|Submitted to Guster.net by Dan Lange
Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY
So I know that you only care about the actual concert, but I wrote this for my website (www.locodanny.com), and I'm way too lazy right now to cut it down. It's about the whole afternoon, from waiting in line to the actual concert. Enjoy.
Let the fun begin... in the cold. We walked to Hammerstein and arrived around 3:35, only to discover that people beat us. Damn it! It turns out that it wasn't too bad. I went inside to check about the will call tickets, and as I was waiting, I met Meri (pronounced Mary), from Millburn, and we peeked in on Guster warming up and doing a sound check. So good. We were going to walk in, but it turns out that the security guy kicked us outside before we could. So we go outside, where the rest of my group is, and Meri's friend Lex is. They were in line in front of us, and in front of them was a weird group of bitches from Chester. They were just mean. Not the typical Guster fan.
At this point, Erica said something like "Wait - we have like three hours until the show. Let's go do something. It's too cold." And I said something like "No, we're staying. We aren't moving AT ALL." Everyone buy Madeline complained, so we let them go off and do their thing for a while.
The security guy, who was clearly impressed that we were there so early, split the line into three, and the Chester girls took the front of two of them. (Why didn't they just take one!?) So Meri, Lex, Madeline, and myself took the front of the third line, overly excited to be "first."
Fast forward one hour and much conversation: We're freezing our asses off. We decide that it's time for the others to come back so we can get some warmth and food. We then realize that we don't have their cell phone numbers. So... we improvised. We called Erica's home personal line, to get her answering machine, and have Madeline scream "MRS ANZALONE NEWMAN PICK UP! IT'S MADELINE! WE NEED ERICAS CELL PHONE NUMBER." No one picked up, so we called Madeline's house, left a message, then called Miles' house, got Matt Baer's home phone number, called that, and got his cell phone number. We finally reached him, to hear that they were on their way back. It was now around 4:45ish.
They finally get back, and Madeline and I go to the "Tick Tock Diner" on the corner. Weirdest thing ever was the noise the door made when you opened it. A strange, almost sci-fi sound that fascinated us both, and had us both opening and closing it for like 5 minutes before going in. We finally get inside, and are seated in the back corner. We both order chicken soup that ends up tasting like lemon, and other stuff. After eating, we get the leftovers wrapped with the intentions of giving them to a homeless person on the street. We then get the bill and see that it's like thirty bucks for the two of us. What a rip. We pay and leave.
As we approach the group, we see that they are freezing. We tell them that we're going to go get some gloves and hats, because none of us came prepared. They flip out - "YOU MEAN YOU WERE GONE THAT WHOLE TIME AND ONLY ATE?" So Madeline and Miles go to get the hats, etc., and I stay with the rest. By this time, the line is getting longer, but still not too long.
Fast forward a while, Madeline and Miles return, with a Sponge Bob Square Pants hat for me, which I graciously wear. So good.
Finally, around 6:30, they are ready to let us in. Three hours of waiting in the freezing cold - but it was all worth it. We get frisked, and are prepared to make a mad dash for the front, while Jennie and I go to get our will call tickets. I'm about to go in, when the guy stops me and tells me to get out of line because will call isn't here. I get into a mini fight with him, telling him that everyone else (the other people working there) told me to go inside for will call. He screams in my face to go to a different place, where I go, get my tickets, and shove my way back in. This time, he flips on me because my tickets are in the little envelope instead of out for him to see. Jackass.
So we go inside, and the others had already dashed up front to secure a huge section of the front row, right up against the barrier. So good. So excited. Nothing can make it better... or so I think.
We stand around for an hour and a half, and are excited as Josh Rouse, the opener, comes out. The lights are still dim as he and the band comes out, but we can see him because we're up front. No one knows who he is but me, because I saw him in Chicago way back opening for Guster. I yell out "JOSH ROUSE WHATWHAT!" and he smiles and laughs, surprised that I know who he is. Throughout his set I yelled out a lot more to him, and I think it got to the point where he thought I was heckling him, when in reality I was really appreciating his work. I also formed a relationship of sorts with Hags, the bassist. At one point, after yelling something, I look up and see him staring at me, at which point I say "Are you staring at me?!?" and he laughs. So from then on it's all about screaming out how good he is (and he was, with his horn rimmed glasses and white person afro). So Josh Rouse finishes up with "Direction" - the only song that I know the words of. He sees me singing and is so impressed, smiles, laughs, and keeps going. I was clearly the only one who knew the words. Exciting. They end their set very cooly, with one person finishing at a time and walking off, until Hags was the only one left. We were flipping out for him, so excited. He acknowledged us and laughed and threw Madeline his water bottle, which will promptly sit on her desk forever - so she can always remember that wonderful bassist named Hags. Rock on Hags!
As they start switching equipment Josh Rouse comes back out to pack up some of his stuff, and the entire audience is just sitting around, doing the usual "in between" talking. I say to him (notice that it's 'saying', not 'screaming' because we were so close), "I LOVE YOU JOSH ROUSE." He smiles, says Thanks, and then I say "I'M HERE FOR YOU, NOT GUSTER." His head shoots up a little and forms a smile, at which point I add "JUST KIDDING... but I really do love you guys!" He laughs anyway, says thanks, and goes back to cleaning up.
Thirty more minutes of switching equipment, and then it's time... FOR GUSTER! During that thirty minutes, I started chatting with one of the guys who was going to be taping the show for Guster, who showed me the set list and promised me that I could have it at the end. So good.
So around 9:08PM, Guster enters the stage, opening with BARREL OF A GUN! Setlist time:
Barrel of a Gun
Center of Attention
New Song 2
Keep It Together
Kiss Me (with Bri doing kareoke to it)
How amazing. In between songs we'd hold up signs, and at one point during a song I was holding up my virginity sign... Adam looked over at me, read it, and laughed out loud. So good. Oh, I forgot to mention that we were Stage Ryan for the show. Directly in front of him.
One of the highlights of the show: Ryan takes out an email and reads it, where a fan asks desperately to sing on stage with Guster. They decide that it's too difficult to try to find him, so Ryan chooses someone from the audience... and wouldn't you know it - he chooses Madeline Walters. How jealous can I be? But also how happy? (I was only two people away- ahhhhhhh!). So Madeline goes up, talks to all three for a second, touches Ryan (ahhhh), and then starts singing Wicked Game, not by Guster, kareoke style. She doesn't really sing, and trys to get the audience to help her, and at one point, after hearing me yell out "I LOVE MADELLINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNE" she says, into the mic, "I LOVE YOU DAN LANGE!" So good. She gets the hook (literally - they have a big hook that they drag her off with.), then runs back on, to be dragged off again, haha. She is then returned to us in the front row.
At the end of the show I got the setlist, then we hung around for a while.
Let me just say that last nights concert reaffirmed whatever had been lost about my love for Guster. After not seeing them live for so long, last night was so amazing. And the fact that Madeline got onstage made it all the better. And the front row helped too! Oh god, I can't wait for the next one, where you better believe that we'll be front row again.