By Tony Morrison
1st May 2019
The excitement is palpable this year with bands as disparate as the Stones and Spice Girls reuniting in yet more heritage big dosh tours. But the biggest of the lot should have been The Clintons. Unfortunately, our heroes tour has turned out to be more Spinal Tap than the Who.
It should have been great as The Clintons have been around forever on one wild ride after another. They started out as a country band down in Arkansas in the 1970s, headed up by Bill Clinton with Hillary Clinton just as a backup singer. Bill’s career hit a crescendo in the peak years of the ‘90s when he became the greatest star in the world.
Bill was extremely popular as he was a warm-hearted man of good humour, and his tenure as President coincided with a massive technology boom that fuelled an excellent economy. Luckily this was in a time when the media gave the President credit for the economy, whether or not he had anything to do with it. Nowadays, of course, the media give no credit to the President for a wonderful economy even when he has everything to do with it.
Bill’s star went into decline, and as he openly spent his time dallying with groupies, Hillary split and went solo.
Her career should have been disastrous but luckily it was ideally suited to the new studio-driven age of pop music. Just like Katy Perry and Chris Brown, who can’t sing without massive studio help, she proved you don’t have to be a good performer these days as long as you have good producers.
An early stint as a US Senator was distinguished by three pieces of legislation that named three bridges. She then ran for Bill’s old job and was defeated. Destiny called, however, as she became Secretary of State where she immediately set about blowing up the entire Middle East, including much of North Africa.
But her producers in the media always kicked in and soon she was being touted as the most experienced qualified politician of all time, and a woman to boot.
Meanwhile, there were some reunions of the old gang over the years despite the solo outing. The most notable was when they formed a supergroup, The Clinton Foundation. It was essentially the Clintons, a few backup guys and their daughter Chelsea.
We did not see much of the band in the US as the Foundation only performed at select locations overseas on the “Pay To Play” tour. Like many ageing rock stars that still possess name recognition, they were happy to get serious money from oligarchs in Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East for one-time-only events. $26 million (Sweden) here and $145 million (Russia) there are really good little earners. Especially as all you have to do is give up a few hours of your time and adjust US foreign policy to the demands of your clients.
The Clintons briefly reunited back in the US in 2015 when Hillary went for Bill’s old role as the biggest star in the world, but this time with Bill along as backup.
It didn’t work. Bill kept insisting on a personal approach, one that wooed the voters and was taken aback with Hillary’s view that potential voters were mostly to be despised. Hillary, flush with the media view that she would win no matter what, had come over all Roger Waters wanting to shoot his audience, avoided the hoi polloi and called half of them “deplorables.” Disharmony between the two raged and in a nod to the old days many a dressing room was destroyed in a blitz of wine bottles. At least she did not accuse Bill of having a tiny penis like Keef did to Mick.
Hillary crashed and burned of course as newer tastes veered towards the orange punk sound. But The Clintons reunited yet again in late 2018 hoping that though they were not relevant they could at least capture the nostalgia dosh. Sadly it was not to be. It started last year with ambitious plans for big arenas and some cosier mid-size venues. The arenas were disastrous.
They were either cancelled or a fiasco like Toronto where they only sold 3,300 tickets in a 19,500 seat arena, and that was after slashing ticket prices.
Like Spinal Tap, though, the tour has re-grouped and focused instead on smaller venues, where the lack of attendees will not be so noticeable.
One such venue was down my way at the Oakdale, Wallingford, in the Deep Blue State of Connecticut last Friday evening. But even here you step inside and you don’t see too many faces. Probably about half-full according to my research (5 minutes spent on Ticketmaster). The promoter said it was “three-quarters” full, as you do, while a Hartford, CT, TV station said it was “packed.” Of course they did. At this rate, The Clintons will also be playing Army bases and amusement parks in the near future.
And the audience could well see why enthusiasm was waning. The concert featured mostly Hillary’s screeching rants on Russians and obstruction of justice turned up to 11.
A constant barrage of “false info” on her in the media also featured prominently. On this, I would agree, as the unremitting tongue bath she gets from the media is appalling. Note: she no longer uses the term “fake news” these days because it is favoured by the Victorious Orange One.
And as for Bill, now he’s strictly rhythm; he doesn’t want to make it cry or sing. A few half-hearted defences of his Presidency, a riff on how he was ahead of the curve with Gays because of the army or something, and some anecdotes about dating Hillary at Yale was pretty much it for his contribution.
Then it was goodnight and time to go home, and the audience streamed out. All over 60, and mostly women. The young just aren’t down with nostalgia and don’t give a damn about any trumpet-playing band. They prefer the more happening socialist raps from The Bernie Bros, The Occasionally Cognizants and The 1/1024ths.
As for me I did not go in the end, but caught it on YouTube and social media. I could have afforded the $6 ticket price, but I had laundry to do. And anyway I noticed on Ticketmaster some far more interesting events at the Oakdale. Brit Floyd is playing in May. Yes, it’s a substitute band and tickets start at $88, but at least you get a light show. Oh, and there is no Roger Waters on stage to hate you!