Sunday August 6, 2006

MUSE tears the bejeezus out of Atlanta's Tabernacle!



I think I have all the pics ready for that Concert Shots update that's been coming since March. I got everything through May edited while I talked to my Grandmother.

The rest of the day was easier than I usually take it. I wanted to save up my strength for tonight.

We got out to the Tabernacle early. In fact, it was early enough that my pass wasn't at the window. My how a couple of years changes things. MUSE is finally becoming as big in America as they are everywhere else on the planet. When we arrived, there was a line down the block, around the corner and around the next corner. It's one of the longest lines I've ever seen. The show was sold out cold. Scalpers couldn't even find tickets to scalp. Maybe there is some justice in the world (pun fully intended, if'n you get it) if a band like this is finally making headway in the US.

The opening act Cloud Room wasn't that special. They were perfectly competent and not much more. I have to give 'em a few points for trying to be artistic but it did seem like an effort.

Unfortunately, MUSE waited for nearly another hour to come on. I was getting tired of it. I had both cameras on weighing me down (and quite painful). I waited in the pit, admiring the upgrades at the Tabernacle and this killer combo of speaker mains that MUSE had that leaned back like a quarter circle. The way they were meant that the people in the balconies could get at least as good a mix as the people up front. Ingenious I tells ya!

They finally came on with "Take A Bow" from the new record. The lighting was (of course) awful for this portion of the show. Everything went crazy for "Hysteria" though. Jeez, it was loud in the pit. They were rocking. It's hard for me to believe they can give out that much energy every night. "Supermassive Black Hole" followed and the kick drum literally felt like it was kicking me in the chest with each hit. It friggin' rocked. By then, the shoot was up. I found Amanda in the first balcony and we sweated through a couple of songs. It was so unbelievable hot and uncomfortable in there. It was so humid, I thought it was going to start raining inside. I eventually decided to try the 2nd (and top) balcony. It used to be beyond miserable there. But tonight, with the Tabernacle upgrades, it was nice and cool (relatively speaking). On top of that, with MUSE's special speakers, it sounded better than anywhere! We watched them tear through a set that lasted a little over an hour. Right off hand I remember "Starlight", "Soldier's Poem", "Invincible", "Time Is Running Out", "Bliss", "Plug In Baby", "Feeling Good" and "Butterflies And Hurricanes".

The finale of the main show was "Stockholm Syndrome". It was the best single musical performance I've seen this year. Oof! Just incredible. After it had gotten as big and bombastic as possible, they took it over the edge with a whole new riff-heavy section. Wow!

The final song of the night was "Knights Of Cydonia". I like the song just fine on record but it takes on a whole new dimension live. The reverbed out vocals were great and really added to give it that spaghetti western cum surfer metal vibe. It stomped, man!


Overall, I'd say the May Flaming Lips show was slightly better overall and this wasn't quite as good as the last time I saw MUSE but it was still a reminder or just how good the best of the best are in person. Many people say MUSE are the best live band on the planet. I don't know if I totally agree yet but I'm leaning that way.




Saturday August 5, 2006








Since I couldn't really focus on too much today (still sick). I tidied up little things. I got all my DVD / CD weeds and trades caught up and worked on this site a bit (background stuff again). I'm feeling a lot better but I still have to pace myself.

The thing that's sticking with me today is a dream that I had last night. It's weird. My Dad hasn't really "visited" me much since that fateful day in '03 but when he does, it seems to be when I'm sick. Last night he came to me for the first time with a bit 'o' chastising. He let me know that I had let him down in regards to the condition of my Grandmother's yard. He's not happy with it and I have to fix it. I got the message. Now I have to figure out how to make it happen. Sorry, Dad. I was just hoping that someone could step up and help out. It's okay. It's much more difficult but now that I know where we all stand, I'll take on this job too. I may have to go back home to fix it but it WILL be fixed as soon as I possibly can.

