The weekend started on Thursday night, stepping out of a taxi at Union Station and dropping my new iPhone directly under the wheels of a passing bus, which miraculously left it unscathed. Perhaps this is some omen whose meaning I have yet to unravel, or maybe just a testament to Steve Jobs’ brilliance. Regardless, I was on my way up to New York City to spend the weekend seeing two concerts and sustain some well-deserved permanent hearing damage.
I arrived at the Strokes show Friday night in the middle of the opening act, a group of unrecognizable and unremarkable hipsters wearing vintage hats. Minutes after they exited the stage, yet another group of hat-wearing guitar-slingers ran on, saluted the crowd a Happy April fool’s day, and proceeded to play what, to me, sounded like 80’s cover songs. This, as I learned the next day, was Elvis Costello making a surprise appearance to play three songs to a sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd. Another 30 minutes and lead singer Julian Casablancas ran to center stage, the crowd erupted with approval, and the show began.
The best part of the Strokes concert was that there was no fucking around. The band got right down to playing their best and biggest hits, one right after another, and the crowd loved it. Casablancas fed their enthusiasm with his passionate vocals, clutching the microphone dramatically as his unmistakable voice filled the arena. The crew played a respectable, but not indulgent, 19 song set including an encore. Everyone knows the Strokes probably have cooler places to be then their own arena concert, anyway.
The next morning I experienced what could best be described as a Strokes hangover, as the concert had seemingly purged me of any desire to listen to the band for a while. The day was spent, by and large, completing an agonizingly boring assignment for my Information Systems class, which was made even more difficult by the thoughts of the upcoming LCD Soundsystem concert that night. This was to be their last show together, a calculated early retirement for a group at the top of its career. Unfortunately, I reflected, this was to be my first (and last) time seeing the group, whom I had deified after over 6 years of obsessive listening.
The event itself was, for lack of a better word, mind blowing. Madison Square Garden was packed to the hilt with people of all ages dressed in black and white as was requested by LCD front-man James Murphy. As the band started playing, the crowd started dancing, and never stopped for the entire 4-hour show. Sweat flew from people’s hair as they stomped, shouted, and jumped to the music as if this were the last show on earth. For me, it might as well have been, as I don’t think I will ever experience the magic that occurred in the stadium that night again.
My whole body ached the morning after, my neck sore from head banging, my hips shaky from gyrating and my calves acidic from jumping wildly amongst the rows of chairs. A dull high pitched tone rang sorely in my ears, a constant soundtrack to remind me of the damage they had received the days prior. My voice was gravely and deep, and walking back to Penn Station from down town with two bags clumsy bags resembled something closer to a prolonged forward stumble. Nonetheless, I was happy, still riding that post-coital-euphoric-high which accompanies you after a concert like that. I was left with only one impossible, unfulfilled desire: to do it all again.
– Dave Greek, co-host of dc ba, Mondays 9-10pm on WGTB