I guess you can say I got to have the real fanboy experience this past Friday. Now, I can sit comfortably and interact with generals, political appointees, and elected officials all day long without being the least bit impressed, but put me in front of seven random guys from California and I’m a mumble mouthed mess who can barely bring himself to make eye contact with the god of his own making. It’s good to know that I can still feel over-awed by something, I suppose.
A quick photo op and a few mumbled words would have been plenty enough to make my day, but with my 40th just passed, I wanted to do something a little more out of the ordinary. I’ll say without reservation that sitting fifteen feet above the stage watching your favorite band belt out the songs that have become the staple soundtrack to your life was really one one those thrill of a lifetime moments. I’m still trying to get the dumb grin off my face.
Sitting behind the main speakers, the sound is a little muddled and some of the site-lines are better from the front row, but for seeing the “whole picture” there’s really nothing better. You get to see the organized chaos of on the fly equipment swaps when earpieces stop working and the interplay between shadowed band mates when someone else is taking their moment under the spotlight. You get to see the massive human effort involved in making the seven guys on stage look like they don’t have a care in the world beyond being there making music.
I wanted an experience, bought my ticket, and saw the show. It would have been an absolute steal at twice the price.
I’m going to see my favorite band again in concert on Friday night. This will be the 5th or 6th time I’ve seen them over the last decade, although the music of Counting Crows has been stuck in my head far longer than that. I knew their songs in high school, but it took a girl with a guitar on the 5th floor of Cambridge Hall to secure their place permanently at the apex of just about every playlist I’ve ever made. Most music seems to wash past me like a stream, but these guys, well, they get in my head and just rattle around.
I wish I could tell you exactly what it is that makes this band speak to me particularly, but I’m sure it isn’t just one thing. Their music is sweet and sad and funny and has this timeless quality that I can’t quite explain. I’m also going to just sit here and pretend it’s in absolutely no way an effort to stay in touch with the version of me that’s still half my age. It’s definitely not that.
So off I’ll go again to willingly wade into a crowd that under just about any other circumstance would agitate every single nerve I have. For this one night only I’ll not just endure it, but embrace it. I suppose that’s how you know I’m a real fan. Of course it also helps knowing you have a seat away from the rabble and there’s a very comfortable shuttle waiting to expedite your exit from the venue and back to a delightful old hotel. Just because you’re going out into the crowd doesn’t mean you have to be part of them, after all.
Sigh. These next three days are going to be interminable.
Breaking with tradition, it’s 8:00 on a Saturday and I’m not pondering the acceptability of crawling into bed while it’s still light outside. That would be because the doors just opened at the Borgata Events Center and sometime in the next hour or so, Counting Crows will be on stage. This falls well inside the circumference of my happy place.
Listening to these guys is always like taking a ride on the way back machine and landing square in the middle of Cambridge Hall, 6th floor, high side.
Counting Crows is one of those bands that takes me back to a very specific time and place in life. They laid down the soundtrack to most of my college days and some of my best memories revolve around listening to their CDs or listening to someone pick out their tunes on their guitar. Finally getting the chance to see them in person tonight was a real thrill for me. As much as I don’t want to sound like a teenaged girl, all I can say is that it was a seriously moving experience.
Tonight’s show was basically a two and a half hour jam session with Augustana. There were no real sets to speak of and band members sat in on each others songs throughout the night. Really a tour de force performance with a lead singer who was very obviously in pain from a knee injury, but kept coming back for more even when he needed help getting off the stage. I’m just incredibly impressed and excited to have been there for the show. So, this summers tour is highly recommended and I’d definitely pony up the money if I had the chance to see them again.
It’s been a great day and an even better night. I’m going to bed with a grin on my face and some truly fantastic memories.
I just found out that Counting Crows is releasing a “deluxe edition” of August and Everything After on September 18th… Lots of demos and live cuts on the second disk. I can’t actually remember the last time I went to a store and “bought an album,” but I’ll be getting mine on Tuesday. Because I’m a helpful kind of guy, you can get yours from Amazon.
The original release was a big part of the soundtrack to some of the best memories I have… I’m always amazed that everything around you can change, but the music always brings you back to a unique time and place. Listening to this will be like a chance meeting with old friends… OK, old friends from Berkeley… damned dirty hippy friends… but still, it’s just like Frosted Flakes, baby… They’re Grrrrreat!