travis acoustic gig at local Boston record store on Sunday June 24th, 2001. Read at your leisure or ignore...
On Sunday June 24th 2001, Travis performed at the Fresh Pond Circle Newbury Comics outlet in Boston Massachusetts. The band played a five song acoustic set followed thereafter by a meet n'greet/signing session. The gig began at 1 o'clock in the afternoon, but the story begins much earlier. Much, much earlier...
PART 1 - Morning Has Broken
Gets arse out of bed
Gets arse out of bed FOR REAL
Heads over to store laden down with the following:
2 vicious lawn chairs*
1 backpack stuffed with book, cds/player, barbequed beef/cheese n' onion hula hoops, water
1 pack of Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles
1 windbreaker w/ hood
* Convinced that these lawn chairs are possessed. Cannot open or close these shagging things without catching fingers or anything with hair within their hungry wood and metal mouths. Major pain in the arse to deal with, but would prove extremely beneficial later on.
Get to store location to find a group of kids already there. Said group of kids [who looked like they were just delivered into this world yesterday] were all sitting on ground
listening to stereo and chatting. Harry is presuming that there was much eye rolling and "what's Grandpa doing here" facial expressions when he oafed around the corner with vicious lawn chairs/backpack combo. Initial "awkward" setting up stall phase eased when rain began and Harry offered umbrella in quick thinking ice-breaker-guilty-for-being-prepared opportunity.
Sat and looked out at the pastoral beauty that is Fresh Pond Circle, Cambridge
Massachusetts. All that was missing was a couple of winos getting it on in the parking lot and maybe one or two more used condoms stuck to the pavement. It was around this time that it sunk into Harry's head that he'd be sitting looking out at this drizzly vista for a very long, long time.
PART 2 - The Waiting Is The Hardest Part
Other people have joined the line. Rumours begin that free tickets w/ purchase of 'The
Invisible Band' will be available [tickets being for show later on with Dido at the Tweeter
Center]. More importantly, rumours begin that Newbury Comics e-mail members [don't ask] will be getting prime position for gig through sad "members only lottery" malarkey. The end result of this means that the prime "in front of stage" spaces have been reserved for a bunch of wankery ass clowns with laminated Newbury Comic E-mail member cards! None of this was mentioned on the flyer, which led to much mumbling and name-calling. Harry had visions of villagers storming castle with flaming torches and pitchforks.
Tragically hip Newbury Comic employees begin to arrive. Things are happening and folks are getting excited. The aforementioned ass-clown-email-lottery scandal has been affirmed. Harry starts getting into the negative "angry villager" vibe and barracks employee with oh so righteous statements of the "we were here first" "not mentioned on flyer" variety. Deary me, the injustice of it all! "Where's Thom Yorke?" I thought to myself, this travesty should be added to his links over at radiohead.com
The equipment arrived a few minutes beforehand. Momentary excitement dashed when two contracted "set-up" knuckle scrapers [one looking about 17 months pregnant, the other like "Dead Guy No. 5" from "The Last of the Mohicans"] are seen bringing stuff in. Harry is standing in the drizzle now at the other side of store having been shunted to avoid clashes with other stores for blocking entrances etc. Beginning to feel hungry and a bit dizzy in the clammy humidity. Harry had the bright idea of not drinking to avoid any embarrassing "need a phish" situations. More people arrive. Harry is happy to see that the assembling line crosses all gender and age groups. However, the intermittent rain has begun a rash of ironic eh? "Why Does It Always Rain On Me?" comments from the newcomers. Harry feels like shouting "ooooh, that's like soooo 2 hours ago" at them. Rain stops. Rain waits for hoods and umbrellas to be lowered and then begins again.
Harry extremely happy at the arrival of the perma-beautiful perma-patient and perma-sent from heaven, Mrs. Harry. With a rattle of keys and numerous body piercings - Newbury Comics is open. We're goin' in!!
PART 3 - [Sound] Check Yo' Head
Got awesome spot!! In the initial "open door" confusion like seasoned commandos we moved into action. As promised the "special area" for the email wanks was set up, right in front of the small stage. We thought about setting up shop [with the vicious lawn chairs] right behind the ass clowns, but Mrs. Harry spotted a primo spot over in the 'D' Rock/Pop section. Let's go!
Awesome. Don't get no better than this. Sat down on chairs diagonal to the tiny stage.
