The quick brown fox jumped over the good, but lazy Parker family.
first, this was the best concert i’ve been to in recent memory — and even the lady sparkler had to admit that it was just a great show, top to bottom. she covered all the classics, and did a solo, electric-guitar version of “Nothing But The Water” that was incredible.
second, the lady sparkler’s admission above is especially amazing considering how hard I had to fight to go. i bought tickets, but she didn’t really want to go. she scheduled two trips over the night of the concert, both of which I had to fight off like a ninja. and, then, had to physically drag her to the actual concert.
finally, while grace potter was an outstanding show — including a cover of “Paint It Black” that was good enough that the Stones should have paid her a royalty for the privilege — the opening act (Trombone Shorty) was the single best opening act (that term seems so shallow) I’ve ever seen.
good night, all the way around.
SET LIST: Medicine · Never Go Back · Toothbrush and My Table · Apologies · Timekeeper · Ah Mary · Roulette · Treat Me Right · Stop the Bus · Devil’s Train · Big White Gate · The Divide · White Rabbit · Turntable · Paris (Ooh La La) · Nothing but the Water (I) · Nothing but the Water (II) · Stars · Paint It Black · The Lion The Beast The Beat
this is one of those times where there just aren’t enough words in the english language.
second, this is the first concert that i’ve gotten rained on while *in* the building. during the warm up act, a hole opened up in the ceiling directly in front of us and gushed water for 30 seconds.
thankfully, it coincided with two 6+ feet tall men trying to sit down in those seats and block our view. for some reason, they decided to sit down in another part of the room and the puddle warned people off for the rest of the night.
we thought he was great when we saw him (and his mom) six years ago in berkeley springs, but this time he seemed maybe two rungs above his usual self.
when mcmurtry plays a six-string guitar, it sounds like it has 12. when he plays a 12-string guitar, it sounds like it has 50. his ability to rip the lid off songs — while playing solo, on acoustic guitar — is just crazy.
that, and for once the lady sparkler didn’t have to wait the whole concert to see if she’d hear her favorite song — he played rachel’s song right off the bat.
and all was right with the world.
SET LIST: Melinda · Saint Mary of the Woods · Rachel’s Song · Down Across the Delaware · See The Elephant · Hurricane Party · Leonard Cohen Must Die · Choctaw Bingo · Out Here in the Middle · Restless · Safe Side · Ruby and Carlos · Levelland · Peter Pan · No More Buffalo
invariably, they look like its either the first time they’ve ever picked up a guitar, or that they started playing about two weeks before their tour started and have pretty much mastered the three chords required to play their “best” song.
no worries for sarah harmer — she ripped the lid of the birchmere tonight, and looked ridiculously comfortable doing it.
there wasn’t a bad song from the bunch, with “careless”, “basement apartment“, and finale “lodestar” standing among the best live songs i’ve ever seen.
this live music thing seems like a good hobby to get into.
SET LIST: Late Bloomer · Around This Corner · One Match · Careless · Pendulums · Captive · The Thief · Marble in Your Eye · Coffee Stain · Dandelions in Bullet Holes · Silver Road · The Ring · Basement Apartment · New Loneliness · Escarpment Blues · Washington · The City · Came On Lion · Uniform Gray · Loadstar
the traffic is awful, it’s a long way away, and if you don’t get there like an hour and a half before the show starts you are virtually guaranteed to be sitting at the back of the venue behind a post.
today, for some crazy reason, we got there barely 45 minutes before the show, and the parking lot was so abandoned that we thought the show was canceled.
we sailed through the lobby unmolested — except for the bouncer asking if he could check my “purse” — and sat down about 8 feet off the front of the stage.
a couple months ago, around the time we were buying tickets to the show, we tripped across a tift merritt album we didn’t own (“another country”) and downloaded it from itunes. we figured we’d be okay at the concert anyway, since we knew her first two albums.
turns out we were actually TWO albums behind, so knew just three of the 18 songs.
we *still* did okay, which probably says something about tift and her band … i’m not sure i’ve ever been to a concert where i knew so few of the songs, yet still had such a great time.
