Monthly Archives: November 2009

party like it’s 1999

The nostalgia train continued to wind its way through my week when I attended Guster‘s Lost and Gone Forever 10th anniversary tour Friday night at Rochester’s Main Street Armory. This comment from one of their facebook fans summed up my sentiments nicely:

“Guster… Rochester, Ny… Lost & Gone Forever Ten Year Anniversary Tour: That makes me happier, it was what I wished for, and either way… it makes me feel like I am the center of attention. Like I’ve just been shot from the barrel of a gun all the way up to heaven. Now that’s two points for honesty on a rainy day where I spy myself looking in the mirror wishing I was someone else, me and no one else. Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa… I’ll never be the same again.”

Impressive. (Okay, they missed “So Long.” Still.)

I distinctly recall making an art project sophomore year of high school that prominently featured lyrics from “Either Way” and “Center of Attention,” and lovingly taped an acoustic version of “Barrel of a Gun” off of 94.1 back in the day (which I desperately need to figure out how to transfer to mp3). Consulting my old music notebook (which is a blog post in itself — this thing is intense), I had LAGF at #6 on my top ten all-time favorite albums list in early 2002, and at #3 when I re-evaluated the list in March of 2005.

So, yeah. You could say I love this album. (Although you could also say I just love the late ’90s, since 3eb’s self-titled debut and BNL’s Stunt were numbers one and two, respectively, on this later list.)

With all this pent-up adoration, I couldn’t have been happier to score a pair of tickets to this concert, one of only eight stops on the tour. I’ve been to seven or eight Guster shows now — by far the most of any band I’ve seen — and they amaze me every time. If you haven’t seen them yet and have the chance, you must. You’ll be blown away, guaranteed.

What made Friday’s show — and the tour itself — so special was that the band played three sets, one of which was LAGF in order and in its entirety. I’d never seen an album performed that way, and it was cool, if a bit surreal, to know exactly what was coming next.

guster-11-06-09

super blurry cell phone pic #1

While the first set was wonderful, of course, and featured some of my Keep It Together favorites like “Amsterdam” and “Come Downstairs and Say Hello” (seriously, how great is that song?), the LAGF set was, well, what I wished for. Hearing songs I hadn’t seen them play in years, alongside perennial favorite “Happier” and classics like “Fa Fa,” only further cemented my love for this group and this album. (PS, how ridiculous is that “Fa Fa” video?!? I completely forgot it existed. Ah, the power of YouTube.)

I love me some audience participation, so fulfilling Ryan’s request for us to whistle and clap during the appropriate moments in “All the Way Up to Heaven” was especially fun (I love me some whistling, too), and the powerful closing one-two punch of “Two Points for Honesty” and “Rainy Day” left me simultaneously supremely satisfied and starving for more.

Once again, Guster gave it to me (that’s what she said), bringing down the house during the encore with yet another stellar version of “Airport Song” (with vocoder!), punctuated by the crowd pelting them with ping pong balls. And coming in a very close second to the awesome that was the LAGF set, Ryan, Brian, Adam, and Joe ended the show by coming to the front of the stage to perform a mic-less, acoustic rendition of “Jesus on the Radio” (which you can stream and download — along with the entire show — here).

guster-JOTR-11-06-09

super blurry cell phone pic #2

It was great harmonizing with my fellow concert-goers, and this last gesture from the group was the best, most intimate send-off we could have asked for. Like I said, Guster just keeps getting better. Here’s to a great decade, and here’s hoping their music legacy will last a million years, or more.

Do you have any Lost and Gone Forever memories you want to share? What was on your top ten albums list in high school? (Were you even that obsessive?) And what’s your favorite song that features whistling? Leave it in the comments, kiddos.

a tale of two say anythings, pt. 2: the lloyd dobler effect

I’m not old. I’m not. So why is the 20th anniversary of Say Anything… making me feel so overwhelmingly nostalgic? Yes, it’s a movie I love, but I was only a few years old when it came out, and I haven’t watched it in years. I only remembered certain plot details after perusing the film’s IMDB page.

And yet. There’s something timeless about the movie, which young writer-director Cameron Crowe knocked out of the park back in April of 1989. The dialogue is magnificent, and some of main character Lloyd Dobler’s lines are so heart-wrenching, I actually ache for him.

