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Archive for the ‘Wells Fargo Center’ Category

[ATTENDED: April 7, 2019] Muse

Three years ago (I can’t believe it was that long), I saw Muse at this very arena.

It was an incredible spectacle.  And I knew that I would see them again if they came back.

And here they were.

The last tour was in support of their Drones album and it was a marvel of technological excess–drones floating all over the place and marvels of wirelessness.

They had said that this album and tour was meant to more humanizing.  But that did not mean less spectacle! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 7, 2019] SWMRS

I was unfamiliar with SWMRS when I heard they were announced as Muse’s support act.

They formed in 2011 as Emily’s Army.  They recorded two albums under that name, then changed it  to SWMRS.  The band features brothers Cole and Max Becker (They are both singers and guitarists, with Cole taking more lead vocals (and hypeman) and Max playing more lead guitar).  The drummer is Joey Armstorng (obligatory mention that he is Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong’s son).  They also have had Joey’s brother Jakob on rhythm guitar.  Brother-to-no-one Seb Mueller is the bassist.

But it was their politics that made me excited to see them.  From a bit in Rolling Stone:

the subversion of patriarchy is part of what drives the band. They are a product of their respectively progressive upbringings in Oakland, where the young band members grew up loving riot grrrl and entrenched in feminist teachings. “I became aware at a pretty young age that I was benefiting too much from the patriarchy,” Becker, a current Berkeley student, explains. “It’s one of those things where you don’t think about it until you play a hundred shows and only see aggressive, hyper-masculine dudes crowd surfing on top of 14-year-old girls. We feel like it’s our duty to uplift the voices that aren’t as easily heard as ours.”

That’s pretty awesome.  And an encouraging sign for the youth of tomorrow. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 1, 2018] Radiohead

I have never really seen a band two times close together.  Sometimes with smaller bands if they are playing two clubs, but never a stadium show.

But I had already gotten my Radiohead ticket for WellsFargo, so I was sure as heck not giving it up.

I saw Phish twice on the Baker’s Dozen run–two shows 16 days apart.  Now here was Radiohead 21 days apart.  For some reason their tour didn’t go NY to Philly, it went NY to Canada, to Ohio to Boston and then to Philly.  This was a cool way to see the band twice with some decompression time in between gigs.

Strangely enough, these tickets which were literally at the side of the stage–I was parallel with the gap between the stage and the crowd and 23 rows back–and they actually cost more than the General Admission floor seats at Madison Square Garden (although the fees at MSG were more, so these tickets were technically cheaper when all was said and done).

Since I had trouble getting to the arena for Pearl Jam, I decided to leave work a bit early, drive in and beat the inevitable traffic.  Which meant I arrived 45 minutes before the gates opened.  Duh.  So I sat in the car and continued my book.

Then I went in and got some merch that hadn’t been available at MSG and found my seat.  As with the MSG show I was surprised at how uncrowded it was.  I guess many people didn’t care about Junun.  But when the lights went down for Radiohead, my section (and everywhere else) seemed full.

I had a pretty great view of the stage (except for one lighting pole which was directly in my view of whomever was up front (usually Thom).  I also couldn’t really see the screen in the back (which was ok) and the lights are obviously very different from off to the side instead of head on.

But what was most important was the music.  And despite what I thought was a terrible sound for Junun, Radiohead sounded amazing once more   The music was crystal clear and powerful without being too loud. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 7, 2016] Pearl Jam

2016-08-07 18.26.10After the excitement of seeing Pearl Jam at the Wells Fargo Center, we were psyched out of our minds to go to Fenway.  I didn’t realize that Fenway has a regular concert series.  I’d assumed that Pearl Jam were the first band to play there–they weren’t–but that didn’t detract in any way from the coolness of the venue.

Neither of us are baseball fans, although when I lived in Boston two decades ago, I did attend a couple of games at Fenway because it is a landmark (and when I was a kid I loved baseball, so duh).  But we knew that the venue would make the show even more special.

We’d have loved to have gone to both shows, but unlike some people, we couldn’t get tickets for both nights.  However, through a small piece of luck, I won tickets to a screening of Friday night’s show on Saturday night.  What?  Well, each night is filmed.  So the film crew filmed Friday night, then edited the footage together and had it ready on the next night as a really nicely edited package at the House of Blues (across the street from Fenway) on Saturday night.

