Sometime you go to concerts with a good idea of what to expect. Others you have no clue but hope the artist can deliver a good show. Expectations aren't necessarily high but you expect something good. If they can't deliver good then it may be a waste of time. I would even go far enough to call this a scale of how to rate a show:
Sucked- Band played a bunch of songs you didn't know and/or they simply sounded terrible. I have been to more than one Dokken show that fell into this category.
OK- They played the songs you expected but the band didn't look interested or really didn't do anything. They lack energy. No theatrics whatsoever. You won't bother to see this band again.
Good- Just slightly better than OK. You leave the show satisfied with a better attitude than OK. You would go see the band again.
Very Good- They came out and did it all. Played the songs, played the crowd, played well. You wake up the next day thinking about the concert. You tell people they should have see this show.
Fuckin' Awesome!- Memorable, something special. One that causes envy in your friends.
Again, every show should at the very least be good. OK is a disappointment. And while rare, fuckin awesome! is good to see.
Unfortunately for me, I saw an OK show last night. Seeing Billy Squier play some guitar and rock out sounded like a great idea. On paper, it looks good. But in reality, it was just ok.
Squier played his hits. Started with Lonely is the Night. Would play his hits ending the show with the Stroke which led to a pathetic beg for an encore. Would end the show with Everybody Wants You that felt like pulling teeth. Even though they ended up playing for about an hour and 20 minutes, it felt longer which wasn't a good thing. The show plodded along.
The band was good. They did their part but they lacked energy. Even Squier didn't move around too much. They were on the edge of boring up there.
And what the heck was with the light thingy in the back of the stage? It was a lame wall of lights that didn't really make any sense. It led to some cheap karaoke during Rock Me Tonight and said Stroke during that song but otherwise was a mish mosh of colors going on and off. Was it supposed to be synched to the music? If so, they need to get their money back. Seriously Billy, you couldn't afford a LCD screen? For your sake, I hope that is actually a fixture on the stage and something you are not touring with.
The show was a big disappointment. So much that it made my friend puke when it was over. Ok, it was later determined to be a rogue nut she ate. I still think Billy Squier had a hand in it.
One thing I forgot the Jo mentions in the comments. A show cannot be good when the opening band puts on a better concert that you do. Billy Squier was outshone by a band from Chicago called Dot Dot Dot. For lack of a better term, I called them a glorified festival band, which sounds unfair but it is not. Dot Dot Dot put on a good show covering a wide range of bands. I don't recall them playing any of their own music which is rare for any act at the Rock Stage. Dot Dot Dot had the energy that most local bands lack. They had stage presence. They had talent. They had a hot chick with a tight body playing bass. I will give credit to any band that can go from playing Black Sabbath to Neil Diamond. Yes, they played some War Pigs and did it some justice. And with a lead singer that could- and did- play every instrument on stage as others sang, this is a band that I know other groups in Milwaukee could learn from.
If Dot Dot Dot comes back to Summerfest next year, they sure won't be playing the Rock Stage. They will get a nice prime weekend afternoon spot at the Miller Stage. That is where they should be playing and that is where they would be a huge hit.