Monthly Archives: November 2002

11.30.02 – Philadelphia, PA

Oh how they danced….


STEP 1.) Receive an email from a girl named Melissa who reminds you that your Philly show happens to be on the first night of Hannuka (also spelled Channukkahh) and requests you sing “Dreidl Dreidl Dreidl” to mark the occasion.

STEP 2.) Ask Moria in the Guster Office if anyone can build a ten foot paper mache menorah to be lowered from the ceiling of the Electric Factory in time for the show.

STEP 3.) Read email aloud at the Philly show.

STEP 4.) Launch into Dreidl Song while some union guy lowers gigantic menorah, built by Moria’s mom’s art class, from ceiling of club. Pray no one suffers a head injury.

STEP 5.) Have the youngest member of your band spew some Hebrew into the microphone. It doesn’t matter if you spew a Passover prayer, no one knows the difference.

STEP 6.) Have SWOOP, the Philadelphia Eagles’ mascot come on stage to “light” the menorah with a toilet plunger.

STEP 7.) Have your lead singer plug in wiring that illuminates two of the candles at the moment SWOOP’S plunger makes contact with the menorah.

STEP 8.) Launch into “Either Way,” your big power ballad.

It was nice to pull off a stunt like that relatively smoothly after the Hammerstein debacle. Many thanks to Moria’s mom for all her hard work. Those of you who plan to try this at one of your own rock concerts might want to reference the helpful photos below:





For the encores we asked our friend Rachel to join us and play fiddle while her face was obscured by a microphone. She agreed to the conditions and we played “Jesus On The Radio” (aka Joe Song) and “Window” with her. Our friend Todd was on stage painting us for the second half of the set too, in case any of you were wondering who the guy painting us was.

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11.28.02 – New York, NY

Pictures are few and far between in the road journals these days. I blame Macintosh for not believing in floppy drives, and I blame Guster, for making me use this antiquated digital camera that stores (up to fifteen!) photos on a floppy disc, like bread inside a toaster oven.

That being said, if we’d been snapping shots of our Hammerstein show, we would have captured many things:

* Probably our tightest performance of the tour. We played the new songs really well and didn’t fuck up as much as we usually do on the old songs. Ryan seemed to be losing his voice towards the end of the night, but I don’t really have much of his voice in my monitor mix.

* A bunch of camera guys on stage with us. What was up with that? I guess someone is gathering material for a Guster DVD or something. I wanted to attempt a karate chop on the guy encroaching on me the whole set, if only I could karate chop.

* The SINGLE MOST DISASTROUS FOUR MINUTES IN THE HISTORY OF OUR BAND. I blame our execution, not our hearts, which were in the right place. And Macintosh. I blame them. Anyway, our attempt to bring someone on stage to sing Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” along to the cheesy shoot-ten-an-hour karaoke video that we purchased for the occasion went awry. The cocky “You Want Me To Play With You At Hammerstein” email we read from Trip Clonan landed no Trip Clonan’s in the audience, so we dragged a girl on stage from the front row who clearly didn’t know Wicked Game, and gave her a microphone. At least we had a fifteen foot muppet-show hook with which to yank her off the stage.

We couldn’t hear the pre-recorded karaoke track well enough to play along with it, the girl seemed to be drunk and/or onstage with Guster for the first time, and the episode was the most flatulent we’ve seen since our Great Escape lip-synch gag sailed over the heads of Worcester like a Rick Ankiel fastball a few years ago at the Palladium. Actually, when the matzah-filled pinata of Ryan’s head fell from the 930 Club ceiling and nearly dislocated his shoulder during Pesach 2000 — that was a low point too.

Anyway, swing and a miss on the karaoke gag. We’ll swing even harder in Philly.

> hey guys, what’s goin on?
> I heard you read the letter i wrote to you asking if i could get on
> stage and play with you at the Hammerstein concert last wednesday. I was so pissed i wasn’t their, I missed my flight home from school and couldn’t make it home till midnight, anyway, hopefully another time. Thanks for thinking of me though, that was really chill.
> Trip

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You know you’re part of a good operation when people bring huge signs to your shows suggesting your office employees run for president. I think Moria would be tough on terrorism but I’m not sure she was upset enough about the recent decision to loosen industrial pollution standards for my taste. Now, let’s talk about abortion…

Loyola’s crowd was kind to us but Poughkeepsie got the better show. The usual excitement and energy of an opening night but somehow missing the sloppiness that should come with it. We saved that for Baltimore.

Now we’re in North Andover and there’s an Osbourne’s marathon on the tee vee. The dog just shit on the floor and Sharon wants to get rid of it. Bye.

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11.20.02 – Bearsville, NY

We’ve been practicing our instruments for the last three days up here in Bearsville NY. New songs, old songs, good songs, bad songs, Guster songs, Steely Dan songs… rule nothing out on this tour.

This is our first ever guitar tech, Larry:

Like most guitar techs we’ve met in the past, Larry began to play the music from level 2 of Super Mario Bros on the guitar as soon as he picked one up in front of us. And like most guitar techs we’ve met in the past, Larry went right into the Simpson’s theme song from there. Welcome, Larry. At least we didn’t make you take off your shirt and hold a banana in your first website photo.

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