Saturday, December 30, 2006

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining, Not All Bogs are Mucky, or Hell's Ice Machine Occasionally Works If You Hit It in Just the Right Spot

So, last post was kind of whiny. Although I have every reason to have a serious hate on for 2006, I should probably try to find some of the bright spots of the year to do the requisite "year in review" post.

Personally and professionally, 2006 totally blew. I may have brought a few troubles on myself, but most of my problems were caused when Baby New Year morphed into Chucky about halfway through the year and took his evil wrath out on me. Anyway, since this is not a "personal journal" or work-themed blog, it's lucky for me as a blogger that the few truly good moments of this past year had everything to do with pop culture, specifically music.

The Pop Eye's Top 5 Things That Didn't Suck in 2006:

5. Christmas. I received Totally '80s Trivial Pursuit as a gift. Radical!

4. Pearl Jam at Continental Arena, 6/1/06. I almost spaced out on this concert and then managed to snag a ticket at the last minute. Probably the best of the five PJ shows I've seen.

3. The success of Escape From Bellevue and Other Stories. This was an off-off-Broadway production starring my friend, Chris Campion, and his band, Knockout Drops. When I first moved here at the tail end of 2005, the PR firm I was working for was doing all the promo for the show, which was really exciting for me because it was something that I really believed in. The show actually debuted in December '05, but ran through February '06 - several weeks past its initial intended run, due to overwhelming demand. I caught a lot of the performances and the show honestly never got old for me. Basically, it was a series of hilarious, yet emotional, monologues about Chris's life on stage and off the wagon, set to a rock soundtrack and interspersed with multimedia presentations. I suppose you could call it kind of a vaudevillian version of Storytellers meets Behind the Music. I was really happy to be involved in any way, and even happier that the show caught the eye of another director and is slated to hit a bigger theater in early Spring of '07. Enjoy one of my stupid little celebrity-sighting anecdotes from the original run here.

2. Glenn Tilbrook at Maxwell's, 12/11/06. Yet another concert I went to this year all by my lonesome. (I've actually grown quite accustomed to the solo concert experience.) I've loved Glenn for many, many years now and am still so sad that I never got to see Squeeze live. This show helped make up for that though. Even though I was too chicken to approach him and even if he was losing his voice a bit, it was a great night that I won't soon forget. It's hard to beat a voice that is pure beauty...even if it's slightly hoarse beauty! And if you people haven't bought one or both of his solo records yet, shame on you for the rest of the year.

1. The Bogmen at Webster Hall, 12/21/06 & Bowery Ballroom, 12/22/06 - 12/23/06. I might slip into some flowery speech here, but I swear that I'm not being hyperbolic. Being at these concerts was the happiest time of my life this year, and quite possibly one of the best times I've had in several years. It's hard to explain how amazing these shows were to people who didn't experience them. I will say this...I've been to a lot of concerts. I've seen some great acts. I've been around some dedicated fans. Springsteen shows can be like giant religious revivals, Pearl Jam shows are huge balls of energy, and those little, intimate sets like Tilbrook's really make the audience feel personally involved. Still, of all the shows I have been to in my life, I have never witnessed a connection between artist and fans that was this strong.

First of all, most of the Bogmen fans were never ready for the band to break up and still don't want to accept that they won't eventually get back together. So after five years of no live shows, these three nights were just an explosion of anticipation, joy and love like I've never seen. Secondly, for people like myself who never had a chance to see The Bogmen live, it was an opportunity to finally understand why this band is so important to so many people. I mean, I had high expectations going into the show, but those expectations were quickly met and then blown away. While all of the Bogs are talented musicians on their own, it's apparent to anyone who has ever seen them that they were meant to play together. When those 6 guys are together, the result is beyond chemistry. Beyond magic. I don't know if there's even a word for it. It's just right.

The music alone was enough reason to be wowed, but there was so much more to these concerts than great music. There was the knowledge that all of the money earned was going to a worthy cause. There was a certain spiritual element, due this band having been so deeply and personally affected by 9/11, which prompted them to reunite then and now. There were the fans now living in different parts of the country who didn't care what else was going on in their lives; the minute they heard that The Bogmen were reuniting, the tickets were bought and plans were made. There was the feeling that everyone present was part of a special family; that Bogmen fans are in on a great secret that the rest of the world doesn't know about. There was so much love and energy coming from both sides - from the stage to the audience and from the audience back to the stage - that it just collided and formed a great big ball of awesomeness that exploded in mid-air and showered over everyone. ("Big ball of awesomeness" may not get me any cool freelance jobs, but I'm sorry. That's what it was. And thanks to Neil Finn for the inspiration on the "showered over everyone" bit.)

As much of a music lover as I am, even I never imagined that something as simple as a concert could make me so truly happy. In a year that was so hard on me, these 3 nights made it much more bearable. Years from now when I look back on 2006, chances are that I'll remember it as the year I traveled over many bumps (and a few gaping craters) in the road to finally reach a Bogmen show.

For my original story of Bog love, click here.


Lee Ann said...

Happy New Year Beckeye!
Lee Ann

Masha said...

Happy New Year!!! I hope 2007 is waaay better than 2006. Here's to smarter celebrities, better music, and the revival of all of the good stuff!

Writeprocrastinator said...

Happy, Happy, New Year!

Turnbaby said...

Happy New Year Beckeye!!

Teri said...

happy new ywar!

Neo said...

Becky - Hmmmm, your year doesn't sound all that bad compared to mine. I've always wanted to see Pearl Jam live, I've seen Springsteen a few times live, I have to say those shows rocked ass!!!

Here's to 2k7, this one's gotta be better right?

Peace & Hugs,

- Neo


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