CONCERT REVIEW by Ryan Conway
It seems like this show came out of nowhere! Y'know?
For the past couple of years, Blind Melon had not been performing,
so there wasn't much to talk about in regards to live shows.
For many of us fans, it didn't seem like a hiatus - it seemed
like it was over (again).
However, Glen would stop by the Forum on occassion and re-assure
everyone that things would still move forward and that there would
still be a Blind Melon. On some days, I could believe that. . .
but the longer the hiatus went on, it seemed less likely. . .
So back in late October, I heard the rumors of Blind Melon
scheduling shows in. . . Colorado? . . . and New Mexico? For real?
I was ecstatic and in disbelief all at the same time. I mean,
I live in the part of the country that most coastal people refer to
as 'fly-over country'. When Blind Melon started touring again back
in 2007, the majority of the dates were on the east coast.
So when the first, two tourdates of 2010 popped up in Colorado, I knew
how special it was to have the chance to see them after the past two years.
The month of November couldn't pass by quickly enough as I waited
for this show. I wanted to see this new development with my own eyes
and hear it with my own ears instead of just reading about it on the internet.
I had only been to the Bluebird Theater once before to see the Wood Brothers,
and I knew that this venue is intimate. Its a much smaller venue than the
Fillmore, Gothic, or Ogden. And I couldn't wait to get a shot of their
unique marquee with Blind Melon's name on it.
My friend Brendan was in town for the show, and once we got to the venue,
we took a walk around the surrounding streets to see if we could find
the tourbus, but we didn't see it anywhere.
When we got in to the venue, I checked the merch table, and I could tell
it was sort of a backlog of the merch from 2008. I did pick up the bee-girl
poster by Scrojo. I had never seen this at shows, as the bottom of it says
"Fall 2008" and the last show I had seen was in Spring of 2008. Anyhoon, it is
printed on metallic stock so it shimmers and has that opalescent quality to it.
I can't wait to find a place for this.
We headed up to the front row to wait for the show, and the guy standing next
to me says, "Hey, you look familiar." I asked him if he was at the Boulder
show in 2008. He said, "No, but I was at the Omaha show." And then it hit me -
there were two guys standing next to me at the Omaha show that had driven
from Kansas. He re-introduced himself to me (Caleb), and it was fun talking
about what a good show Blind Melon played at the Slowdown in Omaha. It just
proved again how it is indeed a small world. Caleb was with two other friends
this time, and they had driven out here from Kansas. Its always good to meet melons!
The Gromet was on-stage at 8:00 sharp. They were a great opener for Blind Melon.
Of course, I was eager to see my favorite band up on stage as soon as possible.
But The Gromet definitely put on a good show during their set. I won't try to
fit them into a genre - they are just a good live band! They are from Golden, Colorado,
and here's their myspace link:
Brad and Christopher were on-stage for a bit during the set-break after the opener.
They were setting up their pedals and what-not. While Brad was setting up his pedals
near his monitor, he asks Caleb to hold his bass for a minute. That was pretty cool.
How often does that happen?
A few minutes later, all five of them were on-stage and they launched into '2 x 4.'
The whole band sounded great. Travis' vocals were confident and powerful. They were
all dialed-in to one another and the magic was happening.
'Soup' is always one of my favorites. I got a pretty decent video of that one.
'Drive' is another one that never dissapoints.
Somewhere between songs, Travis got the crowd singing 'You Ain't Got No Bidness.'
The only song that they played from the 'For My Friends' album was 'Wishing Well.'
I re-learned a valuable lesson - always bring a kazoo to a Blind Melon show. Not a
single fan had an extra kazoo to give to Travis for 'Skinned.' So Travis asked the
crowd to sing the kazoo part.
Travis also needed a capo later in the show, and the new manager Keith showed up
and provided the capo. At which point, both Travis and Brad gave major props to
Keith for keeping the Blind Melon thing goin'. . .
'I Wonder' and 'Wilt' were amazing as always!
