Nov 11, 2008, 10:25AM

From One Pit to Another

A classical music buff makes the stark transition to pop—you know, just to see what all the "youthful barbarianism" hype is all about.

So how did your little adventure go, Ms. Higgins?:

As I travel through this unfamiliar territory of pop concerts, I am aware that I am relating everything I see to my experience of classical music. I can't help it. So it is with the Streets. My first thought is that if this were English National Opera, someone would have insisted on surtitles. On this occasion Mike Skinner is backed by gospel choir and orchestra. The resulting musical textures are so lush that the text is completely submerged. It's frustrating, since I know narrative is important to what this artist does. In fact, as the evening goes on, I am mystified as to why no one's asked him to write an opera. The storytelling (in so far as I can make it out) is a good deal more engaging than his stagey antics, although he does surf the crowd, which is quite a spectacle. On the tube home, I overhear some people saying: "Wasn't the conductor amazing!" Frankly, what he was doing was unbelievably simple. I want to drag them off to the London Symphony Orchestra for the real thing.


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