Let me start by saying how happy I am that we finally have a decent venue for music in Richmond. Ever since the poorly run Flood Zone (where every Richmond teenager got their first alcoholic drink) closed and turned into STD ground zero the music scene has played second fiddle to C’ville or required major road trips north or to the coast. The speed and efficiency of restoration and transformation of The National by a private group makes you wonder what Mayor Wilder and the city are up to on their little ‘arts’ project just down the street that’s just a tad behind schedule and a bit over budget….
I can honestly say that I was a bit ambivalent about seeing the B-52’s. I do love the band but I have seen them 3 times. My favourite was at the end of their Cosmic Thing tour, in Atlanta, on Halloween night…. I wished we had blogging back then as the evening has become a bit blurry due to, but not limited to, age and time. The clincher on my decision came when I found out that the day of the concert would be Kate Pierson’s 60th birthday. How many tours do you think they have left? Online I went for tickets.
Ouch. When did concerts get so expensive? OK, adjusted for inflation, it is probably the same as it was when I was young but was I really ready to shell out $37 a ticket? And, just for the record, what kind of scam is Ticketmaster running? I thought scalping was illegal… What they do is highway robbery. Of course I am older and wiser than my younger self when I had to scrape together a little cash to see ABBA or Foreigner. I’ve got a ton of squirreled away Amex points. We got the tickets for free.
The opening act was Eagle Seagull. A fun little indie act featuring a girl on electric violin (it was blue!) and a guitarist trying to channel Angus Young sans schoolboy outfit. Yes, Dick, they had a good beat and you could dance to it. The bespectacled lead singer was good but left you with the impression that he took himself far too seriously. The kind of person who, in conversation, would tell you over and over again what a serious artist he is. Regardless, they were fun and set the mood.
Random Observations of Eagle Seagull -
~If your a lead singer wearing glasses do not start ‘head-banging’ to the music. Your glasses will fly off into the crowd…
~If you only have one tamborine to share and it needs to be lobbed to whoever needs it next – PRACTICE!
After an hour Eagle Seagull wrapped up and they started setting up for the B-52’s. Maybe I’m getting old but having to wait nearly another hour in between acts was a tad excessive, and, this being a Sunday night most of us had to work. Speaking of which, M and I took a little time to survey the crowd. We had discussed bringing Finn but had opted not to. There were a few kids but not as young as Finn. The rest of the crowd seemed to be late 30’s/early 40’s. We saw some pretty amazing comb-overs and swirlies. If you were in your 20’s and looking for a cougar, this was the place to be. M observed that the Tobacco Company must be pretty quiet and that every babysitter in the city must be working this evening. I made a quick run for the bathroom before the show started and there looked at a list of upcoming acts. Wow, the band Live and the Gin Blossoms preforming together. Ick, it’s at Innsbrook. Not going to happen.
I returned and the band took to the stage. Keith hasn’t aged nor has Fred, except for his hair colour. Cindy was wearing a wig and insisted on standing in front a fan (hot flashes?) that kept blowing chunks of the hair away. Kate looked great but the many birthday wishes were rebuffed – she either was not too thrilled with the landmark she had crossed or was too professional to allow something personal to interfere with the show.
Musically they were great. You forget that many of the sounds you hear in their songs, especially when Fred is doing spoken-word (he doesn’t really sing), are actually from Kate and Cindy and not a synthesizer. It amazes me that Kate, at her age, can sing and dance as she always has without getting winded. Funny how today’s stars, Brittany and her ilk, need to lip sync as they are unable to do two things at once. For an hour and a half they ran through their songs, mostly old but with a few from their new album. They even ad-libbed a bit when one line (I can’t remember the song) was sung ‘that it went on forever’ and Fred spoke ‘like this war’. Too soon it was over. Can’t really fault them, they’re older and so was the audience. The crowd roared and they came back for an encore. Planet Clair got the audience hopping, followed by a new song, and then, to finish, Rock Lobster. Some of the braver audience members even laid down on the floor (quite a bit of beer had been spilled) as Fred extolled ‘Down, down, down!!!!’.
The lights came up and it was over. The band lingered on the stage as the audience cheered then exited. We made our way to the door. Had they been able to take credit cards we would have got a t-shirt on the way out as we had drank most of our cash. We showed our age and got a coffee mug. Off to home.
Oh, and if I was 10 years younger I would’ve gone to the National the night before to see Lou Reed….