I thought Sleepyhouse was phenomenal. It just really struck a chord with me, and
I thought they really performed that one well.
Travis dedicated 'Change' to none other than Shannon Hoon, and the crowd was
happy to sing-a-long. And in fact I was so wrapped up in the moment, I watched
the video that I took during 'Change,' and I am singing the lyrics to the first
chorus (I'll never live that way), when it is actually the second chorus
(and where he is these days)! haha! I was just feeling it and not really paying
attention to which verse it was I guess.
'Soak the Sin' was a funky jam . Awww yeah!
'No Rain' started out with the spaced-out ripped away version and eventually
filtered away to the happy song that made them so famous back in '93.
'Time' is quintessential Blind Melon. They jammed it out quite a bit, and once
again it was brilliant!
'The Pusher' was a crowd-pleaser as usual! Lots of audience participation
on that one! :) I really dig the interplay between Rogers' guitar licks and CT's
slide guitar on that one. I caught the end of this song on video, and I think
its a cool moment, when they hit that last note. Afterwards, they exit the stage,
and the crowd begins the ritualistic stomping and yelling to bring them back out.
The encore consisted of 'Mouthful of Cavities' and 'Galaxie.' CT found some sort
of stage case to sit on and put the guitar on his lap to play 'Mouthful' whereas
I have normally seen him attach the legs to the guitar, or just place it on top of
the keyboard. But CT did not have a keyboard set-up this time. And Rogers was
playing a Gibson Les Paul model instead of a Fender Strat. . . and, Brad did not
have a 'Brad shirt' on at this show. haha! :P
'Galaxie' was powerful, and while I think they have closed with Galaxie before at various
shows, it is more often an opening song for shows (and obviously the Soup album).
But nonetheless, it kicks tons of ass for the last show of a Blind Melon concert.
When it was all said and done, there were a lot of smiling faces at the Bluebird.
I know there are a lot of melonheads out there that wish that they could've been
here at this show to see it and hear it for themselves. All I can tell you is that
in my opinion, what I saw was real. It did not seem put-on or forced. I think this
is the real deal. Blind Melon is back!
I got to talk with Glen, Brad, and Rogers after the show. Unfortunately I did not
get to talk with CT or Travis. I am always happy to get a chance to talk with any
of them, and they have always been very friendly in person. I told them that I have
seen the posts on the forum and facebook, and there are many melons requesting a
performance in their locale, but I reminded them not to take too long before
bringing Blind Melon back to Colorado. haha!
In talking with Glen, I did get the idea that there will definitely be more shows
scheduled in 2011. However, he also conveyed the notion that the tourbus is probably
a thing of the past. It sounds like the night-after-night, city-after-city
tourbus-routine was rough, and probably put undue pressure on all of them.
Like I had mentioned before, I walked all around the neighborhood near the
Bluebird Theater, and saw no signs of a tourbus. So the future shows might be
more one-off sort of deals. That's not saying that they couldn't do multiple-show
runs in certain locations. Most of what I have said is me just pondering about
the future of the tour (like many fans are doing right now). All I know is that Glen
said the tourbus would probably not be involved in touring anymore. And I don't
think that means that they are opting for lear jets. :P It all sounds good.
From my perspective as a fan, what I heard was that Blind Melon plans on moving
forward, at a pace that will ensure their longevity. That sounded like positive
news to me, and I just wanted to share it with you all. . .
All in all, it was an amazing night. Blind Melon has opened the bottle and let
the magic out again. I saw it and heard it for myself. It is real. I don't know
how they decided to come to Colorado first, but I thank them for that! You guys
blew the doors off the Bluebird! What a show! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
P.S. I attempted to record the show on my old-school Sony MiniDisc. I had put a
new battery in, but it kept shutting down for some reason. So I only got portions
of the show recorded. And of those portions, it is blown-out, scratchy at times,
and has the occassional drop-out. If you are a fan that wants to hear a very
low-tech (bad) recording of an awesome show, then you might be interested. I will
try to make that available soon.