Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Allen Toussaint with A.J. Croce at Birch North Park Theater

Where do I begin?

I was not impressed with the way the Birch North Park Theater is run. It was disorganized. They have volunteers working there that are not so smart. I found out they get paid $35 a show and most of the volunteers take whichever seats they can find and stay there - even hide when a PAYING customer comes up to them and asks them to move because they are in his/her seat. You would think the volunteer would get up and move, but no. Security just gets a chair from the back and sits the paying customer at the end of the aisle. It was shit like this that probably won't get me back to the theater.

The sound. It wasn't that great. A.J., the piano, the guitars, they were not microphoned properly. The sound was way too low. They didn't even have the monitors on for the first 2 or 3 songs. The seats were too small and a bit uncomfortable.

A.J. Croce took the stage promptly at 8pm and started on the piano. This was my first time seeing him and I liked him. I wish he would've played more songs off of his Cantos CD. I think he only did two. He is super talented. He was awesome on the piano and the guitar. His band consisted of a gentleman named Michael, who I think tours with A.J. on a regular basis. He was on an acoustic guitar the whole time and you can tell that his parts weren't scripted for the most part. He just played what he heard/felt.

He plays the type of music that I don't normally listen to, but I can respect. I've always been a sucker for the piano, so I was entertained. He did his rendition of "Maybe I'm Amazed," originally by Paul McCartney. I think he does it better than McCartney and it's one of my favorites of A.J.'s. He told stories between each song, and sometimes the stories were longer than the songs. It wasn't too bad - he made me laugh, but more songs would have definitely been better. He didn't have a set list and was taking suggestions from the audience, so that was cool.

There was a brief intermission before Allen Toussaint took the stage and since I knew we weren't going to stay for the whole set, we decided to forgo our 5th row seats and sit in the back so we could sneak out. Well, the volunteer told us we couldn't do that and that we had to take our proper seats and I got pissed off because we were trying to be polite - stupid volunteer. So we left.

I heard that Allen Toussaint was great and he played for 90 minutes and then after his set, A.J. and Toussaint did this dueling piano/piano forte type thing that was really cool.

Overall, it was an okay experience. The venue really turned me off, but A.J. made it worth it.


Anonymous said...

WHAT IS THIS IDIOT THINKING??? I work at the Birch North Park Theatre, and I know FOR A FACT that our volunteer ushers DO NOT get paid. They work events to get to see the artst playing, and they take whatever seats are available when the show begins, as is standard practice AT ANY theatrical venue, for which I have worked at many. And when you come late, YOU WILL sit in the back until the intermission, as to not disturb the other paying customers that did show up on time, or the artist playing. As for the sound, the guitars were ACCOUSTIC, and we not meant to sound amplified. Same with the piano, the purpose is to enhance the sound of the instrument, NOT amplify it. And as for AJ not being microphones properly, we have the top of the line Audix microphones on both the piano AND for the vocals. AJ personally told me at sound check that the piano and microphones were of a much higher caliber then a lot of places he has played at, and Mr. Toussaint, who has played many houses across the country, said the piano was amazing to play on, and the keys reactions were perfect. He also stated how wonderful the accoustics sounded in the house when he was listening to AJ's sound check, because it DIDN'T and SHOULDN'T sound amplified. Just because you had a bad experience, which was no fault of the Theatres but of your own, does not give you the right to spread false information pertaining to either the venue or event. We do not need disrespectful people like you who will not even stay for a whole 90 minute set of a memeber of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Now THAT is what is truly disappointing.

T said...

thanks for expressing your opinion about my opinion. I didn't say the equipment the theater had was bad or low caliber. I just wrote about what I saw and heard.