I had my doubts about Massive Attack as a live show: would people just stand around, swaying, while two guys stood on stage with synthesizers and 808s? Fortunately, that was not the case: last night’s show at House of Blues flipped my mind. I’d go so far as to say that Massive Attack is better live than they are on your stereo. A lot of the tracks off of Heligoland, which sounded flat when I previewed them, filled me with awe when they cranked the bass and started the light show.
Though I’m not old, I may be getting too old for concerts. My knees and hamstrings ached after three hours of standing. When I saw a cloud of tangy smoke rising from the audience during “Angel,” my only thought was: really? you’re throwing away a $40 concert ticket because you can’t bother toking up before you get here? In a standing-room-only indoor crowd, with spotlights pointing out your smoke trail for the world to see, security will always find you. Always. But the chief sign that I’m getting too old for concerts: my ears no longer ring. I can crowd the stage at Ted Leo, or stand under a giant bank of speakers for Massive Attack, and transition to the night with no difficulty. I’ve lost all the hearing that I’m ever going to.
The light board behind the band flashed Howard Zinn quotes, statistics about the availability of fresh water in Yemen and occasional exhortations to Arizona (specifically, “what the fuck Arizona”). To which, yeah, but whose country popularized the phrase “libel tourism“? Take the beam out of thy own security cameras before poking at the mote in ours.
Pics forthcoming; check back here for updates.