I doubt it'll be the case every night this summer - but for Thursday at least, it's fair to say the music was largely ancillary to the Twilight Concert Series' return in 2011.
Of course, if you were one of the 500 or so hardy souls stationed down front to endure the twin sonic assaults of No Age and headliners Explosions In The Sky, the music was your night - and has probably been no small part of your day as well. Doubtless, there are hundreds of sets of ears still ringing - or worse - after the indescribably loud first 30 minutes of Thursday night's free concert.
But the big news Thursday was that there was no big news. If you were there a half-hour before the 7 p.m. showtime, it seemed like there would be few enough people attend that the concert promoters could begin prepping to move the much-loved series to some pocket park downtown. But alas, a healthy crowd did arrive - but it wasn't overwhelming. No fences were torn down and the official estimate was put at 25,000.
OK, so no one was mauled, trampled or stampeded. What about the music?
First off, I'm not sure anyone cared much about the music - at any point.
As mentioned, the high-energy, two-man assault of No Age was one devil of a kick-start for a lethargic summer evening. These guys were loud enough and heavy enough that I can honestly say I was shocked to realize there was just two of them onstage. I've seen six-piece bands that didn't generate nearly that much volume.
And once their sound was mixed properly - about 10 songs in to their 19-song set - they started to win over some fans - or at least the number of scowls shot toward the stage began to decline. The Los Angeles-based group's retro-punk jams are fun, energetic and worthy of further investigation. I'd like to see them again - in a smaller venue. And with earplugs.
The headliners, Austin, Texas' Explosions in the Sky, came out and did what they do. Which is play lengthy, intense jams that you either know, appreciate and enjoy - or you don't. And this is where I think the Twilight Series has changed a bit. Used to, you could expect a big crowd when someone quite popular was there. Well, going back a few years, 25,000 people would have counted not just big, but a gigantic crowd.
Not anymore. I'm willing to bet that two-thirds of Thursday night's "audience" either didn't know who Explosions is, couldn't have named one song, and furthermore, didn't care to learn more. They were there to be seen, drink cold beer, find their friends, and have their picture taken on their cell phone camera with the stage looming in the background.
And that's fine, of course. But don't tell me 25,000 people showed up to see a concert. (And Explosions played terrific - even if no one cared.) They went to Pioneer Park for the first Twilight show - whatever that was.