Some people have started to point out that I’m wearing the same t-shirt on stage two nights in a row a lot on this tour. I did it in Detroit/Milwaukee and I did it in Chicago/Minneapolis last week. You all don’t know what it’s like on the road though… the bus lulls you to sleep while you’re wearing what you wore on stage, you wake up and you have things on your mind other than “changing your clothes” and the “ever-darkening pits of your shirt.” Who needs life to be complicated and confusing?
My wardrobe aside, we’re trying to make each show more of a unique experience this time around… take Chicago for instance. We showed some dirty underwear to the people of Chicago, in the form of our never-before-seen old “Window” video from May 1995 that we shot as a Northwestern student’s college project on the Chicago Navy Pier. We’ve had it under lock and key for eight years. And it still isn’t quite ripe. Which is to say, we’re still not ready to laugh about it, but we projected it and played along to it even though many of the video’s images are less than flattering.
With all due respect to the video’s director, who was a very ambitious and talented student, we look really young, eager, and stupid in the video. We’re singing to the ocean, arms outstretched, and we’re just so OVERCOME WITH EMOTION while we play the song — I think Ryan does a spin at one point. Also, there is a “story line” going through the video, featuring a hired actor who we never met.
When the song was over (we actually timed it pretty close to the video), the audience laughed, clapped, and snorted, and we opened up the room (the stage, rather) to discussion. Patrick the guest violinist from Blue Merle delivered his line adequately: “Umm, I didn’t get it.” Then we let Joe go on a philosophical odyssey into the mic… he offered Patrick some explanation… I just remember him talking about the protagonist chasing his childhood, man versus nature, loss of innocence, and I swear at one point I heard him say “reverse Oedipal metaphor.” We started playing “Either Way” while Joe was still talking.
In the scintillating climax to “Window,” the protagonist hired actor guy literally chases his metaphorical childhood all the way to the edge of the ocean where his childhood leaps off into the unknown.