be aware of these people because I don't listen in any way that will expose them to my ears. However I do know good music when I hear it. I have no problem recognizing talent no matter how young the performer, or what the genre is.

There was no recognizing last night.

Demi Lovato has a hell of a voice and I did like one song that she sang. She also has very large thighs which she was proud to expose to the nation.

Jonas made me want to drive ice picks into my ear drums. His voice, the music he sang and his persona, if you can call it a persona, combined to almost raise my supper back out of my stomach.

Little Big Town drove me absolutely nuts. First of all, what an incredibly lame name.

Beyond that, they attempted to project a rock star presence that was way out of proportion to the music they were delivering. The music was like cold, watery oatmeal. They were raising their arms in the air and trying to get the crowd to clap as if they were the biggest act in the music world.

They looked and sounded like poseurs to me.

I don't know why I hung in as long as I did. We started watching around 8:45. I finally lurched out of my chair in disgust at 10:15.

Before the fireworks.

I went to bed before the main event because I could not sit through any more ball-less music. (And partially because I knew the alarm was going to ring at 5:30 - however, I would have gutted it out if I was being entertained).

Popularity, fleeting as it is, should not be the criteria for choosing Boston 4th of July performers. Attempting to please the 12 and under crowd is not the answer either.

New rule: From now on, performers who share the stage with the Boston Pops on the 4th of July, indeed people who are actually accompanied by the Pops, need to be of a stature that at least approaches that of the Pops' musicians.

Being able to spell and correctly pronounce the word maestro is a definite bonus.

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