Before I get ahead of myself, I should let you know that I in no way claim to be a "music person." I know what I like and have a reasonable amount of (legally! of course...) downloaded music in my iTunes, but Rolling Stone isn't looking to hire me any time soon. Which is good, because I personally prefer the perks I have here.
For instance, the ability to hop over to the Train concert last night here at the Orpheum. I wouldn't describe myself as a die-hard Train groupie, but hearing their staples I grew up with was a great experience. The second song they played was "Meet Virginia" and once the baseline started I was sold. Front man Pat Monahan's antics onstage are highly entertaining as well - he brings so much adorable, happy energy to his songs that I couldn't help but grin at him through the whole concert. The band picture above does nothing to illustrate his giddy stage presence. During "Drops of Jupiter" in the encore he literally sailed across the sun, arms waving in the air and all. I also have to say that when he covered Aerosmith's "Dream On" he killed it. To be able to hit those high notes after hours of singing onstage with his energy is no small feat, and he gave a great performance. Lead guitarist Jimmy Stafford was also given some pretty sweet solo riffing spotlight time. But I have to say, my favorite part was when Monahan decided to test out the indoor acoustics and chuck the microphone for a song. I expected to have a good time, but I didn't know how much I would be singing along and waving my cell phone in the air like the 16 year olds sitting next to me. And since I listened to Train when I was 16, it made me feel like I'm still relevant.
I saved the opening band for last because they ended up making the biggest impression on me even though they only had about 30 minutes on stage. I knew they were a group started by two brothers (Bear and Bo Rinehart - how great are those names?) from South Carolina and that's about it. What I didn't know is that their music has been featured on The Hills and the feature P.S. I Love You, that they also have 2 other band mates (Seth Bolt and Joe Stillwell) that are childhood friends, and that they all have really really great hair. And then there's the music. I LOVED their sound. My initial impression was that they are to the left of the middle of the Avett Brothers and Sister Hazel, with splashes of The Hold Steady and Nickel Creek. They claim U2, Wilco, Tom Petty, and Pearl Jam as official influences so apparently they don't quite agree with me, but you do hear those bands speak through their music. Like Train, they stated their excitement to be playing indoors after weeks of outdoor concerts and wanted to go unplugged. I could not have been more impressed - they had such an organic, perfectly blended southern grassroots sound that I got goosebumps, and everyone in the theater started circulating outbursts of "SHHH!" when the song started so they wouldn't miss a single note. It was one of those moments of pure musical joy that you can only get live. I think I need to learn how to play the banjo.
Whether you work for Rolling Stone or Cold Stone, if you're in Memphis, music becomes a part of your chemical make-up. Thanks for allowing me to indulge in my first Orpheum concert with you here on the interwebs. Perhaps one day I won't be so star-struck by the things I get to see and do here, but for now I'm perfectly content in allowing myself the excitement that comes with the job. And being able to see all of your great feedback on Facebook, Twitter and the comments section here only fans the flames. So I'll see y'all around!
For more info and touring details for Train and NeedToBreathe, please click the links posted under their pictures for the official websites.