Tower Theater, Upper Darby, PA. October, 2007.
I took a musical journey back to my high school and college eras with a show at The Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA featuring Taking Back Sunday and The Used. Though I wouldn’t say I stopped liking these acts altogether, but I haven’t paid the greatest attention to them in recent years. Both of these bands stormed through my early morning playlists for my 5:00am train rides to Temple back in my college days. So, this was really a blast.
After a few bands I never heard of did their thing (Tonight Alive and Sleepwave), The Used played an absolutely fantastic set. Bert was a little yappy and said some dumb things, most notably when he randomly took a shot at the entire state of New Jersey. But they killed it with a great track selection, including I Caught Fire, Buried Myself Alive, The Taste of Ink, A Box Full of Sharp Objects, and All That I’ve Got. I really missed Cut Up Angels, though. And although Bert declared Smells Like Teen Spirit “the greatest song ever written” (really, it’s pretty much the opposite), bravo to them. They’re officially back in my weekly rotation.
Then entered Taking Back Sunday, a band that I haven’t seen live since 2007 when they were on the Projekt Revolution tour. I wish they could have played every single song in their catalog, but overall the set list (below) was great. And the best part? Adam nailed the mic flips and twirls around his neck with insane precision, and I’m glad that never left the act. And just hearing Cute Without The ‘E’ live again put the biggest smile on my face. Thanks, guys.
I return to The Sands Event Center on May 15 to see The Killers, a show celebrating the venue’s second birthday.
2. Stood A Chance
3. Timberwolves At New Jersey
4. Liar (It Takes One To Know One)
5. Faith (When I Let You Down)
6. You Know How I Do
7. Beat Up Car
8. Number Five With A Bullet
9. What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?
10. A Decade Under The Influence
11. Better Homes And Gardens
12. You’re So Last Summer
13. Error: Operator
14. Flicker, Fade
15. Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team)
There’s live music, and then there’s Pearl Jam – that’s what I’ll be telling my kids 20, 30 years from now. Yeah, Bruce brings down the house – as do The Killers to an extent – but Pearl Jam shows are special for me. Ever since I picked up Ten when I used to order CDs from Columbia House (remember that shit?) without my parents knowing it, their music has changed my life. And ever since I saw them live for the first time 10 years ago, live music has never been the same for me. And that feeling is renewed with every show.
Eddie and company’s latest visit to Philly, this past Tuesday, marked the 23rd anniversary (to the day!) of the band’s first ever live show in Seattle. And I was glad to be there for the occasion. We celebrated with 34 songs, two encores, a particularly acrobatic Eddie, a shout-out to Springsteen (who attended the show incognito), a Happy Birthday from the crowd to the band, and of course, the one and only, Baba.
An absolutely incredible show and experience. And if they stay on schedule and make their way back here in 3 or 4 years, Mackenzie will finally have a chance to experience her first Pearl Jam show.
Mind Your Manners
Amongst The Waves
Given To Fly
World Wide Suicide
Do The Evolution
State Of Love And Trust
Them boys went and did it again, let…me…tell…you.
The Killers manhandled The Borgata’s Event Center (my favorite venue in the world) in Atlantic City last night. And although Brandon’s signature vintage Levi’s star shirt was absent, it’s officially one of my favorite shows ever. With a bullet.
If opening the set with Mr. Brightside alongside the house lights wasn’t enough, I’m pretty sure that Brandon acknowledged my request via Twitter for This River is Wild, my all-time favorite and a song that, despite seeing them a dozen times, I’ve never experienced live. Here’s my tweet from the day of the show:
And so, before he launched into the tune, Brandon explains, “This one’s for Andrew.” Well, I didn’t find any other Andrews requesting the song, and the amount of people who refer to me as “Andrew” after seeing my actual name is staggering. I assume there’s science behind it, and even rock Gods are not immune. Therefore, unless some “Andrew” comes forward with proof, I’m taking this one as a personal victory and monumental achievement. Because it’s the little things.
Mr. Brightside (house lights on)
The Way It Was
Smile Like You Mean It
This River Is Wild
Bling (Confessions of a King)
Somebody Told Me
I Think We’re Alone Now (Cover)
For Reasons Unkown
From Here on Out
A Dustland FairyTale
Read My Mind
All These Things That I’ve Done
Change Your Mind
Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
When You Were Young
photo credits go to my friend, by the way, because my phone was dead
Live music has played a special role in my life since I went to my first concert at the Spectrum in 1996 to see Garbage and The Smashing Pumpkins. Ever since that day, I’ve had a deep love for the art and a sincere penchant for red heads. What a night.
I’ve mentally maintained a list of favorites over the years but asked myself recently: Which 3 songs do I need to hear live once more before the end?
Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
You can basically call it a religious experience. All of the house lights fire up, and even an apocalypse outside of the arena’s gates couldn’t dampen what everyone’s feeling at that very moment. It’s liberating. Like you were just released from under a rock after 150 years.
Mr. Brightside – The Killers
The best thing about it is that the louder and faster it’s played, the better it sounds. There are so many trademark moments that get the blood flowing – the buildup towards the outro, the way they explode into the final chorus, the “it was only a kiss” blast that the crowd nails on cue and without fail. If you ever see it live, just follow Brandon’s lead and jump. Jump.
Baba O’Riley (Cover) – Pearl Jam
This is it. The one that changed my life. Sure, it’s not an original, but they sure as hell play it like it is. Part of the brilliance here is that the crowd expects them to play it like men possessed, which makes everyone seem pretty…well, possessed. It literally makes you want to grab the nearest sweaty person and just start making out. And anytime an event inspires that kind of behavior, you know you’re having a good time.
* I actually attended the Springsteen and Killers concerts featured in the above videos.
Right outside the nursery. Perfect.
I’ve never seen The Killers this damn good. Opening with When You Were Young with the house lights, throwing in a little Bruce, and the most fantastic All These Things initial closing I’ve ever experienced. This was the final stop on the Battle Born tour, and absolutely everything they had was left in Jersey. I could not be happier that this was our soon-to-be-(battle)-born baby girl’s first concert.
1. Enterlude (house lights on)
2. When You Were Young (house lights on)
4. Atlantic City (Bruce Springsteen, partial)
5. The Way It Was
6. Smile Like You Mean It
7. Bling (Confessions of a King)
9. Miss Atomic Bomb
11. Somebody Told Me
12. For Reasons Unknown
13. From Here On Out
14. A Dustland Fairytale
15. Read My Mind
17. All These Things That I’ve Done
18. This Is Your life
19. Mr. Brightside
20. Battle Born
Celebrating The Boss’s 63rd birthday with 60,000 or so other fans in New Jersey is quite the experience. We got started early, tailgated throughout the afternoon, and entered the “new Meadowlands” ready to go. With a huge storm moving directly over MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, the entire seating bowl was evacuated to the main corridors of the venue. Imagine around 60,000 people – most of them drunk and anxious – crammed into just a few narrow hallways waiting for some news, good or bad. The show was delayed for several hours, as the rain poured and the storm rolled. But spirits remained high, and over an hour into the delay, we were given the green light and proceeded to our seats. The experience seemed surreal.
Three hours after the scheduled start time, at 10:30pm, Bruce finally took the stage and got right to it. ‘Out in the Street’ kicked things off, and the place exploded for ‘Badlands’ not long after. Starting with ‘My City of Ruins’, about halfway into the set, things became a bit dull for me (it’s entirely possible I’m in the minority here) with some strange song selections and a lack of intensity. But it was the dude’s birthday, so I thought I’d give him another chance. :)
The encore was spectacular – an incredible ‘Thunder Road’ and even ‘Glory Days’! ‘Born to Run’ was as good as ever, and I still think you haven’t experienced live music until you’ve seen his anthem in the flesh. When the house lights fire up, you know it’s a real party. After a visit from Bruce’s mother and other family members, a guitar-shaped birthday cake was cut, and the entire crowd serenaded The Boss with ‘Happy Birthday’. And although I would have preferred ‘American Land’ to close it out, ‘Twist and Shout’ sent us all home in a fantastic fashion. This was at 1:55am, by the way.
I’ll never forget this one. Celebrating Bruce’s birthday with him and the E Street Band. With 60,000 other screaming fans, several members of my family, and my lovely wife. With a weather delay lasting several hours. With fireworks. With 33 songs and three-and-a-half hours of the restoration of humanity’s faith and belief in rock music. In New Jersey (!!!). Just awesome.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band went insane at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philly over Labor Day weekend (the first of two shows). I was bummed that there was a lack of ‘No Surrender’ and ‘American Land’, but it was a fantastic 33-song, 3-hour-and-40-minute party to end the summer. I’ve never imagined that ‘Working on the Highway’ could sound so ridiculously good. And ‘Badlands’ and ‘Shackled and Drawn’ – holy shit! ‘Rosalita’ even came out. Unfortunately, I missed most of ‘Thunder Road’ after a gentleman next to us passed out and had to be carried to safety by me and other fellow concertgoers.
