Central Park Summerstage, 7 August 2005
Come on–like I would write about a concert I actually went to. Four times in, I know better than to see M.I.A. implode another stage, her blackhole anti-presence sucking the life out of everyone and everything within a hundred-mile radius. The more popular she gets, the more we risk complete annihilation–a world where the only movies in theaters are Kevin Costner’s Waterworld and flash animations about the Microsoft Word paperclip. Looks like you’re writing a blog entry! Kill yourself.
That’s not to say I don’t love the record. Somewhat against my will, I’ve become a minor larf among friends for saying Arular is not only the best record of the year (not true), but the best record of the next five years (somehow true). But cash rules everything etc. etc. so, we’re stuck conflating artists–which M.I.A. is at least on paper–with performers–which M.I.A. is not, despite the people who still buy tickets for her shows. Until record dudes think of better ways for their brilliant amateurs to promote their albums without live performances, we’re stuck paying for their rehearsals, watching them learn on the job. I’m not sure it’s fair to the artist either, but that’s his riff, not mine.
And OK. Some people are reporting her show yesterday was certifiably bananas (like this guy). I can’t contest, except to say it was really hot outside yesterday, and the last super-hot show I went to, a Freddie Hubbard reunion show (human organs reunited to reform Freddie Hubbard), was really great too (it was awful). You wanna see dry land? You really wanna see it? I’ll take you there. Here are a list of things I need to know will happen before I attend another M.I.A. show:
1. This is small, but I’d like DJ Diplo to enter stage right riding an animatronic diplodocus.
2. The diplodocus would have a tattoo of Diplo.
3. During “Galang,” when M.I.A. gets to the part that sounds like “Razorblades, galanga-langa-langa,” show promoters would hand out cardboard boxes for audience members to cut open with their own razorblades, as a metaphor for the war against illegal downloading.
4. The stage backdrop would be one of those translucent cloth jobs, with the letters M.I.A. taking up the entirety of the canvas. On the opposite side of the stage, AOL executives would be hosting a convention about AIM, America’s choice program for instant messaging. In the distance, the Brooklyn band OOHAY plays Bravery covers.
5. Midway through the set DJ Diplo, who is now posted on top an animatronic brontosaurus, would slide down the dinosaur’s neck and across the stage until he was besides M.I.A.’s feet. He would propose to her, and she would say yes. Diplo would then demand the wedding happen immediately, putting M.I.A.’s Tamil Tiger father, a terrorist, in the dilemma of walking his daughter down the aisle of Summerstage and risking assassination, or disrespecting his daughter’s decision. “Does your father not love you?” Diplo would ask.
6. During “Bucky Done Gun,” Siegfried & Roy appear on stage leading an interminable line of white tigers. Diplo, inexplicably dressed as Tony the Tiger, gives high fives to all the tigers passing by (they confuse him for an actual tiger). Siegfried & Roy arrange the tigers into a kick line, which lasts for five hours. All the sudden a Bengali tiger attacks Roy, this time swallowing him whole. Diplo high-fives the Bengali tiger, who is actually M.I.A.’s dad. They are happy to meet, and he consents to their marriage.
7. More stage presence?