Saturday, August 24, 2002

HER HARDEST TASK: Becky Bamboo, off to review Rhett Miller's show. Can she do it without being arrested? Let's see:
Let's establish one thing right off the bat - I'm a big chicken. Especially when it comes to famous people. Sit me down next to some random person at dinner and I'll talk their ear off while their eyes glaze over and they quietly pound their head against the table wondering how easy it would be to go for their gun if I mention the Old 97's one more fucking time. But as soon as that same person straps on a guitar and hits the stage... that's it. They become Famous and Important and therefore not interested in anything I would have to say to them.
Got that? Okay.
So wednesday night Jo-Anne and I headed up to the city for an industry promo tour performance by Rhett Miller of the Old 97's (a.k.a. the most beautiful man I have ever seen). I was lucky to get two of a small number of tickets that were released to the public. We were insanely early, but still not the first people there. We quickly grabbed free promo copies of his first single 'Come Around' (a little too cutesy in the verses, but the killer chorus more than makes up for that) and found a table in the corner. Neither of us had ever been to the Cafe du Nord before, so we were trying to figure out where they would set Rhett up to play. I think we settled on the pool table as the most likely spot. It was either that or in front of the bathrooms.
After we'd been there about 20 minutes I saw Rhett (and his wife) walk in. He was quickly surrounded by a few people, who were talking to him and getting stuff signed. Margo and Fluffy Haired Woman (both of whom I have seen at a number of shows before) got their picture taken with him. Jo-Anne offered to take my picture with him (she had borrowed the digital camera from the place she used to work) but seeing as how I am a big chicken, I declined. Yes, I was kicking myself as soon as I woke up the next morning.
At 8 they opened up some doors labelled "Back Bar" and revealed a little stage and concert room. Mystery solved. (Although I would've liked to have seen Rhett up on the pool table.) Jo-Anne and I grabbed our stuff and made a run for the front. We ended up right behind Margo and FHW, with FHW's husband right in front of me. Of course. Because why should I be able to see comfortably?
Rhett came on at about 9:15. He was wearing black dress pants and a white shirt with some funky blue squares pattern on it. His hair was a little shorter than the last time I saw it, but still long enough to do the whole big eyes peering through sweat-soaked hair thing that makes my knees turn to Jello. I didn't write down a setlist (and Margo got the official one), so I'm doing this from memory. He started off with a new song, before doing 'Victoria Lee'. Someone from the audience yelled out "where's Murry?" and he answered that he was in Burbank, but could give him a call. He then said that Murry was probably happier not to be on the promo tour because kissing ass gets really annoying. Then he quickly qualified that statement by saying "unless you're a record or radio person! Then I *love* kissing ass!" before making kissing noises into the microphone. But in a funny way, like he was making fun of the industry people and himself for doing it.
The rest of the show was split about half and half between new songs (standouts being 'The El', 'Pt. Shirley', and 'Four-Eyed Girl', which he called his "love song to myopic girls everywhere") and Old 97's favorites (including 'Designs on You' and 'Wish the Worst'). He told us his favorite joke about a talking cow and little stories about shooting his new video (the British director told him he was a shit actor) and a girl he went out with who gave him a book of suicide notes. I wish all of you could see a Rhett show at the Largo so you would know what I mean when I say he can make the most mundane occurance into a funny story worth hearing over and over again.
He sang the whole show while looking straight at me. Seriously. No.. seriously. Okay, not really. But you know how you're onstage and the lights are blinding you and you just kind of pick a point and sing to it? Yeah, that was RIGHT WHERE I WAS STANDING. Want to know how to make me turn into a big ole puddle of drool and lust? That right there is the easist way. But lights, schmlights. He was singing to me. Especially the lines about being in love with a four-eyed girl. Seriously. No.. seriously. Shut up. He was too!

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