|Review by Derek Nemirow
We arrived in Providence at 5:30pm for the 8:30pm show because our excitement regarding the prospect of seeing Blind Melon made us overly anxious to get there. We had made several unfruitful attempts to procure some of our favorite recreational smoking substance and therefore were quite restless. Instead of mingling outside with the horde of enthusiastic Melon heads gathered by the tour bus, we entered the venue and learned that not only was there a no re-entry policy, but also it would still be more than two hours before the first band. The ticket said 7:30, but that was merely a guideline. We learned that in Providence, more often than not, shows started and ran real late. In fact, the set time list revealed that Blind Melon would not be on stage until after midnight. I was so wired that I figured there was only one way to calm down; I started drinking. While consuming the 3rd of what would end up being 12 beers that evening, I began to loosen up. I put my drink down on a speaker cabinet with the name of the second opening act and said, "Who the fuck are the Meat Puppets?" Shortly thereafter, two big-haired gentlemen approached our pool table and asked if they could join us. Having no interest in losing control of the pool table that we had waited over an hour for, I told them rather rudely to fuck off and wait their turn. A few minutes later the show began. I mostly just walked around the club and drank during Alice Donut's set and really didn't hear much of any of it; it basically served as background noise. When the Meat Puppets took the stage, I was quite buzzed and belligerent as my behavior during their set clearly indicated. I hollered colorful expressions like: "You suck!" and "Get off the stage!" and of course "Blind Melon!!!" at the top of my lungs. During this obnoxious display it was pointed out to me by my companion, that it was the brothers Kirkwood in the Meat Puppets that I had told off at the pool table. By now however, I had no time to feel ashamed for my blatant lack of respect for anyone unlucky enough to cross the path of my words, because Blind Melon was up next and the rest of the world could go up in flames for all I cared, as long as I saw them play. We stood in front of the left side of the stage as the band took their places and a barrage of cheers rang forth from the sold-out crowd. An eerie, almost haunting musical intro pierced the smoke filled air in the club while the guys stood in trance like stillness on the stage. With anticipation of things to come built up to a fever pitch, the Melons launched into "I Wonder," which hurled the audience members into frenzied dancing. Bodies piled on top of bodies as crowd surfers took delight in the high-energy sensation that was Blind Melon live. About 2 minutes into the 3rd song of the set, "Time," Shannon stopped the show and demanded that security remove the barricade that 'protected' the band from the crowd, also behind which staff members could maneuver in front of the stage. This came about because the crowd surfers and those dancing were being mercilessly crushed into it as people in the back pushed forward toward the stage. After what seemed like an eternity (about 20 minutes in reality,) the band came back out and re-launched into "Time." With the barricade removed, the stage and the dance floor may as well have been one and the same. Enthusiastic audience members were now weaving in and out of band members and stage diving commenced. The hour and a half long set included all of the songs from the debut album, the otherworldly "Ripped Away" intro to "No Rain," a verse from the Allman Brother's Band classic "Midnight Rider" in the middle of "Holyman," and the b-side rarity "W.O.O.H. Dog." Although no new material that I can recall was played, I could not have been happier with the performance. I've never seen a band so at home with their fans, so far away from their real homes, especially a band who was approaching 2 years on the road. They showed no signs of fatigue and played every song as though it was their newest and most exciting composition being road tested for the first time. Those gathered to worship at the altar of Melon responded in kind by singing along throughout the set and giving the band back their boundless energy ten fold. I was left standing in a daze at the show's conclusion, but not from the alcohol. In fact, at some point during the festivities the alcohol buzz subsided and all that I could feel was the adrenalin rush from the music. Much to my dismay, I must have been more intoxicated than I thought, because while I recalled that the evening simply ended with me sleeping during the ride home, (which I did), I was reminded later by my companion that she and I were invited by Shannon and Brad to party on the tour bus with the band and a handful of fans that had stuck around after exiting the show. She said that I had declined, citing the lack of a joint to smoke with my heroes as the reason. I don't remember this, but I'll always regret it. It could have been a dream come true.