The high pitch with which the crowd sings many of Pierre Bouvier's parts does seem to betray the presence of more than a few teenage girl screamers. And my they do appear to be having a screamingly good time - sometimes.
Not that the band doesn't try to convince at every opportunity that is is in fact a great party. It is, after all, the commercial music industry's approach to brow-beat its young victims into believing whatever it is they tell them by repeating the intended message over and over again. "This is a great band"; "This is a cool t-shirt"; "This is a cool concert".
But there's a limit to how many times you can shout "Everybody!" or "Come on!" in one concert. Bouvier exhausts his complement in the opening two tracks, but continues to try to jack up the audience, perhaps for the sake of the live television coverage. In reality, for a neutral observer, it all looks pretty staged - a giant, sponsored concert - for the sake of another brow-beating opportunity.
And then there are moments you feel that reality bites. At one point, Bouvier asks if anyone in the crowd has their first record... (cheer)... "Are you guys familiar with the riff that Jeff is playing?"... (awkward silence)... "did you guys skip that song or something?"... (awkward guffaw). It's the moment that a band that's conveyor-belted into MTV high rotation should realise that it's better not to expect people at your concerts to know who you are.
It's a shame - all in all the band is competent, and plays a fairly energetic show, albeit with songs that are mostly too similar and largely forgettable to non-fans. Still, if the samey vocal and navel-gazing nature of teenage-minded frivolity is your bag, MTV Hard Rock Live is probably an OK and light-hearted enough romp.
- Anton Marshall
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