In the evening, Amanda and I went to Johnny Carino's and I was able to really enjoy it. I felt a lot better. When I got up to leave the restaraunt, I'd forgotten I was sick and leaped up. A lil' postural hypotension tends to remind one, though. It wasn't too bad. I simply have to build back up and not push too much.

After dinner, Amanda and I watched a Madonna concert from circa 1993. It's a DVD that was filmed in Japan on the Girlie Show tour. I can't tell you how bad and interminable that show was. I could hardly make it through it. I've seen Madonna put on absolutely amazing shows in person (the Drowned World tour was one of the best shows I've EVER seeen) so it's hard for me to believe that she could do something that sucked this much. Well - she can. She did.

I don't need to watch that one again!





Friday August 4, 2006



A year ago today was one of the worst days of my life. My Grandmother was in terrible shape and it didn't look good. She keeps coming back, though. When I've got things difficult, I think at how much she went through to get back to "okay". I'm so proud of her. She's beaten all the odds again.

There's still a hole in my diary for the 3 weeks following her fall. I did take detailed notes and have them stored but still haven't been able to find time to catch up with those weeks. One day. It's on the list.

In the meantime, I've got to get myself back together. I still feel bad today but I'm definitely better than I was last night. Frank, Joe and I got back together again today to rehearse. If you're keeping track, that's 4 rehearsals in the last 6 days. And he's working on his own. If Frank and Mike were here for these rehearsals, we'd really be smoking right now. Alas, 'tis not the case.

But it's getting there for Joe.

Now I just wanna get well enough to be able to enjoy the MUSE show this Sunday!



Thursday August 3, 2006





Ugh, the sore throat's much worse. I tried to sing in the morning and I sounded like a wounded sea lion. This is NOT good. I don't cancel shows lightly but I think I have to. I was debating it and called Mike to get his opinion. He was working down on the coast of South Carolina and has injured himself. He's apparently sliced deeply into his hand. He told me that he had planned to tape the drum stick into his hand and hope for the best. He still hasn't been to the doctor and he hasn't eaten in 24 hours. He says he might go to the urgent health care facility. Between that and me not being able to sing, I decided to reluctantly pull the plug.

The Winter Sounds (who were the headliner) and Tasty World were both extremely nice about it but I still feel bad.

Here's my full statement that I sent out.

"August 3, 2006


I hope your day's going better than ours so far!

I've got some bad, bad news from our end. I woke up this morning with a terrible sore throat and just can't sing. Out of the 500 or something shows I've done in my life, I've only cancelled one to date but I've got to add another one tonight. I don't know what else I can do...

You have no idea how much I hate doing this. I don't take this kind of thing lightly. If there was any other option, I'd probably take it.

As an added "bonus", when I called Mike up to get his opinion, it turns out he was slowly making his way to an Urgent Care facility to get his hand stitched up. Between having a singer with no voice and a drummer with one hand, we decided it was in everyone's best interest to drop out of this show (we're not Def Leppard after all).

Today is just not the Critical Darlings day.

We did have something special in the offering for this evening.

We had planned on unleashing the newest Darling tonight. Since we've last performed, we've taken on Joe Orr as a second guitarist / vocalist. We wanted to surprise everyone by just showing up with him tonight but it ain't a-gonna happen so I might as well let the cat out of that there proverbial bag.

Joe's a New Jersey transplant who just moved to the Athens area. I've only worked with him for a couple of days now but I can already tell you that with him on board, we can do nearly any song we want to do with all the flourishes and harmonies of the recordings. It's gonna be incredible to get out and do the more lush arrangements for the first time. It's a whole new beginning as far as I'm concerned. While I've enjoyed doing the stripped down, 3-piece thing, I'm so much more excited about not having ANY limitations on us.

Please, please, please allow us to make up for cancelling out tonight sometime soon. We promise we'll make it worth the wait!

