?Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now?
- Bob Dylan
1. SATANISTS & WHISPERING T-SHIRTS
Arriving uncharacteristically early - Bridget and I strolled up the alley to the bustling theatre entrance. As we neared the door I noticed a gaggle of anxious soccer moms meekly waving goodbye to their giggling teenage daughters. It took all I had to stop myself from shouting over to the moms that Travis? ?naked-Satanists-with-severed-goat?s-head finale is, like, killer, maan!? Upon hearing about my proposed ?soccer mom/severed goat?s head? update Bridget sighed and asked me if I had taken my daily Ritalin dose? She then patiently instructed me to take the change out of my pockets as a member of event security waved their magic wand over my pockets and then felt me up - cheeky monkey!
Once through security we came across the obligatory concert t-shirt stand. Is it just me, or is there a conspiracy to keep concert t-shirts away from the hairy beer bellies of the calorically challenged? As I glanced over the ?Remy Milano? and ?Travis? merchandise I imagined the t-shirts whispering: ?The biggest size we have is X-Large? not X-LARD mate!? Oh well, to paraphrase Seinfeld?s ?Soup Nazi? ?no shirt for you!? Onward to our seats!
For this concert Bridget and I secured front row tickets by waiting outside the theatre box-office from 4.30 a.m. to 10.00 a.m. earlier this year. Eventually the houselights dimmed. The audience cheered, roadies scurried and from the semi-darkness musicians appeared. Spotlights flashed to life. Oooh-oooh, let the music begin!
2. REMY DON?T BE A ZERO
Cinjun Tate & his Remy Zero band mates cracked open some serious Southern vibes for the assembled Orpheum audience. From what I've read on the board, Remy Zero are great friends with Travis ? so I suppose it would follow that a support slot for the U.S. tour is a given. A large majority of the audience were totally into the Remy vibe - but I?m afraid neither Bridget nor I were swept along.
During Remy Zero's lively set I had a few of my patented ?Grandpa Potter drift off sessions?. A quick sample of what went through my head at this point:
a) Where was the extra machine head [those twisty metal things at the top of most guitars] for the bass player?s 5 string bass guitar? I later discovered that there were 3 machine heads on top, and 2 on the bottom. [Yes. I really am THAT sad]
b) Why did the lead singer have that key hanging over his front pocket? Was it the key to their tour bus, or maybe his diary? And what was up with all the hang-over references?
c) The stage-right guitarist?s scarf reminded me of Private Pike from the ancient British sit-com ?Dad?s Army? which I loved as a kid, check him out...
The Remy Zero set finished and the lights went up. Bridget and I met up with fellow obsesso-boardies Gwen and her sister, Dizzy Dinosaur. Gwen and Dizzy had created amazing matching t-shirts that spelt out ?Rock and Salad Roll? when they stood beside each other. The t-shirts had a nice inventive touch [just like their board posts] a fact that was not lost on Dougie later in the show. The stage, at this time, was a buzz of activity. Nearly there, nearly there!
3. INNER BEATLE GIRL & PRIMAL SCREAMING
As soon as Travis walked out on stage, any Potter pretence of ?keeping it cool? went out the window quicker than shite through a goose. Ever see those ancient black and white shots of young girls screaming for the Beatles back in the day? Well that was me, my "Inner Beatle Girl" - minus the beehive.
FRAAAAN! AAAANDDDYYY! DOOOOOUGGGIEEE! NEILL! At this point, I do believe I saw Bridget and the keyboard player exchange knowing ?wow - he's very sad in't he?? looks. Fran gave me a nice ?hey Harry? head nod and then launched the band [and the audience] into ?Sing?.
This was my first time seeing Travis in a full concert setting. The following is a list of SOME of the evening?s highlights:
?As You Are? ? waiting for Andy?s guitar break in the middle of this song was unbearable. Fran whipped the crowd up and then we all went into it together. I couldn?t stop myself raising my hands in the air and screaming when Andy finally ripped into it. Bridget shook her head in amazement as she watched Andy?s fretwork. But then again, Andy could play the washboard and she?d call it genius =0)
?Turn? ? a BIG favorite of Bridget?s, was dedicated to everyone in the theatre. To be honest, I wasn?t a big fan of this tune before [Bridget was pissed at me when I made the standard issue ?Travis car tape? and left ?Turn? off it]. Hearing this song live opened it up for me and I really, really enjoyed it. Bridget has been calling me a ?Turn bandwagon jumper? all weekend!!
?Flowers in the Window? ? it was great hearing Fran?s recounting of Dustin?s awesome ?on stage? wedding proposal. Nice one Dustin, all those posts finally paid off didn?t they? Now all you have to do is convince them to play a few songs at the wedding =0)
?Why Does It Always Rain On Me?? ? the song destined to become Travis? ?Stairway to Heaven? transcended its familiarity when the whole audience sang a portion of the song. It was really, really sweet and the band mates were beaming. That is one thing about these guys that I love, they GENUINELY love playing together, they really, really do.
