Writing Concert Reviews on the Entertainment Beat

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Rex C. Curry, special contributor, The Dallas Morning News

Photo of the Counting Crows' lead singer, Adam Duritz, taken by Rex C. Curry, special contributor, The Dallas Morning News

When I wrote about Steely Dan for my first concert review last month, I had difficulty speaking with authority on the band, seeing as I didn’t know its music well. Sure, I had researched the group, read reviews about its members and familiarized myself with its music on YouTube, but it was difficult to critique and review a band I knew little about. It was much easier to do this when reviewing the Counting Crows, Maroon 5, Enrique Iglesias and Aventura earlier this week because I know all of these groups’ music.

Concert reviews are good practice for writing on deadline and for writing succinctly. (We have to keep reviews to 10 inches, or about 350 words.) And they’re good for learning how to think about music on a deeper level. Some of the questions I’ve been asking myself when reviewing concerts are: How well does the band perform together? How does the band engage fans? What are the fans’ reactions? Does the music sound the same as it does on the band’s CDs? What’s unusual about the band’s performance? Does the band have energy, or is it lackluster?

I still have a long way to go before I make it to the level of seasoned critics, but I’m learning, and I’m enjoying the opportunity to explore a new genre of writing. Oh, and getting to see concerts for free is pretty sweet, too.

Here are links to my:

Counting Crows/Maroon 5 review and related blog post.

Enrique Iglesias review and related blog post.

Latest Texas Ballet Theater story.