We went to see Yeah Yeah Yeahs last week at the Kool Haus – Tay recently bought their latest album, It’s Blitz off iTunes and we’ve been killing it lately. A few weeks ago, when we went to see Santogold at the Phoenix I had said to Tay that I was done with concerts and this would probably be my last. Except then, a couple of days later he msn’d me at work to tell me that Yeah Yeah Yeahs were coming and did I want to reconsider. I sighed inwardly and said out loud, “FINE” trying to show how exasperated I was to have yet another band in the que that I really wanted to see, but who’s concert I knew I probably wouldn’t enjoy once I was actually there.
I was talking to a friend a couple of days ago and she commented that she was jealous of all the concerts that I and Tay went too – and not just the big concerts but the smaller ones, with the less heard of bands and so much of this surprised her because she just doesn’t see Tay and me as being concert people. And she’s right, to a certain extent – Tay is a concert person for sure, he dresses the part in cool t-shirts and jeans and funky shoes and he gets into the music, standing there with beer in hand or some form of mixed drink. I’m not that person, as much as I’ve tried to pretend to be. I go to the concerts in the clothes that I wear to work, since most shows are in the city on a work night and by the time I get there, I feel wrinkled and worn. I’ll touch up my makeup in the bathroom at work before meeting Tay, and sometimes I’ll change my shoes but I still feel like a 9 to 5er standing at the concert, thinking only that I should be home getting ready for bed since I have to be up early in the morning.
When Yeah Yeah Yeahs played last week, I left work early, thinking that I could go home, perhaps grab a nap, freshen up, change my clothes and head back downtown. Except when I left work, it was pouring out, absolutely POURING and there streets were bare as people huddled under doorways and awnings to avoid the torrentialness of it all but since I had a train to catch I pressed on, hopping on the subway rather than doing the 20 minute walk to the station that I normally make. Despite getting on the subway, and my umbrella, I was still drenched when I got on the train. And then the train got delayed, numerous times, the first time being because some stupid kids had gotten the brilliant idea to trespass onto the tracks at one point and drag pieces of lumber across the tracks and then left them there which therefore meant the train had to stop and the Go employees had to get off and clear away the debris before we could proceed. The parents of those kids must be SO proud to have raised such stellar people who I would PUNCH IN THE FACE if I ever met them. By the time I got home, I was damp, I was cranky, I was tired. I laid down, thinking I’d sleep for about half an hour and then get up and salvage my hair and makeup. I did not want to go, not at all.
Tay came in as I was falling asleep, to give me good news and bad. The bad news (to me) was that they had added an opening act (Amanda Blank, who opened for Santogold and that I actually like) but she wasn’t scheduled to go on until 9, which meant that Yeah Yeah Yeahs wasn’t scheduled to go on until 10:15 and that pissed me off even more because I knew it meant we wouldn’t get home until after midnight, and when you get up at 6:30am because you have a plus hour commute into the city, being out until midnight is hardly ever worth it. But the good news was that we didn’t have to leave until 8:30 instead of 7:30 like we thought and so I rolled over and went back to sleep and when Tay came back to wake me up, he had made dinner and the smell of it had wafted up the stairs and I thought to myself that maybe it wasn’t going to be that bad after all.
Except that I forgot how much I hate standing in a crowd of people that are constantly shoving and pushing, and the girls that unknowingly hit me with their purses and the really annoying people that stand in front of you and keep moving so that you have to keep moving because if you stand one way, you can see past them perfectly but then they move and their head is in your way. I don’t dance at concerts either, so the people gyrating in front of me, waving their hands in the air pisses me off to no end and I know it’s irrational because you’re at a concert, you’re supposed to dance and enjoy yourself otherwise why bother being there in the first place?
And that is the question I ask myself each and every time.
My patience ran thin after Amanda Blank performed and while we waited for Yeah Yeah Yeahs to take the stage, when they played this really annoying metalish music in between sets because I was like what the hell? The Yeah Yeah Yeahs (and Amanda Blank for that matter) are so far from metal-type music so why play something that is so obviously different than the type of music the crowd as a whole are into?
Regardless of the reason why, I was annoyed by the time Yeah Yeah Yeah’s came on and everything about them and their performance was absolutely perfect – they sounded great, looked great, sang all the songs that I love. When I looked over at Tay, it was so obvious that he was having a fantastic time. I was not. After the umpteenth person knocked me with their purse and the person in front of me changed his position for the hundredth time, I’d had enough. I pulled out my phone, typed on the display to Tay that I was going to get some air and then disappeared into the crowd. I used the washroom, got myself a drink and wandered over to the long leather couches they have running the length of the bar, with neon lit tables in front for people to place their drinks. I couldn’t see the stage from where I sat, but I could see the audience, the hundreds of people enjoying the show and as I settled on the couch with my drink in hand, I realized I had found my concert niche after all. Off to the side, watching the audience watch the show but still able to hear everything – the loudness and the clarity and it was better than a recording because it was live and there is something about listening to Yeah Yeah Yeahs that made me just really, really happy.
I said to Tay on the way home, that this was it, that I was done, I was retiring from the concert-going business and that from this point on, he’d have to find a new concert-buddy. And this came as no real surprise to him, because this had been coming for a very long time. For someone that’s not a big fan of concerts, I’ve been to quite a number of them, some of them pretty impressive bands and some really big names and yet, I can probably count on one hand the ones that I truly, truly enjoyed. My completed list of concerts is below and doesn’t include the various opening acts that we’ve seen over the years. The opening acts that I made note of are marked with an asterisk (*) and the concerts I absolutely positively enjoyed are bolded. There are only two groups that is not on the list, and for them, I would come out of my early retirement and that is Radiohead and Vampire Weekend, two concerts that I would absolutely love to attend. I’ve also included (in brackets) the city (other in Toronto) they played in that we attended. And actually, that there might be the concert loophole – because for whatever reason, I enjoy concerts differently when I’m in a different area code from where I live and even better, when I’m in a different time zone.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Amanda Blank (*)
Jamiroquai (x2) (Las Vegas, Toronto)
Black Eyed Peas (*)
Tori Amos (*2) (Vancouver, Toronto)
Great Big Sea (*)
Howie Day (*)
Mary J Blige
Macy Gray (New Orleans)
Pink Martini (x2) (New Orleans, Toronto)
Tegan and Sarah (New Orleans)
Bryan Adams (Halifax)
Beuna Vista Social Club
Preservation Hall, New Orleans (x4)
Preservation Hall Touring
Bjork (Toronto Island)