And to think – just a few minutes away at the same exact time on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway – Pearl Jam was playing ’99 Problems’ with Jay-Z at the ‘Made in America’ festival. Philadelphia is the now officially the music capital of the world. The setlist:
Out in the Street
We Take Care of Our Own
Death to My Hometown
Lost in the Flood
My City of Ruins
Spirit in the Night
Good Rockin’ Tonight
I’m on Fire
She’s the One
Jack of All Trades
Working on the Highway
Shackled and Drawn
Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
Land of Hope and Dreams
We Are Alive
Born to Run
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
You Can’t Sit Down
Twist and Shout
I stumbled upon this going through some old and random things. This was my first concert ever. Garbage opened the show, and I’ve had a thing for red heads ever since I saw Shirley Manson take the stage. The historic venue no longer stands, unfortunately, because Philadelphia sucks and had to make a drunk pit (known as “Xfinity Live!”) so delusional Ryan Howard fans could go get tanked before and after Phillies games.
But it’s a night I’ll never forget, especially since this is one of the last shows the Pumpkins ever played in their true and original form (if not the last show). Exactly One week later, Jonathan Melvoin, the touring keyboardist for the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness tour, died of a heroin overdose in New York City. The band’s drummer, Jimmy Chamberlin, was with Melvoin at the time of his death and was immediately fired from the band.
I can still remember how their set opened. Melvoin rocked the album’s title track, a gorgeous instrumental, to a dark arena scattered with lighters. It was the first time that I felt emotional over a piece of music, and I still tend to tear up when I hear the song. I even had it played at our wedding.
A bit of a sad story, but Mellon Collie is one of the greatest and most important rock albums of all time, and this was the most fantastic way to experience it.
I’ve been an Eve 6 fan since 1998, when I was in the 7th grade, all my music came from CDs, and ‘Inside Out’ blew my small nimble mind. Their tunes have appeared on my playlists ever since, and many of their witty lyrics from Horrorscope (their second album released in 2000) fueled my status and away messages on AIM during my high school days. If you saw my favorite line from ‘Amphetamines’ (“This is the last song I’ll send your way, I smelled you on my shirt today.”), you knew I was having women troubles.
It was fantastic to see them back together, on stage, playing all of those tunes that, in ways, raised me. Listening to ‘Leech’ and ‘Tongue Tied’ brought back memories of my Mom driving me to baseball games in elementary school while I blasted the band’s debut album in the car. I don’t necessarily think she liked it as much as I did, but she pretended to, and I appreciated it. In my early high school years, I remember rushing home to watch MTV’s Total Request Live when ‘Here’s to the Night’ was on a crazy run. I wished every day that I had muscles as big as Max’s.
Fast forward 14 years. I’m driving to the Crocodile Rock Cafe in Allentown with my wife to see Eve 6, listening to that same band in the car, and telling her about my favorite songs and all the memories I had listening to them. Music really is a special thing.
Below is the official setlist:
1. Situation Infatuation (Speak in Code)
2. Promise (Horrorscope)
3. Amphetamines (Horrorscope)
4. B.F.G.F (Speak in Code)
5. Think Twice (It’s All In Your Head)
6. Leech (Eve 6)
7. Nightmare (Horrorscope)
8. Lost & Found (Speak in Code)
9. Here’s To The Night (Horrorscope)
10. At Least I’m Dreaming (Acoustic; It’s All In Your Head)
11. Pick Up The Pieces (Speak in Code)
12. Victoria (Speak in Code)
12. Tongue Tied (Eve 6)
13. On The Roof Again (Horrorscope)
14. Inside Out (Eve 6)
15. Open Road Song (Eve 6)
16. Rescue (Horrorscope)
The show was spectacular, and I have no complaints. But when I realized ‘Anytime’ wasn’t making an appearance, I died a little bit on the inside.
It’s crazy to think. The last time I saw Eve 6 live was in 2001 at the Theater of the Living Arts, a small 1000-person venue, on South Street in Philly. I went with two of my best friends and my regular concert partner in crimes. We enjoyed the freak show that is South Street and wandered into a local music store, where I managed to pick up ‘High Fidelity’ (one of the greatest films of all time) on DVD. It then resided in one of the large pockets of my cargo pants (!!!) throughout the show and ended up annoying the hell out of me. While we waited for our parents to pick us up, we stood – cold – outside of Jim’s just so we could smell like cheesesteaks for the rest of the night – it was worth it. We even stopped at a place called the Condom Kingdom, a ridiculous establishment that, I believe, is no longer in business (shocking, I know). But hey – we were in high school and much more easily amused at things.
A strange band called Tsar opened the show, and the lead singer began rambling about some sort of race car drives from the future, apparently the subject of one of their songs. Eve 6 opened with ‘How Much Longer’, though I can’t remember anything else regarding the setlist. I was a huge Eve 6 fan back in High School and through most of college (the awesome puns scattered throughout their music are shamefully under-appreciated), until they disappeared from the face of the Earth. Then I heard they were coming to Allentown, PA, which is a fairly straight shot up route 100 and the subject of an awesome Billy Joel tune, and I couldn’t resist. And how often do I get confirmation from a band’s lead singer that they’re going to play my favorite song?