And this is the other word:
When Annyong excitedly told me that Muse would be playing Lollapalooza in August and that it's the closest gig to us they'll be playing for the next two or three years because they're all moving back to England and they'll be writing and recording their next album so they won't be touring for ages and plus Matt&Kate have a new baby and Wolstenbeast and his Mrs will probably have a sixth baby cuz they seem to have one baby for each album and also Dom might get a new puppy so WE HAVE TO GO SEE THEM IN CHICAGO IT'S ONLY AN EIGHT HOUR DRIVE AWAY FROM US WE HAVE TO DO IT and also my friend has to come with us because we played the entire Origin Of Symmetry in the dance classroom lying on our backs at lunch hour and we looooove this band more than anything ever.
(Annyong, hanging around before A Perfect Circle played their set.)
So after I said no a couple times and then broke down into coming up with lame reasons why we couldn't go, I came up with an idea.
You kids get jobs and pay for the trip, and we'll go.
And you know what? They totally stepped up. They did it. They made this trip happen. It was so worth it. It was worth the cost and the drive. (And the stress.)
(Our last road trip in the USA was overshadowed by a lot of anxiety and tears on my part, so I had some hesitation about the whole thing.)
You know what? Our kids are fantastic - funny, cool and goodhearted - and choose excellent friends. Spending a day in a Volkswagen with the three of them was a truly wonderful experience.
Know what else was wonderful? Muse.
(Jethro took the pix. The girls were closer than we were. I had problems with this but it's not a rough crowd. More fanatically enthusiastic appreciative rocking than moshing.)
We've been to a lot of concerts, Jethro and I, over the last 20-plus years. He has been making musicians sound good for a living for his entire adult life. Our standards are very high. Muse didn't just meet our expectations - they exceeded. Even if they hadn't brought the lights and videos and lasers and like, exploding spaceships and stuff, they'd have blown my mind.
They are so technically good, and musically complex plus haavy and on top of that they have a sense of humour. They did a little AC/DC riff between songs and I'm so sure I heard some Rage Against The Machine in there too. Their whole set was gloriously stage-banter-free. Just the basic, thank you, you're a great audience kind of thing. Specifically, "Thank you for coming to see us tonight. We know you had options. You chose the right one." Heck yes we did.
Oh and because this is a ROCK BAND there had to be a guitar getting rammed through the kick drum.
(I think it's ok. It took three techs to get it out of the kick drum and replace the skin, but I'm pretty sure he brought the same guitar back out for the encore. Hey man, rocking is not a gentle art form!)
Also, Hunky Bass Player is lookin' goooood. He's had a rough road of his own the last couple years and he's awesome.
(Annyong and I are trying to remember if someone yelled "Wolstenbeast" during the show. She thought so... then I said, oh, maybe that was me....)
Seeing a band live is an experience. In the olden days we weren't allowed to bring a camera or tape recorder, but in this age of camera phones and gadgets, everybody's recording. (Dern young whippersnappers.) But it's not about that, even though we panicked to get a few pix for the girl. It's about being there for a musical moment that is happening NOW and will never happen exactly the same way again. We can say we were there, loving every second of it.
And I have to say, Musers are a pretty devoted lot of fans. In general, the crowd was there to adore the musicians and jump up and down, singing along, word for word, hands in the air. I've always said I figure it must be the hugest buzz in the world to be a person on a stage having the words you wrote sung back to you by oh, thirty thousand people, give or take a few thousand.
I have a lot more to say, about Muse, about Chicago, road tripping and teenagers, and good ol' America.
Pretty! That's not the moon; it's a Lollapalooza balloon.
But for now, the kids are still coming down off the buzz, and since they just happened to both get this week off work, I'm letting them sleep in.