the show was actually stolen by her husband (the drummer) of all people, who during the encore did a solo / ukulele number called “Evel Knievel for My Girl”, which really has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
SET LIST: The Things That Everybody Does · All The Reasons We Don’t Have To Fight · Engine To Turn · Six More Days Of Rain · Mixtape · I Know What I’m Looking For Now · After Today · Something To Me · Never Talk About It · Stray Paper · Papercut · Broken · Feel Of The World · See You On The Moon · Ain’t Looking Closely · Evel Knievel · Bramble Rose · Danny’s Song · Another Country
words can not describe how bizzare this evening was.
when I walked into the venue, they were belting “easy lover” on the pre-concert music loop, which makes me wonder if The Killers would list Phil Collins as one of their influences.
there were geeks everywhere (not that I fall outside that definition) and the geeky-er the male, the more the women hanging aroud them.
and somehow the alpha-geeks managed somehow to get The Killers to play? it was like I was in some crazy parallel universe where geeks weren’t the ones who got stuffed in their gym lockers in high school.
and it was arguably the best concert I’ve ever seen … even factoring in the age-inappropriately dressed 45 year olds, the legions of men in oxford shirts, and the 10:1 male-to-female ratio.
we were 10 yards from the band. they opened on fire, and kept the pedal down for the full hour and a half, through 15 songs.
the band was crazy into the show, even though they admitted they “didn’t know what to expect” when they showed up.
it’s still sinking in that the best concert of my life was a paid appearance at a web analytics conference. really, how bad must the rest have been?
not sure I can lay claim to having any street cred what-so-ever after this.
SET LIST: human, somebody told me, for reasons unknown, bones, the world we live in, shadowplay, jenny was a friend of mine, smile like you mean it, spaceman, a dustland fairytale, I can’t help falling in love with you, read my mind, mr. brightside, all these things that i’ve done, when you were young.
the lady sparkler has wanted to see U2 since she was twelve, and when they announced the were coming to DC — er, suburban Maryland — earlier this spring, absolutely nothing was going to stop her from being there.
fast forward eight pregnant months later, i gave her every chance humanly possible to back out if she felt like she needed to. heck, *i* even tried to convince her that she needed to.
but she was undeterred.
based off our last horrific fedex field experience (real madrid v
dc united) we left a gazillion hours early, and were in the parking lot by 5 pm for a 7 o’clock curtain.
if there were seats farther away from the stage (and speakers) I’m not sure where they were, but that was definately by design. we also got tickets on the club level, so the lady sparkler was hanging out in cushy seats in the lobby for the two hours before the show.
… or should I say the three hours before U2 came on stage, because we made if it through about 10 minutes of the opening act (“Muse”) before retreating to the cushy seats. their music was hard to describe, but Bono later said “I’ve never heard three people make so much noise.”
the main event itself was incredible.
a lot of the reviews i’ve read about the tour has focused on the giii-normous spaceship stage thing, and argued that it overwhelmed the show … but from where we were sitting (opposite endzone, three sections up) it was the perfect extension of the ant-sized band, and brought the show into our living room.
the band spanned just about the whole breadth of their catalogue (25 years worth, shockingly) and the audience vibe was great (considering we were in DC). there was a decent amount of politics — Bono introduced his band as a “cabinet,” referred to himself as U2’s “well-turned-out” Speaker of House, and praised Bush for his work in Africa (?) not-once-but-twice.
a couple of interesting tweaks to the show through the stage’s media boards … they turned “Sunday Bloody Sunday” into a song supporting Iran’s so-called Green Revolution, and “Walk On” into a song for imprisoned Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
my beloved was over the moon through out. she came in without hoping for a particular song for fear of being let down, but came out with all of her favorites checked off — “city of blinding lights”, “ultraviolet (light my way)”, and “with or without you” — none of which did i think she had a chance in hell of hearing.
(fwiw, one i heard them plow through “where the streets have no name” i decided that i could die happy…)
but the big takeaway? the Edge is every inch responsible for the band’s musical success. Adam Clayton plodded on his bass guitar, Larry Mullen Jr hit some things (including a bongo) and Bono pranced around the stage … but the Edge drove the show the whole evening long.
SET LIST: no line on the horizon · magnificent · get on your boots · mysterious ways · i still haven’t found what i’m looking for / stand by me · elevation · your blue room · beautiful day · blackbird / new year’s day · stuck in a moment · breathe · city of blinding lights · vertigo · you know i’ll go crazy … tonight · sunday bloody sunday · mlk / walk on · one · amazing grace / where the streets have no name · ultraviolet (light my way) · with or with out you · moment of surrender