Monday, November 08, 2004


Back from Pittsburgh

I've always had good concert experiences in Pittsburgh, including my second-ever R.E.M. show (10/24/86) at the Syria Mosque w/ Camper Van Beethoven opening) and a couple of great Dead shows, including this one. Sunday night was no exception, as R.E.M. put on yet another terrific show.

For a change, we couldn't have asked for a better drive to Pittsburgh. The weather was perfect, no traffic and we got there in about 4 hours. Apparently, the Holiday Inn across the bridge released a block of rooms, so we snagged a room less than a mile away at a reasonable price. Sweet.

Did I mention there was a great CD store within walking distance of the hotel? I came out with the new Velvet Revolver, The Delgados' Peloton and the Measles, Mumps, Rubella EP.

The Steelers crushed the Eagles that afternoon, so the town was filled with drunks driving up and down the street screaming at everyone. Good for them, but that got old pretty quick.

The R.E.M. show was at the AJ Palumbo center, which is apparently the gym at Duquesne. Similar to the GW Smith Center, I guess. Probably a little smaller. Maybe 3,000 people. I was surprised that it wasn't sold out. There seemed to be at least 200 seats left, if not more. How can R.E.M. not sellout a 3,000 seat venue in a town with at least 2 colleges within walking distance of the show?

The band was a little more talkative than at MSG. I guess they're starting to move on from the election results. We were in the 5th row, right smack in front of Peter. I love watching him play guitar. Anyone over 40 that does Pete Townsend kicks while playing the banjo is O.K. by me. It looked like someone really pissed him off during the encore. Peter got the attention of the security guy and pointed him to someone in the crowd. Peter came up to the front-center of the stage and pointed right at the kid (all while continuing to play). The security guy jumped the barrier, grabbed the kid and gave him a rather stern looking talking-to and sat his ass in a chair. Didn't throw him out though. The kid stayed for another song or two, then left. I'm not sure what he did that merited such attention from Peter, but wasn't enough to get him thrown out. The kid looked totally wasted. Probably shoving people around trying to get up front.

We saw a few songs we hadn't seen yet this tour, including "Rockville" (w/ Mills on lead vocals), "Finest Worksong" (the opener) and "I've Been High" (zzzzzzzz). "Rockville" was worth the drive to Pittsburgh by itself. I could hear "Life And How To Live It" every day and not get bored with it.

We drove around after the show looking for a gay bar to hang out in. It was a quick reminder of how spoiled we are here in DC.

Did I mention that we got to watch some Duquesne basketball players working out? That didn't suck.

Off to see Muse at 9:30 tonight. If I didn't already have a ticket, I'd probably bail. It should be a good show though. Don't know anything about The Zutons. The clips on Amazon aren't exactly making me rush to get there early.

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