?Blue Flashing Light? ? in an evening of amazing music THIS was the standout performance bar none. The studio version CANNOT do justice to the naked emotion of the live version. It wasn?t until Friday night that the lyrics of this song opened up to me. I?ve heard this song countless times in the car or at home, singing along and LOVIN? THE DRUMMIN?, thinking it was a song about a guy bumping into a drunk friend and being pissed off at his mates for not calling him to come out for a night on the town.
SUDDENLY - it hit me like a ton of bricks! Fran was [I think] singing about his father coming home drunk and lashing out at the family? I could be way off base here, so I apologize if I am. It's just that I could sense the overpowering flood of emotion flowing from his singing...he was re-living something, something bad.
Abusive drinkers are all too common in the UK & Ireland. You have parents that can?t keep their heads out of the pint, who then proceed to lash out either physically or verbally at their families. Both my parents are like that, so hearing these lyrics IN THAT MOMENT cut through me like a knife.
The lyrics brought back all these teenage memories that I thought were safely locked away. I began to SCREAM. I SCREAMED for the teenage boy too embarrassed to have school friends over on weekends. I SCREAMED for the hatred I felt, lying in bed, and hearing them stagger in at 2 in the morning with their sad soggy kebabs n? lukewarm curried chips/fries. I SCREAMED for the sweet release of it all. I've never experienced this kind of emotion at a concert before - at one point I looked over and saw Andy slamming his guitar with the banjo-stand...it was that overpowering, completely overpowering.
When the song ended, Fran stepped away from the microphone and walked over to me and gave me his concert-worn plectrum. Inner Beatle Girl returned as I squealed ?thanks Frannnnnnnnnie!!? The official concert was over ? encore to follow.
At the VERY end of the concert, right after ?Happy? I shouted ?nice one? to Dougie and to my surprise he walked straight over and handed me his plectrum! I was well pleased - and as you can imagine Inner Beatle Girl was back out again, squealing ?thanks Dooooooougie!? The lights went up...time to get outta here!
4. BAD DRIVING, AUTOGRAPHS & ?PULLING A HARRY?
I already had my ?The Man Who? & ?The Invisible Band? albums autographed since the June instore. I wanted to get ?Good Feeling? autographed to complete the set. To this end, we waited outside the theatre on the chance that the lads would come out and partake in an unofficial ?meet and greet?. The event staff herded us all up to the stop of the alley and told us to ?choose a side?.
The equipment truck had arrived and was preparing to back into the alleyway etc. Man, that truck driver must have had his head up his arse ? because it TOOK FOREVER for him to get into that alley. Bridget Jones [born with a steering wheel in her hands] was three inches away from hauling that driver out of that truck and taking care of bid?nez her DAMN self!! GO BRIDGET JONES!!!!!
The driver finally got the truck down the alley, to cheers and applause to those gathered there. Neil was the first one out; he came down the alley and signed my cover straight away. It was at this point that I realized that the majority of people here were female and less than 25 years of age! Oh God! Of course all these ?mature? thoughts went out the window when Inner Beatle Girl saw Fran strolling up the alley ? ?FRRAAANNNN?sign me albummm?you ROCKKKK?.? I squealed as a gaggle of fans engulfed him.
Again Fran was very nice to me. He signed my album sleeve and shook my hand. I made a comment about going out for drinks next time he?s in Boston and some other STUPID alcohol related remarks [which in light of ?Blue Flashing Light? were extremely unnecessary and in VERY poor taste] Fran really is a nice guy to put up with me:
Name: Harry Potter Age: 34teen
Just after Fran?s arrival I spotted Dougie making his way towards the group. He signed the album and we chatted for a few seconds. I heard a voice right beside me say ?hello? and was surprised to see Andy standing there too. Bridget and I spoke for a minute or so with Andy and thanked him for ?NOT PULLING A ?PHONICS!? [Well, we didn?t put it THAT way. We just thanked him for coming over to the States to tour etc.] I had to pull Bridget away as she stood there transfixed...her Inner Beatle Girl completely in awe of Mr. D. =0)
So that was it. The concert was fantastic; I got to meet the band afterwards. Nothing left now but to go home, right? Oh no?oooooh no!! My inner Beatle Girl had one more thing planned. For some reason I felt the need to GO BACK OVER to Fran and tell him I was going home lol. It was like ?OKAY FRAN, I?M HEADIN? OFF NOW?TAKE CARE BUDDY!? I?m grimacing as I write this because all I remember was him looking out at me, through the group of fans, with this semi-puzzled expression oh his face. It?s like I was talking to someone I?ve been friends with for YEARS?.s?like ?yeah me n? Fran we go waaaaay back?? lol. Bridget shook her head and then it hit me?I?d just ?pulled a Harry?. But really, it couldn?t have ended any other way.
-- the preceeding ramble fest is dedicated to my wife, Bridget Jones. Long may she run.
I reviewed this show for my university's paper, so I got a press pass for photos.
Before the show, Cinjun let me watch Travis's soundcheck. I watched Fran sing Side acoustically to two small children. It was one of most endearing things I'd ever seen, even though I was tired out of my mind.
By sheer chance and the generousity of a man named Bill in the front row, I was allowed to stay front row center for the remainder of Travis's set after my press pass was past its welcome. The setlist had been the same as the earlier 2 shows I'd seen, except we got Follow The Light instead of Afterglow. That alone made this show worth it.