Looking back I can say that I have maybe been to two or three actual concerts. When I write concert here I mean a rather large event that is nationally publicized and one for which I have to fork out money. There was Lord of the Dance (really) when I was younger and then some big-name DJ shows after I first met my wife. This isn't counting the dozens of local shows I've attended.
Last night my wife and I had the pleasure to attend a concert (definitely fitting the above definition), and it was one of the best I have ever seen or could possibly imagine. Jonathan Coulton, one of my long time favorite musicians, opened for They Might Be Giants at The Intersection in Grand Rapids, MI. This was a show we had been anxiously anticipating for a long time.
From the beginning of Jonathan Coulton's "Code Monkey" to They Might Be Giants' "Dead," in their second encore, I knew that this was an event I'd remember for the rest of my life. The crowd was feeling the music and the musicians seemed to be enjoying themselves. The combination of these elements made for a beautiful atmosphere. I felt the urge to drop everything and follow this show around the country for a month or two. If only I could.
Jonathan Coulton's set was energetic and humorous, as I expected it to be, but it felt like it was far too short. I guess I neglected to remember that he was the opening act, but his set was the reason I wanted to attend in the first place so I naturally wanted more. He opened, as I previously stated, with "Code Monkey" and played several songs from his terrific new album "Artificial Heart." I managed to pick up a signed copy while at the show. In regard to the quality of his set, backed by a skillful, cohesive band and leading with his rocking guitar and vocals he managed to put on an exceptional performance. He even managed to fit in "Still Alive" which folks who have played Portal should recognize.
They Might Be Giants flat out blew the place up, which was something I honestly did not know to expect. All of them talented musicians they pulled off a successful show with pogo-inducing music and crowd interactions that I find seriously lacking from most other shows I've experienced. They started out with new material from their fresh album "Join Us" and they smoothly curved back into their catalog to delight of the pulsing mob. Their return to favorites like "Istanbul (not Constantinople)," "Dead," and "Birdhouse In Your Soul" plastered a stupid grin on my face as I happily joined in the stage-front throng. What a show!
I spent most of the show up next to stage right's speaker and am still nearly deaf as I write this. My thoughts and feelings on this experience have given me a drive to go out and attend as many concerts of interest as I can find. I hope to see Jonathan Coulton perform again soon, preferably with the longer set his talent is due, and I wouldn't mind catching They Might Be Giants again in the near future. Chicago on September 23, anyone?