Tuesday, May 31, 2011
The last and final show. The day was spent driving down the coast stopping at various parks along the way, finding one just north of San Diego where I enjoyed sitting in the sun and spending a little time reading.
At the appropriate hour I drove to Anaheim where the House of Blues is located, in the heart of Disneyland, a place I had vowed never to visit no matter how much the kids begged. But here I was, a sacrifice made for the Bunnymen. I parked the truck and walked to the HOB a couple hours early, checking out where the rear entrance was that band members would exit the theater after the show. On one side of the restaurant below the theater was a service exit for staff where I found Gordy having a cigarette. We talked for a while during which time Will came out to check on what was happening. I told them both that I hoped Ian would for once sing The Fountain, tacked onto Nothing Lasts Forever, without expecting the audience to pick it up and finish it, which they never do.I love the song was hoping he'd do it beautifully by himself. Gordy's smoke was done and I bid them farewell, going to dinner at a Mexican restaurant across the way. When done I took my place in line with many others. There was some grumbling that people who had dinner in the HOB restaurant got to enter the theater first.
Kelly started off the show and got the audience juiced up. The Bunnymen followed, but it was a much different show compared to the last two with Ian showing no willingness to interact with the audience. While playing The Fountain he got pissed off when the audience kept on chatting amongst themselves, prompting him to interrupt the song, telling everyone to "Please shut up!" Then something about "two Gatlin girls" and "you don't own me, good old fellas," followed by another "shut up" to someone in the audience. At the conclusion of Heaven Up Here he abruptly said he was going to go outside to get some air and quickly left the stage. Will came out and apologized, saying "All right. Mac's not feelin to good but we are going to carry on. It's just that he's havin a little air because he's got something up with his back. Peace!" Minutes later Ian came back on stage and said "Thank you. Sorry about that. [Mumbled something about Saturday] We want to do some songs that are bonafide classics. Sing along if ya like." He then proceeded to skip over the last 5 songs on the Heaven Up Here album, jumping right to the encore, limited to only Killing Moon and Lips Like Sugar. And that ended the show. Something very strange happened tonight!
The theater empties out into the cool night air. I find the whole of Kelly's band having a smoke outside the restaurant service door. We chatted for a while. I learned that the band normally exits from the underground service entrance, visible below. While Kelly went inside to settle finances, I run around looking for a way down, climbing several fences but not succeeding. I found Kelly's band again and we talked a bit more, they accepting loose cash in pocket for some fast food on tomorrow's return trip home to San Francisco.
As I made my way out I came across two women, one of whom was very drunk, being hassled by Disney security. Even though I was probably as drunk as they were, I said I'd make sure they got back to their vehicle. I helped them back to their car, the one sober enough to take charge at that point. I had a late night meal at some restaurant and then drove out of the LA basin, finding a dark, quiet parking lot in some commercial office/warehouse area off the highway for the night. I awoke a few hours later as the sky was lightening to the sound of a security guard reading off my license plate into a radio. When he left I got up and immediately departed, not wanting to find out what might follow. The trip was essentially over. Time to drive east, back to reality.
"Their hearts didn’t seem into it anymore — which is all the more disappointing because up until the moment the second set inexplicably derailed I don’t think I’ve heard the enduring, influential Liverpudlian outfit sound better in at least 10 years, maybe 20."
"In any case, characteristically temperamental as such a sight might be, it nonetheless brought an otherwise powerful performance to a screeching halt. No matter how they may have recovered in the encore, there’s no chance this show held a candle to what I hear was a masterful set the night before at Club Nokia. What a shame."
Read it all here:
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Although I had stayed out late, I was up by 7 AM, shortly after which I was back on the highway heading south on 101. Turned off at San Luis Obispo, spending the remainder of the day at Montana De Oro State Park: walking the beach, relaxing in the sun, enjoying the fresh air and endless lines of large waves pounding the shore. Dinner in Los Osos, and then back to the park to spend the night, cranking up the truck stereo for the Gang of Four (Live at the Palace, 1984) and Van Halen (Costa Mesa, CA on August 27, 1993). Another pleasant night's sleep, enjoying the sound of the distant surf and the cold fresh air.
Up early, traveling the remaining distance to Los Angles. I stopped in Santa Barbara in an effort to find the dirt road that led to a hot spring in the mountains to the north. But upon considering the distance I'd need to travel and the remaining time available in the day, I decided to just drive into LA.
Visited the La Brea Tar Pits and associated museum, something I'd always wanted to see for the fossil bones. Bubbling asphaltic material spotted the ground in a few areas even outside the fences, the smell of asphalt in the air. Returning to the highway I noticed the "street art" pasted onto transformer boxes, signal boxes and telephone/light poles. Not having the equivalent in Denver, I was fascinated by the varied designs, stopping to photograph what I ran across while driving Wilshire Blvd and La Brea Blvd back to the highway. I had to stop otherwise I would have run late for this evenings show. The following site includes many, many pictures of what is posted in the LA area. Some of these street artists become well established artists themselves, their works appearing in galleries and selling to substantial amounts. Such a vibrant arts scene!
Parked the truck in a lot a few blocks from Club Nokia, a place I assumed would be relatively quiet that evening. I changed, had dinner and then joined the group of people already waiting for the theaters doors to open. There was massive confusion when the theater's staff decided to open doors early, but via a different entrance, screwing the people who had come hours earlier. But they/we headed to the head of the line and into the theater's lounge for drinks. I certainly took advantage of the confusion to easily pass through security and the metal detectors.
I made it to the front of the stage, only one row behind the people guarding their space at the rail. Eventually Kelly took the stage and the San Francisco experience repeated itself. Although the world did not come to an end this day as predicted by religious fanatics, I did experience rapture throughout the show. I'm not sure what it was but the sound was not as crisp as it was in San Fran, particularly Ian's voice that was somewhat muffled. Ian claimed to be nervous at the beginning of his performance, perhaps due to the stony welcome Kelley received during his opening earlier in the evening. Maybe the American Idol crowd is too hip for Bunnymen. Ian eventually warmed up but was still very cool to the crowd, limiting his chattyness and even scolding a member of the audience for referring to the "greatest song of all time" as "Ocean fucking Rain."
Still a great show for me, the time flying by.
I exited the theater and staked out a couple locations where I though the band members might come out, but I learned from Gordy the following night that beneath Club Nokia is an underground parking garage via which they all made their exit.
I had a late night meal at a local diner/restaurant mesmerized by the guy making the meals in rapid fire motion. I made it back to the truck without any difficulty to sleep it off, undisturbed in the empty parking lot.
English new wave ensemble Echo & the Bunnymen returned to Los Angeles and instantly rekindled the eighties spirit fans desperately craved. Singer Ian McCulloch appeared from the darkness wearing heavy layers and obscure glasses. His presence caused a deafening ovation that echoed through Club Nokia. The overwhelming reaction cued the band to take the stage and begin their debut album “Crocodiles.” An ominous sound drenched the air as they began “Going Up,” the first track off the album. Nostalgia sent listeners back thirty years as they performed “Rescue” and “Pictures On My Wall.” Once “Crocodiles” concluded, they played “Nothing Lasts Forever” off their “Evergreen” record resulting in unison participation with the crowd. Having such a classic album performed in its entirety created unforgettable memories for everyone in attendance.
Read it all here:
A review and more pictures here:
Download it here: