Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012 KDWB's Jingle Ball - The Common Man's Critique: Train

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The Lights went dim and the sound of a train began to play over the speakers.  It was a deafening sound and was timed to ratchet up the noise to a high crescendo the moment Train entered stage right.  The crowd did as they were told and ramped up their noise until we were in a deep throated cheer when Train burst in the door.  My wife began to go hoarse.  She would have no voice left after Trains half-dozen song set, singing every word (and guitar note) at the top of her lungs and wanting with every bone of her body to jump onto the stage and kiss Pat Monahan.

Pat Monahan is not a singer.  Sure, he can sing, but he doesn’t care about that.  He doesn’t even care about the fans, that is, unless they buy tickets to his next concert.  Pat is a master marketer and proved it with everything he did while on stage.  I watched his face and mannerisms carefully.  He hit every note perfectly and yet was completely bored out of his mind.  It appeared that he didn’t want to be there.

But the fans didn’t notice.

They were too busy catching t-shirts that Pat threw out to them.  They were too busy watching Train take off his own shirt, sign it, and throw it out to a section of the crowd.  They were too busy being told to take pictures of him and post them to Twitter.

Train debuted his new and horrid song “Mermaids” by adding a little extra marketing pizzazz.  He called up a few dozen girls (and one boy) onto the stage and sang the song while high stepping around the group of fans, grabbing their phones, and taking group pictures with them.  Train knew they would immediately post them to social media and tickets would begin to move for his next show in Milwaukee, WI.

More shirts flew off the stage as Train sang through all of his modern popular songs, including his older “Drops of Jupiter”.  The crowd ate up “50 Ways to Say Goodbye”, “Drive By”, lost it when he sang “Hey, Soul Sister”, singing every word, among other songs.  He disappointed many in the crowd, including my wife, by not singing one of his best ballads, “Marry Me”, where he shows off his vocal talents.  But it made sense.  He wasn’t there to spin his singing.  He was there to whet the interest of every fan to get them to the next concert.

He succeeded.  The minute Pat finished his set, Kristine, my wife, turned to me and said, “I’m buying tickets to Milwaukee”.  Train was to perform in three days in that town.

In short, Train didn’t care for a single fan in the arena, and everyone ate it up, thinking he loved them and was there for them.  He is a master salesman.  I was thoroughly impressed.

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