Friday, June 03, 2005


And I've got a housefull of kids!
Sash has invited a few girls plus a guy over this afternoon..All 4 of them are shrieking it up (as only 13 & 14 year olds can) in the hot tub. Sash's friend Sunshine ought to be here any moment...The girls are sleeping over, the guy will be picked up by his Mom in a little while...
Noah and Aj are mastering the gamecube...
And I'm sorry to have to miss The Waybacks at the Sweetwater tonight..
If you missed it- Mark Karan appeared for an interview and a chat in the Chatroom last night..
You can read the transcripts over on Dot Org-Use the link on this page to get there!
Had fun through it all!
Yay MK! and Thanks Dave Rosenberg & Topher!
For a concert, how short is too short?
Jon Bream,  Star Tribune
June 5, 2005 POP0605

'Damn, you're too nice" is what the subject line on the e-mail said.
As a music critic, I'm not accustomed to hearing that. The e-mail was from Tom Evered, general manager of Capitol Records' jazz and classical divisions, including Blue Note Records. Perhaps Evered, whom I've known since his days in the record biz in the Twin Cities in the 1980s, has forgotten about my scathing review of Blue Note's marquee artist Norah Jones at Northrop Auditorium two years ago.
This time, Evered was responding to my review of Al Green's 51-minute concert at the State Theatre, which he happened to attend. He was surprised that I didn't make much of a fuss about the shortness of the show.
"It's a good thing he was playing for a nice Midwestern crowd," Evered said of Green, who records for Blue Note. "Al just doesn't do a long show. He may have misread the clock and left early. He plays it for the moment. I was caught up in the moment. I wanted to dance for another half-hour."
In an online review, I had opined: "So what if it was an all-too-brief 51 minutes? It was 51 minutes of the most exciting, uplifting soul man as religious experience as you might ever witness." (See the review at
This raises the question: How short is too short for a concert? Or how long is long enough?
For a nightclub or casino gig at which the artist is doing two sets, 60 to 75 minutes is standard -- and long enough. I've seen artists at, say, the Dakota Jazz Club stretch the late set to 80 or 90 minutes when they were in the mood.
For an artist doing a single club set or a concert, there is a different standard. Several factors are involved, including the ticket price, the size of the artist's repertoire and the amount of time filled by opening acts.
An artist's contract with a promoter typically outlines the duration of a performance. Green's contract, for example, called for 60 minutes, said co-promoter Sue McLean, who once presented a 45-minute Green show that she didn't want to replicate.
Other recent shows McLean promoted called for "one 90-minute set" (Branford Marsalis) and "length of show 120 to 150 minutes" (Bob Weir & Ratdog).
She also presented actress-turned-singer Minnie Driver, who performed for only 55 minutes -- including an encore -- April 28 at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium in St. Paul. Even though Driver has recorded only one album, that's too short, especially when tickets cost $30. (She should learn some more cover songs.)
Even when an artist has only one album, the main set should be at least one hour.
That wasn't the case at Bloc Party's packed show at First Avenue on March 30. The British buzz band was on stage for exactly 60 minutes -- but that included a four-song encore.
Sometimes the quality of a performance compensates for its brevity. For instance, when the Strokes made their debut at the 7th Street Entry in 2001, they played a killer 40-minute set. When they returned 12 months later to headline at the Orpheum Theatre, they spent 45 minutes on stage, doing almost all the songs on their debut CD and three new numbers. When the New York group returned last year to promote its second album, the guys rocked for a whopping 70 minutes at First Avenue.
Other hot new acts with only one album -- namely Franz Ferdinand, the Kaiser Chiefs and Keane -- recently gave Twin Cities club shows that lasted about 60 minutes, but those were exciting, crowd-pleasing performances.
When you get to superstars charging $75 or more, then you'd better get at least a 90-minute performance. And when the Paul McCartneys, the Bette Midlers, the U2s and the Rolling Stones are asking more than $150 a ticket, you expect two full hours and a spectacular production.
Like McCartney, U2 and the Stones, Green is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While those other acts are performing in arenas with some tickets going for $250, he filled the State at $60 at ticket. But that show left many concertgoers feeling, "Yeah, but. ..."
"I thought it was short, but a fabulous concert," said Jearlyn Steele, a singer who knows about fulfilling contracts.
"I thought it was too short but very good for the time he was up there; he was definitely on," said Tom Shiah of Minneapolis. "But the last time [he was] at the Guthrie [in March 2004], that was one of my top 10 concerts ever. The Guthrie seemed longer."
It was -- 70 minutes, to be exact.
Shiah felt that for $60 a ticket, Green should have performed for an hour and a half. "But part of the fun is not knowing what to expect," Shiah said.
However, he said, he didn't feel ripped off, as he did when he saw Miles Davis in New York in the '70s for $5.
"I don't think he ever took the stage," Shiah recalled. "He was off to the side of the stage playing [trumpet] by the risers. He still owes me 5 bucks."
What do you think? E-mail Jon Bream at