Tag Archives: concerts

Concert Report: U2/Muse “360 Tour”

I’m generally a “small venue” kind of person – I like tiny places like New Brookland or Ground Zero where you basically stand right up against the stage and reach out to touch whoever’s playing. I like the crush of the crowd (kind of), the particular sickeningly-sweet smell of 300 people crammed into too-small-a-space to hear their favorite band play their hearts out.

But everybody ought to have the arena experience at least once before they die. And when U2/Muse decided to come to Atlanta Tuesday night, I knew I’d found my “once before I die” moment.

Our view of the U2 stage. Seats were pretty good, for being the almost-cheapest.
Our view of the U2 stage. Seats were pretty good, for being the almost-cheapest.

U2 isn’t legendary because they’re sophisticated, incredibly talented, or particularly deep. They aren’t novel, really. They don’t blow your socks off with unmatched musicianship.

But they’re famous for good reason.  U2 changed the face of the musical landscape. They brought along a brand of rock that pushed everyone after them in a different direction. They’ve changed with the times (whether you like that or not) and stuck to their musical center. Long and short, those 4 old men can still ROCK… and make it glorious.

Our trip to the Georgia Dome cut things a bit tight … we just couldn’t get out of NCS any faster than we did, and we had to get some supper before arriving in ATL or we’d never make it through the entire night. After missing a MARTA train by just seconds (and waiting 10 min for the next one), we missed Muse’s opening song. But we heard the other 8 just fine. 

Muse is a great band. I like their stuff a lot. I’m sorry the recent album isn’t as good as Origin of Symmetry orAbsolution (both of which you need to go buy. Right now. Do it… I’ll wait….).  But I don’t hate the new stuff.  And, more importantly — I got to hear stuff like “Hysteria” live, and “Time is Running Out.”  An awesome moment in my musical life up to this point. 

Muse setlist:
–United States of Eurasia (I think)
Uprising (I think)
Map of the Problematique
Super Massive Black Hole
Time Is Running Out

The set for the 360 tour is crazy. I’ve got photos up on Facebook if you wanna look. Imagine a large alien bug squashed into a space ship with a huge TV screen for a belly. Now you’re close. Go look at the pictures.  Got it?  OK. They did incredible stuff with that stage. Colors. Lights. Shapes.

Honestly, U2 just did incredible stuff. All the time. It was amazing. They sang their hearts out for 2+ hours.  50,000 people belting out great songs with great texts that actually mean something. How cool is that?  Bono can still sing after all these years. The Edge worked his magic. It was awesome.

I can’t even tell you all the songs U2 performed. Coart guesses they played around 20. Maybe 25. It was nuts.  I know we heard classics like “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” (dedicated to the Iranian peaceful revolution) to “Walk On” (dedicated to the Burmese political prisoner lady who was elected president of Burma 20 years ago but has spent 18 in prison on trumped-up charges). They hit several from the new album — I don’t know those — but remembered the great older songs like “Beautiful Day” (can I get a shout-out from my chapel musicians!!) and “Stuck in a Rut” and several more I can recognize but have trouble naming. Two hours!

We expected an encore.
There were 3.
I was stunned. 

Each just got better. The 2nd encore consisted of Bono by himself with a guitar singing “Amazing Grace.”  His voice, scratchy now with fatigue from the show, age, and emotion, poured out the words of the classic hymn. Thousands joined him… and then The Edge seamlessly blended in the opening chords to “Where the Streets Have No Name.”  Absolutely incredible.  Bono knows how to stop a show, how to sink his entire life and soul into a single moment.

The final encore made use of the round neon pink microphone (which you might have seen on SNL a couple weeks ago) for their new song about the power of Love. But the band capped off the show with a united U2/crowd version of “With or Without You.” Exhausted, the 4 bandmates — who have somehow managed to make music for 30 years unhampered by the usual juvenile bickering that plagues men with so much money, fame, and power — walked off the stage together. Equals. It’s not a Bono show… it was a great night of great music from men who play because (it appears) after 30 years they still love making music.

And making a difference. I don’t know how many Project(RED) seats were set aside in the auditorium, but they easily raised a million dollars last night alone for AIDS relief in Africa.  Yes, folks, we really can make a difference.

Last thing:
I loved the inter-generational nature of the audience. We saw kids. We saw teens out on a concert adventure in the “big city of Atlanta.” We ran across multitudes of college kids and 20something couples on an early anniversary date. We saw middle-aged folks and gray beards who must be in their 60s.  I think it’s cool when one musical group can unite so many ages like that.

Truly, seeing U2 live is a “bucket list” experience.  We found out that General Admission (stand on the stadium floor) tickets were only $30 – and would have offered a great view of the spectacle.  If you ever get the chance — GO.

Concert Review: Warped Tour 2009 (and tips for concert noobs)

Trevor begged for a ride to Warped Tour 09… and it’s summer… and a lot of my daytime plans fell through a couple weeks ago so I can’t really say i’m busy …
so I went.

