Excerpts from Meg’s personal blog. View full blog.
So, I went to see some band this weekend…
I left the house a little after 2:00, and arrived at Summer’s place in Oakland at nearly 4:30, after getting stuck in traffic for a brush fire and then for the stupid Bay Area traffic that just happens randomly on a Saturday afternoon.
The point is, I arrived safely, and Summer and I did our usual motormouth catch-up while driving to downtown Oakland and Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe.
We had dinner, meeting up with my friend Meghan and her friend Sutton, and then joined the queue for Keane at about 6:00. It was already around the corner.
Thanks to my quick feet (I didn’t run, but there was some definite power-walking going on), we got the spots we wanted–right in front of the first “tier” on the floor, where we can see but not be part of the crush at the very front. I bought some merchandise and a rum and coke, posted some updates to Twitter, texted a friend about my rum and coke, checked in on Facebook. (Have I mentioned I love my new iPhone?)
Summer and Meghan really dug the opening act, Kiev, but I was too impatient for my boys.
And oh…they were incredible.
Here’s the thing–I know Keane are amazing live. I know it from 2009. I know it from 2010. But last night was amazing. There was something in the air. Maybe it was because the crowd was loving every minute (seriously, I’ve never seen the Oakland crowd so excited). Maybe it was Keane’s relief that this is the last date of this tour and they get a little time off before setting off again for more mad touring to see their wives and kids and cats and homes.
Whatever it was, last night was incredible.
In 2010, I was so focused on getting good pictures that I sort of forgot to truly get into the music. So last night, I did something novel among my fellow Keane fans–I made myself put the camera away. I sent out a few tweets on my phone, but otherwise I spent most of the gig just rocking the hell out of each song. Singing, dancing, whooping, clapping.
I had asked a friend yesterday, “Do you know how many calories I’m going to burn at the concert?” He just grinned and said, “A lot.” Yep.
The highlights are many…they opened with “You Are Young” from the new album, and played many, many new songs, which I loved. Finally hearing “On the Road” live (I was dancing like a fool) and then the near-religious experience of singing along with “The Starting Line” was huge fun. By the time they got to my all-time favorite Keane song, “Somewhere Only We Know,” I was in a state of euphoria. I leaned over to Summer and said, “I will never not love this song.” There are Keane fans who are tired of hearing it live…not me. It’s the song that brought me to Keane. It’s the song that pushes me through difficult runs. It is magic live. As far as I’m concerned, it is composed of fairy dust and unicorn farts.
The band was in top form last night. They’ve been winding across the United States for a couple of weeks, and they have to be exhausted, but they gave 110% out there last night and sounded amazing.
After the show, Summer and I waited for a bit outside. Tom came out but only for a moment and people were being really pushy. I grabbed a quick photo of him but couldn’t get closer.
What makes me sad is that in this picture, he looks rather like the ole deer in the headlights. People really were being quite pushy.
We went back to Summer’s place after this, and it was now apparent to me that I had overdone it all day. I crashed but had a hard time sleeping because of a nagging bit of coughing. I ended up getting about four hours.
I try not to stress out over Keane and their gigs, but I admit I had a little angst this morning over the Amoeba gig. There were to be a limited number of wrist bands for the post-gig signing line, and I really wanted to at least get 5 seconds to talk to the guys because I didn’t get to after last night’s gig.
I left Summer and Ben’s place at about 9 this morning, and drove straight to the Haight.
What can I say about the Haight? Home to the infamous Summer of Love, and the long-lingering residuals of that, it’s colorful, it’s about free love and self-expression, and it’s a sign pic collector’s dream.
Parking in the Haight can be a nightmare but I got a spot right across from Amoeba! Princess parking for the early bird!
I walked up to Amoeba a little after 10, to find someone already queuing for Keane. I kept walking, muttering to myself, “I love Keane, but COME ON.” I did, however, want to stay nearby, because I was concerned about that wrist band. I went back and ended up queuing with her. Shortly thereafter, we were joined by two other ladies, die-hard Keane fans I saw at Oakland last night. We all started chatting, and before long, a guy standing nearby was asking us about Keane and saying, “I’m totally coming to this gig!”
The store opened at 11:00, and I happily bought my Keane CD and got my wrist band. (I already owned the CD. I now have two copies. I’m going to give one to my buddy M. the Reasonable because he has awesome taste in music and I think he’ll enjoy it.) We were told we could stake out our spots by the tiny stage. I looked–the audience area was tiny. If I didn’t stake out a spot right in front, I’d end up behind the racks of CDs…unable to see because come on, I’m 5’2″ when I get out of bed in the morning and everyone knows gravity pulls you down all day.
