The concert was at eight, so we left the house at seven, because while driving to Koreatown in rush hour traffic is not as bad as driving to Hollywood in rush hour traffic, it's no picnic, either. But the streets were clear and we just zoomed down Olympic and I was like "...?" until I suddenly realised, duh, tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Of course people probably got off early today, so by seven there was hardly any traffic at all.
Once we turned on Western, though, it got bad for a bit. Very crowded and the street is kind of narrow. So Bruce ended up dropping me off about a block from the Wiltern, but I was still there about half an hour early. Luckily I had brought a book. (I wanted something small that could easily fit in my pocket, so I chose a Japanese book, and I happened to have Murakami Haruki's Kaze no Uta wo Kike, which is only like 150 pages, so that was perfect.)
I've never been to the Wiltern
before, but it's really cool. It's an old art deco theatre built in the '30s. They took out the seats on the ground floor so it was standing room only down there. I didn't want to stand the whole time, so I went upstairs, whereupon I found that some people actually had assigned seats, or something, but they did let me in, saying I could have a seat as long as it was row F or higher. The rows behind me were practically deserted the entire show so they definitely had room up there. The seats were narrow and I could barely fit. Waah. But it was better than standing, which would have made my back hurt. Anyway, I still had a good view of the stage, probably better than I would have if I was crammed up with everyone on the floor, and I don't really care about being close, so it worked out fine. I think this was the biggest...I want to say "live house", but I don't think that's actually the English word? Just one of those Japanese words made up from English... Um. Anyway, the largest venue that wasn't a stadium, yeah?
Anyway, I'd looked up the opening act before the show. It was Maxïmo Park, which was a name that sounded vaguely familiar, but I'd never heard any of their songs. I watched a video
on youtube and quite enjoyed it, so I was actually looking forward to them. And they didn't disappoint. I think this is the first show I've been to where I actually really liked the opening act. Howling Bells, who opened for The Killers, were okay, but after listening to their album, I only saved one song. Pretty much everyone else I've heard I didn't like at all.
So I asked Bruce to download these guys' album when I got home and I have that to listen to now. They were fun to watch, too. The vocalist was dressed in black pants, black jacket, black hat, black tie, red shirt, and red shoes, and he was dancing and bouncing all over the stage.
The set change was pretty quick. Less than half an hour. Yay. I did have my book, though, so I wasn't completely bored, but still. I hate when everything's all finished and then the band takes like five years to finally come out on stage.
When they came out, I wished I was down on the floor, though. Instead of just coming out from backstage, the theme from Rocky
* started playing and the spotlights focused on something down on the floor. I couldn't see until they were nearly at the stage, but it was all the band members dressed in those shiny robes boxers wear before a fight. They came all the way through the crowd and then got up on stage and threw their robes off. Actually the best view would have been from the very front of the balcony looking down. Alas. Still! It was very cool.
Right away they started into Selfish Jean. I was expecting this to be mostly promoting the new album, so I was surprised when I counted up the songs at the end and found they only did four from it. They did six from The Man Who, five from The Invisible Band, three from 12 Memories, and 2 from Good Feeling. In all there were only four songs I didn't know (the ones from Good Feeling and some from The Man Who, neither of which I have).
They did a few fun things. First was when they played Good Feeling, Fran talked first about how they had a Swedish keyboardist with them called Claus and that Claus would be doing a piano solo and we were to point to Claus and chant "Claus! Claus! Claus!" during it. It was quite amusing, and then after the solo, they stoped the song and Fran talked a bit more, then when they started up again, instead of singing "I've got a good feeling/like I know how I'm feeling", he sang "I've got a Claus feeling/like I'm from Sweden". XD
The other was for the first encore, just Fran came back out, and he talked about how old theatres like this had good acoustics and he wanted to try playing unplugged. So with just an acoustic guitar, not plugged in, and no mic, he sang 20 (which I'd never heard before, but really liked). Everyone had to be very quiet, but I could hear him just fine way back where I was. Then he plugged the guitar back in and the other guys came up and they did Flowers in the Window with just the guitar and them all standing around Fran. Rather like this pic
on Wikipedia, actually.
I was so, so, so glad they sang that as it's pretty much my favorite Travis song. Other favorites I was hoping for them to sing that they did are Turn, Driftwood, Love Will Come Through, and My Eyes. I was hoping they'd do Big Chair, which is my other favorite from the new album, but alas. I was also hoping for Quicksand and Peace the Fuck Out from 12 Memories. Still. Flowers in the Window! Turn! Driftwood! Those three are the must haves, really.( Full set list )
I can't believe I've been to three concerts this year (The Killers, Mika, and Travis) and I would have had five this year if those two Decemberists shows hadn't been cancelled. O_o I know three is nothing for a lot of people I know, but I'm not a big concert-goer really. I like it, but it's expensive and exhausting. I think most years I've seen one or two. Let's see...GLAY in 1997, Puffy AmiYumi and B'z in 2002, Placebo and B'z in 2003, The Decemberists in 2005, and Hyde and Panic! At the Disco in 2006. That's all the concerts I've ever been to in my life.
Anyway, I had a great time and I'm so glad I got to go. :) I definitely wouldn't mind seeing them live again.
*I have never seen Rocky. Not even part of it. Well, now I have seen part of this youtube clip, to confirm that was what I wanted to link, but that's it. How did I know this is what they were playing!? I have no idea.