It seemed kind of dumb to go to a music venue to watch a movie.  And Sarah and I were skeptical about going.  But we did and we had a  great time.  I’ve watched live DVDs and it’s always an okay thing to do–fun, but never like you were really there. But this was different. Having a group of some 600 people in a club–with bars and good lighting and excellent sound–it made it feel (almost) like a real concert.  And even though we laughed at the people who were clapping and cheering (as if the band were actually there), and taking videos of the screen (my battery died or I would have grabbed a few screen shots too), we were caught up in the excitement on several occasions as well. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 28, 2016] Pearl Jam

pjphilyWells Fargo Center is becoming one of my favorite venues.  Not because the acoustics are so good (although they are pretty good), but because now I’ve seen three of my favorite concerts there: Rush, Muse and now Pearl Jam.

I’ve been a fan of Pearl Jam for nearly their entire 25 years of existence.  I loved their first few albums, lost my way a bit in the late 1990s and then came back big time in 2001 when I enjoyed listening to their Live bootleg series.   Their live shows sounded amazing–super long, playing different songs every night–and making all of their songs sound more alive than on record.  They just sounded amazing.

And yet I had never seen them.  I should probably have gone on the 2003 tour but didn’t.  And then I met Sarah and Pearl Jam was one of her favorite bands, but she’d never seen them either.  Since we’ve been married they’ve toured near us 6 times.  We had some excuses of little babies for a couple of those tours, but we should have certainly gone in 2013.

Well, here it is, their 25th anniversary tour and Sarah and I finally got to see them.  And, although I do wish we’d gone before, was it ever worth the wait. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 31, 2016] Muse

2016-01-31 19.03.02I have liked Muse since their debut album, although I really got into them with Origin of Symmetry.  Given their over the top sound and Radiohead meets Queen meets really heavy metal I am astonished that they are as popular as they are.

I wished that I had seen their previous tour because I really liked their last album, and while I enjoyed Drones, it was a bit more basic than the over the top sound of The 2nd Law.  Nevertheless, I was pretty excited to see them live, especially when my friend Joe said they were the best show he has ever seen.

And I have to concur with him.  This show was outstanding.  There was nothing disappointing about this show at all.  Even before the show started, they had a Drone Processing Entrance for anyone with general admission seats (I didn’t know there was such a thing, but they all got to stand on the floor inches from the band, which is pretty cool).  2016-01-31 19.23.49The stage setup itself was spectacular–a circular stage with two catwalks extending out to either side–like a bow tie–which guitarist/singer/superathlete Matthew Bellamy and bassist (and growler) Chris Wolstenholme ran to throughout the show.

2016-01-31 20.15.57Just before the band came out, a dozen stormtrooper-looking guys with batons and blue glowing lights came out to “patrol” the perimeter while they played “Straight Outta Compton.”  And then the lights went out.

The giant orbs lit and up descended from the rafters while the prerecorded “Drones” played.  These drone balloons had lights on the bottom which scoped out the audience.

And then the band came out and launched into “Dead Inside” while the drones floated around above them.  It was cool to see Wolstenholme’s bass with the led lights on the fretboard.  And before I forget, drummer Dominic Howard is a monster.  His set was right in the center of the stage anchoring the whole business. And his drums were loud and impressive and super fast when needed.  I also liked that at the end of the show, he ran to both sides of the bow tie stage to wave to fans. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 31, 2016] X Ambassadors

2016-01-31 19.33.02I have had a great string of luck with opening acts in the last year.  But that more or less came to an end with X Ambassadors (the first half of the tour had Phantogram as the opening act, whom I would have been pretty psyched to see).  I didn’t know X Ambassadors at all before seeing this show (although I understand that they have a number of singles out).

It’s not that X Ambassadors were bad, because they weren’t.  It’s not even that they didn’t fit with Muse, although really they don’t.  There was just something flat about them.  And that is really surprising because they sure looked and acted like they were ready to be huge.

They played the center circular stage.  Noah Feldshuh on guitar was at 9:00 as I looked at the stage.  Keyboardist Casey Harris was at 6:00 and drummer Adam Levin was at 3:00.  Lead singer Sam Harris was all over the place.  He ran around, jumped and bounced and really got the crowd into it.  I assume they were into it.

Sam Harris has a great voice–he can wail, he can hit high notes, he can croon, he can do it all.  He might as well be a star on a TV music show.  And I think that’s where the problem with the band is for me. They are playing a show with Muse and they have a sound that is kind of heavy.  But I think they’d be better suited with a less “alternative” rock sound.  I think an RnB vibe would suit his voice better. (more…)

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