love doing this
Most of us have, at one point, uttered this word.
Perhaps under our breath, as a whisper, fading into the nitrogen of the air. Or written down on a piece of paper, ink bleeding into the organic fibers of the parchment.
Some of us have even screamed this word, a desperate plea, an extended promise, one hand outreached, impatient for another. Some of us have weaved this word into lullabies; some have murmured it between tears and midnight kisses.‘Stay.’
I should’ve been angry. Furious at having my life ripped away from me. But there was just white noise inside me, a dull hum of nothingness.
Sam, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (via leylines-in-mercyfalls)
Happy Norse Apocalypse everyone! Remember, if you see a giant devilish wolf roaming about, resist the urge to pet it and instead remain safely indoors.
my college campus is so empty today, and I’m wondering if Fenrir came and took everyone lol
Andrew McMahon became a father today with the birth of his first daughter. Check out the announcement below. Congratulations to the new parents!
god, I’m so happy for you. she’s beautiful and her name is just wonderful and suits her.
exactly! though hug in a mug sounds cuter lol
I knew that I had to write about how the events of last week have affected me, but I couldn’t quite find the right words until now. I can’t recall the last time that my heart thrummed so vitally in my chest from all the excitement and enjoyment running through my veins. I never want to forget that feeling, and I knew I had to get it all down in the right words that will always elude me despite this attempt at capture them.
Last Friday started off rocky with a later departure than I had anticipated, and as people are wont to do in New York, we eventually found ourselves lost in the excitement of the city. The timing was either fortuitous or unfortunate, depending on how you looked at it, since Chinese New Year celebrations were going on and we found ourselves in the middle of Chinatown. Dragons and lions brought to life by an army of parade volunteers chased us through crowded blocks peppered with confetti and pushy pedestrians. What was most frustrating to me was how you can internally feel time passing while surrounded by so much external chaos in a place you thought yourself least likely to be on a day that was supposed to be wholly yours. There is no greater anxiety than finding yourself at the mercy of other people’s plans with no clue about how to get back to where you meant to be.
Eventually we took the train back to where I had finally pictured myself to be for so many weeks now. “The Arctic Monkeys - Tonight - Sold Out” scrolled across a giant screen atop the venue.
I’d had my misgivings leading up to the concert since I’d let a friend pick out which seats we’d buy instead of checking it out for myself, and we’d ended up getting tickets for seats high atop the stage on a balcony that I thought was the farthest you could horizontally be from the action. After we picked up the customary merch, with mine consisting of a t-shirt and a program wonderfully filled with black and white printed posters, we made our way up to our seats. My fears steadily grew and grew with each escalator we had to ascend just to find our section. When we got to our seats, nervousness hummed in my stomach as I turned this way and that to examine the view of the stage. Although we had a head-on, unobscured view towards the stage as there were only two rows with a clear partition in front of us, I felt a sense of dread thinking “we’re so far away that even if we do see them, they’ll just be moving dots”. Even if we did happen to be there in person, in the same vicinity as my favorite band, it felt like a wasted opportunity to have to watch their faces on the screens and experience a feeling akin to observing someone in a youtube video: some part of a sense of reality of the whole event is shattered by the visual barrier.
All my fears were shattered when they finally came on stage after an opening band that I felt lukewarm about at best and a set-up period that seemed to drag on forever, albeit lasting about 40 minutes or so.
The previous observation I made had been partly disproved: while it wasn’t ideal to have to watch the screens just to make out facial features, there is no comparison whatsoever between watching a concert streamed on youtube to actually seeing the real thing. Energy came in palpable vibrations that shook the balcony we were on, and I got that rush of being alive that I never seem to get from anything else.
Watching your favorite band perform in person feels like kissing a cherished lover who you have memorized in so many ways. You have an intuitive feeling for what song they will open with, how they will fill the set list, how they’ll move about the stage and interact with each other and the audience, and how they’ll end the show, come back on stage for a planned encore, and finally exit leaving the crowd somehow satiated yet still clamoring for more.
As I had predicted, they opened with the stirring crescendo of “Do I Wanna Know?”, the steady build-up of its beat and guitar action revving up the crowd for an amazing performance. Seeing “A” and “M” in huge flashing lights seemed to solidify the feeling of me really, truly being there and watching them live. The lights were truly spectacular, morphing into a dozen red lights across the stage shooting out into the crowd as the Monkeys moved onto the faster pace of “Brianstorm”, the crowd humming and jumping along to the opening guitar. I excitedly tried to soak it up and remember the songs they played to help tether me to the moment of being there. They played so many songs form all across their albums. The following is a list of what I could remember in no particular order:
Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
Old Yellow Bricks
I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor
Snap Out of It
I Wanna Be Yours
Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High
I was so surprised by how many old hits they played after reading an article the week before that they had started to phase out the old songs since the new album was so favorably received. It was such a joy to hear “Crying Lightning” and “Old Yellow Bricks” live, and you could almost feel the nostalgia sweeping over the crowd. I was disappointed by the lack of waving hands during “Pretty Visitors” since every fan should know by now how Alex loves to call out people who are too cool to do so. “Fluorescent Adolescent” was another hit that had people clapping and singing along. And Alex can always be counted to introduce “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” with a raucous yell of “LADIESSS!!”.
