Pictures of this show can be found at here
I'm sick as a dog, and not at work today, so I can fianlly elaborate on the weekend. After four hours of sleep in Marblorough, (Mass) and 14 hours on the road driving and searching for a room in the middle of the night, I arrived in Providence Saturday morning. I'll skip the day and go right to 8:20 Saturday night at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel. I think they opened with Hiroshima Mon Amour. I am not quite sure still, because when they played the first note, the last 24 hours of my life shrunk to nothing. They were fantastic.
I've never really reviewed a band before, but from what I could see and hear, there was this precision about each one of them. Tim pounded away loud and sharp, while Peter and Marty went back and forth in between Steve's unmistakable voice. Kings sounded incredible. Marty tore through that, and Steve even played around a little with the words. I'm a fan of their songs like Tristesse and Metropolis as much as anyhting they've done, but at one point during Grind, at the part where Steve sings, "the glittering minutes, jangled decades..." they just erupted into one overwhelming, crashing, pounding sound. It pushed me back on my heels. The middle of the crowd applauded. It was an undeniable moment. Steve sings like no one else in the world, period. Marty-Willson Piper was astounding. His guitar rocks the continents. I will hold that night in Providence for the rest of my life.
I did manage to get backstage afterwards, and only because I told the bouncers I had driven from Canada. They were polite. Steve seemed a little drained, but I figured they had been doing what I had done on the road for the last 2 weeks. I thanked them for their words and music, and let them be. I've had their songs in my head since I left that club and went for a beer. I hope their tour goes well all the way 'till they get home.
The band played the normal setlist, as expected. They did play Louisiana. They only played one encore, so they didn't play Silver Machine.
The band didn't say much to the audience, mostly a couple of perfunctory "Thank You"s from Steve.
However, there was one good comment from Steve (maybe the only comment) as the audience was yelling out requests. Amidst a couple "Destination" and "Reptile" requests, someone yelled out, "Play whatever you want to!" Steve, who had been setting on the drum riser, resting and pouring a drink of water in between songs, looked up, focused directly on the area of the crowd where the comment came from, and said, "I intend to."
Someone had mentioned that this was the least energetic of the East Coast shows, perhaps because of the crowd. They might be right because the band ditched the second encore. However, it was the only show I saw on the tour and I thought it was excellent. Everyone seemed energetic, none of the band members sat down during anyone else's song, everyone played everything perfectly... If that was the worst show on the East Coast, then everyone damn well got their money's worth...
We got there relatively early - not a big crowd. And again no problem staking out a position up front, between Steve and Marty. As more people filtered in, I again started talking to all around me (see Chicago review). What a treat! You people are great. Half the fun are the fans!!! Unfortunately, I didn't ask you all for your names, but one stood out - the infamous Violette on the 1st leg of her Caravan of Love '99 tour!
Even during the concert, we had running conversations with all around us. Whatta hoot!
I thought it was an excellent concert. The band appeared more relaxed and comfortable with this small and intimate setting. The stage being smaller than the one in Chicago; Steve, Peter, Tim and Marty were all closer together physically and, perhaps, mentally. As a result, the music seemed more balanced to me.
A couple of interesting highlights...
Early on (it was either during Kings or Myrrh - somebody correct me, please), the effects box or whatever suddenly went out on Marty's guitar. This very raw sound was coming out of his instrument and it rattled Marty. He stopped briefly to kick his box around, his roadie came out, fooled with equipment, Marty kept playing, but hit a couple of bad notes. It looked like all might fall into chaos. I had visions of a California-like gig full of frustrations. But Marty battled on, playing fiercely on his guitar with this hard edged sound. He muscled his way through the song with the guitar tech at his feet; when finally - like the heavens parted - the lush sound of his guitar miraculously returned just as he launched into his final blistering solo. The song ended in total triumph. An recovery of epic proportions.
It took a couple of songs to get back on track; but, by time they got to Buffalo, they were their transcendant selves again. The final half of the concert was so good that I didn't even miss Silver Machine. Cortez was a good way to leave the night.
Afterwards, I was buying the tour stuff, when one of the guys I had met earlier graciously informed me that Marty was standing right in front of the stage talking to people - What a surprise - I didn't have to go through the back stage antics to get a great signature on a tour poster (which was a free handout at the door).
By the way, I was the one who shouted, "Play anything you want!" Always good advice, when the timing's right...