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Tours de Farce: Gotta Get A Meal Ticket

12:00 AM Monday 2/21/05 | |

Are we getting a well-balanced concert diet?

As a nation we've never had so many concerts to choose from. However, many concert nutritionists are expressing concerns that, as a whole, Americans are suffering from various illnesses related to concert deficiencies, claiming that the average concert goer is focusing too much energy on seeing one particular "sound" or genre, thereby missing the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed for a well-rounded concert life.

"For over 100 years we've relied on the traditional `concert pyramid' consisting of what we call the `concert building blocks' - Rock, R&B, Country and Jazz - for a well-balanced music diet," says Dr. Samuel Shepherd, whose groundbreaking 1988 study, Why Can't Tori Read?, challenged conventional concert nutritional practices. "However, we're finding that the body also needs generous helpings of sub-genres, such as Modern Rock, Alt-Country, Hip Hop and Smooth Jazz, in order to stay healthy, live well and prosper."

What's ironic, according to Dr. Shepherd, is that never before have Americans had such a wide-ranging variety of concerts from which to choose, yet those same fans often limit their live music intake to only one or two genres. "Within a year's time concert fans may see 10 Jimmy Buffett shows, or 20 Duran Duran shows," says Dr. Shepherd. "Yet they still suffer from nutritional deficiencies because they haven't balanced their diets by seeing Destiny's Child, Hilary Duff and Queens Of The Stone Age as well."

But is that really news? After all, we've all seen what happens to a concert fan if he or she sees only Motley Crue or Rod Stewart, and skips on the important nutritional building blocks such as The Moody Blues, U2 or Sammy Hagar & The WaboRitas. But while pasty skin, impotence, and sub-normal brain development have often been among the first warning signs of inadequate concert diets, many concert-dieticians are now claiming that other signs, such as hair loss, sub-standard day vision and constipation often precede the traditional signs as alarm bells forewarning that one's concert appetite could benefit from a little more variety.

"The problem with seeing an artist or band representing only type of genre, for instance, Robert Plant or R.E.M., is that these live acts often tour only once every few years," says Dr. Shepherd. "This condition, which we call `concertrexia' often leads to the music fan literally starving to death during years in which their favorites refrain from touring."

Is there hope for today's concert fan? While many dieticians urge their patients to take advantage of the latest trend of established touring acts playing multi-week engagements in Las Vegas as an opportunity to get a "quick fix" of concert nutrients, the same dieticians claim that Vegas alone isn't enough for music lovers to lead healthy lives. "The body can only absorb so much Barry Manilow, Elton John or Celine Dion," warns Dr. Shepherd. "You still need a healthy dose of Lou Reed, Indigo Girls and Green Day for strong and healthy bodies. You need the roughage provided by an evening with Sarah McLachlan, and you need the antioxygens found only in a Billy Joel performance. Vitamins supplements and Ashlee Simpson shows just aren't enough for staying healthy in the 21st century."

Still to come: Homebrewed methods of concert nutrition are examined in part two of our study of concert health and well being. Are these methods safe? Catch Bingeing On Judas Priest, Purging with Yanni, coming later this week on Pollstar.com. Stay tuned.