The Monkeys of course were eager to show off their new album, playing a majority of the tracks from it. Everything about how Alex performed “I Wanna Be Yours” oozed devotion and sultriness. This sultriness greatly contrasted to the humor I felt at watching a fan toss what I presume to be a white bra and later confirmed to be a pair of white panties with “Suck It and See” written on it onstage during another song. Despite some moments of hilarity and joking, Alex seemed wired and sucked into the music the whole night: he sang with such sultriness for songs whose mood demanded it yet followed this up with crazed arm movements and daring slides across the stage when playing the songs with raging energy.
A wonderful feeling you get as a fan who has watched so many performances online is intuitively knowing what they were going to play next when Alex picks up the acoustic or puts down a guitar altogether. I predicted exactly when they would play tracks like “Fireside” and “Arabella” by Alex swapping guitars or putting it down in favor of holding onto the mic and performing gyrating dance moves.
But what made the night even more spectacular than I ever thought it could be were the surprises that turned out to be exactly what I wanted to see. At one point, Alex quieted everything down, picked up the acoustic, and stood in the middle of the stage without any flashing lights or fancy movements. He made a bad joke about how he thought about New York City in the shower today, but then he did something that almost had me burst into tears as soon as I heard it.
He made an amazing point about how everyone is so wired to their digital devices and how he wanted for one song for everyone to just put their devices down and enjoy. He then launched into what is probably one of the songs that is so close to my heart, whose chords and words I have sung and played countless times. I was torn about stopping my camera from recording and putting it down when Alex started playing “Cornerstone,” but I respected Alex’s wishes. In return, I got to feel the strongest emotions a song has ever brought out of me. Something about the simplicity of the acoustic guitar and Alex’s subdued voice, and the smoothness of Jamie’s guitar solo literally struck a chord in me and just resonated and resonated. It was such a stirring moment to hear this song that I had practiced so many times and finally mastered in its full glory, played and sung by the person who sent it out into the world.
Another moment I never would have seriously expected, although I did joke about it happening in an idealistic world, was how they brought Miles Kane in for the “last song”. I couldn’t contain my excitement and shock that I would actually get to see the dynamic duo of Miles Kane and Alex Turner performing together in person. Never did I think that they would ever again close with “505” since the Monkeys tended to finish up with “R U Mine” in recent concerts. Never have I been more surprised or enthralled to be proven wrong and for them to actually ship Miles Kane over from Britain to perform at MSG.
After “505” the band plus Miles Kane left the stage, although I knew that they had to come back for an encore since it was MSG and they had yet to play “R U Mine,” seemingly one of their favorite tracks to play at the time.
Although it took a good maybe 8 to 10 minutes for them to come back out, they did, only to surprise me yet again.
Alex asked the crowd if we could handle a few more, and then proceeded to explain how it was the 50th anniversary almost to the day of the first time the Beatles were brought to America. He said that 1 in 3 Americans watched that performance, and then joked that probably 1 or 3 Americans would watch the video of their performance on youtube. He then launched into a sultry and beautifully slowed down rendition of “All My Loving”. The stage was set alight by bursts of white light streaming outwards in multiple directions, surrounding the band members in light and adding an ethereal feeling to the moment. The song suited Alex’s voice perfectly, and he swayed along as he strummed the acoustic and serenaded the crowd.
I felt such a rush of irony and wonder because I had seen a video of them sound-checking the same song on youtube and had hoped that I could hear them play it through one day. Never did I think that the moment would come a week later and I could witness it with my own eyes and ears.
They followed with “One For the Road,” and then the band finally ended the night with Alex saying “New York City, we were yours since we got here, and we’ve been yours, but are you mine?” and the band launching into “R U Mine”. There’s so much energy in that song and the way they play it. While I hadn’t been able to make out their faces directly other than through the screens for the whole concert, it was still amazing to see for myself how Alex and Jamie’s hands moved up and down the guitar necks for this song and other songs like “Knee Socks”. There is always this oxymoronically clean yet precisely distorted quality to the way they play the guitar parts and solos, and seeing them that night was no different. I couldn’t get over how clean the sound came through and how the little stylistic additions they made when playing the riffs sounded so much better than even the recordings.
The Monkeys finally left the stage, leaving me in such a raw emotional state of satisfaction and longing for the next time I would be able to see them play, hopefully from a much closer vantage point. As happy as they had made me by playing so many songs I loved and by continually presenting even more surprises, I can’t wait to see them again to play the same hits I’d watched and other songs they hadn’t performed or have yet to perform in the future. Despite my desire to see them perform live again, I know nothing can replace the night that definitely made the list of the top 10 moments of my life that I will always cherish.
In summary: There is nothing quite like seeing your favorite band headline Madison Square Garden.
My friend told me about a watercolouring techinque where you mix sugar and water and after “painting” the paper with the liquid, you add the watercolour.
I wanted to try it out and took a couple of photos…
Andrew McMahon medley
- Dark Blue
- Drunk Girl
- As You Sleep
- Woke Up In A Car
- Hammers & Strings
this is too beautiful for words.
The deepest kind of love you can have for somebody is the ability to let them disappear when they need to.
Andrew McMahon. (via misanthr0pic)
this is how I know you love me.