When I’d purchased my solo ticket to Guster’s annual Thanksgiving tour stop at the Beacon Theatre, I’d completely forgotten that it was their 25th anniversary until I showed up to the theatre. When I arrived and saw the displays of all their old tour tshirts, drum sticks, backstage passes, etc. It was super neat. I sat down in my seat and waited for the show to begin, after the opener, The Pisapia Love-In, who was pretty fun, but let’s be honest, we were there to see Guster. The lead singer did come back out during Guster’s set to sing a few songs with them which was fun (1st photo). I sat down just to promptly stand back up the moment they came out. Everyone in the Beacon was excited to be there and so were they. Guster has three main groups of fans: families who have been fans for forever, bros, and nerds. I had a family of four sitting in front of me and their youngest daughter slept through the entire thing. Amazing.
Ryan announced at the beginning that they were going to play all night and play the longest concert they ever played, and we all cheered, but we knew there were rules. In the end, they ended up playing for about 2.5 hours. A generous concert, indeed! They even brought up one of their oldest fans (in the fourth photo) who has seen them hundreds of times and always makes a point to be super honest and critical about how their performance was.
They also brought out a choir from Long Island to sing a few songs with them. “We thought it might be fun to have a choir and then my manager goes, ‘I know this choir on Long Island but their audience is mainly the 60-70 year olds,’ and I go ‘Look no further! That is exactly what we’re going for!’” But the choir added a fun element to Empire State and Jesus on the Radio.
The entire setlist (here) was a good time and I had a great time rockin’ out for two and a half hours. I hope they stick together long enough to celebrate their 50th. I will definitely be there.
PLAY THIS MOVIE REALLY FUCKING LOUD!
Ben and I caught one of the two (or three?) screenings of Heart Like a Hand Grenade, the documentary about the creative process behind Green Day’s American Idiot, last night on the Upper East Side. Our theatre was half-empty but it was nevertheless a good time.
Heart Like a Hand Grenade was like sitting in your living room and reuniting with old friends for the first time in a while and picking up like no time had passed at all. It was like listening to your favorite high school album for the first time in a decade (even though we all know that we have for sure listened to this album at least a couple times a year for the last 11 years).
The lights went down and onscreen was a notice, “PLAY THIS MOVIE REALLY FUCKING LOUD.” To be honest, they could’ve played it louder, but I’ve been hard-of-hearing from Green Day before so it’s probably best that it wasn’t. Billie Joe and Mike haven’t aged a day in 11 years. They took us through every track on the album, the recording process, the mixing process, and mixed it with cuts from a concert in California, presumably the first time they played through the album (oh, to have been there..). I laughed when Billie Joe was complaining about people on message boards trashing Warning and I wanted to jump up and be like, “Fuck those guys! Warning is the best!” You know, after American Idiot and Dookie.
HLAHG was funny, serious, sad, and hilarious. The guys even thanked the fans in the credits: “Thank you to the fans who waited 11 years for this documentary.” You’re welcome, dude. As big fans: we left the theatre happy and sated. If you are in the music business or a Green Day fan, this is definitely worth a watch.
Last night I went to Central Park to see a favorite band of mine play: Guster. Their last concert in January was awesome and despite the heat, I was looking for to seeing them. I hung back and enjoyed a beef brisket sandwich from Lonestar Empire while the opening act Kishi Bashi performed. He was interesting, to say the least.
I managed to get pretty close for not trying at all. I was pleased. They played favorites like Diane, Careful, Barrel of a Gun, Do You Love Me?, and This Could All Be Yours Someday., in addition to tracks from their newest album like Long Night, Doin’ It By Myself, Kid Dreams, and Simple Machine (which is probably my favorite track off the album).
As usual Ryan Miller went off on a million rants in between songs and made us all laugh. They had Kishi Bashi back onstage during their fake encore. As usual Ryan explained how the “B Side” of the setlist would work: “We’re going to do a couple more songs, a fake encore – so get excited – and then go offstage for about 4 minutes and then come back on to do another four songs. I always like to know what’s going on, so I think you do too!”
By the end of the two hour set, I was sweaty, my legs were sore, my voice was a tad hoarse, and I was a bit hard of hearing.