Whitney’s bad reviews will be a real test of character
Whitney Houston arrived in Australia with an airport controversy and now there’s backlash surrounding her first concert in Brisbane and her Sydney show last night.
By some accounts it doesn’t appear the shows were a resounding success. All I can say is: the poor unfortunate. I’ve never really followed her but I can empathise with anyone who has a bad night on stage.
She’s 46 years of age, has a well documented history of an excessive lifestyle and now she’s back on the road trying to recreate the magic of her hits. It’s a tough undertaking and will take a lot of strength and character.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 years since I Will Always Love You became a global smash – that’s a long time in my book and it’s a huge song to sing at any age. So will this negative controversy further tarnish her singing legacy?
Some say she’s not ready to tour, others have said audiences aren’t ready to accept that this is the artist she is today.
Others have asked: why is she touring at all?
Maybe she thought it was time to prove to herself and the critics she can do it. If so, she’s brave. It takes guts to face an audience after a long break and especially when you’ve changed from the person your fans grew to love initially.
Maybe like the majority of other artists, she just loves performing.
Whatever her reasons what stands out to me is how high our expectations have become Quite simply, when we part with our money, what do we want in return and are we forgiving of anything less?
I recently performed at a show where a woman came up to me and said she was disappointed I hadn’t sung a particular and quite random song. I laughed the comment off but she continued to tell me that it actually spoilt the night for her.
I was shocked and replied in a friendly way: “After two hours of singing I’d like to think that there was more to my show than just one song.” She looked at me and smiled, “But you sang it the last time I saw you play, the only reason I came tonight was to hear it again!”
So her expectation was pretty high.
These days it’s clear that we have more choices, we don’t have to settle for what’s on offer in front of us. If we’re not getting something from one place, we can get it someplace else. Without intending to complain, we’re spoilt.
It feels good to be pampered with options. In live entertainment we have more and more international acts hitting our shores and we’re quite willing to pay the premium prices they’re demanding to see them perform. On a local level we have a diverse and fantastic live scene of fabulously talented people with sounds to suit almost everyone’s tastes. There’s an abundance to choose from and the recent charts are testimony that even well established acts can do bad sales numbers if they don’t meet their audiences expectations.
Is that a good thing? Yes and no. Yes, because it certainly creates avenues for new artists to emerge through the cracks left by those that have faltered.
No, because it reduces risk-taking and second chances. Ground-breaking music has always surfaced from risk-taking and going against the grain, but if there’s a chance you’ll lose your audience because of a wrong choice, there are times when economics wins over art.
Which brings us back to the renowned singer at a controversial moment in her performing career.
Expectations are higher now more than ever but I hope she gets it together in the coming weeks and proves everyone wrong – I like to think that everyone can have a less than perfect moment from time to time, but it’s getting back up off that canvas that shows someone’s true character.
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