There are few more ludicrous sentences than “[Fill in the blank] was so amazing in concert!” I say this because we, as humans, are bound by certain limitations. A great voice is merely a great voice. A dazzling dancer is merely a dazzling dancer. No matter how energetic U2 is or hot cute Justin Bieber is or how sexy the Pussycat Dolls are, the elements can only go so far. Come day’s end, we don’t fly or turn invisible or shoot flames from our eyeballs.
We are just people. Meaning “so amazing” can only be, well, so amazing.
That being said, tonight I witnessed a genuinely amazing concert. Now, don’t laugh. Really, don’t laugh. The band I watched was the one … the only … (ahem) Blind Melon.
Yes, Blind Melon is still alive. Yes, their lead singer, Shannon Hoon, died 15 years ago. This is the same Blind Melon, only with a different lead singer, Travis Warren.
So why amazing? Let me count the ways …
1. I love Blind Melon’s music. I mean, love-love, like don’t understand why more people can’t see how friggin’ textured and detailed and marvelous it is. Soup, a little obscure tune, is all-time, all-time great. It’s the first tune in the video above, but this is the great version; that one that made me fall in love with it and listen, oh, 1,000 times. Change, a less obscure Melon classic, is also insane.
2. I dig the saga. Shannon Hoon dies, the band dies with him. In 2008, they decided to get back together and find a singer, Warren, who sounds, oh, 90 percent like the original. They’re happy happy joy joy, even put together an album—that sorta bombs. Band disbands, then get back together for this tour. Only they decide nobody wants to hear songs from the last CD, so they stop playing them altogether.
3. Warren grew up worshiping Shannon Hoon. I just think that’s cool.
4. Most important—the concert was in the Hiro Ballroom, a small little club in Manhattan. There were probably 500 people there. Maybe 700. I was right at the stage; hell, the guitarist’s instrument was almost nailing me in the head. I’ve never been that close to great music before, and the spirit really lifted me. I was soooo into the sound; the groove; the feel. I actually went by myself, because the wife hates Melon and, frankly, no one else I know gives a shit. Surprisingly, it was pretty liberating. Didn’t have to worry about anyone; just listened and smiled and loved it.
5. Best part—when the gig ended, the members of Blind Melon shook hands with audience members. They seemed genuinely grateful. Made my day.
PS: Funny—just found the below video on YouTube. Same concert. That’s me on the other side of the room in the black baseball cap.