Cables and assorted "gig" electronics surround four empty chairs. The "set up"
guys are moving this and turning that. Then the obligatory "testing, testing 1, 2" begins.
At this time Harry is really beginning to feel the no food/no water kicking in. These
feelings are outweighed by knowledge of superior sightline.
Via in store system, listening to Travis perform live from studios of WBCN [one of the worst, i mean WORST radio stations in this nation. It wasn't 5 years ago they were a dino-rock station that jumped on the 'alternative' bandwagon. Wankers one and all] and fielding some of the most inane questions ever - "why tour with Dido?"...like who gives a toss!! Fran was extremely gracious and went through the motions with a great attitude.
Mrs Harry sits reading her book as large crowd starts assembling behind. Harry starts
feeling a right twat sat there while everyone else [outside email memberland] is standing. Harry feels that all that is missing is a picnic basket, blanket and bottle of vino! Two blokes start ferreting around the stage while the setup stiffs are ferreting around the sound desk thingy.
One of the blokes [Giles] starts doing the "1,2" thing with a few "hey, hey, 1,2 tut, tut
pop pop" things thrown in. Harry thought that this guy MUST be a professional, with the
exciting deviation from the standard "testing, testing, 1, 2". Harry notices that Giles is
becoming EXTREMELY annoyed with the setup guys. "Dead Guy No. 5" [who's name was Moe, no kiddin'] wasn't getting the setting right, which had Giles going up and down, up and down and repeating the same thing over and over and over. Giles was not happy.
The other bloke on stage, also English [probably from Liverpool?] was busy tuning the banjo and the geetars etc. Noticed that Giles and he exchanged a few "off mike" remarks [probably aimed at the set up guys no doubt!!]
Started to feel excited as the finishing touches were, erm, touched. The bands were en route and the crowd knew it!
PART 4 - That's Entertainment
This is it! Moments before watched as band was led into "backstage" area. To Harry, it
appeared that "backstage" area was probably a storeroom with a small lavvy and bottles of Drano and assorted cleaning materials. There wasnae any finger food n' wine going on in there. At this moment, the tragically hip store employees snapped into "with the band" mode.
Harry found it extremely amusing as one troglodyte kept pestering Giles. Now Giles had his little Star Trek Next-Generation headgear on [which probably meant business, like Giles was getting ready to rock etc.] and didn't need to hear the natterings of an inked cash register gerbil two minutes 'fore band arses hit seats.
Finally, yet another register gerbil got up on stage and introduced the band "TRAVIS!"
The band walked out and almost tripped over the email wanks...
DIGRESSION: The email wanks [as I had observed earlier] fell into a spellbinding exercise in groupthink. Not knowing what to do once inside the coveted circle, each one sat down because the ones who got there earlier sat down. So, when they were all finally in there, space was extremely limited. Sorry...
...and took to the stage.
It was great to finally see the band in person. Although for some reason it was quite
disconcerting to be this close to them! I will never be able to explain it. These sorts of things are slightly [if not downright] uncomfortable for the performers I'm sure.
I've read that Andy is a shy guy, so this close contact stuff must be really difficult. He
kept his eyes down through most of the set, but you could tell he was concentrating. Man that boy can play guitar. Mrs. Harry [who got into Travis on the strength of the guitar
hooks] was suitably impressed by Andy's performance. Ah, if only Harry's performances in other areas could be this satisfying.... oops edit please!
Neill was going through the motions from start to finish. Maybe he was disappointed at the size of his shaky ball thingy [maracas is that what they're called?] It was obvious that he'd rather have been somewhere else. But then again, what the hell do I know right? It's easy to bitch and moan about your favorite bands "being there" for the fans etc. but they ARE only human. We shouldn't hang so much on people etc.
Dougie had the lanky sauntering liam-walk down cold. He took to that stage and was ready to rock from the get go. It's always impressive to see a bass player singing, that's a difficult thing to get down, and he's got a really nice backing vocal voice too, just like
Andy. Dougie lost his way during one of the songs but you could tell he found it funny too, always a good sign...self-deprecation is a bonus and you won me over big time with that D.!
Fran was chatting as soon as he hit the mike and like Dougie seemed at ease getting settled. His patter with the audience is great to hear. He reminds me of a blissed Billy Connolly spinning out these insights and then BAM! getting the juice out in the songs instead of sixteen minute diatribes about sex or whatever.
