Monday, May 25, 2009

Positive Externalities Indeed: Grand Rapids Press Reporter Reviews Private Sting Concert from Neighboring Driveway

In today's Grand Rapids Press, entertainment reporter John Sinkevics reviews last night's private Sting concert for Amway distributors held in the amphitheater at Meijer Gardens.

Though the press were barred from the event, Sinkevics took advantage of the positive external benefits of an open-air concert to file his review. Here's a snippet:

Talk about an unusual night on the concert beat ...

Although I've reviewed roughly 90 percent of the concerts held at the amphitheater the past six years, Amway staunchly declined to allow me or any other media types (as near as I can tell) within 500 yards of the Gardens stage Sunday night, citing contractual restrictions. Apparently, Sting didn't want me there as he crooned for a hefty paycheck at this corporate 50th anniversary show, which apparently was in the works for well over a year. . . .

No matter.

I was bound and determined to experience the show anyway, joining about 15 fellow "concertgoers" in the driveway of the home of Jean Silbar and Dan Voorhees on Bradford, just east of East Beltline Avenue NE. Silbar and Voorhees frequently host friends, co-workers and neighbors in their front yard for summer Gardens concerts, with folks snacking on food and drinks while listening to the strains of whatever artist or group happens to be playing that night.

Just call them "The Outsiders." Even though this fine collection of partyers didn't qualify as Sting groupies, they all seemed to agree he was putting on quite an impressive show with however many band members he brought with him ... as near they could tell.

"Two thumbs up. He sounds very good," raved Brian Justema, of Grand Rapids, sitting in his chair a quarter-mile away from the Sting-man, who may or may not have been sporting a beard ... or any hair or clothes, for all we knew.

Look, let's just say it's a challenge reviewing a concert without getting to see the headliner, sort of like playing tennis blindfolded, or maybe, trying to sell soap and fire up distributors when you've got laryngitis. Or something like that. But as Silbar so aptly put it, "Just get over it."

So I did, and this is what I know for sure . . .

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