Monday, November 20, 2006

Clintster On Tour Part 2

I think this Blog Posting Month exercise is really helping me to reawaken the writing spirit in me. Just thought I’d mention that here at the top of the post today.

Now, on with the show…

Today, I’d like to talk about the last concert I went to, not counting classical/art song recitals.

Sonic Youth/Pearl Jam
Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA-August 7, 2000

It was the summer of 2000. I had moved in to an apartment in Kingsport, TN, with my friend Andrea. We were planning on opening a theatre in the town, and providing a place where we could grow artistically and provide a training ground for our friends and for people new to theatre.

Unfortunately, we had a few problems getting our project off the ground, and I soon found myself feeling alone, even with my friend and roommate. I was wondering if anything was ever going to happen with the theatre, or with my personal growth. Then, a few weeks after I moved in, Andrea informed me that I would have to move out within 6 weeks time.

I called my parents and told my mom about my situation. My birthday was coming up, and I was sure it was going to be a miserable one. Mom asked me if there was anything I wanted for my birthday, and that’s when the light started to shine.

I remembered reading in the newspaper that Pearl Jam was on tour that summer, and I had read that they would be playing the Philips Center in Atlanta on August 7, which happened to be my birthday. I had thought about how nice it would be to see them then, but I just didn’t know how I was going to earn the money to see them before it came up Here was my chance, however. I sheepishly asked my mother if she would mind getting me tickets to the show. She agreed, even though it was a rock concert and she was not exactly a rock fan.

All that was left was for me to get down to Georgia to go to the show. Mom ordered the tickets and sent them certified mail to my apartment. Andrea and I had been working on a drama camp project at a local dance school, so once we mounted an almost totally improvisational version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”, we split our $200 payday, and I held on to as much as I could to make the trip to Georgia.

I took off August 5, and made my way first to Aiken, SC, where I went to school and where many of my friends still live(d). I had two tickets and wanted to find someone who would go with me on short notice. Unfortunately, no one I asked was able to go with me. My concert buddy from my last Pearl Jam show, Mike, was in mourning for a friend and co-worker who had been found murdered in her apartment a few days before. Most everyone else had to work or had summer school. Sadly, I went down to my parents’ place in central Georgia to celebrate my birthday with them.

I had cake and ice cream with them, and sat around talking about my adventures in Tennessee, and I discussed alternatives to my present situation with them. Finally, it was time for me to get to the show. My parents lived a little over two hours from Atlanta, and I had stayed long enough to have a birthday dinner with some of my other relatives. I figured I was going to miss Sonic Youth, but I could live with that. I was determined to see my boys, however.

I got in my dad’s pickup (I was lucky to have coaxed my Jeep Cherokee down from Tennessee) and got into Atlanta a little after 8. I found someone outside the arena who was willing to take my extra ticket, and I took off myself for the interior of the Philips Arena.

A few minutes after I found my seat, Pearl Jam hit the stage and tore the roof off the joint. It felt like my biggest birthday party ever, with my favorite band ever providing the music. I was a good way away, but Eddie Vedder drew me in to where I felt like I was at the front of the stage. My only regret was that I didn’t have someone there with me to share the experience.

This was a significant concert for several shows. It made PJ the band I had seen in concert more than any other. It was the first (and so far, only) concert I have seen in the Philips Arena. It was the first concert I ever went to alone. And so far, it is the last one I’ve gone to see. Hopefully, it won’t be my last rock concert ever, but I think in order to see another one, we need to move somewhere more urban, and have someone willing to watch our boy for the evening. Here’s hoping.

Hail Hail
Nothing As It Seems
Given To Fly
Light Years
Do The Evolution
Even Flow
In Hiding
Daughter/(The Wrong Child)
(Romance, classical song Eddie learned in Barcelona)
Better Man
1st encore:
Crazy Mary
Small Town
F*ckin' Up
2nd encore:
Yellow Ledbetter

Next Time: Lollapalooza and the great big pass-out

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