Monday, May 02, 2005

The All-American Rejects visit Beantown

We just got back from the AAR's show at Axis in Boston. It was FANTASTIC! I wish they had more music out so that they could have performed longer. Their set was only 45 minutes long. Definitely too short, but every minute ROCKED. It was awesome...

We've been fans of their music since we first heard "Swing, Swing" on the radio in 2003. I even remember listening to their songs, mixed along with The Postal Service, while painting our blue room in our other apartment that summer. So I jumped at the opportunity to go see them in concert, finding out just two short days ago that they would be in town.

We had to wait in the will-call line as those with tickets moved quickly by us. Brian made the interesting observation that it seemed that the older fans ended up in the will-call line. Older meaning being around our ripe age of 28 or even just 21 since most of the fans were young teenage girls, wearing small t-shirts and glitter makeup. Okay, so many didn't have glitter makeup...Nevertheless, being on line, it was like I was in the middle of an eighth grade school trip. Parents were there just to buy tickets for their kids. It was really amusing how the doorman asked if anyone was buying for their kids, just so the parents didn't have to stand in line and could leave. He also came by and asked if there was anyone 21 and older that would be getting a drink inside...he must have given out 5 bracelets, including one for me and one for Brian, and we weren't even planning on drinking, getting it just to differentiate us from everyone else (we did end up sharing one small cup of beer). But in the end, it really doesn't matter that their target demo is young girls (all their merchandise on their web suggest it's so), as long as the music is worth listening to.

We got really dinky "Admit One" ticket stubs instead of nicely printed tickets. That really stunk. But I guess the overall size of the venue made up for it. It was so small that we couldn't figure out where to stand, in the pit or on the stairs, and eventually we tried our luck in the pit/dance floor (Axis is a club).

Hello Goodbye was one of the opening acts. I liked their songs, especially their last one which briefly fused into a dance techno song, singing "What is Love?" by Haddaway (that's the song for Chris Cattan and Will Ferrell's head shaking skit on SNL). Fu-un! The second band was Armor for Sleep and was a little too hardcore for my taste. They're from Jersey and reminded me of another band from back home that a couple of my high school classmates are in.

After Hello Goodbye was done, we debated whether to move to the stairs, 'cuz even though there were a lot of short people like me in the crowd, we didn't want to be squooshed, so we headed to the stairs. Plenty of room to dance and move around, and a big bonus for being able to reach the bathrooms easily. We stood right next to the roped-off section of the main control panel area and had an unobstructed view of the whole stage (I could see all the members of the band at once...unlike in the pit, where occasional tall people would block my view. I could barely see the drummer).

But enough of that, on to the good stuff...The All-American Rejects

They performed pretty much their entire first album, with the exception of one song, I think "Drive Away", and performed a new one off their upcoming new album called "Move Along". I had only previously seen a small fragment of one of their videos on VH1 or MTV, but it was a blast seeing them perform live. They were really kick ass, engaging the audience with such great stage presence and a flair of theatrics mixed in with some non-obligatory but amusing cuss words, shocking the girls standing near me. And of course, great vocals and music that lived up to and even surpassed our expectations. Plus, we were standing dead center stage in front of Tyson, the lead singer, and it seemed like he was always singing to us since we were pretty much at his eye level with no one in front of us. He pointed one time in our direction, and I told Brian that Tyson had pointed at him...

This video captures some of the experience, from fairly audible and visual to just plain chaos...sorry, that's because I couldn't stand still. Just had to rock along. You can hear my lame singing in the background, too. The mic on the camera isn't the best for environments like these, but maybe you'll recognize one of these songs: "Don't Leave Me" "Swing, Swing" and "Last Song"

"Last Song" was their, er, last song/encore. (I had to splice in "...this is the last song..." at the end since the video cut off at just the exact moment it shouldn't have.) It's one of my favorite songs on their album, and their performance was both amazing and heartbreaking, since we all knew it was their last song, and it DEFINITELY left you wanting more. Can't wait til their next visit around here...I even considered going to see them at Irving Plaza this Thursday (now I feel like I AM in eighth grade without posters all over my room), but it's sold out. Good for them.

Post show recap:
Okay, so I read online that the band sticks around after their shows, so what the heck, we're not in a rush. But what a mess...first the exit is jammed because a) the merchandise table is at top of the stairs near the exit, b) no one wants to move, and c) Tyson makes his appearance in the foyer near the exit. Brian went to get my things from coatcheck as I tried to wiggle my way into the madness. Shirts, ticket stubs, and even shoes were being used as autograph material.

Look how young they are...

Poor Tyson. He seemed a bit tired and overwhelmed. Turns out he didn't pick the best spot, so the giant mass of girls moved with every step that Tyson made, first from the foyer, to down the stairs, and then finally to the main dance floor area, where a line miraculously forms, thank goodness. I'm on that line, of course (yes, I'm one of those starstruck people, but how many times do you get to meet the band, the lead singer at that, without needing a backstage pass?). Brian stood on the wayside the entire time as I made my way closer, and thankfully joined me on the dance floor, where he could take the photo, and I didn't have to worry about someone else taking a bad photo.

It was a little ridiculous how many of those in line had to take self-portraits of themselves, so when I was up front, I decided to step up and help out. I'm a photographer for goodness sake.

That's a funky cool photo. Tyson is crazy wacky on stage but is totally down to earth as I finally made some decent banter with someone famous, instead of usually choking on my words and saying something stupid. Famous here, I guess, is relative, since you may not have heard of them, but they definitely rock the casbah.

New album out July 12. . .Tyson told me it's better than the first...can't wait!

p.s. flash back to September 2004 where we captured "Swing, Swing" in the background on our Dr. Sheehy video at around the :25 mark

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