Before tonight, the best three-piece live performance i had seen happened on 7 November, 1991. And it was Rush, so three heroic Canadians so long as we’re not counting the CG skeleton that mouthed the “Jack, relax…” portions on the jumboscreen during the title track. Or the fucking lazers and smoke. Or Neil Peart’s thousand toms. Three men and six million Missourians at least, plus all of our cars.
But then tonight i go and see Death perform at the Bottle, and when they were three they were unstoppable, they were geniuses, they cut pieces out of the air and we cried for more. They played most (all. all i think.) of the album everyone loves including me. They smiled and reveled. They made today’s sad narrow cool bands look like mopey children. They were not too cool for anything, even smiling and being nice. They were dramatic and my ears are ringing and i even respect them for morphing into a five-piece and playing reggae there. I also appreciate the freedom we have to leave a concert or party whenever we so choose, either by claiming bathroom trip or saying overt goodbye or foregoing any word at all, not even a wave.
Do you know who opened for Rush on that tour? If memory is worth anything, it was Mr. Big. My first ever concert experience, tiny large-headed wee little barely teenaged me. Meaning Mr. Big was the first band I ever wished would just hurry the shit up…even when they played that song of theirs, because even then I was too cool to sing along, clap hands over my head. I’m the one who wants to. Deep inside I hope you. I was thirteen thank you and in no place for Mr. Big. I should have clapped and sung.