I do. In fact, there are quite a bit of those for me. Sometimes I even wonder if I should be embarrassed about that, until the next time I see the band live – then I’m suddenly OK with it all again. So I’ll tell you what, I’ll share a few of mine, and if you feel like it – you can share a few of yours.
White Lines – I was never a fan of this remake. In fact, I will openly tell anyone who asks, and even those of you who aren’t, that when I first heard Thank You, I wondered why someone didn’t explain to Simon that he is not, nor should he ever pretend to be Grandmaster Flash. Back in high school, I adored the original, so even I was taken back when Duran Duran decided to do this cover and felt it would be an extremely tall order. I wasn’t impressed with the song on the album, and even to this day, I skip the album version at nearly every opportunity. It is just too homogenized for my taste, to be honest. The guitar isn’t nearly gritty enough, and while good old Grandmaster Flash himself helps out, it still doesn’t work for me. However, in 2003 the band did something that made me stop and reconsider this song. They had Andy play the guitar. A simple thing really, and I found myself rocking out in the best way imaginable. Then I heard it again, and again, and then noticed I was hoping they’d put it on the set list! Of course, we all know that it is now Dom Brown playing the guitar, and my ears still love what I hear. I love that raw, gritty guitar and it has become one of my most favorite songs. Live.
Sunrise -The funny thing about this particular song though is that I heard the live version first…well before I heard any remixes or the version on Astronaut, and that live version – I loved. Unlike my friend C.K, I actually liked the “Tra la la la” beginning that was done in 2003. I just felt it added some fantastic texture to the song. Sort of like adding silk to burlap…or vice-versa if you prefer. (Ok, so maybe not quite that drastic but you get my point.) I think that when I first heard the version that is included on the Queer Eye soundtrack, I liked it. I wouldn’t say it was a favorite by any means, but I didn’t run to skip it the way I do some others. I did always feel (and still do) that the song, in any of the recorded versions I’ve heard, is way overproduced and hurts the quality of the song. They took a technicolor song and made it plain vanilla, in my opinion. Of course, the live version has evolved over time into this sort of hybrid between the remix and the album version, with much more of a raw feel – that yes, I love. The song is uplifting, fun and it rocks live.
Wild Boys – And here is where I start feeling insecure… Did you know that when Wild Boys first came out, I didn’t really like it? It’s true. I’m not even sure that I can put my finger on why that was, but it was not a favorite. I would genuinely SKIP the song, and back in those days, it required more labor than just clicking an arrow! Keeping in mind that I didn’t actually hear Wild Boys live until MUCH later in my life – I’d grown steadily more irritated with that song over the years until the reunion. The fact is, they just do more with this song live than they could ever record on an album. For one thing, there’s this energy that permeates from the band when they are really feeling it – and yes, I’ve seen some rather lackluster performances of Wild Boys in my time; but more often than not, the band brings it, and I soak it up. I just don’t know if there’s a way to ignore the power of this song live, at least not for me. Do I still skip the album version when I hear it? Yep.
One more for the road…then it’s your turn.
Tiger Tiger – It’s not always the guitar that does it for me, and this song is proof. I’ll admit it, when I was what – 13 years old, I would skip this song on SATRT. I did it, and I accept whatever punishment comes my way. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the tune or that there was something horribly wrong, it’s that I was a kid, Simon wasn’t singing, and I saw no point. (Wow, that feels even worse to admit when it’s in print and I’m reading it….) Sure, sure, I got goosebumps during the opening scenes of Sing Blue Silver. What I’m not saying though is that I didn’t really get those goosebumps until about 2004 when I would watch the DVD. Before that, the song really didn’t have much meaning for me. I didn’t GO to any shows during that tour, and while I would watch SBS with this melancholy, bittersweet sort of feeling about the whole thing, the song didn’t really connect well. Along came 2004 when I got very involved in the fan community, planned a convention, watched the DVD’s with a sort of reverence that I can’t quite describe…and hoped against hope that they would play Tiger Tiger live when they toured for Astronaut. My hopes were not dashed, and in Chicago of 2005, I heard the song live and cried like a baby. The song has obviously come to mean a bit more for me now than in 1984, and I adore hearing it live…although I will say that I much prefer the way it was played in 2005 than I did this last tour. I can’t quite put my finger on the difference but I think Andy Hamilton has quite a bit to do with the success.
I’m sure that for me, part of the energy that I feel from these songs that seems to be lacking on their respective albums is due to being right there in front of them, watching them perform. I’d be crazy not to admit that, but the truth is that it’s not just being there. For that matter, there are plenty of songs that they play live that I honestly think sounded better on the album! (Another blog, another day) There are even other songs that no matter how they play them, live…on the album…standing on their heads in my living room…they’re not going to move me. I can’t imagine I’m completely alone here. So what about you? Any songs you’ve never loved off the album(s) but really get into live? Don’t leave me hanging – share away!