Two shows in four days! And by two bands I'd seen and enjoyed before. Could the Queens of the Stone Age live up to the Buck 65 show I'd seen earlier in the week?
Nope. Nor did they live up to the last time I saw them.
Actually, that's not fair. They themselves were perfectly fine. I just didn't care for the venue or the people contained therein. Some shows could only benefit from a larger, more enthusiastic crowd. This was not one of those shows.
The tickets said "doors at 6:30" which seemed awful early to me for an Odeon show. As such, we took our sweet time and didn't get there until 8:00 or so. This was after a ten-minute drive to the Odeon, a twenty-minute treasure hunt looking for a parking space, and a ten-minute walk from said parking space. Stupid downtown Saskatoon. Be less prosperous!
We arrived in time to hear the sweet sounds of Mugison, an Icelandic rocker who was serving as the evening's opener. When compared to the last time I saw Queens of the Stone Age, the greatest improvement (and, indeed, the only improvement) was their choice of opening act. Mugison was pretty entertaining and blew away "Something About An Elephant." Maybe I was just swayed by the song title "Jesus is a Good Name to Moan." I think I will write a song called "'Jesus is a Good Name to Moan' is a Good Name to Name a Song."
We only caught the last four songs or so of Mugison's set. Then he came back to the merchandise table to sign CDs and talk to people. To do this, he had to walk right past us, because we were all the way at the back. We were among the last to arrive and the Odeon was full, sold right out. There were no more tickets to be had - I know, because I had friends who were looking. And do you know what happens when you pack a small space full of people and play music that makes them jump around? It gets hot. Really hot. Ridiculously hot. You know when it's so hot that the sweat collects and runs down the walls? It was like that in there. Imagine the smell.
Half of the crowd was jumping around like lunatics. The other half were getting stoned. NOW imagine the smell. We got home at midnight and still considered doing laundry for fear that the stink would have followed us home.
Anyway. Queens of the Stone Age were fine. They have a tendency to take a perfectly good four-minute song and double its length by playing the same riff over and over, but I knew that was going to happen. I did not know it would be so hot. Nor did I know that we'd be stuck at the back where we couldn't see. Nor did I know that people sucked so much. Seriously, they'd see you standing there, walk right in front of you, and stop so that you couldn't see. One guy wanted to talk to his friend so he all but shoved me out of the way. Whenever I'm in a crowd of people, I'm reminded that I don't like people, but on this night, everyone seemed exceptionally awful. It's not fair to blame the band for this, but it didn't help my evening any.
Really, it seemed like an entirely different crowd last time. This show seemed to skew a lot younger and the people acted like bigger assholes. Correlation is not the same as causation, but I still blame the youth of today. In a somewhat unrelated note, I also noted that the merchandise table didn't do a lot of business at all. Last time, you couldn't get near it. Not sure why that would be.
Back to the music. The band played some songs. I couldn't tell you what. Last time we saw them, I was surprised at how many songs I recognized. This time, I'd been listening to a lot of their songs beforehand - and I recognized fewer than before. I assume this was just a matter of (initially) lower and (subsequently) higher expectations, but it still seemed weird.
The main set ended and we left before the encore. I heard it was so great that the crowd chanted "holy shit." That's pretty hilarious, but really, I bet I wouldn't have agreed. The reactions from people I know who went to either the Saskatoon or Regina shows indicate that I might have been the only person at either show who didn't completely love it. That's just how it goes sometimes. Some things just aren't your thing, and some things just aren't my thing. And this show was not my thing.
Mika said "I remember when I'd have been down there at the front, jumping around and having a great time. But do you know what I could go for right now? A chair." I agreed. Oh well, at least we're not going to see another sold-out rock show at the Odeon anytime soon!
The article is in the current edition of Rolling Stone (with Ray Charles on the cover). It's quite the good article, and there's some really, really good tributes to Charles and memories of his music, too.