Between getting a ticket from a cop on my way to work, slicing my thumb open at work and my photographer not being able to make it the show I didn’t expect that day to end in any better way. I was childishly naive thinking that I would be able to find parking in Wrigleyville on a Friday night, which resulted in me circling around for about 30 minutes (there’s no way I’m paying $12 to the Wrigleyville Parking Bloodsuckers Inc.), finding a spot four blocks away from the venue, getting completely pissed off and completely missing the opening act. Which was probably pretty good (the act, not me missing it). It usually is pretty good when I miss it. Anyway, Brian Ford & Goulet warmed up the crowd well, the floor was already sticky when I got there and peeps seemed to tolerate the preparations for the very patiently.
It’s when mister Commissioner Crotchbuttons stepped forward wearing a welding helmet with buttons attached according to the name and started speaking in robot voice that I thought that the evening might still turn out to be not too bad after all. After playing with the crowd for a bit, “Commissioner Crotchbuttons” dropped his futuristic skin revealing RJD2 himself, who was as ready to rumble as his fans were.
Let me make a little disclaimer interlude here. I don’t want you guys to think that I’m praising the shit out of all those shows just because I get free passes. In fact, to me every show is pretty awesome, unless the band is being asshole-y and stops the set after a bird craps on them. Or something. I just appreciate people who can create this magic live. Some of those people are true magicians, some are more like apprentices, and therefore shows have different levels of awesomeness. RJD2 certainly belongs to the first category, and awesomeness this night was going off-scale. While visuals weren’t exactly mind-blowing technical-wise, they were pretty damn crazy and included RJ‘s own work as well as scenes from all kinds of obscure movies, from El Topo to some strange Asian action flick (that I now want to see but don’t know what it is). In addition, RJ installed a camcorder pointing on his equipment, so all the DJ Greenhorns out there could enjoy some hardcore DJ pornography. The non-DJ crowd got a kick out of it too when RJ did a cute little Super Mario skit (see video below) – one of the many great crowd interaction moments that occurred during the show. Crowd was pretty… um… interesting – there were two big parts – the suspiciously teenage-looking (and -behaving) one and the much gloomier mature one, occupying the back area and the sides. Both parts were having the time of their lives, just differently. There were, of course, those mysterious (to me) individuals who like watching the entire live show through the tiny screen of their mobile communication device, but I didn’t see too many of them. Most people were dissolving in the show’s hot atmosphere. And RJ kept pouring gasoline of favorites into that fire – “Final Frontier”, “Ghostwriter”, “The Horror” all were there, all were met with screams and jumps and kicks of joy and excitement. RJ was slinging records and flying above his gear with an amazing combination of concentration and seeming easiness, he was obviously having a good time (“a fucking great time”, to be exact). After Commissioner Crotchbuttons appeared again to give RJD2 a much deserved stretch-break, a short but sweet encore followed consisting of an acoustic version of “Making Days Longer” and the always welcome “Good Times Roll pt.2”. RJ thanked the crowd and invited everyone to come talk to him by the merch booth, as approachable as they come.
And I thank RJD2 for the good ending of an otherwise awful day. I even made it home before the snowstorm.
Super Mario interlude