The original plan was to have this done before the weekend. Then it was Friday, so I altered the plan so that I’d at least finish this before Mika showed up. She was even a day late, but I still kind of forgot. My next plan was to finish this before getting my wisdom teeth out, which happened yesterday (I’m doing quite well, thanks). Now it’s been well over a week and I’m rushing through this while Mika plays Animal Crossing. She’s happy just to have some time alone with the Nintendo, so I guess this is all working out nicely.
For the uninitiated, Animal Crossing is a game where you are a cute little human who lives in a town with cute little animals. You have to buy cute little outfits for your cute little person, and buy cute little furniture for your cute little house, and make friends with the cute little animals. It is one of the stupidest, most pointless games ever played – and yet, I used to own a copy of it myself. I say “used to” because I had to sell it after it consumed literally months of my life. I felt lucky to escape its clutches; however, when my Gamecube moved to Mika’s house, Dave and Kerry loaned Mika their copy of the game and it all started anew. Plus, I had to show her how the game played on the DS, which meant I had to revisit my town, and… yeah. It’s a good thing I had four teeth out because at least this way there’s an excuse for us spending all vacation laying around playing video games. And not even playing together – I mean, I’m playing Animal Crossing on the DS while she’s playing it on the Gamecube.
But whatever. Let me take you back to a more innocent place and a more innocent time. Prairieland Park, a week ago last Monday. I know this was an innocent time because I was still young enough to get ID’d. First I got frisked, which hadn’t happened at a concert in a long time. They asked to see my keys and cell phone, which, as far as I could tell, would have felt exactly like keys and a cell phone. However, they completely ignored the little plastic box in my other pocket. Do you know what was in that little plastic box? It could have been anything. Even the demon weed. But they let it go. I did, however, get ID’d when I asked for a hand stamp to get into the 19+ area. Less than one week into being 31 and I got carded. This amused me to no end, which, in turn, seemed to amuse the guy who ID’d me. I guess everyone wins.
After the frisking, we got inside to where the t-shirts were. And we left them all there. There were a few halfway-decent looking things, but nothing that I’d want to wear that often. Plus, it was all expensive. Plus, I’d feel like a poseur, given that I hadn’t actually ever listened to a QotSA album in its entirety. I did eventually break down and buy an expensive bottle of water, but that was a necessity.
I was hoping that QotSA would have a cool opening act. The name wasn’t initially announced, but in the days leading up to the show, Mika heard who they were.
“I don’t know. Something about an elephant. I haven’t heard of them before.”
Something About An Elephant impressed me a great deal, as it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a band suck that ferociously. I have mellowed with age; these days, when I see a band that I don’t care for, I try to point out the positives. There were no positives. I hated everything about these guys.
I used to be good at tearing apart bands in hilarious fashion, but I am out of practice, so I’ll turn it over to Jeff, who was also at the show:
I was willing to give the openers a chance because they reminded me of The Mark Inside and weren’t too bad at the start, but they got so bad as they went on, and they were such a gigantic cliché of a garage band (singer with his eyes closed? check; stoner drummer? check; tall quiet bassist with other band’s t-shirt? check; guitarist with faux 70s shirt? check). I especially loved how the singer made a big deal out of opening a beer and drinking a sip (to get a reaction from the audience), and then never drank again. What a bunch of poseurs.
They never did say what their band was called. If I sucked that hard, I wouldn’t have said my name either.
Now, remember that scandalous little plastic box I mentioned above? It contained naught but earplugs. I was fearing a repeat of the Dinosaur Jr. incident, wherein a potentially enjoyable show was marred by the feeling that my head might explode into little tiny pieces. I’d say this was due to age, but I was hating loud shows a decade ago. Anyway, I did think that maybe it was just the earplugs that made the openers suck so badly, but five seconds into the Queens of the Stone Age, I knew that I couldn’t blame the earplugs. For QotSA was real good – and appeared even better when compared to the amateurs that came before them. Which was about the only possible purpose of the opening act that I could think of.
Over the course of the show, I found that the earplugs helped a lot. I took one out for a few seconds – just to see how loud QotSA really were – and that was more than enough. They say if it’s too loud, you’re too old; well, it was too loud and I was too old. I love earplugs. Meanwhile, the show LOOKED fantastic – just simple lights and fog effects that varied through the evening. Nothing fancy, but it looked and felt like a big event. Mika tried to take cell phone camera pictures. This proved ineffective.
Now, while my little plastic box did not contain the demon weed, I cannot say the same for many, many other people in the crowd. I only smelled pot smoke once during the evening, but I saw dozens of little puffs of smoke rise above the crowd as the night went on. I can only assume that the show looked and sounded even better to those people.
As for the show itself, Mika loved it, Rob seemed to really enjoy himself, and everyone else I know who was there had a great time. The worst reviews I heard said that the show was “great,” and most of the reviews were from people who were as blown away as I was by the White Stripes. And judging by the jumping and hollering and screaming and crowdsurfing, everyone there had a blast.
As for me, I was probably at a disadvantage by not having heard much of the band before. I’ve said this before for dozens of shows. I really liked the singles that I’d heard before, but that amounted to a half-dozen songs through the evening. A few at the start, a few at the end, and one in the middle. That left a long time where I didn’t recognize anything. Plus, I’m always drawn to the singer-songwriter types more than the rockers, no matter how expertly rocking they rock. So I maybe didn’t like the show as much as everyone else did, but you should feel free to disregard my opinion. Having said that, the show was good and I’d go see them again – though a better opening act would be a nice touch, and I’d wear shoes that had already been broken in – so I don’t want you to think I didn’t like them or I had a bad time or anything. It’s just that I’d give the show a rating of “good,” whereas everyone else there would give it a rating of “AWESOME!!!!!” with maybe some extra exclamation points besides. So I guess I’m disagreeing with my own negative review which really isn’t negative in the slightest. I wonder if this would have made more sense if I’d gotten around to writing it a week ago.