The Airborne Toxic Event Secret Show in SF

This is the last show in my 2022 concert series, which turned out to be the most intimate and memorable. While I was cementing my The Airborne Toxic Event superfan status, I joined their fan club. Along with a free t-shirt, members are entitled to admission to one secret show per year, one of which was scheduled in San Francisco on Saturday at the Rickshaw Stop.

This club is so secret that no one in my family would join me. I was resigned to go alone. I think I mentioned it to Eddie and somehow I roped him into going with me. I did all the hard work: signing him up, sending him his t-shirt, and telling him the date. All he did was fly coast-to-coast, golf with me in 40-something-degree constant drizzle, and swipe the bill at Che Fico (highly recommended dining in SF).

The show itself was even better than I expected. This was the smallest venue in which I’ve ever seen a band play. My guess was that there were only about 100 people there. The set included many songs they don’t normally play, and also excluded some favorites.

This was one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen and I don’t know if I’ll ever get to see a show like this again. It was super special to enjoy it with my best man/best friend, who also loves live music even if TATE is new to him. If you ever get a chance to see them live, don’t pass it up.

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Coldplay with The Sugars

Yesterday, on the way to work, Anthony and I were listening to people grub for Coldplay tickets. I’ve been so busy, that I didn’t even know they were playing last night. I was already bummed about missing Dave Matthews Band and Black Eyed Peas last weekend (I’ve had a big crush on Fergie for the past couple of years – coincidentally, she has the same birthday as us). Anyway, I went out for lunch and was thinking about Coldplay so I had them cranking on the iPod in the car. Around 4pm, Brian comes over and asks if Grace and I want to see Coldplay that evening – he’s on the phone with Lisa and needs an answer right then. I get Grace on the horn and in about 45 seconds it’s decided. Good decision because I did laundry during the week, so we didn’t have anything to do on our typical Friday night. We had to work out some logistics with our carpools and ended up sending Arthur and Anthony home in Sugar’s 996 because I wouldn’t even consider letting Arthur take my car to the city. The drivers door lock on my poor Audi has not worked since the last time I let Arthur drive it home – he denies any wrongdoing. In any case, can you imagine the punitive damages of me having to unlock and lock the car from the passenger side, every single time i get into and out of the car?

Brian and I met Grace in Palo Alto. They played X-Box in Best Buy while we waited for Lisa to drive down from the city – traffic was bad – boo. Grace helped us bypass the mess on the 101 as we headed back down south to Shoreline. It was my first time seeing a show there, though I’ve golfed there many times. It turned out to be a great outdoor venue. Grace had her first corn dog (much anticipated), while the rest of us enjoyed traditional hot dogs. Brian went double-fisted on white wine.

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen a live show. The last one may have been U2 in 2002 (coincidentally, we ran into the Sugars and the Liens, though I barely knew them then as I had just joined Bluelight). Despite the fact that Craig Weaver thinks Coldplay is very mediocre, I think they’re great. Recently, my DVR was full of Coldplay appearances (SNL, Live8, MTV). In general, I love watching “live” music, even if it is on TV. However, being at a show is uniquely exhilarating. Our seats were fantastic (row N), though they should have been given the 150% markup we paid per $70 ticket. Times have certainly changed (that’s something only old people say) as all of us were a bit skeptical about the tickets Lisa scored from “Mike” which were bar-coded laser printouts from TicketMaster. I know this is the era of Fandango, but it just isn’t the same as having a real TicketMaster stub. I’m still wondering what happens when people bring photocopies. Luckily, our scans were valid and we were granted entry.

Despite being prohibited, like the pot the kids were smoking in front of us, I managed to bring my camera in (I think Brian was too scared to bring his – camera, not pot). I took some pictures, most of which turned out really crappy because a point-and-shoot just isn’t going to do it at a concert venue holding 15K people. Chris Martin helped a little, when he came over to our section. I took some good home movies of him and then this woman gave me her card and pleaded with me to e-mail them to her – I will oblige. Here’s one of us, too (SD500 did a good job with this one).

The show was tremendous. We were as entertained by the band as the woman dancing in front of us. Brian and I continued to debate whether they had already played some of the songs. Seriously, they seem like cool guys who enjoy making and playing music with each other. It makes me think that Gwyneth did really well scoring Chris Martin, especially when you consider his sheer talent versus some of her actor exes. I took video of pretty much the whole performance of “Fix You,” easily their best song (sorry, sound is bad, but gets a little better at the end). For some reason, it stirs extra emotion when I hear them play that song, and seeing it played live was incredible.

I’ll admit that I get extra emotional whenever I see or hear U2 play (anywhere). That’s why I can’t wait to see them with Grace and Jen in October at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Until then, big thumbs up on Coldplay concert. By the way, the paparazzi finally caught up with us on the way out.

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