Saturday, October 6, 2012

Adam Ant at Best Buy Theater!

As I stand at the edge of the end of my 20's, I look back at the dozens upon dozens of concerts I've attended, and feel a sense of relief... for I can now FINALLY check something off of my bucket list, I have seen everyone in concert that I desperately wanted to see! This does not mean I will no longer attend concerts and what have you, but it does take away a certain STING of worry or regret I sometimes feel about concerts. 

How did this monumental moment in the MisAdventures of Madame K occur, you ask? What concert was the final lynch pin, the missing puzzle piece to the epic auditory jigsaw puzzle of my life?

Adam Ant. 

Are you surprised? Let me explain... when I was 14 or 15 years old, my favorite Aunt and her husband, my favorite Uncle were on a ski trip in Vermont with me and my family. I had my hair done up in some crazy ass braids, my signature cat eyes were flared out and curled at the ends in true anti-ski trip fashion, when my uncle cocked his head, smiled, and asked me if I had ever heard of Lene Lovich. I said, "No, who's she?" and he explained to me briefly that she was this cool bizarro chick in the 80's who performed some outlandish new wave stuff... and that I reminded him of her. A few weeks later, when I saw my uncle again, he had a small box of cassette tapes from his youth that he thought I may appreciate... The box was my salvation. Inside, I found The Smiths "Meat is Murder", The Cure "Japanese Whispers", and... Adam and The Ants, "Kings of the Wild Frontier". It was amazing to me, the wide variety yet seemingly similar styles of these oddball British men. Adam Ant out of those three tapes really resonated with the teenaged version of me. It was a high octane theater performance! I mean, a British man playing a Native American-sympathizing buccaneer in dandy feathers prancing about as a PIRATE?!? YES PLEASE! The sound was sorta PUNK, it was kind of new wave, it had strange sexuality, and could even be a little dark under the innocent yodel cat calls and barbaric yawps. It wasn't morose, self loathing, or even remotely sentimental. It was upbeat ANGRY music, which, essentially was (and possibly IS) the best way to describe me.

I must've listened to that album a million times, I bought it on CD and on vinyl even though I already had the cassette, and I never got tired of it. Years passed, and while I kept hoping I'd see some scrap of news, hear a rumor about a tour announcement, and even had my heart BROKEN when Adam Ant shared the stage with TRENT REZNOR and I was "too young" to go to such an aggressive concert. Adam Ant never toured... even worse, he seemed to evaporate. I had all but given up on ever seeing him grace a stage that I would be standing in front of, jumping and bopping along and shouting out my own yips and Huh-Uhh-OHOHOH's!

Then around December of 2011 I got a ticketmaster "favorite artist" alert notification that made my heart STOP... Adam Ant was PLAYING NYC! I bought tickets before even thinking. AT LAST I was going to see one of my all-time favorite musicians in concert in February of 2012!

Then he rescheduled the show to October 2012. This is when some of my more seasoned cohorts started the pessimistic grumblings... "He is always a no-show, he's a dead beat, don't get your hopes up..." I had even convinced my super-cool Aunt and Uncle who got me INTO Adam Ant to get tickets to the show, but, they met me with the same lack of enthusiasm. Seeing as how it was February, and the show wasn't for quite a few months, I shelved my dismay and anxiousness and chose to not think about what may or may not occur.  

Life has a way of sneaking up on you, doesn't it? Before I knew it, Adam Ant was about to play his first show in NYC in 15 years. I was absolutely incapable of containing my giddiness. Luckily, neither were his fans! The show was all I had expected... and more. Adam Ant fans came out in throngs, some dressed in their piratical finery, and there was also quite an exceptional number of leather jackets and pyramid studs. The crowd was mostly late 20-somethings and skywards- I basically got the impression that there were two types of people there that night-- the group who lived it, and the group who were too little to live it, but danced to it in their bedrooms knowing one day they WOULD GET TO live it. Well, I was a member of the latter group obviously. 

The show was high energy, with a set of dueling drummers banging away, while Adam Ant was strutting about in his impressive hat, flanked by a guitarist and a distractingly hot woman. When he opened his mouth, and shouted out his first war-cry yelp, I finally got what I was waiting for for all these long years! Years of mental illness, addiction, and alcohol has done little to weigh this dandy juggernaut down, and I am thankful for it! Music doesn't have that sort of fervor anymore. There's not a drop of manic energy in today's pop music, Adam Ant pulled off in two hours what very few modern pop singers can do in the span of an entire career- he got people with reservations to MOVE again, to smile, to sing, to jump, to dance without shame! I saw grown men LEAP into the air and shake their heads! I saw women cheer and chant. It was a bacchanal of musical bliss! There was no frantic teenaged wistfulness present, only pure adrenalin, a happy rage. It was exhilarating and comforting all at once. My face hurt from the grin I wore. He never slowed down either- he ripped through the set like a man on a do or die mission, and for that I was thankful! 27 songs later... and I found myself wishing he'd play 27 more!  