Is there a band any tighter then these guys? Each song was note perfect [well nearly, sorry Dougie] and Fran's voice was on top form. Now, he could have just laid back [after all they had a major gig that night] but he gave it his all vocally! I was surprised by his passion; it's very, very real. He wants to reach each and every person out there and Christ he did it yesterday.
The set was over before it had begun, or so it seemed. Five songs were played and then it was time for the signing. Harry was feeling extremely dizzy right now and had some water at Mrs. Harry's insistence. Time to get those autographs!!
Part 5 - Meeting People Is Easy
It had to happen of course. We paid dearly for having prime seats for the actual performance. The band was way across at the other side of the store, which meant that the population of China and India was between them and us now. Again, it would be a long, long wait.
Of course, our line was the slowest snake in the race. Every ten minutes or so we inched a bit further up and mumbled as the other lines zoomed along. About this time Harry's mind was starting to go into suspended animation. The day's events had begun to catch up, the waiting, the rain, the waiting and now the humid standing and humid waiting. What was up with Newbury Comics and the air-conditioning? I mean did they have some of the tragically hip register gerbils up in the raised ceiling blowing on ice cubes through the vents? Man is was hot as Hades. But, again, I digress.
Stood there with Mrs. Harry and looked at band from side, sitting at table pumping the flesh and signing like crazy. It was at this time that I noticed the chap who must be the band's manager. I had seen him floating around during the initial setup and performance, and here he was again standing against the wall surveying the throngs of fans with folded arms like a benevolent Mr. Sheen/Mr Clean, watching closely as the faithful made their way to the Holy Grail. The register gerbils were communicating 'tween themselves with inanities like "the manager's happy, the manager's happy?" I thought to myself, why the fuck wouldn't he be happy?! There were a lot of people there that BOUGHT the new album that day for crying out loud. But, I digress?
The line snaked along and eventually we made it into the coveted final stretch. I was nattering with Mrs. Harry when suddenly I was standing in front of Neill, the drummer.
Neill had hooked around the big ass bookshelf and was extending the hand. Man, he definitely did not want to be there. It was kind of funny to watch the robotic movements,
To be honest it must be exhausting to sit there and go through the motions again and again and again, but a voice inside me later kept saying that well this is what got you were you are, it's the price you have to pay etc. But then again, the lack of sleep, water and food also had me convinced that I was Indera Gandhi.
Andy was really very nice to Mrs Harry and me. He took the time to get the correct spelling of me name and genuinely seemed happy to be there. Again, this is probably part of the game and some can do it better than others, but it was really nice. Mrs. Harry gave paid him a compliment about his geetar playing and he was very happy I'm sure to get some kudos, which he so richly deserves by the way. That lad EATS the shagging stringed instruments I tell you, EATS 'em!
Dougie was the exact same. To be honest I really couldn't think of anything to say that hadn't been said before to any of them, so I just went into "you guys are awesome", "you rock"- fan mode. I felt like such a prat even as I was talking to each of them. What the hell distinguishes me for the countless other faithful fans that have crossed their path etc.? It's a funny thing meeting people you admire. You long to get to meet them, and then suddenly when you are standing right there, it always falls back on the conventional conversational standbys. But, I digress?
Fran was really, really nice too. Man these guys are something else, they seem genuinely happy to meet you. Trying to find something to say, I mentioned to that everyone on the messageboard says "hello" and that seemed to tweak his interest in the zillionth of second I spoke to him. He stated that he goes in there everyday, but doesn't post obviously. I mentioned that I was Harry Potter on the messageboard, and he raised his eyebrows and said "Oh, so you're Harry Potter?" That was so nice
of him in two respects?
1)He probably has NO idea who Harry Potter is on the messageboard and was being very gracious when I brought this up.
2)He really DOES know who Harry Potter is and wanted to let me know.
Either way it was an extremely nice and gracious thing for him to do, coz it made my day [even though the above points were circling through my head] and made me happy [not as happy as being able to share the moment with Mrs. Harry though!!]
Then it was over. We left the table to be replaced by the next batch of happy fans and the Travis train kept rolling along without us. It was funny to see the reaction of the register gerbils as we left the building. They had obviously overheard Fran's comments to me about the messageboard and were looking at me suspiciously. It was very, very funny to me that an extremely unhip chap like meself could "one up" the gerbils in the "cool" stakes for two seconds of his life. Nice one Francis!
