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In the Wings

November 18, 2008

I want to be the frontwoman of a band, just for a day.  I’ve been watching a lot of live videos lately and it looks like the best job in the world.  You get to wear crazy clothes and makeup and basically go wild.  I listened to Freddie Mercury spend a full two minutes onstage at Wembley singing gibberish before launching into “Under Pressure” and thought it was ridiculous.  Then I realized that was precisely the point.  He was just having a good time, keeping the crowd entertained while he took a sort of break.  What really impressed me was that he didn’t have to say anything to start the call and response game.  All he had to do was sing and the crowd went along with it.

That kind of magnetism is missing in a lot of new bands.  Most of the time when I flip through MTV on a plane (my parents still refuse to get cable), the lead singer stands behind the microphone and warbles.  He might walk around a little bit, or squinch his eyes shut tight during a very emotional moment, but that’s it.  Where are the theatrics?  If I wanted to watch someone clutch a mic stand and whine, I’d hit a cruddy karaoke bar at 3 am.

Luckily, some bands know how to do things right.  Every time I watch a clip from Bullet in a Bible I’m transfixed.  Between Billie Joe sprinting everywhere and somehow still managing to play guitar, Mike jumping incredibly high in the air and Tre making hilarious faces at the crowd, I don’t know where to look first.  It’s the same way with My Chemical Romance.  Gerard gets so wrapped up in “Famous Last Words” he starts rolling around on the floor as if he’s lost his mind.  I’m ashamed that I don’t remember any specific crazy moments from their concert last May; a lot of it is a happy blur.  Still, MCR knows how to put on a show.  Taking Back Sunday has theatrical flair too.  I will never understand how Adam doesn’t strangle himself when he flings the mic cord in circles and lets it wrap around his neck.  Every time I see him do it I think for sure he’s going to end up dead, but he doesn’t.  It’s a hell of a stunt.

I know it’s exhausting to give that kind of performance every night, and I guess at some point it starts to lose its magic.  But.  If I could switch places with one of those guys for a day, I would do it.  Just to see what it was like to hold an enormous amount of people in the palm of my hand.  Just to see what kind of whacky thing I could get away with.  What a trip.

It’s never going to happen, but hey, a girl can dream.

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