I meant to give my little review of this show, but am just now getting to it. I have never been to The Basement before this show and had no real idea what to expect. We got in and posted up on the far left of the stage, this place was tiny, especially for something like this. It had almost a "garage band" type feel to it - stickers and posters from tons of bands all over the walls, doors, and ceiling. After waiting inside for a good bit, I got knocked into from behind. Here I am seeing this pretty short guy just barge his way up past us pushing us to the side, then some taller blond guy smacks into my shoulder from behind. I instantly get a little ticked off with this Jay (Jay and Silent Bob) looking M-F-er with a beanie and all that . . . then am awestruck, "WTF, is that Carl?". Then it hit me - there is no backstage or even another entrance in the place, the band comes in the same door we do and has to get up on stage through the crowd. Carl is the opener . . . are you friggin serious?!?!?! Then we see his name on a big piece of tape on the amp right in front of us, Carl B. I have to admit, it was a better surprise to have him enter the way he did than if I was to see the name on the amp.
He played a good 45 minutes to an hour of a truly solo show. He would start with a little simple riff, run it through a looping machine (or whatever you call it) and build up to a couple different tunes overlapping. At least one of the songs he said he had never played outside of his studio. I have never heard any of Carl's solo stuff before, but I really enjoyed it. To me it almost had the feel of around the campfire type songs. I was halfway expecting some louder, heavier, faster riffs or even some MMJ parts, but I didn't recognize anything. I was very pleased with what I heard and it did seem very fitting for opening for Jim's show.
After Carl finishes up, he walks right back in front of us and casually walks over to the beer stand. I thought it was really cool that he didn't go straight to the front or cut line or anything else, just casually waited and was chatting it up with the folks around him. Jade was pushing for me to go talk to him after Sarah got a high five from him, i'm here thinking what do I say to him, he isn't gonna want to BS with me when he's got girls all around him and all that, but eventually just think what the hell, when am I ever going to have this chance again. I cruise on over to him, tell him thanks for coming out and how I really enjoyed the show and so forth. I asked him if I could snap a picture and he was really cool about it. Now I have never met any rock stars or famous people before, so I was more than a little nervous to be honest. Here I am, the biggest smile I have pretty much ever had, I lost it for a second and had to laugh at my self for not keeping it together out of excitement cause I couldn't believe I was actually talking to him. How close to I get to him, do I want to shake his hand in the picture, do I cheers our beers, WTF do I do? Before I can get it all back together he throws his arm over me, Sarah is on the other side, and pulls me in with a one armed man hug kinda thing and Jade snaps the picture. At this point I am friggin speechless. I was going to thank him again and say something else, but I am pretty sure muffled out something that only a cracked out drunken hobo would understand, completely failed at giving him a high five which turned into a half-five going for a handshake turns into a white "bro" version of a gangsta handshake clap thingy . . . I have no idea what the hell I just did, so I looked up at him eye to eye, "you're awesome man, thanks" and walked away. It's very possible I didn't even get that out and mumbled some more unintelligible noises, but I know I tried to.
So now it hits me, if Carl had to get to stage that way, so does Jim James and company. This time the guy gives us a heads up before they all walk in, but it still took me by surprise - and yes I got to touch Jim too I didn't recognize any of the other musicians, but the guitar/electric drum/apple laptop playing guy looked very familiar. My biggest concern was how are they going to recreate all of the sounds for a live show and how close to the album would it sound. In my opinion, the CD had a very somber feel for the most part and even though there is a great mix of all those instruments, it sounds a little washed out to me. For those of you familiar to MMJ, imagine expecting to basically hear the album version of The Dark or something off of The Tennessee Fire and getting what they play at shows today - quite a difference. About halfway into State Of The Art A.E.I.O.U. it hits me that this is going to be incredible. I can tell it's all the same notes and everything, but with that live-show energy behind it. The stage was absolutely exploding with sound. It was amazing how they created/recreated the sounds with only five of them on stage. They had a fair amount of electronic instruments that I have no idea what they are or do or sound like by themselves, other than his omnichord. My only small hint of disappointment was seeing the laptop on stage. I know it is becoming more and more common to see that, but I guess I like my music played live, not by pushing play. On the flip side, I couldn't tell you when or how it was used, maybe they just wanted to update their twitters and facebooks? They played the full album, in order, which was expected, but they did have a few small solo's and jams. My favorite was when they had three of them drumming - regular drummer, keyboard player with a couple smaller drums, and an electronic drum set all jamming out. That is one part of the show I really hope they continue on their tour.
As the last song was being performed, the same guy who parted the crowd for them to get on stage is just hanging out next to/ in front of us, then Jim just bolts off stage like he is running for his life, out the front door and he is gone. The other members finish their parts and do the same, not quite as much of a rush though. It's early still, no house lights on and no one leaving. We all expect something else, but don't know what. And then there is Carl, hanging in the back corner, drinking a beer by himself, whistling a little tune of some sort. He kinda rushes over to the far side of the stage/crowd, but disappears from view. Enter Jim James He gives us a few words and starts in with Wonderful (The Way I Feel). He pauses after the first verse I think it was and says how "wonderful" it is to him to have the crowd sing with him on that song, then continues. The rest of the band comes in one or two at a time and Carl sneaks over from the other side and gets on stage. They proceeded to play Touch Me parts 1 and 2 back to back which is something I have wanted to experience for a while. Granted it wasn't the MMJ lineup, just Jim and Carl with Jim's touring band, but close your eyes and you couldn't tell. After that we got Victory Dance to close out the night. After walking out and around the block, we see Jim and two of his band members hanging out on the balcony above the front door of the venue. We proceed to yell at them, telling them how awesome the show was, we can't wait to see them again on tour, and all that.
To sum it up, best complete show I have seen/experienced. I never really understood how nuts folks can get when they have a chance to meet a musician or celebrity that they love until I met Carl. I have had some crazy feelings and emotions at shows before, but usually due to the combo of the music and booze and corn and stage setup/videos and all that. I have seen folks get crazy, emotional, flip out, cry, and all that kinda stuff at shows, but never really understood that concept for myself until that night. This show hit me in places I didn't know I had. I don't know if it can get any better than that, but I have tickets to his next Nashville show just in case. When you see old videos of Beatles fans yelling and screaming and going crazy, that's kinda how that night felt to me. Jim's show was friggin awesome and I am very grateful I got to see him at a once in a lifetime show like that.
edit: Just found this video taken from the other side of the stage from where we were. It's bits and pieces from throughout the night taken from a phone or small camera or something, but should give yall a good sneak peak at the show