It seems like nearly everyone I met in the crowd had traveled at least 5 hours to see these shows. Tonight I met more people from Los Angeles and even people from Ontario!? What? Canadians crossed the border, and exchanged their currency to see a band from Canada? I think that is just fabulous.
The opener tonight was Said the Whale which was like a breath of fresh air after the last two nights. You should check out their song Camilo.
So, every time I hear the song Manifest I think of when it came out and I lived in this really shitty basement apartment at Emory University with these four frat guys living above me. But in the middle of the afternoon one day I started hearing the Weakerthans through the heating vents. Was this really happening? I want to call requests through heating vents, and hear them answered with a whispered "no". Was one of these "dudes"actually a Weakerthans fan? I had never met a Weakerthans fan before that had not been converted by me. What a special and random coincidence.
And when I hear Reconstruction Site I think of Stu Reid who has a radio show in Winnipeg called the Twang Trust. He once told me that one of his favorite lyrics are:
And his father laughed and talked on the long ride home
And his mother laughed and talked on the long ride home
and he thought about everyone dies someday
and when tomorrow gets here where will yesterday be
and fell asleep in his brand-new winter coat.
So, tonight Stu, I thought of you when they played his song.
I do have a question about this song for JKS that maybe I will ask one day. I want to know if he was stealing batteries from smoke alarms to use in his effects pedals? This was always a common occurrence at our home.
I guess I should focus and write more about the show. Of course it was really amazing. I think the new guy has settled in and feels comfortable. It was a relaxed show and the most crowded of all of the nights. Again, I love how nice the crowd is to each other. As we each file in for the third night in a row, like homing pigeons we all settle into our regular spots early and we look around and there is a camaraderie like "Hey, I know you".
One of the most exciting things to happen during this installment is that audience member Max from LA was asked to jump on stage to play an impromptu solo for Wellington's Wednesdays. And he did an amazing job. As many of you many know this was done at the Burton Cummings theater in Winnipeg on at least two occasions and both were great, but I think Max kinda kicked those solos asses tonight! Way to go, Max!
If you have never payed much attention to what Jason Tait adds to the soundtrack that is the Weakerthans, I suggest you change that right now. He is really a multi-instrumentalist and my favorite thing is he makes instruments out of just "stuff". So, not only does he keep the tempo going, his additions really make the show a lot more atmospheric. I am sure after playing these songs a hundred times you have to change something up just to keep sane and the things he adds are pretty darn cool. Night windows, Without Mythologies and Hospital Vespers would not be the same without him.
What I find so comical is when Stephen gets bored and tries out some new little guitar trickery. He is over in the corner with a big grin tinkering with his pedals or guitar and John and Jason look at him like "what the hell are you doing over there?" Last night in particular, unbeknownstto Stephen, Jason was making faces and gestures behind him while he tinkered around with a new part. Sorry to let the cat out of the bag, but it was comical.
JKS once spoke about how he would like to propose concert etiquette, where he said he would prefer photos not being taken at shows. Out of respect for this, when I was in Winnipeg I did not take one photo. You know how hard that was?! But now that we are on my old stomping ground I have snapped a few subtley taken photographs and from down low so no one has to watch the show through my camera lens. I do agree that in the day of smart phones that things really get annoying if you are behind that guy who takes hundreds of pictures without experiencing the live show. Its all about presence... sometimes that means you should put down the camera, close your eyes and listen.
Sadly, tomorrow is the last of the San Francisco installments of The Weakerthans. It makes me want to go ahead and book that flight to NYC. But I won't. Its good to want for things. Its good to always want a little more.