This show was significant.
First, it was my first show back in the world.
I have to say I was a bit apprehensive, but overall excited. I worked that day, then bummed around for a while afterwards. Hit the bookstore and then sat at a Panera for some pre-show food and some reading to pass the time.
Then I headed down. Way early.
The parking garage across the street from The Sylvee is a great setup. I parked, was in the doors and through security, and had a cider in my hand in less 5 minutes. Amazing.
I had thought I would stand near the ADA area (like we had for Smashing Pumpkins) but it was on the other side this time. Remembering what I had seen of the band, Brian was center stage and Nikki was stage right and Joe would be my main view. Nothing against Joe, he does fine work, but wasn’t what I wanted as my main view.
So I move to the back of the upper section directly across from the stage.
I stood there a bit, frankly marveling at how there were only 5 people down front. After pondering it for a bit I decided I was there, why not join them and get into it. So I did.
So, I was # 6 at stage front and had an hour to wait for the show to begin. Nothing but 10 feet of security zone between me and the stage. My happy place.
First up was Zella Day, a pleasant trio.
The keyboard and guitarist stage left played each others instruments and changed up for most of the songs. It was nice. She had a great voice and it was pretty poppy.
The last tune she did was a cover of “You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate which she vamped to on the stage alone. She played it up dramatically (without the guitar) to end their set.
Once they had taken their bows and the stage turnover began I looked around to see that the crowd had indeed grown, but wasn’t oppressive. Once again, I felt like the old man in the crowd.
You can see Otis there bottom left. He joined me in the second layer off the stage. Amy and Bea were there too. Family event!
It’s at this point that I feel like I need to say that I think I may be the worst person in the world to go to a show with. Once the music starts I stand mesmerized and rarely if ever acknowledge those I’m with. Apologies to anyone I’ve ever been to a show with.
When the lights went down and the band came out and I went to my zone.
I had wanted to see Silversun Pickups for years, since Otis introduced me to them. Then of course I had tickets but the show got cancelled. So this was big. I knew I would like the show, but I was not prepared for how much I loved it.
From the first exploding chords from Brian I was blown away.
In the barrage that was the first song I discovered 2 things. One, the reason I think I have always loved SSPU is that it’s not a shredding notes type of band, they do it all with 90% rhythm and it is simple chords and inescapable melody that gets you. Second, live… they were a force to be reckoned with. It was incredible. I was not expecting the way they brought it.
I was literally so blown away, I don’t even remember what the first song was. I was reeling. Brian was wearing black shoes, tuxedo pants with a maroon stripe and a button up shirt. Not your ego inflamed show clothes, but he seemed so unabashedly natural. And… he was damn near right in front of me!
Nikki was to my right in a red dress and hair bobbing ferociously when she jumped to the beat.
It was hard to get a good closeup, but this one came out pretty good.
Christopher was beating up his drums fiercely from a riser that the drum set was on.
Joe was stoically doing his thing at stage left.
I waffled between standing stunned/amazed and remembering I had my phone for pictures. In the end I took like 100 pictures that surprising mostly came out great. The lights The Sylvee uses are good for photos, no dark reds and blues that make your photos end up blobby and horrible. Being so close meant I could zoom in.
At one point I had to shoo away some young woman that tried repeatedly to coyly get me to move over so she could stand at the rail where I was. Sorry sister, get here earlier. Sheesh.
Brian played all the hits and I recognized almost everything though I must say I don’t know all the names. I seriously hadn’t expected to be rocked so hard. In the days that followed I listened to the SSPU albums, and though you can sense the energy from the album tracks, hearing them live, with Nikki’s bass thumping and Brian’s power chords, it was an experience that I was glad I got back into the world for.
When they played Nightlife we all screamed “we want it”… which is probably what did in my throat for the next day. Worth it!
There’s me… there’s Brian, Joe and Christopher.
They left the stage for a bit then came back to do an encore.
Of course they ended on “Lazy Eye”. To say it brought the house down is an understatement. They poured everything they had into it. It was spectacular.
In the end remnants of the song Brian went to the side of the stage and twiddled on the guitar as each member of the group took their bows and then left the stage.
Caught Nikki with her bass over her head.
Then Brian was the only one left on stage and he slowly walked to the stage door on the right and still twiddling he stopped and looked back at us and paused, then he stopped playing and disappeared. It was very cool.
Found someone’s video of it! It doesn’t show him in the doorway because it’s behind the stage curtain in this view, but you can hear it at the end.
It was an amazing show from beginning to end and I fell in love with the band all over again! SO so glad I got out of my pandemic shell and decided to go!
P.S. At one point I did hear Brian say something about a new album, and then he said “This song is not on it.” and then went into a song. Not sure if that was a joke, or a legit tease. Keep your eyes open for possible new release?
Thanks for a great show Brian, Nikki, Joe and Christopher!