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.


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).


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.


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