Best Concert I’ve Ever Been To

June 18, 2012

I’m going to cheat, and I’m not going to hide it.

I’ll be upfront about it.

I can’t boil it down to ONE best concert, so I’m going to cheat.

Keep that in mind, and I’ll proceed as normal.

The TWO (note the clever slate) best concerts I have ever been to aren’t symphonic in any nature, although I have been to plenty of those.

I’ve been a fan of classical and orchestral music for a long time, but many times I have trouble relating to the emotions and thoughts behind a piece.

No problem for Dvorak or Stravinsky, but many others fail to connect.

The two best concerts were the July 2010 performance of The Flaming Lips at Trib Total Media in Pittsburgh and the September 2009 so-called “Lottery Show” by The Decemberists at Terminal 5 in New York.

While each were absolutely amazing, I’m afraid I can’t choose between the two.

Both bands have held the coveted spot of “Greg’s Favorite Band… For the Time Being” at some point in their careers, and both are amazingly skilled and gifted in what they do.

The fact is this: the Flaming Lips show was an acid-soaked mindfuck from Mars that occurred in several Inception layers, and the Decemberists show was full of witty banter, long-lost gems, heart, spirit and impromptu songwriting.

The Flaming Lips are noisy and outrageous, and the Decemberists are generally more reserved, poignant and silver-tongued.

Now, I’ve written extensively about the Flaming Lips show in question. You can find that here.

Sorry for the self-bump, but I’ve said all I can say about that one, and I need some word space for one I’ve kept to myself.

The Lottery Show was a one-shot of simple, yet stark, brilliance.

All the bands songs are written on wiffle-balls (“the Balls of Diablos!”), placed into a giant bingo ball spinner and pulled at random by John Wesley Harding. The band would be obliged to play the song, much like I am obliged to write what you ask me to write.

Of course, there was a bit of cheating. John pulled and pulled balls for the last song until he pulled the 18 minute masterpiece “The Tain,” which may have been the highlight of the show.

Of course, for the encore, all the musicians came back for a rousing rendition of “Mr. Blue Sky,” by Electric Light Orchestra, one of the bands that had tremendous influence on the career of singer/songwriter Colin Meloy.

They even had a vocoder for the weird vocoder part.

And John even joined in.

Of course, the audience did as well.

And even after 2 or more hours of playing, they still bounced and crooned as if they were having as much fun as the audience.

I think I can speak for most of them when I say it was well worth the $50 and the hideous drive through Jersey.



This is not included in the 500 word limit.

Thanks to Sam Jones for this wonderful challenge.

I feel like 500 words would be an injustice to either concert, let alone both, but it had to be done.

And, for the record, Sam was at the Flaming Lips concert with me.

So was Jimmy.

So was Tiny Seth Greene.

Truly ghjr


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