Everclear, Fastball

at the state theatre
June 9, 1998, Detroit, MI

by jennie

Wow. I was stunned at how incredible everclear was!! True I'd seen them just 3 months before, but the shows were no comparison. The Detroit crowd (my first time to Michigan, by the way) was appreciative of the band - only a few items of clothing were thrown on stage. The dancing was insane (blah on the crowd surfers who go up 10 times in a row). The band genuinely seemed to be having fun, played a nice long set ...

Well let's start with the first openers, Fastball. I'd heard the name, and even heard their radio song ("The Way") and one other tune before. They were pretty good though. Catchy tunes, sometimes having the bassist sing, other times the guitarist. That "She, she belongs to me ..." line from that one song is stuck in my head a lot. Anyway, a band I'd like to see again!! Even looking into getting their CD.

The 50 or so minutes following Fastball were pure hell. Marcy Playground - in my opinion one of the worst bands ever (right up there with save ferris, sugar ray, 311, sarah mclachlin, smashmouth, fiona apple ...). They are whiny and droney and monotonous. Relief seemed in sight when they announced, "This is our last song." My friend (cool staffer Sarah!) and I cheered ... until the song lasted for 20 minutes. Blah. This was horrible.

Redemption came with Everclear. To start the set, Art walked on stage (in his customary suit), joined by an accordian player, and began singing the chorus of Santa Monica. This went on for a bit, then the boys launched into So Much For The Afterglow.
Phenomenal energy (and, heehee, I was right up front!! Thanks to some unknown chick & her bf for helping me get - and stay - up there!!), danced and sung to every song.
    So Much For The Afterglow
    Local God
    You Make Me Feel Like A Whore
    Santa Monica
    Everything To Everyone
    I Will Buy You A New Life
    Pale Green Stars
    Heroin Girl
    Fire Maple Song
    California King
    Father Of Mine
    El Distorto de Melodica
    Heartspark Dollarsign
    The Twistinside
    Normal Like You
    Sin City

After the show ... those of you that know me know that Art (singer/guitarist) is something of a hero to me. I know he's just a person, and some would argue not even one of the best. Yet to me he is. He has struggled through so much, and he has prevailed. His lyrics are emotional and touching and encouraging, giving hope and understanding when there seems to be none anywhere else. I was devestated in March when I didn't get to meet this man. I told myself maybe it was better, 'cause what if he was a real jerk? I could have my happy little glorification and go on this way ...

Except tonight, we stuck around ...

First out was Craig (bassist). He was carrying a plate with a piece of cake on it, and his ... escort (not quite a bodyguard, but something like that) was carrying what looked like a bottle of orange crush. "Hi!" I managed. "Howdy!" he said. Then Sarah and I exchanged glances as he struggled to open the bus door. Once he was inside, we berated ourselves for being all stupid and blank. But neither of us had wanted to bother him, poor guy wanted to eat.

Soon drummer Greg came out. I've read lots of stories about how nice he is, but ... well, he must've had a real off night. I asked him to sign our stuff, he said okay (noticed my button - pic of Art with a little heart sticker next to him. He pointed at it and laughed :)). Then I asked for a pic, and as Sarah was taking it, I noticed she had her hand over part of the lens (or so it looked). I pointed it out as she snapped the pic, she asks "do you wanna try another one?" and Greg snapped "no, it's fine," and ran for the bus. Other fans appeared however, and they were ones he'd met before. They started talking, and he was all friendly and nice. Said they had to finish up their roll of film, so he did goofy poses for like 3 pics. hmmm.

Craig came back off the bus, and I asked this time. He was really nice, said sure, but he had to be quick. Posed for pics with both of us, signed our shirts ... he's just a really nice guy!!

Waiting and waiting and waiting ... saw Greg get into a truck and pull away. A truck I thought I'd seen a blond figure get in to. Feeling a crushing of hope, we stayed anyway. Lo and behold, here comes the man himself, Mr Art Alexakis. (He was with the guy from Fastball (I think it was him?) and two others). He might've even said hi first. I asked him to sign our stuff, he replied with a warm 'sure!' and walked over. He too noticed the button.
"What's this?! It's like one of those things that my mom had from when I played little league. Like, 'That's My Boy!' I think she still has it?"
Heehee, I was embarrassed ;). But I asked him to sign it, 'just not on your face!' :) He then signed my first t-shirt, and was like, "Oh, it's one of the White Lightning ones!" so I told him how I'd coordinated it and everything (the creation & ordering of the shirts). For some reason he asked how old I was? When I told him 22, he laughed, something like "Oh wow, you look about 15!" Gee thanks, I sigh (though I should be used to this, I get it a lot). "No, no, you'll appreciate it when you're older!" he assured me. He himself doesn't look a day over ... hmmmm, 30, max. (the man is 36).
Somewhere in there we took a pic. He was a sweetie and gave me a hug. Sigh. Heehee. Will post those pictures soon.

Anyway, that was my second everclear experience. A million times better than the first one, but again, that had a lot to do with the crowd. And maybe the venue too? Here they played the Showplace, which is the same club i go see unknown local bands, a dirty dreary old renovated movie theatre. The state theatre was much bigger, had the floor area, tables, carpet, a huge balcony, detailed statues and designs on the wall ...
Okay, stopping rambling for real now. Go check these boys out!!

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