Last night was the Strokes show at the Bill Graham in SF. Anthony, Ben, Melissa, Sharaun and I piled in the Ford and headed over. This show was kind of a last-minute decision… I was of the mind that $35 was too much for the Strokes, when I was underwhelmed with their last performance – but Sharaun was persistent and we ended up going. Well, I was wrong. The show was great. The show started at 7:30pm but there were two opening acts we didn’t care to see – so we took our time getting there, stopping for some good Chinese food in Davis. It was in Davis that I realized I didn’t remember how to get to the Bill Graham, and I hadn’t printed out any directions. Undaunted, we headed toward the city.
After getting off near where I thought the venue was, I took us on the scenic tour of SF trying to “home in” on the place. Sharaun eventually broke down and called Pat, who internetted us up some directions from the cross-streets. We showed up at the venue, found some free parking, and picked up the tix at will-call. After clearing the security pat-down, we took a short bathroom break and then hit the general admission floor. The 2nd opening act, The Kings of Leon, were just closing their set. We heard their last two numbers (which sounded pretty OK to me, even tho I didn’t like the album when I downloaded it recently). After a 45min break, the Strokes took the stage. By that time we had managed to push up pretty close and secure some pretty awesome spots. You know, the kind that don’t require head-cranking and toe-bobbing to see well.
The band sounded better than last time (possibly due to a better setup or equipment, which is a direct result of success), Julian (the lead singer) seemed more personable and “into” the show than last year too. He only ended up dropping the F-bomb about 12-13 times (we lost count), which is also a considerable reduction over last year. Plus, I think he was only about half as wasted as he was last year (which, don’t get me wrong, is still way wasted). They played a mix of songs from the new and old albums, favoring the new stuff. It’s a bummer that the new album isn’t out yet, because the crowd excitement lessened on the songs that were unknown (to them). Of course, we’ve had the album for nearly a month now, thanks to the wonders of the internet – so we were rocking right along to every song. The set was a good length, and even though they don’t typically do encores (they are soo rock-‘n’-roll), they fumbled half-heartedly through “Is This It” for us; announcing beforehand that it was “the last F’ing encore we do on this F’ing tour, and you get to hear it.”
The show was LOUD. I mean, so loud at points that the sounds blended into some kind of indistinct warble sound in my right ear (we were to the right of the stage, right in front of the stacks on that side). Man, today my hearing is about 50% on the right side, and I’ve still got that fuzz-hum noise obscuring stuff. It was one of the louder shows I’ve been to lately. However, that said – it was a rockin’ show! The energy was good, and I found my self singing (screaming) along to nearly every track. The band was good, and Julian was in a good mood – making jokes about the band and at one point even announcing the next song as “Diarrhea in Your Mouth” before following up with “… no, not really. Who said that? Did I just say that out loud?” I got a kick out of that.
I think last night was my first night really noticing what I predict to be an upcoming huge concert trend. Looking over the crowd to the stage, there were so many people hoisting their cell phones in the air. They were taking pictures, video, and even grabbing sound clips. I swear one guy got a video clip from each song they performed. What a great idea… how easy it would be to grab some stills or video, and then use that stuff to punctuate a blog entry on the show the next day. Too bad I’m still a cell phone technology holdout, having just upgraded to a color screen myself. I’ll take internet and multimedia on my cell phone when you can assure me that I can make a phone call 100% the time without getting dropped or breaking up.
Oh, and for those who were curious – yesterday’s entry was a true account of an incident that I lived through in 9th grade. It was my first experience with any mind-altering substance, including alcohol. What an introduction, huh?