We left the store and went to pick up some pet food and stood watching as the band jumped into the waiting van. One of the Newbury Comics register gerbils shouted at us to move back from the door. In a moment of haste, I called her a nazi as we passed by, and I'm sorry for saying that but you annoyed me and I shouldn't have called you such a bad, bad thing. She'll have her vengeance next week when I bring in that shit load of used cds that I want to get rid of. Wearily we got into the car and went home.
Thanks Travis, it was a very tiring day for everyone but you guys made me so very happy.
THE END [thank you too for staying till the end of this blabberfest. You're the tops too!]
Not in a skanky Paris hilton "that's hott" way, but it was literally fucking hot out. The humidity this day was up in the 90% range, and the kind folks of newbury comics didn't deem it necessarty to turn on the freaking AC.
i arrived with husband in tow shortly after the doors opened up at the store. Newbury Comics is a shadow of it's former self, now, it's more like a Hot Topic type things for pseudo punks and smelly pee girls. Anyways, I'm a little excited because when we arrive, there doesn't seem to be that many people here, and if Ibuy the new record, I get free tix to the show the next day (at Great Woods, which is the Tweeter center now, but I'm old school and refuse to call it that) I buy my record, and get our tickets and strt scouting out the stage area, from afar, it looks like no one is sitting in front of the stage, till I get up there and see a bunch of chooches sitting on the floor. There's planty of room there, so I think, why shouldn't Disco have a chance to sit up there too? I make my way over and am stoped by this little minimum wage puke who is drunk with power due to the lammie around his neck telling me I'm not one of the cool kids, and to go stand somewhere else. I argue and he tells me that you have to be a memeber of the email club to sit up front. And where, pray tell, did it tell me this ( I go into NC once a week to buy new music) they said it was on the website and it's exclusive.
Exclusive? Pardon? Your store is in the middle of Cambrige-upon-Beirut, but apparently it's all posh now, and EXCLUSIVE. Fuck off, little shit.
I scout out a good spot just behind the email chooch squad. I look around suspiciously to see what 6'5" guy is going to inevitably stand in front of me. It always happens, never fails. I notice these folks stting in lawnchairs, and in the heat I wonder how I can topple them off their chairs so I too can sit in comfort. It's hot now, it's like 80 degrees, and th humidity in the store hangs like a tarp in the air. It sucks. I'm exhausted- we went to the Sox game (Later, at the tweeter, Fran will mention the monster home run Maaahnny Ra-mee-rez hit over that big wall) the day before, which stretched into a night of drinking with abandon with friends, It's hot, i'm thirsty, starving and feeling a bit faint and claustrophobic. Turns out, the folks in the lawn chair were Harry Potter and Bridget Jones, whom i'd conversed with many, many times on the msg board...I found this out later conversing about the show.
Finally, the boys arrive, and i'm such a dork, but they steal my breath away! They're all so littlesmall, and fran's dimples are gigantic, as is Andy's head Sorry andy, but that's a fierce squash! Neil looks lke he's tired, hot and doesn't want to be there. He uses a chicken shake and looks like he'd rather be in bed. dougie rocks, as usual, but I'm startled that he's so thin. Does anyone cook for this man? Has he not the love of a good woman to feed him and make sure he takes a vitamin??
I've brought my camera,and have an amazing, clear unblocked view of them... i snap away, catching neil in the eye with the flas once. He gives me a dissaproving glance, but i don't care. It's hotter than hell, I just bought their record, and they can deal!
I believe the played WDIAROM, Driftwood and, damn, it seems like such a long time ago! I recall be struc by how big fran's voice was, singing and playing seems so natural to him, like he doesn't even know he was doing it- you can tell when people just do what they're doing because that's what's meant to be- that's what it was lke watching fran, and Andy as well...
They wrap thinngs up, and I now see that the signing table is clear across the store. i'd considered moving right next to it during the set, but it was either lose sight of them and the music, or be shoved along for a nanosecond of face time...i picked the music, it'd stay with me longer, and i had great pictures.
I don't know how they lasted that day, it being so hot and all, but I was grateful for it!
This was an excellant live show at Newbury comics. I waited in line and pushed my way through the crowd in order to meet and get my photo taken with the band. Totally worth it. One of the most memorable moments of my life! I was so excited that the actual moments of meeting the band are kind of a blur. But I have photos and autographs to prove to myself that it was real. haha. Can't wait til they go on tour again! I have seen them a couple of times...every time is better than the last!:)