I don’t mean to sound like a rock snob, but as someone who has lived in several major metropolitan areas in the last few years, I have failed at going to a startling number of important musical performances. Now, I know what you are thinking: “Chad, I’ve missed a fair number of good shows in my time, as well.” Forget it. I can assure you that my list of “Shows That I Would Have Bragged About at a Later Date, Had I Only Managed to Show Up” exceeds yours is both depth and breadth.
Let’s look back to 2000. The new millennium was almost upon us, and our post-modern tastes were taking solace in the innovative turntablism of a young DJ from Quebec. He was touring Canada in support of his new album, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and critics and fans alike were going mad at his sold-out shows.
I, however, was not.
In fact, bad travel planning allowed me to miss not just one, but two performances from Ninja Tune’s own Kid Koala. He kicked off this particular tour in his hometown of Montréal in late Spring, just as I was preparing to leave Regina for a language study program at the Université de Montréal. One week later would see him rocking Louie’s Pub, one of my favourite Saskatchewan venues, but I was 3236km away, touring le vieux port. It’s possible that we could have been in the air at them same time, just traveling in opposite directions. How’s that for profound, music fans?
Oh, I would be also remiss if I did not also mention a “rave” just a few weeks later, still in Montréal. I actually managed to make it to this one, along with several thousand other people. Hopes high, I happily obliged as security searched my afro in all seriousness for “drogues et armes.” Shortly thereafter, however, I noticed a note sign tacked to the wall letting attendees know that the headliner–Paul Oakenfold–would be a no-show. Close one.
I have international almost-but-not-quite experiences, as well. There was that tiny Ani Difranco show back in ’99. So intimate! I think that was in York. Or was it Leeds? I have no idea; I didn’t take in a single song. I can’t forget DJ Shadow, either. He brought mad beats to Seoul while I was there teaching English, but I backed out of attending at the last minute, simply because I couldn’t find anyone with which to go.
My current home of Vancouver has also been good to this growing list. Just a few weeks after I moved here, the Beastie Boys kicked it root down. Reports from friends in Ottawa and family in Australia confirmed that this was not a performance to miss. But these second-hand accounts were as close as I would get to experiencing a show from that tour. I was too concerned about returning to uni and my potential course loads to even attempt to buy a ticket.
Certainly, my most loyal string of unattendance definitely lies with The Decemberists. That’s at least three, or maybe even four, performances. The weird part is that the first time around, I actually really did plan on attending. Unfortunately, shortly after their tour van arrived in Vancouver, it was broken into. All their gear was stolen, and the remainder of the tour was canceled. A few months later, my heart buoyed when it was announced there would be replacement shows for the dates they missed. Wouldn’t you know it: Vancouver’s make-up performance fell on Michelle’s birthday, and I’d already made supper reservations. Let’s see, I know that I’m forgetting the reason I didn’t make their show in December of last year, but it can’t really be helped. When you’ve not seen as many shows as me, they all sort to run together.
What else? Well, just last month was TV on the Radio. A gorgeous Saturday night and the Commodore Ballroom, no less. With the rising popularity of Return to Cookie Mountain, it’s likely they’ll play something larger the next time there are in town. Truly a show for the ages, with an encore that lasted nearly as long as the initial performance? Don’t ask me; I was visiting in-laws in Victoria.
It’s not like all the great shows that I’ve missed are behind me, though. For example, this entry is set to post April 16, 2007. I’ll be on the second leg of flights to New Zealand, but Modest Mouse will be rocking Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum. They will be rocking so hard (and maybe even to the max).
I guess I should wrap it up, but not before mentioning that future prospects look pretty promising, as well. Perhaps my all-time favourite band, Air, will be playing Richards on Richards in just a few days–April 21st. Shortly after that (on May 5th) Explosions in the Sky will be here. Mind you, there’s exactly zero chance I will make either gig, as I won’t be returning to Canada before May 20th. Rest assured, though, I would have explained ad nauseum how radical these shows were. I would have made it imminently clear just how much you missed out on. Had I only attended.
[Chad and Michelle are currently traveling New Zealand and Fiji. They will return in late May with the promise that this is the first and last post in which Chad will pretend he is a writer at The Onion. Until then, chadsblog will update weekly with pre-written content.]