Maroon 5 at Mohegan Sun, Uncasville CT – August 1, 2010
I just got home from a 13 hour work day. Thank god that didn’t happen yesterday, because I had tickets to a Gaslight Anthem show, and I so would have ditched out early.
But on Sunday, I drove down to Uncasville (seriously, that’s the town name) to see Guster and Maroon 5. We were seated very, very far away, and relied on the big screens a lot, which was disappointing. The acoustics in the arena were also terrible, but more on that later.
First up was Ry Cuming, from Australia. Oh, he thought he was such a rock star. He wasn’t bad, but the denim ensemble and guitar face made me laugh a little. The arena was barely half full when he came on and the crowd was old and dead.
Next up was Guster. I didn’t realize how many Guster songs I knew. They’re very chill rock, and I loved “Barrel of a Gun” and “Satellite” which I didn’t know was their song! I love that the drums are big bongos and that there are no drumsticks. They broke down one of their songs to play the guitar solo of “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and not only was it extremely well done, but Maroon 5 came out playing cowbells during it. So funny.
Here’s the video for “Satellite.” It is amazingly well done, a great concept and execution. I love stop motion.
The people behind us were completely rude. I think middle age adults might be the meanest people out there. They were booing and moaning and groaning every time a new song would start, complaining that they had to wait through the openers. They were talking over the music and being generally disruptive and rude. Not cool.
Maroon 5 is not a show I ever thought I’d see, but it was good. I always buy Maroon 5 albums and then skip by them on shuffle, but I knew a lot of the songs. They were a big pop concert with smoke and lights and shiny sets, and Adam Levine rocked the crowd. It was a very different crowd than I’m used to, a lot of housewives in shiny tops dancing drunkenly.
They broke the set down to do an acoustic portion, which I loved. It included an Alicia Keys cover and a foray into Tina Turner. Levine joked about Turner being an attractive woman and that their relationship might be a good rumor to start. Or not.
During the acoustic set they played “She Will Be Loved.” Throughout the night everything had sounded damp and a bit off, the result of the speakers trying to fill such a huge room. The bad acoustics were extrememly evident here. Levine had the crowd sing different sections of the song with absolutely no instruments playing. This was thousands of people singing all at once, and you could barely hear it. It was astounding how quiet it was. This lack of amplification was also evident by how little noise thousands of people were making when cheering and clapping. Not a great venue.
Disco balls and pop hits aren’t really standards of my concert experiences, but I danced and sang and had a good time.
A side note about my musical relationship to Maroon 5: I did like them early in high school, right back when I was getting my feet wet in rock music. A burned copy of Songs About Jane has been in my car for the past five years, though I don't know if it's been played in two. But "Harder to Breathe" will always mean something to me, and not for the reasons you'd think.
The song was a hit in 2002, so I was 13 or 14 when the exchange happened. This was the time of AIM, when we'd all spend nights up on our computers chatting about everything and nothing. I spent some time one summer talking with a boy I'd barely known before he dropped off the face of the earth. When he returned we'd have crazy discussions about life, as philosophical as barely teenagers get. He disappeared again shortly after.
His AIM profile was filled with the chorus of "Harder to Breathe." Every single time I hear it, I think of one of the last conversations we had. We were talking about the hard stuff, what happens when other kids lives weren't as shiny and clean as they always seemed. He asked me one question, the question he called the most important question of all, and told me I had to answer it, even if not to him, so that I would have an answer for myself.
"What do you live for?"
To this day, I think it is the most important question of all. I came up with something untrue and quick that night, but it made me think about the true answer, and makes me think about it every time "Harder to Breathe" plays. I have an answer, and you should too.
Sometimes people come into our lives for just brief seconds and though we may not remember them, and they won't remember us, the impact they have can ripple for years.