Robert did a Bob Dylan cover at the Amoeba instore, which I recorded most of with my extremely shakey hand. I actually ran out of batteries, but I saw someone recording it from the side of the stage. The Amoeba set was just Peter and Robert with acoustic guitars and Peter’s harmonicas. Right before they went on, I saw Peter give a hug to someone and sit down near the stage to chat. He seemed pretty happy and I wanted to get a photo, but I thought that might be kind of rude. I also saw Robert before he reached the stage, he was at the center aisle talking to some people. I love how approachable and unassuming they are! My phone rang near the start of the Amoeba set and I had to take it since it was Eric, a very cool Berkeley student who I was meeting up with for the show. Some annoying guy was making snide remarks about my phone ringing, which was actually worse than the phone ringing at all.
There were too many people in front of me to get any decent photographs, so I didn’t bother taking any. The Dylan cover was something I hadn’t heard before so I really had to get it on video. Too bad my batteries were crappy. As I was getting in line for the signing, I spotted Eric and then another person from the board, Jodi and her friend Kimberly, spotted me and we were all like old friends. Here’s Jodi’s MySpace review of the show
So waiting in line was kind of fun since we got to know each other a little, Eric is just starting at Berkeley and he just came up from San Diego. Jodi and Kimberly are from Sacramento and seem to go to a lot of shows, I’ll even see them at Interpol in San Jose! Back to the signing, I had all my BRMC CDs and singles, even my Beggars CD. When I reached the table, I notice a bunch of harmonicas next to Peter. It was like 6 or 7 and I asked him if they were all his, and of course they were. I had given Eric a few of my CDs to get signed since he didn’t bring any of his. I handed Peter the pile I had with the Beggars CD and he just handed it over to Robert. As Robert was signing it, I mentioned that I saw the video for the song “Lovely Soul Detonator.” He didn’t seem embarrassed by it, though he did ask me where I saw it. It was from Rock Video Monthly, I forget which one. After getting everything signed, I almost forgot to give some stuff I’d collected over the years to give them. Right before we were about to leave, I remembered to give the bag to Peter who looked kind of surprised to get it. I hope he heard me say that it was for all of them.
BRMC, Mark Gardener @ Great American Music Hall, 9.12.05
After that, we were off to the Great American. It was kind of confusing to get there, since none of us really had directions. We still got there on time and even found a decent parking spot. I’ve been to GAMH before, but I never mention how nice it is inside. I’ve heard it was once a bordello, which might explain why its so fancy-looking. It reminds me of the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. The show started with a girl named Cat singing a solo pedal type performance with a lot of reverb. She had a nice almost operatic voice. Then, Mark Gardener and another guitarist came on stage. Mark had a 12-string guitar, which is something I couldn’t see from outside M Theory in San Diego. His songs were pretty exciting and distinctive, and he even played a couple of Ride songs – “Vapour Trail” being the highlight. He also played that song at M Theory.
There was kind of a long wait between when Mark left the stage and BRMC came on, which was around 9:30 PM. I think most of the recent shows start with just Peter with his guitar and harmonica. There were a few technical problems, like guitars sounding funny during “Ain’t No Easy Way” and strings breaking during a couple songs. Someone was heckling them from the balcony, so Robert gave them the finger. They handled themselves pretty well during all these glitches and they seemed pretty happy despite the setbacks. I was very close to the stage, second row on Robert’s side. It was cool to see Robert play since he really gets into it. He sat down at the piano for a few songs, and even played the bass at the same time! Peter also picked up a trombone for “Promise.” There was no video recorded during “Weight of the World” as was mentioned on the message board. One of the coolest highlights for me was during “Whatever Happened to my Rock ‘n Roll?” when Peter moved away from the microphone and was singing to the center of the stage. You couldn’t even hear him and he was still singing his heart out! They did their new version of “US Government” which is slower and more acoustic sounding, and did “Sympathetic Noose” in a more electrified version than on the album. They ended the show with Peter’s solo of “Open Invitation” sitting down in front of an unusual organ. It looked a little like an accordion turned on its side.
After the show ended, we headed to the merch table. I noticed Nick Jago wandering near the sound board and then I saw him with his parents taking pictures. I couldn’t tell if he was smiling for them, but he didn’t seem to smile in any photos he took with fans. Nick really is tiny, though most likely a couple inches taller than me. Jodi got some 7” singles signed by him after spending hours at the merch table. I don’t usually like to buy stuff at shows, but I saw the coolest black wifebeater for only $15 and I had to get it. It has “BRMC, HOWL, MMV” in white letters in 3 rows. We’d spent so long at the merch table that we decided to stick around to get things signed by Robert and Peter again. We talked to Robert again, this time about how he was in the Beggars with a guy in Better Than Ezra – a band that Jodi and Kimberly seem to love. Robert laughed at them for being fans, which was funny. He said he hadn’t seen any of those guys in a couple years. After he left, we waited for Peter. He was downstairs smoking and he apologized to us for making us wait. They were all cool about posing for pictures with fans, but I never do that since I feel really silly and self-conscious about that. When we finally left the venue, we were all kind of hungry. We saw Robert heading down the street to a pizza place across the street. It seemed like a nice place to eat and the pizza was really good after a long night. I got a slice of Combo pizza for only $3! Nothing beats a good late night snack!