This has been a big week of sorts. On Tuesday I went to my first Red Sox game of the year, which is also most likely the last one I’ll go to before I leave. I had no plans on going until the night before when my friend told me he had an extra ticket. I didn’t really have the money, but he said I didn’t have to worry about it. To make up for it, I bought him a beer and burrito, which in the end wound up costing just about as much as the ticket.
It was one hell of a game. The Sox scored 10 runs in the first inning, with David Ortiz hitting 2 3-run homeruns in the first inning alone. They blew the lead, however, and by the end of the game the score was 19-16. We didn’t even stay though, leaving instead after the 7th because my friend had to get up at 5:30 and I had to get up at 6:00. I hate leaving games early, and that’s a perfect example of why.
Thursday was my last day of work, so I didn’t really care if I went in extremely tired. That was because on Wednesday I went with my buddy Goldberg to see Radiohead play at the Comcast Center, formerly known as the Tweeter Center, previously known as Greatwoods.
Since the tickets went on sale back in early Spring, I’d been trying to get tickets. There was a small window of opportunity when they first came out, but Goldberg didn’t know what his job situation would be and didn’t want to get them yet, so months passed by as I saw no new tickets open up. Scouring the Internet nearly twice a day for half the summer, I checked Craigslist to see who was selling seats. Though the prices were high, I still couldn’t get him to go with me.
Now the issue was how much they cost. Since he had no job, he couldn’t afford to go to another concert. I too was running low on money, but had no problem spending more to see my favorite band. Two days before the show, he got in touch with a guy who was selling two tickets for $40 each, $15 less than face value. Apparently he knew the band manager and was able to get better tickets for free. Somehow, he completely lucked out.
One of the best parts of the night was that I actually got to see the show with Goldberg. He has a great sense of musical talent, and will always pass along bands for me to listen to. He helped get me into Radiohead, and as such, we have great discussions on their music, as well as other bands we’re into. I was considering just seeing the band with someone else or by myself, but that wouldn’t be as worthwhile. I’m glad I got to experience the music with him, because it made the whole night like a “first of last hurrahs” before I leave in two weeks. Sometimes an experience is only as good as the person you share it with.
Though I was exhausted from the night before and work, we headed down to Mansfield and got pumped up for the show. We got in early to try to get a better parking space, but even that doesn’t mean you’ll get out quickly at the Comcast Center. Whoever designed the place must have been the worst student in their class, because there are only two roads in and two roads out. Every car is jammed on the same exit, causing cars to just sit in park for 2 hours after the show. Knowing I’d have to get up at 6 a.m. for my last day of work, I wanted to try to get out any way possible.
The Tweeter Center was always known for good tailgating, but in the last year or two, management has begun to cut down on the allowed tailgating. We watched as patrols of cops went up and down the rows busting people for drinking. One group of fans had to pour out two 30-racks of beer into the police golf cart. It was a bit ridiculous, to see these cops taking away the drinks of the fans, yet as soon as they entered the venue they could buy a beer for the low-low price of $8 a cup.
Grizzly Bear was just getting ready to go on as we got inside, so we stopped off at the merchandise tent to look at shirts. We were amazed to find that every shirt cost $40. They were made of recycled bottles and a note said if you bought one you’d be doing your part, but I couldn’t help but thinking that if you really wanted to do your part, you could donate that $40 to an organization directly.
The price gouging was terrible, and there were no alternatives in sight. The cheapest thing on the menu resembling a meal was a burger for something like $7.50, so we settled on giant pretzels for $5. The grains of salt were about the size of large chunks of hail.
Finally Radiohead was getting ready to come out, and the place was getting filled up. We had seats in the newly created lawn-seat section, so what used to be just lawn now had chairs, whereas the real lawn was just behind us. We were uncovered, and though it was a little chilly, it was a perfect night for a show. It was also one of the only nice nights this area has had in the last month.
The stage set up was awesomely arranged with rods of LCD-like bright screens, connecting to make one big image of color and the stage itself. Sometimes you would see only lead singer Thom Yorke’s face, and other times you would see designs run from right to left. Radiohead opened up with “Reckoner” off their new CD In Rainbows. They wound up playing ever song from In Rainbows, as well as others from Kid A, Amnesiac, OK Computer, and The Bends.
Often times bands will sound great on a CD, and then when you see them in person they sound terrible. Clearly, their talent lies in the ability to get a record deal, and not in making the record. This was not the case with Radiohead, however. Thom Yorke’s voice was perfect and just as it should sound, while the musical accompaniment was equally high quality with what’s been produced from the CDs. At one point during “All I Need” Yorke forgot the lyrics and laughed it off, just playing the guitar until he picked it up at the next verse.
One thing that I always find amazing at concerts is the people watching. Some people just have no idea how to control their emotions as they listen to the music they enjoy. Now, a standard and safe way to enjoy the music is just just move your body slowly and let your head nod back and forth, left and right. Maybe you can even drum on your legs a little as you shake them around. This is the easiest way to enjoy the music without making a scene.
Four guys a row up to the left were the definition of “dodes”. Drunk and loud, they were screaming at everything. They definitely did not fit in with the crowd that was quiet and anticipating the music. These guys would have fit in perfectly at a Metallica or Ozzfest concert, and they were so drunk they probably couldn’t tell the difference. One kept yelling, “Thom for President.” Apparently he wasn’t aware that he’s English. His friend on the right kept waving a cell phone in the air so the light would shine on, while his friend on the left kept waving a lighter dangerously close to his neighbor’s eyebrows. For a minute I thought these guys might ruin the experience, but then I realized I wasn’t going to let these clowns spoil the night.
Over to the right in the steps was a girl who must have been tripping on LSD, because she was airily floating around not paying attention to anything else, seemingly becoming one with the music. The guy on her right couldn’t handle the excitement, and went from air drumming to air guitar one minute to the next. From time to time he would raise his hands in the air and look up to the sky, mouthing the lyrics. Since we were so far back in the nose bleeds and I couldn’t really see the stage well anyway, I just watched these crazy dancers from time to time.
The band played a great set and came out with two encores, finally ending just before 11 p.m. After the mad rush out of the venue where everyone just rushed forward like sheep, we made it back to the car and only had to wait in traffic for about 20 minutes, luckily. So I finally got to see them play, and if all else goes wrong, at least I got to hear them live. Though it cost a lot, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, and I’d gladly go see them again.