Probably the best definition of professionalism is the knack of excelling at whatever it is one chooses to do.
Not everyone appreciated the music of Lawrence Welk and his champagne music makers, for example, but no one can reasonably deny they made good champagne music.Professionalism is a quality of Paul Revere and Raiders. Their sound and look is unmistakably and unabashedly early to mid-'60s; no ventures into the world of heavy metal or new wave for this band. They stick to the style that earned them millions of dollars in the 1960s.
But their vocals are precise, their guitar, keyboard and drum playing is proficient, and their showmanship is well-timed, if a bit outrageous.
The Raiders' professionalism was displayed in their promptness at Monday's concert, the beginning of a fan appreciation night put on by the Salt Lake Trappers.
Being used to rock concerts starting late, I took my time getting to Derk's Field. By the time I strolled into the grandstand at 7:05, the band, dressed in gleaming white, pseudo-Revolutionary War uniforms, was already rocking through their 1967 hit, "Him or Me - What's It Gonna Be?"
Revere, who plays an organ built into the front end of a 1964 Ford Mustang, is the only band member left over from the Raiders' heyday, 1963-71. The other guys looked about my age or younger, and I used to listen to Raiders songs on a transistor radio during recess at grade school.
But they are talented, particularly lead singer Doug Heath, who keenly emulates Mark Lindsay's passionate vocal style. Despite the altered personnel, the band's live performances of "Hungry," "Just Like Me," "Kicks," "Mr. Sun," "Let Me" and "Indian Reservation," sounded virtually identical to the well-known recordings.
Revere was clearly the show's centerpiece. Aided by a wide variety of Pee Wee Herman-type props (gigantic headphones, a wind-up monkey that plays cymbals, etc.), he cavorted on stage, steadily spouting a relentless stream of one-liners.
Noting that they were playing in the middle of a baseball field, Revere exclaimed, "I got this sudden feeling I want to chew and spit at things!"
For all their talent, though, the Raiders' concert was less than satisfying. They just didn't seem to connect with the audience.
The sparse crowd applauded appreciatively and laughed at Revere's jokes but could not muster enough excitement to coax an encore from the band (although the Raiders did come over to the grandstand and autograph the T-shirts being sold).
I think the crowd's lethargy was related to the music's loudness - the lack of it, that is. One could have studied calculus or astrophysics during the concert and been undistracted.
The reason the music was so low, of course, is that Derk's field is located in the midst of a residential neighborhood at 13th South and Main. Paul Revere alluded to the fact that the band was told to keep the volume down so as not to disturb the neighbors.
And that raises questions about the suitability of Derk's as an arena for future concerts.
Without a certain degree of volume, a rock band simply lacks presence, and a concert provides no more excitement than a typical home stereo system, even if the band is a mild pop act like Paul Revere and the Raiders.