So, tfd, were you disappointed?

TP shows off the fancy embroidery on his weskit

Well, folks, I was…with Regina Spektor. I thought the first song she did, with no accompaniment except her own tapping on the mic, was really excellent. And I also liked the second song with her band. But after that I just felt everything was far too samey. Perhaps I should’ve taken more time beforehand to become familiar with her stuff…but she’s not on the European leg of the tour so I’m going to forget about her for now and investigate Jonathan Wilson (who?) the new opening act.

So anyway. We were in the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX, which is a basketball arena. I’d been thinking that the venue would be quite small, because a basketball court is small, but this proved not to be the case. It was vast (and sold out). They must like their basketball a whole lot in Austin. Matt and I had whiled away the time before the show started having very expensive drinks in the VIP lounge and we had enjoyed ourselves so much talking to fellow TP&TH fans that we had neglected to go and look at the merchandise…but never mind, I’ll have 6 more opportunities to buy stuff and I now know which T shirt Matt would like for his birthday.

Where was I? Oh yes. Imagine that we’re no longer in the VIP lounge but in our third-row seats watching the techies set up for the band. There was an enclosure with gear in it on the floor on our side of the stage and we saw some celebrity kiddiwinks having a tea party there, and after that Benmont Tench came and wandered round a bit, and so did Ron Blair, and so did someone who might have been Mrs TP, only I wasn’t quite sure. And then the lights went down, and everybody stood up and started to make a noise, and then it looked like this:

TP&TH get going

Which was our point of view, more or less; and it was a bit of a shame we weren’t further over so Matt could see Mike better, because he’s interested in Mike’s twiddly bits. But TP came over to our side a lot, and the only one we couldn’t really see was Benmont because he is a) on the far left and b) completely surrounded by keyboards. Also he is the smallest Heartbreaker.

By the way, I hope you’re not expecting an objective review, because I’m not capable of writing one. Remember they’ve been my favourite band by far for the last two years, I’ve listened to almost no music except theirs in that time, and this was the first time I’d seen them. Instead I will tell you some things about the set. It started and ended with greatest hits, but in the middle there was a fairly long section where they did more obscure songs from the back catalogue and songs by other people; this is the part of the set that varies from concert to concert and I’m hoping I get to hear the whole lot by the time I’m done. There were two songs from my own TP top ten, and this is one:

That’s Lover’s Touch, a not-bad audience recording from the first gig of the tour. The sound goes a bit funny in the middle, but not because of anything TP&TH did. My other favourite that they did was Refugee, but nobody seems to have made even a not-bad recording of that one. However, if you’ve read this far you probably know how it goes.

You can’t help singing along, so I did, and especially during Learning To Fly where TP encourages the audience to sing the chorus towards the end and he sings a descant over the top, which was lovely, though he didn’t do the bird-song whistly bit at the end. Perhaps (like me) he’s lost his ability to whistle. Also, our rendition of Free Fallin’ was apparently the loudest one ever – though he probably says that to all the audiences.

Afterwards when we were back in San Antonio and people asked Matt what it had been like, he said it was “pretty good”. But I said it was magnificent and wonderful and awesome and so on. In other words, it was just as I’d expected it to be. There were a couple of things that upset me though. One was that (despite being in the very expensive seats) we had four idiots in front of us who spent their time chatting, taking photos of each other and going in and out to get more beer. Why do people like that bother to go to concerts at all? [Discuss]

The other thing, which really distressed me, was that TP was unable to sing more than two songs at a time without going to the back of the stage, lighting a cigarette, taking a drag and putting it out again. I hadn’t realised his addiction was that bad. (I know he was trying to give up a year ago.) So, if you want to see him, I suggest you see him soon, or it may be too late.

Bye, TP&TH. See you in Dublin on June 7.

Matt and I drove home, and as we approached San Antonio the sky filled with thunderclouds and lightning. It wasn’t as good as Jim Lenahan’s light show though.

Oh, and you maybe want to know whether I screamed. I had warned Matt beforehand that I might. No I didn’t. I spent pretty much the whole time with my mouth open in astonishment and joy, though. (Or singing.)

You wreck me, baby. And by the way, please stop smoking.

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29 thoughts on “So, tfd, were you disappointed?

  1. Somebody recorded the whole of Regina Spektor’s set at the concert in Wichita – audio only I’m afraid.

  2. You thought a basketball stadium was going to be a small place – ha ha!

    Thanks for giving me an idea of what to expect when we go on June 20th, I’m really looking forward to it.

    As far as ill-mannered concert-goers go, there’s not much you can do. I went to one once where this woman did that punching the air, circular motion thing with her right arm, and the screaming “woof-woof” doo-dah right through the performance and the encore, through all one and a half hours of it, and almost totally ruining it. Despite mine (and others’ – no doubt) looks of extreme displeasure) she took not one bit of notice. I’ve never been a violent person, but I was “this” close that night to bringing my elbow down sharpish on the bridge of her nose (well a REALLY dirty look, then).

  3. Phew. Follow that, as they say. The only Regina Spektor song I know was the theme song to one of the Narnia films – Prince Caspian, I think? Rather enjoyed that but could imagine it might get a bit repetitive. Still, glad you had a super time.

  4. More listening when I’ve been through the birthday tunes – just to say I’m delighted but not surprised that he did the business. And maybe he’ll be lucky with the cigarettes, some people go on and on regardless…

  5. Very pleased to hear he lived up to your expectations/hopes, tfd. That song isn’t my favourite of his that I’ve heard – bit too bluesily languid for my tastes. (I can of course totally appreciate that “bluesily languid” is probably exactly what some people look for in music!) I think I prefer his rockier/poppier Full Moon Feverish moments. But thanks for sharing your enthusiasm – great write-up!

  6. Oh and I’ve had a rant about antisocial concertgoers before… but just one more thing. At last week’s Dexys gig, the man next to me (bear in mind this was a seated, highly theatrical show, so actually it was tantamount to doing this while others around you are trying to watch a play) spent the whole show checking the football scores on his smartphone. This is a band who haven’t played in a decade, who haven’t released a record in 27 years, this is pretty much a historic event that sold out almost instantly and you’re more interested in the football scores?!? Why did you even buy a ticket? GAH!

  7. Too expensive a ticket for just a couple of bands – so passed on the O-Town show. Am sure I’ll get the skinny from my Southern Rocker pal when we meet up to catch Heartless Bastards later ($14 & reasonably priced draft Guinness – I love The Social).

  8. “I said it was magnificent and wonderful and awesome and so on. In other words, it was just as I’d expected it to be.”

    I can hear the happy grin in your voice, tfd. So glad.

  9. Sounds like they delivered the goods as usual. I know I’ve said this before but TP & TH are consistently one of the tightest bands on the planet. Glad you had fun. Question, what were the encores?

  10. Really enjoyed your write up of the gig, sounds wonderful, I am glad you had such a good time. There’s nothing like seeing a band you love for the first time. I shouted myself hoarse when I saw Nick Cave the first time, but felt like I was in a beautiful dream :-)

  11. I am really happy you finally have been to a TP concert and enjoyed it ! ! !

    I enjoyed reading about it very much, thank you for posting it.

    When he next comes to Japan I will definitely try and go ! ! !

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