Typical big-festival experience:
50% of the 70+ bans suck ass.
30% more are mediocre. Your ears don’t bleed or anything, but you wouldn’t pay to hear them.
15% are solid. No complaints. Not phenomenal, but fine.
5% are actually good and worth the price of your ticket.

Bands I saw & liked live (in order of best showmanship & entertainment value):
Chiodos (fantastic live show; great crowd)
Attack!Attack! (just crazy-nuts-fun)
Senses Fail (famous. well-played)
Streetlight Manifesto (they were ridiculously fun live — sax/trumpet/brass metal.  Nuts)

and i caught a couple songs by Devil Wears Prada.
Saw some other stuff that sucked balls.

Best T-shirt slogans of the day:
“Shakespeare Hates Your Emo Poems”
“Fat is the New Black”

Trevor & I were wearing the only BTBAM shirts we saw that day. Sad.

Lori’s Rules for Concert Attendees
(based on an ever-growing pile of experience)

First off, I need to list the cardinal rules I learned from Nate during my early show experiences. They’ve kept me alive… LOL:
–Always wear closed-toed shoes.
–Prepare to be hotter than you’ve ever been before in your life, for a LONG TIME
–Expect to smell horrible, horrible smells.
–Put your wallet in your front pocket and check for it regularly.
–Buy your T-shirt early in the evening … but don’t wear it if it’s a gift for someone else. 

My additions:
1. Expect to be stomped on, spit on, sweated on, smashed, and completely violated during the concert experience. If you can’t handle any of those, you probably shouldn’t go.

2. Girls who weigh more than about 125 pounds shouldn’t crowd surf. Guys can be a little heavier, but not much.  Otherwise, we (the crowd) WILL simply let your ass hit the ground because we’re tired of hauling your body weight over our heads during the show.

3. People who crowd-surf from the back should be shot. Or let fall.     …..Really, people? The rest of us are facing forward and paying attention to the show. We’re not expecting your 140 pound body to land on our heads, or to get kicked in the neck by your flailing limbs as you lurch forward on your claim to concert fame.

4. Girlfriends who come to concerts only because they wanna be with their boyfriends generally leave the pit area crying and traumatized. The look of fear on their faces is predictable and hilarious.  If you don’t like this kind of music, don’t come. Or at least don’t get up front and then freak out that you’re going to die.  Your boyfriend really wants to enjoy the band.  Yes, he likes the excuse to put his arm around you and feel you up … but in the end, he’d like to be able to listen to the music, not you whining about the experience.

5. Guys, if your girl doesn’t like your music, don’t fool yourself into thinking she’ll have a good time if she comes with you. She won’t. She’ll spend all her energy trying to pretend she’s enjoying this smelly, gross experience… but she isn’t… unless she’s really easy and you spend the whole night sucking face in a corner… which is pretty gross considering what all has probably happened in that same corner over the years. Ewwww. Do that at home. And leave her at home if she’s not a fan of metal/hxc/moshing music.

6. Smoking is a given. If you hate cigarettes, crowd, and loud noises, shows aren’t for you. And cigs smell hella lot better than BO & ass, which are your only other olfactory options at a rock show. Suck it up and drink more water while you’re there.  Or pass out cigarettes you like to those around you (I’ve seriously considered doing it).

7. Why do people come to these concerts in flip flops? I haven’t met a pair of flip flops yet that can handle 6 straight hours of standing plus jumping and kicking and getting stomped on and smashing into other people’s feet. We saw bloody body parts at Warped Tour….. plenty of damaged toenails.  And a guy who cracked his skull open in a mosh pit and started seizing. … That was scary. Had nothing to do w/ flip flops though.

Notable Sights at Warped Tour 09:
(no particular order)

–too many plus-sized girls in bikinis.  Bikinis shouldn’t be produced in anything above a size 8. We don’t want to see your fat. I’m sorry. You can wear something really flattering instead…. Go find it.
–lots of fathers who obviously don’t like the music but came with their kids anyway. They all looked so plumb tired by the end!! lol
–plenty of odd hair colors.  And the occasional kick-ass mohawk or other interesting hairstyle
–lots of Tshirts sporting the word f*ck. I’m pretty sure that word has lost its shock value for anyone under the age of 30.
–billions of Devil Wears Prada shirts. I think a lot of WT kids don’t actually like metal or hxc. They like one band; maybe two … and that makes them feel all kickass and scary…. *coughs*
–really, really nice people.  For real. Every crowd has its jerks, but I generally like the people who go to shows
–tons of really bad tattoos. “Bad” as in poorly drawn; poorly placed.  The 10% that are awesome are REALLY awesome though.