Thanks for understanding.


At least I was able to get my pics from last night edited and uploaded.

To see the Fiona Apple pics, click here.
For David Garza, this is the one.

Since Frank took time off of work and came into town, he and I got together with Joe for rehearsal. We worked up "Waiting For The Siren" into a cool, 2-guitar arrangement. Everything else is coming together nicely too. Joe's learned my material faster than anyone else ever has. I can't wait to show it off!

At the beginning of the rehearsal, I was okay...just dealing with the sore throat. A couple of hours, I felt AWFUL. After Joe left, Frank, Amanda and I went to Ryan's for some comfort food. I felt worse and worse. By the time we left, I didn't even know if I could make the drive back home. I did. I'm still not running a fever or anything but I sure feel like it!


I should be rockin' and here I am on a couch feeling like something on the bottom of a shoe.



Wednesday August 2, 2006

Fiona (or as I like to call her, Finola) Apple practices her primal scream therapy at Chastain Park.


Hmmm...I woke up this morning with a bit of a sore throat. I feel okay but this still ain't a good thing.

As the day progressed, it got worse. I made it out to the David Garza / Fiona Apple show at Chastain. Fiona was being difficult but passive (to photographer). Since she was passive, we still got all we needed. She was in fine form tonight. She was yelling things off-mic, smashing her hands and generally throwing a semi-tantrum. She never did cut totally loose or meltdown but she shouted her way through some of the ballads which didn't do much for her usually impeccable sense of melody. I felt worse and worse from my sore throat as it went along. After about an hour or so, I couldn't stand the combination of feeling worse and seeing someone's petulance at a high decibel level. She was pretty good...but not that good. I've always wanted to see / photo her. It's too bad it wound up being tonight. I don't imagine that I'll go to the effort that I went through today to see her again. For the record, her fans seemed to goad her temper on and be totally enraptured with everything she did. So maybe I just don't get it.

Pre-show, I saw Aaron and his lady. As you'll recall, Aaron and his friend Jerry recently moved to Athens from Connecticut to start a new band and if my schedule ever gets back under control, we're going to see if we can't do something different. I don't know what (if anything) will come of it but it could be good to get out of "my world" a bit.

Right now, though, my world feels like crap and I just want to rest.



Tuesday August 1, 2006






Today I did my best to do some catching up. I didn't get far enough. I edited more pics for the impending (I promise) Concert Shots update and did a lot of the behind the scenes work.

There's really not much to say. I wasn't feeling all that great so I took it easier than I have been. I hope it's just exhaustion that I can get over quickly as I'm looking forward to unveiling Joe on Thursday night at Tasty World.



Monday July 31, 2006



I spent the morning editing my pics of Pete Best and his band from last night. If you wanna check out the pics, all you gots to do is click here. I think I did a pretty good job considering the lighting pretty much sucked. Everyone involved was cool, though, so I was able to do whatever it took to get usable images. Thanks again.

Joe and I got together in the afternoon to begin working on the songs in earnest. I basically gave him the album and 1 additional CD that has most of the live staples that didn't make the record. From there, he's kind of choosing which ones to do. That's why songs like "Wide Bicycle", "(Save It For) Another Day" and "I Know Too Much" are getting a higher priority than I would probably give 'em. We can do 'em all so we might as well make it as easy as possible on Joe. He also busted out a couple of covers including "A Hard Day's Night" and "I've Done Everything For You". We used to know those. Who knows? They may reappear. But not until everything else falls into place. I did push a bit for him to go ahead and start working on "Give Up Town." It's probably the hardest one for him (between the guitar and vox) and it will be so cool to have it will all the harmony guitars back! I'd forgotten just how intricate a lot of the songs were when broken down for two guitars. I've been doing most of it myself and serviceably but it's a whole different ball game this way.

Click here for last week with Beatles, Griffins, whale sharks, Editors, Stamoses and Beach Boys...