Sure, there’s Lloyd’s famous summation, “I gave her my heart, and she gave me a pen.” But what really got me as I browsed the movie’s quotes page — which is fantastic, by the way; damn, Crowe is good — was this:

“And one more thing — about the letter. Nuke it. Flame it. Destroy it. It hurts me to know it’s out there.”

How can you not feel for the guy?

Of course, the film is remembered best for and defined by The Scene, the one where John Cusack hoists a boombox over his head, plays Peter Gabriel, and wins back Ione Skye’s heart. And rightly so. Maybe it’s cheesy, but it’s also completely wonderful. And as one EW editor described in this great narrative, it actually works.

To commemorate the movie’s 20th anniversary edition DVD and Blu-ray release Tuesday, a “Mobler” of Lloyd clones, complete with boomboxes, descended upon New York’s Times Square, culminating in an acoustic performance of “In Your Eyes” by none other than rockers the Lloyd Dobler Effect.

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the mobler takes to the streets.

While some said this publicity stunt smacked ever so slightly of desperation, it was actually the perfect way to promote the film’s latest re-release. Lloyd, too, was desperate when he stood outside Diane’s window. And the ensuing wave of nostalgia that surely washed over any female who witnessed the event is almost certain to create a rush for this package. I know that I’m itching to own the movie now.

The Lloyd Dobler Effect. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Tell me, dear readers: what’s your favorite part of Say Anything…? Would Lloyd’s boombox trick work on you? Would you ever date a guy that wears a trenchcoat, anyway? And is 1989 John Cusack not the most adorable, fresh-faced thing you’ve ever seen? Answer these questions — or just say anything — in the comments.

a tale of two say anythings, pt. 1: you soothe my wounds and drain my bile

say anythingThis Halloween, I went to where the people were on a Saturday night: the Webster Theater in Hartford, Connecticut, where one of my newly-christened favorite bands, Say Anything, performed to a delighted, rabid crowd.

I’ve liked SA since their debut, …Is a Real Boy, featuring the phenominal “Alive with the Glory of Love,” but it wasn’t until I started dating my boyfriend, an SA superfan, that I fell in love with the band. Since then, their songs have been permanently stuck in my head, and as news spread that they were working on a new album, my excitement grew.

Despite my lingering illness, the BF and I journeyed to Connecticut, eager to see SA rock out. And rock they did. Among multiple costumed concert-goers, we bounced and bopped (well, okay, that was mostly left to me) to tunes new and old, while Max Bemis and co. played — and sweated — their hearts out. Suddenly my runny nose and pressure-filled head didn’t matter.

I was pumped to hear sentimental favorite “Shiksa (Girlfriend),” as well as “Baby Girl, I’m a Blur” and “Woe,” among many, many others. I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed that they didn’t play “A Walk Through Hell,” but I’ll live.

The highlight of the night, though, came during the encore, when Max played an acoustic version of new track “Crush’d,” an ode to his wife, Sherri DuPree, whose band Eisley was one of the openers.

I am absolutely in love with this song. Aside from liking it because I’m a sucker for anything acoustic, “Crush’d” is just adorable, period. And as evidenced by the numerous “awwww”s Max’s dedication of the song to Sherri elicited from the audience, I’m not alone in this feeling. How can lyrics like these not make you smile?

Quite sure you love me, Sherri / Quite sure I love you, too / We should make a verbal agreement to only kiss each other.

While trying to describe Say Anything’s sound to some friends, I found myself unsure of how to categorize them, and I think that’s because they really do defy categorization. All I know is I love their old stuff, I’m really digging their new stuff, and they rocked my face off — and my cold away — this weekend.

Amen, indeed.

it’s the final countdown

I’ve always loved reading Peanuts, Charles M. Schulz’s classic comic depicting Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts Gang. One of my favorite characters is Schroeder, the precocious, piano-playing Beethoven worshipper, and Lucy’s unrequited love.

Schroeder’s connection to Beethoven always brought me immense joy, and not just because I count myself as one of the great composer’s fans. Beethoven and I share a birthday — December 16 — and just about every year, Peanuts and Schroeder mark the occasion.

You can understand my delight, then, when I read today’s comics and came upon this:

Peanuts

The countdown to my/Beethoven’s birthday has officially begun! But you probably already knew that.

Do you share your birthday with someone famous? Leave their names — and your gift ideas for me — in the comments.