So you know those Segway two-wheeled gyroscopic scooters that you sometimes see old people, cops, and next-level-dorks riding on the sidewalk? The battery-powered things that were unveiled a few years ago by a famous inventor, with much fanfare, only to sort of putter out because they’re expensive, not particularly utilitarian, and geekier than using a metal detector to collect nickels and dimes on the beach?
Well those things were our answer to the question “how are we gonna take the stage in Boston this time?”
It’s part of an ongoing Guster quest not to up-the-ante with every hometown stage entrance, but just to keep the joke from dying. A sideways move, every time. The old college try. Hangin’ in there.
So both nights this weekend (apologies to anyone who went to both shows) we took the stage after cruising through the crowd on Segways while wearing helmets and shiny new Members Only jackets that Joe bought at Filene’s. Joe stepped up, pitched this idea as a package deal a few weeks ago (meaning, we should take the stage on those ridiculous Segway scooters while wearing Members Only jackets) and in a brazen moment of asserting his in-the-bandness made the executive decision to purchase the last four Members Only jackets off the rack at Filene’s in New York using the band credit card last week. Thirty bucks per jacket. Job well done, Joe.
They make you watch a 17-minute informational Segway training video before you’re allowed to get on one. And they’re addictive. After two days of cruising the industrial wharf of South Boston on my rental Segway, I find it hard to live without one. Impossibly fun, as the following photo suggests. This is the exact face I was making during our Pancake Mountain taping:
I managed to play both shows without ever taking the helmet off. And Adam managed to get through the weekend without ever saying a word except when he was singing. Doctor’s orders. It’s the only way to soothe the savage breast of laryngitis… did anyone else catch that amazing typo in the Boston Globe’s review of our show?
UPDATE 8/15: It wasn’t a typo! It’s from an old quote: Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.
My mistake. Just because I use the word “savage” to modify the word “beast” doesn’t mean it can’t also be used to describe boobs.
What is happening in this picture?
I know it seems like an overzealous fan jumped up on stage at Wolf Trap in Virginia the other night and did the “I’m on stage for a split second” freak-out dance, only to have that split-second masterfully caught on camera before security and/or Scooter whisked her away… but the truth is it’s a picture of Katie, the girl at Wolf Trap whose job it is to interpret our lyrics in sign language for … our… deaf fans?
Anyway before it seems like I’m complaining and/or insensitive and/or about to get whisked away by Scooter, let me say that we’ve experienced the side-of-the-stage-signer a few times before at Guster concerts, and we’re totally into it — in fact it might make us a little too happy. Apparently, during the second line of “Manifest Destiny” when Ryan dropped the F-bomb, me and Joe were both craning our necks over to the side to see what Katie was gonna do. She did crack a smile, but I didn’t see her insert her right index finger into an O formed by her left hand and push it in and out a few times the way I thought she would. Later in the set, Ryan sang the rap theme from “Revenge of the Nerds” over a generic beat to see if she could keep up with him, and because he has it memorized.
After the show we met Katie, who confessed that she liked our band and knew most of the lyrics without the help of her little teleprompter or whatever was feeding her the words. She even told me she’d done some set list research to prepare for the concert, and that there seems to be 10 songs we play every night, and then about 20 others we rotate into the remaining 9 or 10 slots in the set. Jesus, are we that predictable? No! We made Katie sign the Revenge of the Nerds rap. Because Ryan has it memorized.
The two shows Tuesday and Wednesday night in Virginia were probably the hottest shows (temperature-hot) I can ever remember, with the exception of the in-store we did last week in Indianapolis. Josh, feeling exceptionally bold due to 48 hours of heat-stroke and the news that he might get to play keyboards Thursday night on Conan with us, has demanded that he get his own fan, paid for by Guster Inc., to keep with him at the monitor desk.
Scooter has a theory that Josh is just acting up because he’s upset that Scooter has a photo on the front page rotation of guster.com now and Josh doesn’t.