Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rock Show

Blink-182 at the Comcast Center, Mansfield, MA, August 6

This is my 100th blog post! What better way to celebrate than a fantastic concert.

Through presales and frantic phone calls, I got a second row ticket to the Blink-182 show in Mansfield last Thursday. It was awesome. There was a spotlight and some hanging wires directly in front of me, blocking my view a bit, but it was closer than I have ever been to a stage and I was so pumped that the slight obstructions didn’t matter.

First up was Chester French. It started off horrible, but was okay by the end, which averages out to meh. I’m not wasting time on meh, other than to note that the lead singer’s high waisted white jeans, tucked in striped polo, and curly red hair made him look like an overgrown four year old. That was mean. But true. Also, Clinton Sparks danced on stage during one of their songs. It was weird.

Next up was Panic! at the Disco. They are the reason why I bought this ticket, and I was so excited to see them live now that they’re a little rearranged. Ian Crawford was standing right in front of me, and I could not be happier that they asked him to play guitar on tour. I’ve made it known before that he is one of my favorite guitarists, but that I really couldn’t stand The Cab. But here, it worked. He rocked out, they let him play some cool stuff, and he looked like he was having so much fun. He sang a lot too, and I was surprised by his voice. It’s actually pretty good. He also played maybe 5 guitars in a set of about seven songs, which just made me smile. One of them has a sun painted on it, which you can see a little in these pictures:

IMG_3463 IMG_3462

(Do you see how close I was? Do you see this picture? It was awesome. I filmed some of the best concert footage I’ve ever shot that night.)

Anyways, their other new acquisition was Dallon Weekes. He looked scared to death the entire time. This is understandable, however. His own band (musical project?) The Brobecks sounds cool, but I don’t think he’s ever played in front of huge crowds before, and his second night on tour with P!ATD he’s playing a sold out show in front of twenty thousand people. It is understandable that he would be a little uneasy. Once he relaxes a bit and gets more comfortable with it he’ll be fine. Don’t worry Dallon, we love you already for stepping in and helping the boys out. Just have fun.

But of course, Brendon and Spencer were the two to watch, because this is their band. And their band played the shit out of its songs. I couldn’t see Spencer well due to the enormous spotlight in front of me, but Brendon had energy and emotion and that voice. He changed back and forth between singing and running around with the mic to playing the keyboard to playing the guitar. There were some technical difficulties (his guitar didn’t work during “That Green Gentleman” and he kept strumming and nothing was coming out and he wasn’t happy about it – his mic also cut out later on as well, leaving the crowd to pick up the vocals for a few seconds. Come on Comcast Center, get your sound guys on top of things!) They played mainly songs from A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, a couple from Pretty.Odd and “New Perspective.” I like “New Perspective” much better live than recorded. It makes more sense seeing them play it and put emotion into it. They sounded great, they’re still doing well, and I’m excited for new music. I would also be perfectly happy if Ian and Dallon stayed with them (though I’m pretty sure they’re only here for this tour). I was slightly disappointed with one thing: they used a track for the strings and chimes and intro guitar on “I Write Sins not Tragedies.” I would much have preferred to lose the violins and chimes and just watch them play what they could.

(Here is where I would insert live footage that I shot, but Comcast, my internet provider, has decided I don't need internet for more than ten minutes at a time, meaning that every ten minutes it shuts off and my uploads fail. Awesome.)

Next up was Fall Out Boy. Also very awesome. They played a longer set, as was expected, and got the crowd on their feet and screaming. Their stage set for this tour is pretty cool – there’s a backdrop but on stage there are just three huge, light up letters: F, O, B. As they were setting up, the roadies had them backwards for a minute and the crowd started chanting “Bof, Bof, Bof” which the crew onstage thought was hysterical.

The last time I saw Fall Out Boy play was in April on the Believers Never Die Part Deux Tour, and I’d felt that they were tired. They didn’t seem into it and it was a little disheartening. This time was very different. Maybe it was just because I was standing in front of Joe Trohman. I’ve never paid much attention to him before, so I’m not sure if this is something new or just something I’ve missed, but that is one happy dude. He was climbing on things and throwing his arms in the air and just generally looking like he was having a good time. Also, he sings? I didn’t know this! FOB talked to the crowd a lot more this time too, which made me feel better. They moved around the stage, they jumped and ran and they looked like they were feeling it. Pete was also very in touch with the crowd, and was just stripping picks from the stage to throw out. They were happy. Good.

Also, Patrick Stump’s voice is just fabulous live. And Pete Wentz (who kept bouncing over to my side of the stage and standing about 10 feet from me – Hi Pete!) looked like he was having fun and playing that bass like a champ. Andy is always a little frightening when he drums, like he’s attacking them and yet loving every minute of it. They played a cover of “Don’t Stop Believing” and had Brendon Urie come out and sing on it. The crowd went absolutely wild. Twenty thousand people all singing along to that song is a sight to behold.

They ended the set with “Saturday,” for which I have previously expounded my love. I will be heartbroken if they ever stop ending sets with that song. It’s a perfect set closer, the crowd goes wild, and Pete Wentz gets to scream.

Finally, Blink-182. Full disclosure: I knew only four Blink songs before that night. Seriously. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them, I’d just never really gotten into that kind of music when they were popular. Now I really wish that this was the music I grew up listening to. It’s relatable to everyone, which is, I think, why no one can really hate them. Maybe you don’t love them, but if someone puts on Blink-182 you can bob your head along and know what the next lyrics will be because it’s just pages taken out of everyone’s adolescence and youth. Tom DeLonge has a dirty mouth, and Mark Hoppus is still 14 inside and if you weren’t these boys when you were growing up, you knew them.

They played through a huge amount of songs, bantered with each other, bantered with the crowd, and won my heart. Tom DeLonge did that weird stalking, prancing thing that I remember from when I saw Angels and Airwaves open for Weezer. Mark Hoppus bounced and jumped and played. Travis Barker killed that drumset.

Tom DeLonge made some comment about the crowd only being able to dream about being as awesome as Mark Hoppus. “Sure, they can only dream about playing bass a little out of time and singing a little out of tune,” Hoppus replied. Well, yeah. Maybe they’re not the world’s best musicians. But that crowd was moving and screaming and having so much fun.

I feel like the best, however, was the flying drumset. Yeah. A flying drumset. As the encore started, Travis Barker was strapped down in his chair and the set was about 3 feet off the ground. And then suddenly the cables pulled up and he was 20 feet above the ground. Then it started to swing. And then it rotated, almost vertical. It was indescribable. And this is all while Barker is playing some of the best drum playing I’ve ever heard. The crowd went absolutely nuts, and rightly so. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen at a concert.

So amazing. So awesome. But I’m just a girl at the rock show.

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