a trip back in time to bradland...
July 12th, 1997
St. Andrew's Hall: Detroit, Michigan
I am going to attempt something I have never done before: write up something about a concert I attended three years ago. Ok, not exactly three years ago, but just about damn it! Perhaps I am just anxious for the 2000 Pearl Jam tour...or perhaps I just want to practice and perfect my writing for the 2000 tour. Who cares. I will try to re-tell the events of July 12th as best as my old mind will allow me. LOL. Haha ok, I hope I don't make too much of an ass out of myself with this little diddy...
- Jess (July 4th, 2000)
I remember being super exciting to see Brad...and obviously because my "Pearl Jam favorite" of the time, Stone, was in the band. We were all pumped about seeing not only Brad, but Foo Fighters later in the week. It was a cool concert-filled week and we were ready from it...as we were fending off summer boredom.
Originally, I believe Ryan and I were the only ones who were supposed to go to this show out of my household. We wanted to hang out and see if we could meet up with any of the Brad band members. We got there fairly early and there was a girl and guy who had literally been waiting on the steps of St. Andrew's Hall all day. My parents parked their car and wanted to wait with us for a bit, so they let us off and Jennifer, Ryan, and I waited by the steps and we were talking to the two people in line. It turned out that they had met the band earlier and got signatures and stuff.
A couple of whiles later, a really cool looking dude with grayish, short hair came out smoking a cigar. He introduced himself as Smitty to all of us and we all shook his hand. Turns out he was playing Brad road manager in 1997. Smitty, Smitty, Smitty, I love that guy! So we were shooting the shit with Smitty and he goes into complaining about how his new modem won't work for his laptop because they forgot to include the drivers for it. So my sister and I ask him what kind of modem he had gotten and it was a US Robotics something or another...that we had coincidentally just gotten as well. Since it was kickass Smitty and all, my sister and I convinced my parents to drive back home to Royal Oak, get the drivers and bring them back for Smitty. Smitty was smitten with us...he couldn't believe we would drive all that way to help him out with his modem problems.
Ryan and I hung out while everyone else went home. Eventually we ran into some people we knew...Jeremy, Jeremy's friend Amol, and some of my sister's friends. Finally, as the crowd had gathered, waiting for the show to start, my family came back with the software. Someone tracked down Smitty for us (hey, he is an important guy and he had shit to do, he couldn't chill with us all day on the steps of St. Andy's!) and he went on the bus and loaded the drivers...and they worked! Smitty was so grateful, he hooked my family up with four tickets for the show, an assload of Brad stickers, two cd copies of interiors, and a backstage pass from the show the night before in Chicago. You could imagine at this point, I was flying on cloud 9!
The balconies of St. Andrew's Hall were occupied by tables...and since Ryan and I wanted to record the show, we figured a table would be the way to go. (I tell you, thinking about this now, I regret it...the floor at St. Andy's was so very empty...I should have been down there!) Ryan and I convinced my mom to buy us a shitty Sony analog recorder for the night (hey, when you're 16 and don't understand the total concept behind quality recordings, a shitty analog recorder makes your day) and then we would allow her to take it back for us. LOL what a bunch of dorks.
At the time, I was kind of bored by Verbow...but I know they had a string player...violin or cello, I can not remember a damn thing...but I wish I would have appreciated them more now. I used to play the violin but quit after my freshmen year of high school to pursue drafting classes...now that I have distanced myself from the instrument, I really respect musicians that play my choice instrument...
I do not remember much about Brad performing...mostly because I was worried about getting a "good" recording. And boy oh boy, Ryan and I sure did have a fight in the middle of the show about the recorder. I am so surprised you can not hear us fighting like 10 year olds on the tape. Who knows, maybe you can, but I just never listened for it.
I was indeed amazed by seeing Stone Gossard "so close." The only other time I had seen Stone at that point was at the Pearl Jam show in Toledo in 1996. People were really enjoying the show all around though.
If I am not mistaken, sadly, Brad performed the same setlist every night...opening with Upon My Shoulders...and continuing onto Lift. 20th Century was a crowd pleaser. Buttercup sent chills up my spine and I appreciate that song so much more after seeing it live. It is one of those songs I will listen to in my dorm room, late at night, with the Christmas lights on or no lights on and just close my eyes and listen to it over and over and over. Beautiful song. At the time, my favorite song was The Day Brings. I think Ryan was digging Secret Girl at the time. Unchained sure was a surprise (internet reports weren't mad crazy like they are now, so it was a surprise to us)...but I was never into Van Halen, so I didn't even know what song it was until Ryan told me. Doh. 10 lashes. I was sad to go when the show ended because I had no idea when the next time I would see anyone from my favorite band in concert again. Lucky for me, it was less than a year before I gained the chance of a lifetime to see Pearl Jam 10 times on one tour at the age of 17.
After the show was another story. I think that was the same night at the New Edition (the reunion tour...remember that?) concert and they let out at the same time, so my parents were stuck in traffic and I freaked out because I used to freak out in situations like that. So I was a bad girl and I yelled at my parents for something they couldn't help...and then I think the cheap recorder ate the master copy of the show so I had a mental breakdown in the car afterward. My, how we grow. Or so I hope I have!
My sister ended up talking to Smitty online for a couple of months...but life goes on and Smitty had more important things to do than keep in touch with a 14 year old girl. I ran into him in 98 at the Constitution Hall show...he claimed he remembered...I hope he remembered me like he said he did. But nevertheless, he was an awesome guy and took the time to talk to me even though he had other things to do...and memories of Smitty (seeing him onstage setting up in 98 for one thing) always put a smile on my face...what a nice guy, that Smitty character.
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