My husband Jeff and I had two tickets to go see The War on Drugs a couple of weeks ago. We bought the tickets the month before when there was nothing on the calendar. The calendar is something we live and die by, especially given my husband’s work as a freelance video editor/production guru. He works a couple of different gigs and he got on board with his dream job last fall working for Las Vegas’s first ever professional sports team, and a hockey team to boot, the Vegas Golden Knights. I have always tried to be supportive of his work schedule, be it late nights or out of town trips. I was resistant for a little while, but I had to learn to accept his schedule as it is, whatever it may be. And just my luck, the universe tested me on my acceptance aptitude when the Vegas Golden Knights made it to the Stanley Cup playoffs and the first game of the playoffs was last minute scheduled, you guess it, the same night as the concert. Serenity now!
Initially, I reached out to a few people to see if they wanted to attend the show with me but not one person was available. At least, that’s what they told me. The truth is, I don’t have too many friends who live in Vegas anymore. But a part of me wishes I had at least one friend who I could do stuff like this with, someone who was like-minded in terms of life and our lifestyles. Another mother type, a tribe member for a tribe I haven’t found yet. Then again, maybe if I was more open to finding my “tribe” and that specific type of friend, a “mom like me” friend, it would be. But I’m not holding my breath. Vegas has been a strange transient mix of temporary people and jobs for me since I’ve returned 7 years ago. That’s a whole different story for a different entry though. Back to the issue at hand: extra ticket, no takers.
Of course I was a little frustrated and annoyed that Jeff bailed on me due to work. But I had to buck up and deal not having him as my date that night, or any date for that matter. Jeff then suggested “Why not go by yourself, it could be very therapeutic.” One of his indulgences is seeing movies by himself, especially whenever he travels for work during his allotted downtime. It’s not like I haven’t gone to a movie or out to eat by myself before. And when I really started to think about the concert scenario as a solo thing, I thought back on my youth and my time going to gigs while I was in high school. I would almost always go by myself. It’s not like my friends at the time could get out on a school night to hang with me at a concert they may or may not have wanted to pay to see. I was going to shows for free at the time because I was the editor of my high school paper and I was doing marketing for the venue where these shows took place. It was a sweet gig – no pay but unlimited shows to cover.
Thinking back to that time, I thought, fuck it. Yeah, why don’t I attend this show by myself? We would just eat the cost of one ticket, which Jeff accurately pointed out that his night at work would more than cover the cost of the entire evening (babysitter included). Since he was going to be down on the Strip and the show was north of where he was working, he said he would meet me after the game at the show. Having never been to the venue where the band was playing, I took it all in once I got my tickets at will call. We paid a little more money to be on the balcony instead of the general admission floor, which is where I am used to being at a show.
Once the doors opened, I headed upstairs and carefully scanned the dark area where I noticed a dimly lit bar right away. I grabbed a spot at the left side of the stage since I usually always gravitate to that area of a concert stage and got myself a drink to chill. Hey, unlike high school, I could now have a cocktail at a show. I was in good company that night, surrounded by a couple of other people who were not there with anyone in particular, but who were there to enjoy the show. It was a really good feeling, watching this band, who I discovered for myself a few of years ago after hearing the single “Under the Pressure” on Sirius XMU. I learned that it was off their third album. Last year, the band released their fourth album, “A Deeper Understanding” and the single “Pain” truly resonated with me at that time. Upon hearing it, I downloaded and played the album ad nauseam, specifically during my trip to my beloved birthplace Bozeman, Montana for my first ever (and possibly last) full marathon. The song and the album apparently resonated with many people as it won a Grammy for Best Rock Album in January this year. And further judging by the crowd that trickled into the venue, it is safe to assume that this band is no longer an underground indie group, but is gaining quite a following.
The guy standing next to me at the show certainly seemed to be one who was a fan from the get-go, perhaps their biggest fan, going so far as to refer to himself as the band’s “stalker” since he was following them on tour. I laughed nervously upon hearing this, hoping that he was in fact joking but at the same time, a little envious. I wouldn’t mind following my favorite band around the world to see their shows if I had the ways and means. In between the songs, uber fan shouted down at the band, “Yeah Adam!” calling out after the lead singer Adam Granduciel as if they were best buds and at another point he shouted, “The only band that matters!” All superfan aside, the guy was clearly enjoying himself and the band’s performance and even asked me how liked them live. In one word, I responded with “amazing” which is true. A band’s worth in my eyes is how well they perform their songs live. I was very impressed with the performance of this sextet, and the lead singer, Adam Granduciel, had a presence about him that I dare say is the same way as Trent Reznor leads Nine Inch Nails. There’s a feeling that he is The War on Drugs like Trent Reznor is Nine Inch Nails such that both lead singers and songwriters are backed by a very talented group of musicians who quite possibly change over time. And that’s okay. What made it even more clear to me is seeing the front man Adam surrounded by a crescent shape of guitar pedals laid out before his microphone. The roadie was definitely earning his money that night, running out different guitars for Adam to play. He seemed to change his guitars after practically song to get a distinct sound from that particular instrument in hand. It worked – the sounds were absolute perfection of his songs.
Incidentally, the game was won by our home team and Jeff made his way to the show. I found him downstairs and we got to see the last part of it, including the encore, together. The band played well into midnight and it was the best date night I have ever had with myself. Read the rest of this entry