I hope to preserve my concert energy for this fall.  Muse/U2 on Oct 6th is gonna be so cool–can’t wait!  I’m hopingBTBAM will do their CD release in Charlotte again in late October/early November, hopefully NOT when we’re with the high schoolers in Boston. (That would be so ironically horrific. lol) Thrice releases their album (physical version) on Oct 13th…. would be nice to see them live sometime.  And I’d like another round of Opeth– please sir, can I have some more? lol

Concert review: BTBAM 4/2/09 at NBT

Getting to see one of your fav bands live is always a pleasurable experience. But I knew the New Brookland Tavern show would be a special experience because the venue is so tiny. And Between the Buried and Me always puts on a fantastic show.  Here’s the lowdown:

It’s also a pleasure to attend a show with a group of friends instead of by myself. Going along blows. So I was happy to take along Jesse, Robbie, Trevor, and even Colt. (Colt’s first show ever…. BTBAM is a good way to lose your concert virginity. haha)

This "after" photo suggests just how hot and sweaty and totally awesome it was to see BTBAM from the very front of the TINY New Brookland Tavern
If you don’t come out of your hardcore/metal show looking like this, you didn’t rock hard enough……

This time, I’ll deal with the headliner first and work my way backwards.  We had gotten to NBT at the “doors open” time (6pm), which ended up being about 45 min early. As a consequence we were literally some of the first people into the venue (not the first people in the door, but everyone else just kinda stood around), so the five of us had claimed the front & center real estate of the stage.  That proved to be both lifesaver that we paid for constantly as 200 people shoved us against the wooden edge repeatedly. However, it was worth it (we are all agreed).  Being any further back at all raised the temperature at least 10 degrees above the human sauna we experienced at the very front, and at least we could fall forward onto the platform to avoid being asphyxiated.

Just before BTBAM played, a very short, very cool girl named Jenna mentioned that this was her first BTBAM show. At only 5 feet, she had been crushed into Jesse’s ribcage for most of He Is Legend. She mustered up the courage to ask if he would switch places with her.  We’d been standing there for 4 hours and 4 bands already, so Jesse’s first response was “…I’m sorry… but no. I’ve been waiting for this all night.”  But just before BTBAM started their set, he decided to relent and pulled her in front of him to take his spot at the front next to me. She & I hugged the floor monitor in front of us like a shipwreck victim grasps a beam to avoid being pummeled by waves! haha

the BTBAM set was great.  It looks short on paper, but they played for at least 50 minutes:
Ants in the Sky
Backwards Marathon
Ad a Diglmut
All Bodies

Trevor (center, in brown shirt) proves that a good metal show should leave you feeling like you have been run over by a truck. lol

Getting to see “Mordecai” live made my year.  Every note in every song was in place, as always. People were gripping Tommy’s legs everytime he stood on the front of the stage. I think he stomped on our hands personally.   He actually shook mine right in the middle of All Bodies — that was pretty cool. We were close enough to score handshakes from the band at the end, and to chuckle at little details like Paul shaking his head at Dusty’s decision to grab a girl’s camera and use it as a guitar slide at one pont.

Definitely a fantastic show.

As for the other bands (working backwards), He Is Legend played a couple “oldies but goodies” like “The Seduction” — amazingly fun to scream those lyrics with 300 people behind you.  They also played their newer version of “China White” and “The Potbellied Goddess.”  But otherwise, I really don’t care for HIL anymore. Skyler is obviously strung out, high, stoned, drunk … whatever.. during his shows now and that just grosses me out.

If I’d been prepared for such an experience as Telescreen, I probably would have enjoyed them more.  Mix together U2 and This Will Destroy You with a little LSD and the Discovery Channel, and you have Telescreen. They hung a big scrim curtain right between us and the stage and displayed movies and images on that while they played.  It was a 30 minute concept show, from beginning to end.  Cool enough, and I’ll probably hit their myspace. But I wasn’t really in the mood for ambient at the moment….

I was certainly immpressed by Eyris. Three guys walked out on stage and produced a ridiculous amount of sound. It was similarly ambient, but fuller, and very musically complex & interesting.  I can see Jesse’s band going in this direction once they get more experience and music-writing experience.  I enjoyed their set a lot. Those 3 guys clearly LOVED making music. The drummer sat back there and grinned as he churned out complicated time signatures and changing rhythms. The bassist and guitar player were very calm yet somehow intense, channeling a “we love playing music and are glad you guys are here to share it with us.”  The bass player had  12 string (3 strings for each “string” if that makes sense).  I dunno. Really cool.

Opening the entire show on the local scene was Diavolo, the band that sucked major ass on new year’s eve as “elvis” when the Collin Derrick Band played their Radiohead tribute show.  Lame. haha.  Tonight they pulled out solid riffs and pretty good musicianship, with a healthy dose of entertainment. But I would never drive anywhere to see them play.

All in all, a great show. We agreed it was one of the best we’d attended, mostly because of our incredible proximity to the musicians for the entire BTBAM set. Also, the sound mix was dead on, and we were getting a fantastic mix of sound coming from the stage amps themselves. Apart rom early dying of head asphhyxiation, I was very pleased.

Our Waffle House tradition kicked in twice — we caught a quick supper there when we met jesse at one on 385 to pick hm up for the show, and we refueld and rehydrated in Cola after the show. That waitress was literally shocked at the speed we were throwing back entire glasses of water and tea. haha.  We never did explain why we were so thirsty, smelled like shit and smoke, and looked like someone had doused us under a firehose before coming in.

I’m pretty sure I exchanged bodily fluids with 17 different people that night.