Friday, November 18, 2011

Rockin' at work

Since I work in an open office environment, it’s easy to get distracted. My colleague Erik sits directly across facing me, and there are two other people in my pod who are not in Communications, so I have no interest in their work conversations.

And since my work is usually either routine (compiling news clips) or creative-intensive (writing brochure and Web copy) I use headphones to drown out the noise and focus (or be entertained) while I’m working.

I also have a flippin’ huge widescreen monitor, in addition to my small laptop monitor I use simultaneously as an integrated desktop. So I have plenty of screen real estate to have a video window going in addition to my email accounts, documents and AIM.

I brought a bunch of concert DVDs from home to watch/listen at work, but it’s pretty much narrowed down to six that I just use over and over again. The reason these six are best is because they are all high-energy, don’t have any bad songs that I’d want to skip, don’t have a lot of monologuing, and each artist’s performance is at the top of their game.

In alphabetical order, they are:

Duran Duran – Live in London
Best song: "Notorious," the band’s funkiest number, is a highlight
Best moment: The band’s introductions during "Girls on Film" and brief instrument solos are a highlight (one woman holds a sign that reads “Play the fookin’ bass, John!”)
Behind the music: The documentary and the song commentaries are unusually insightful and really give a sense of how far the band has come and how much adversity they’ve been through after almost 30 years of fame

Linkin Park – Road to Revolution, Live at Milton Keynes
Best song: "One Step Closer," which opens the show, starts things off with a huge rip-roaring bang
Best moment: Jay-Z comes out and does two encore songs from their mashup album
Behind the music: After the credit roll, you get to unlock three additional songs, including "Papercut" and "Points of Authority"

Muse H.A.A.R.P.
Best song: "Supermassive Black Hole" always makes me bounce in my office chair
Best moment: The incredible crescendo at the finale ("Take a Bow") leaves no doubt why Muse is one of the best live bands today.
Behind the music: An aerialist performing under a giant balloon soaring high over Wembley Stadium is breathtaking and thrilling.

Peter Gabriel - Growing Up Live
Best song: Tough to pick from any of these, but it has to be "Secret World"
Best moment: Peter getting inside a giant inflatable ball and bouncing up and down during "Growing Up;" it’s an iconic image
Behind the music: This is hands-down the most theatrical rock show I’ve ever seen, and it doesn’t have any dancers.

Porcupine Tree - Anesthetize
Best song: "Anesthetize"
Best moment: Every shot of Gavin Harrison, Modern Drummer’s two-time Drummer of the Year, is pure magic.
Behind the music: I bought this DVD from the merchandise stand at Radio City Music Hall when Puck and I saw the band perform on Sept. 25, 2010.

Yes: Live from the House of Blues
Best song: "It Will Be a Good Day (The River)"
Best moment: Chris Squire’s bass solo in “Lightning Strikes”
Behind the music: To me, Yes’ The Ladder is one of the all-time great albums of the decade, and there’s an insightful behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of that album on this DVD.