I finally got my moment to dance, to hoot, to holler, and add my voice to the epic chorus of  "Dog Eat Dog" and "Kings of the Wild Frontier". Even more rewarding is that I can finally rest easy and be comforted by the fact that I've seen ever musical icon I admire do what it is they do best, make music. Thank You, Adam Ant! 

Set List:

Plastic Surgery
Dog Eat Dog 
Beat My Guest
Car Trouble
Ants Invasion
Deutscher Girls
Stand and Deliver
Room at the Top
Kings of the Wild Frontier
Whip in My Valise
Vince Taylor
Desperate but Not Serious
Never Trust a Man
Ant Music
Goody Two Shoes
Vive Le Rock
Christian D'Or
Lady/Fall In
Red Scab
Get It On (TRex Cover)
Prince Charming
Physical (You're So)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tori Amos at LPR, (for NPR!)

Every now and then something will remind me that I am blessed, that I am a lucky woman, and that I should be thankful. It's easy to forget to count your blessings and see only what you're lacking, it's the way we are programmed. Luckily for me, these reminders come often with an awe-inspiring grace so as to not shock my system.

I got to see Tori Amos, with an octet in an extremely intimate cabaret style setting at Le Poisson Rouge for the cost of a cocktail.

How did I get so lucky? I enter contests almost everyday, because you can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. I also encourage my friends to enter contests. Yes, I'm that annoying friend. I am relatively realistic about my chances of winning. I know I probably won't win. And as of Monday, October 8th, 2012, I have only won one contest... And it was NOT to see Tori Amos. My friend I encouraged to enter the contest won, which meant I got to be her plus one. Teamwork, people! TEAMWORK!

When we shuffled inside, our NPR tickets in hand, we saw a sea of black linen tables and cloth covered chairs crammed in to the relatively small venue- back to back ledge to ledge. It was unforgivably tight in there, but I liken listening to Tori Amos to an awkward first kiss with a new person anyway, so, it doesn't pay to be shy. Without any hesitations and my good friend in tow, we made our way through the complicated jigsaw of tables 'til I found two open seats at the front stage left, a bit "far" from the piano, and facing the "wrong way" but a good spot nonetheless. I smiled at a man and a woman, and a pair of ladies, and asked frankly, "are these seats taken?"

They were not. As we squeezed in we huffed about the fact our backs were positioned AWAY from the piano, but we remedied that ill immediately by pivoting our forms towards the stage. After having successfully ordered our required two drink minimums, we hunkered down for the imminent estrogen surge.

An audible HUSH fell over the crowd as the musicians took the stage. There were so many gloriously beautiful string instruments awaiting their moment to be plucked. Then just as suddenly as it had come- the silence was immediately broken when Tori Amos entered the small venue. Demurely dressed in a tunic and pants, her fiery red hair down and flowing, with her narrow black frame glasses perched upon her nose, she looked like a mature and composed mother with great taste, who was about to pick her children up from school. This is not an entirely inaccurate description considering what occurred next. We were all her children that night, the music was our lessons, Tori Amos' voice and quirky gesticulations were her coy little ways of telling us she loved us without having to say it outright (the way a good mother can do).

The set was a peppery sampling from her 20 year long career. A diverse blend of playful to melancholic, then romantic, and blends of all these emotions and more. The rapture of the audience was intense and plainly visible. The attendants were all fixated and staring at their ivory tickling siren blinded and enchanted, drifting off towards the jagged rocks of self UN-awareness. I say unawareness because there were many shameless tears, eager grins, and of course ample amounts of lip syncing and head swaying among the crowd. Of course the QUEEN of uninhibited behavior is Tori herself, who had plenty of winks, cocksure grins, grimaces, full body contractions, and a very frank manner of ripping off her eye glasses as if she was about to make a VERY good point (which she always did). She also didn't fail to impress her musical prowess upon us, by twisting her torso and simultaneously playing the grand piano and keyboard, with mics set up at each stand.

She seldom spoke to us, preferring to let the music do the talking, but one of my favorite snippets of dialogue would have to be when Tori revealed to us her daughters compliments as being a "real good cusser". I don't know, it just tickled me.

The show was an enchantment, LPR was like a toadstool ring that I danced and danced in for a few hours and I never even truly suffered from it. It was more than I ever expected to get out of a Tori Amos show, and that says a lot, considering my expectations!

Set List:
Cloud on My Tongue
Fairy Song
Jamaica Inn
Purple People
Snow Cherries from France
Smokey Joe
Putting the Damage On
Taxi Ride
Jackie's Strength
1,000 Oceans
Hey Jupiter