Now Playing: The Best Concert I've Ever Been To
Topic: Pointless Ramblings
Looks like I've fallen pretty short of my goal to write here ever few days, there just isn't enough time... but I'm working on it.
In the past few years I've been going out of my way to try to see some concerts. In the past I was always a bit lazy when it came to waiting on line for tickets... that's on "a" line, not "online" for all you digital youngsters... remember waiting outside a record store for Ticket-tron to open? (I'll explain what a "record" is another time).
Anyway, in addition to the modern bands I like now, many of the bands that I used to love when I was growing up have gotten back together and are playing small venues. This has been a treat because if I had actually seen them when they were in their heyday I would have had to deal with lousy seats (if I could have gotten tickets at all). In the last few years I have seen, The Stones, Springsteen, Radiohead, Weezer, The Knack, The Romantics, The Joe Jackson Band, Cheap Trick, Cake, Southside Johnny and the Jukes, Evan Dando (of the Lemonheads), Travis, and this coming July I'll be seeing the Raspberries (personal all time fav)... I'm sure I'm missing a few here, but you get the point.
Last Wednesday Kate (my wife) and I hopped a train to Manhattan in a pretty shitty snow/sleet storm and made our way to the Hammerstein Ballroom to see another one of my favorite bands, The Black Crowes. As with many of the other bands I mentioned, I thought I had missed my chance to see them when they broke up a few years back. This show was to be their 2nd official show since regrouping and 1 of 7 nights that they were doing at Hammerstein.
Kate and I got there early and decided to look for a bar to hang out in until it was a bit closer to showtime (I saw Radiohead completely sober and that was a mistake... even though they were great), The only place around was Friday's. We were Friday's about 2 minutes when someone stepped away from the bar to give us room to order our drinks... this is when I got the first sense of what the night was going to be like. I'd have to say that half of the people at Friday's were there to see the Crowes and were just having a ball talking about it... we were included in their conversations like we were old friends.
After about an hour we said goodbye and good luck to our friends at Friday's and through the sleet made our way back to Hammerstein... the ticket takers were helpful... the ballroom was beautiful... the beer was expensive ($7 for a can of Bud)... and once again the fans were friendly. There was no pushing and shoving, everyone was just in a great mood. Kate and I made our way to the center of the floor right in front of the stage and set up camp. We quickly made friends with Gary and his girlfriend Devon and chatted away until the lights went down...
It is at this point that I was glad I'd experienced going to concerts in the 70's because the vibe was exactly the same... The lights went out, the smoke ;) went up, the bouncers left everyone alone, and the show started. Let me say that I LOVE Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger, but I think it's time they bow down (not out) and start giving props to Chris Robinson because I have NEVER seen a front man like him... I was absolutely mesmerized. Before the fist song was finished I leaned over to Kate to proclaim "this is the best concert I've ever been to!". They didn't play a hit until close to the end of the night and I didn't care, they jammed on album filler tracks and I was completely sucked in with everyone else in the room. Heads down, eyes shut (well sometimes), just taking the whole thing in.
What I experienced that night was something that was impossible to feel from the mezzanine of Giants Stadium or Madison Square Garden... we were part of the show. The Black Crowes were playing for us, and with us... not at us. We might just as well have been on the stage with them (or they in the audience), it was that personal.
As I write this I am hoping that my excitement comes through, but I really don't think I write well enough to convey the experience. All I can do is urge all of you, if you get the opportunity, to go see these guys yourself before the brothers Robinson self destruct (again) and band disappears... maybe for good.
How can the Raspberries in July ever compare?
Posted by bryangor
at 3:42 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 29 March 2005 9:43 AM EST