So I did the fangirl thing and stood. For three hours.
My newfound friends and I took turns saving each others’ spots so we could get food, run to the nearby McDonald’s for the bathroom, etc. But mostly I stood, or perched on the edge of the stage, running my phone battery down checking in on Twitter and Facebook.
Someone put out the set list. We all started taking pics. I snuck Cali up there.
Someone behind me said, “I don’t know what all these mean!” I started
reciting them all until he (snottily) said, “Okay, okay!” Just trying to be
helpful, dude!! He had to ask, “Are they playing Somewhere Only We Know?”
Obviously a total newbie. What do you think SOWK stands for?
Finally, it was time. Tim and Tom came out alone first to perform “This Is the Last Time.” Moved by the moment, I took a video.
A few minutes later, I took a video of “The Starting Line,” because it’s just so lovely and moving.
But mostly, I just listened and enjoyed. My voice, shot from this stupid lingering cold and, *ahem*, overuse last night, was left to rest as I lip-synched along. I didn’t want to croak in Tim’s ears or anything. I was close enough that I could have reached out and caressed his leg.
Finally, the controlled chaos of the signing line started. Because I was up front, I happened to be the third person through. I had all kinds of wonderful witty things I wanted to say in the five seconds I’d get in front of each guy…and I failed in a burst of starstruck, nerdtastic glory.
Richard was first. I walked up, looked right at him, and said, “I’m LadyMegSoprano…I just wanted you to know that.”
*sigh* Oh, Meg.
Richard was lovely. We have interacted a bit on Twitter, so the name is familiar to him. He smiled and said, “Oh, yes! It’s nice to put a face to the name.” I mumbled some other starstruck something-or-other, but I am rather happy with myself that I managed to tell him, “I hope next time you visit California, it’s a death-penalty-free state.” That got a happy response: “Yes! I hope so, too.” In all of this, I sort of flew by Tim–the thing about signing lines is that you are sort of rushed through and I didn’t want to be accused of holding things up–and I smiled at him but otherwise completely ignored him (I blame his Eyes of Doom. Seriously.) as I moved on to Tom.
Tom is the only Keane guy I’d never actually interacted with face-to-face. I met Tim and Richard after the 2010 Oakland gig, and Jesse before the 2010 Mt. Desolation gig. Tom was the big mystery to me. I found myself standing in front of the front man, ready to dazzle him with my clever wit and I said,
“I have to be idiotic and tell you your voice is incredible.”
By now I was feeling rather like Baby Houseman after she famously uttered, “I carried a watermelon!” to Johnny Castle. But Tom just smiled and said, “Thank you! What a lovely thing to say.” We were interrupted by Jesse, who also said, “Thank you!” Tom laughed, threw an arm around Jesse’s shoulder, and I giggled and said, “Well, you, too, Jesse!”
I told them both, “I’m a singer, and my friend and I were both so impressed by you.” Tom repeated his thanks and I hurriedly aimed a “Thank you! Last night was awesome!” at the table as a whole and turned and walked away.
I was handed my CD back, of course:
I was shaking and giggling like a fool, and I was also exhausted. I mean, giddy with exhaustion. And I had a long drive ahead. Getting out of San Francisco is a depression-causing series of twists and turns, then, when you finally get on the freeway and the signs are pointing towards the Bay Bridge, you find yourself slowed to a crawl, with an obnoxiously large SUV riding your tail and looking at you like you are single-handedly responsible for the twelve hundred slow-moving vehicles in front of you.
I love San Francisco. I hate driving in San Francisco.
All in all, it was an amazing and fantastic weekend. I went into it hoping for good music and I more than got what I paid for. The Keane guys are truly talented musicians who make some great songs that I relate to. They also happen to be really lovely guys who appreciate their fans, support charities, and try to leave the world a better place than they found it. They’ve worked hard to get where they are, and they don’t rest on their laurels, but continue to go out of their way to give their all to the fans and each other. I admire them.
While Keane flies back to their own country (I know that San Francisco-London flight very well, myself, as back posts in this blog will tell you), I start another busy week. I have a job interview first thing tomorrow, regular workouts (yes, despite the cold, I will continue to work out and don’t worry, I’ve learned my lesson this weekend and won’t try to be Bionica the Triathlete Nimrod this week) and one of my favorite holidays to celebrate–Mom’s birthday! Also known as Independence Day.
So for the moment, it’s time to hit post, slap the link to this puppy up on Facebook and Twitter, and then crawl into bed.
What a weekend!