The concert experience sure has changed over the years. When I say that, I am not just referring to the fact that by the end of the night, unlike even 10 years ago, I want to cut my feet off from the pain and go into emergency back surgery. And although I usually hold my tongue, I feel the great desire to lecture an underage girl on proper behavior in public situations, "If you can't behave like an adult in adult situations, then perhaps you should go home and go to bed early (without dinner)". Gosh, when did I get so old?
The Kills concert! I bought pre-sale tickets to attend the show at the Granada Theater in Dallas earlier this year, so I've been anxiously waiting for this concert for months. I happen to adore Alison Mosshart and looking forward to the opportunity to see her perform again. I've seen her twice with the Dead Weather and I know if someone can steal most of my attention AWAY from Jack White on stage, that she must have some serious stage presence. I would find myself forgetting Jack was there. Forgetting Jack? Me? Yes. She is that good. She is like the girl-next-door rock star. She seems so down to earth and sweet but a total bad-ass at the same time.
When I bought my pre-sale tickets they informed me I would receive a free poster that I could pick up at the merch table at the show. I knew I didn't have a chance in hell in getting another of my posters on the man-cave wall (I'm starting to take over), but I was excited non-the-less.
Doors are at 7. Tornado warning for our county until 10pm. Great. I leave work a few minutes early and rush home in the golf sized ball hail to get ready. Big decisions. Wash hair? Or hat and ponytails? Easy decision if you ever seen a picture of me online. Hat it is. I rush to Dallas during rush hour in the rain to pick up my friend and head over to the venue.
We walk into the Granada theater just as the doors open at 7. I make a bee-line to the merch table to claim my free poster. I give the guy my ID and spot my name on the "list" as he checks it off. Then, he hands me 4 stickers. Wait, did it say post-ER or post-IT? I asked the guy and he shrugged his shoulders. Oh well, It's not the poster I was promised, but I'll be happy with my free stickers that look like a Polaroid.
We get as close to the stage as possible and plant our feet in cement. About 2 rows of people back on the main floor, we have pretty good positioning. Now we wait. As Tom Petty said, Waiting is the hardest part. The Granada had an entertaining movie screen showing videos of interesting upcoming concerts to help pass the time. The other thing they did that I found entertaining, but caused a permanent cramp in my neck, is they posted the @granadatheater Twitter feed on a big screen stage left. Talk about new concert experiences. Even 5 years ago, you wouldn't see this type of thing. Give an open forum to a bunch of people to post their every thought on a big screen in a little room and you get a combination of funny, disgusting and lame, but almost always entertaining. I don't think I have ever seen the word hipster used so many times, or see SO many people spell Alison's name wrong. "Marry me Allison". I wanted to tweet she is not going to marry someone who can't even spell her first name. I didn't do that, but I couldn't resist the temptation to participate.
(that's me second to the bottom)
We have an hour to kill (no pun intended. Sorry, that was bad. I know) before even the first band comes on and I am approached with "Aren't you Lea"? It must be the hat. I was confused for a moment, because I already know all my local area internet Jack-Fan friends. Celeste then tells me she drove in from Louisiana, because LA didn't have a Kills show on the tour! I love crazy people like me who take long road trips for music!! We catch up on our record store day finds and she fills me in on her recent trip to the holy grail, Third Man Records in Nashville, for the record store day festivities. It is always fun to the meet people who share my passions. I'm having a good time already and the first band hasn't even started.
(me and my new BFF Celeste)
Then at about 8PM, the first band goes on. I will refrain from mentioning their name or sharing my opinion, because mama always said, 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". Luckily when the bands were performing, the Twitter feed came down. I think that is a good thing. It would be disheartening as a band to be able to read the thoughts of the people in the audience as you perform.
About 9PM, the second band, Cold Cave, takes the stage. To be kind, in their defense, I am admittedly pretty closed minded about music. I like MY music. I like rock music. So, when they took the stage and I was transported back to 1985 and the new wave phenomenon, I couldn't see past the genre to actually see if they were talented or not. Sorry. I laughed when they finished and someone posted on the Twitter feed on the big screen, "I just saw Flock of Seagulls at @granadatheater". So true.
Then things started to get packed. This is when I decided I better get a drink now. Now or never. I'm glad I did decide to fight the good fight against the crowds, because it was then that I ran into my Jack-friends Leslie and Bethany. It was the only time I got to see them all night, but at least we got to talk for a minute.
Cathy held our spot while I made a run, but I still got the stink-eye from my fellow concert-goers as I try to reclaim my spot front stage center.
Things get sort of ugly before the show starts as a loud, probably drunk, high-pitched-screeching girl decides to throw a fit that her friend is not standing quite close enough to her. After about 10 minutes of screeching and a lot of biting tongues, my friend finally turns to her with simply a "REALLY?, REALLY?". My friend must be a bad-ass herself because that shuts them up enough for us to enjoy the start of the show.
I think the screeching girls friend felt bad about his friends bad behavior, because he tried to make peace by offering my friend a hit of his joint. Seriously? LOL! She, of course, rejects his peace offering. This again reminds me I am old.
The air is thick with excitement. Even the girl with the HOWL tattoo on her back looks excited.
(Me and Cathy having a howling good time)
The movie screen in pulled down so far covering the stage that you could only see the feet of the people walking around on the stage. I am scoping for Alison-type feet and legs but I don't see any just yet.
(Then the screen lifts and the magic begins...)
Hotel and VV take the stage and it is pure genius. Alison is wearing a leopard print shirt that blends into the leopard print stage background. She is like a leopard camouflaged in her surroundings waiting to pounce and let me tell you, she pounces.
Standing there with cramped feet and an aching back is the price I pay to capture the energy of a live show. This can only be experienced by standing in a crowded concert hall with soaking wet clothes and beer stained pant hems, living in the moment. No You-Tube video, no live stream or hi-def video share can recreate the live experience. As much as I love the albums, they can't compare being there. The passion, the connection between the two people on stage and their connection with the audience was nothing short of magical.
I took my share of pictures, but people filming continuously marked another change I have seen recently in my concert-going experiences. People are continuously updating FB, Twitter statuses, texting and sharing their pictures and videos. At one point in the night, I was standing in such close proximity to the "Howl" girl that I could see the texts from her mom asking her what time she would be home. "More black gadgets than faces", as Jack would say. But, I am not complaining. Those people filming at shows that I can't attend give me a glimpse into concerts that I won't be able to see otherwise.
When I told my sister I was tired this morning because I attended a concert last night she said, "I didn't know 30 somethings attended concerts anymore", but the truth is I will never outgrow the concert experience because one should NEVER grow out of loving music. The opportunity to see my favorite musicians as they pass through my town will always be a draw that I can't resist.
The Kills, well, killed it. I love their new album, Blood Pressures, and they performed most of it. They also played most (not all, but how could they?) of my favorites from past albums. I am so thankful for the opportunity to see them perform live. It has given me a whole new appreciation for the band. I always loved Alison, but now I can appreciate more of where she came from, the Kills, both Alison and Jamie, VV and Hotel, as a band.
The concert experience is changing, yes. But, it is becoming more interactive, more social and if possible, more fun.