aiyume: (Ai Yume)
([personal profile] aiyume Feb. 25th, 2008 12:16 pm)
Although other people have written about seeing Jonathan Coulton in concert on Friday night, I thought I'd add my two cents worth. Since I work in downtown San Francisco about a mile away from the Great American Music Hall, I walked over after I got out for the day. I suppose I could have found a way to kill time besides showing up 3 hours before they let in, but I've waited in longer lines. [ profile] arianrhodstorm had kindly lent me her MiniDV camera as Jonathan had been soliciting the fans to bring extra cameras. (Oh, yeah. Did I mention he was making a live concert video? Well, I am now...) I got some exterior shots including a 180 of the marque of the Adult Sex Entertainment place around to the marquee of the GAMH.

A nice lady whose name I don't remember even though I heard it several times showed up eventually and set up a Zombification Station. By eating your brains applying makeup she would make you look like a zombie for the show. I was tempted, but was concerned about getting makeup on the camera. Unfortunately, we were told at the door that tripods would not be admitted, in spite of the request for extra camera work. Well, crap. Even if the resolution on the MiniDV was okay, I didn't want my picture shaking all around.

Around 6:30 or 7:00 I was joined by [ profile] brigideire , [ profile] cerulean_me , and [ profile] zdashamber. I stowed the tripod and my heavy-ish backpack in the car and came back. Spiff and his wife arrived soon thereafter and I pulled him into line. I knew he had dinner tickets and that we'd get separated out together anyway, so I didn't feel too bad about it.

We interrupt this post for a public service message: It has come to my attention that some of my friends have not seen my video for Skullcrusher Mountain or any of Spiff's videos. If you haven't seen them, and/or are not familiar with Jonathan's music, I highly recommend them.

I had contacted Spiff earlier in the day to see if I could interview him as part of my video contribution. The interview went pretty well, and I hope it will be included on the DVD. The one Q&A I'll share here:
Q: When will we see your videos on DVD?
A: We won't. Spiff contacted Blizzard to see about the possibility of releasing the videos (creating using scenes captured from World of Warcraft). They said that, while they ignore use of their game to create online videos that are freely viewable, creating a DVD to sell would be something they couldn't allow, given that the graphics are the intellectual property of Blizzard. Spiff sees their point of view and doesn't have a problem with that.
We got inside and situated. The stage looked great. Sixties style couches and a fake TV, pictures hanging on the back "wall", a "Planet of the Apes" figure on a fake fireplace mantle, and a stroller with some creepy dolls in it, one dangling from it's ankle by a string, turning gently back and forth.

Paul and Storm were up first. Unfortunately, as busy as I was with the video camera, I didn't write down a setlist. I do remember them starting off with Opening Band (and then re-starting with Opening Band, as the guitar wasn't coming through), and finishing with The Captain's Wife's Lament, with a tour through some "If" songs (ie: "If James Taylor Were On Fire") and a couple rejected commercial jingles (such as this one for Pillsbury Cookie Dough). A great opening show and a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to recharge the camera between coming in and Jonathan starting, so I only got about 40 minutes of his show on the MiniDV before the battery gave out and about 15-20 on my regular camera I'm not sure they'll be able to use because it's compressed in mov format. cerulean_me got some great pictures during the concert, though.

Jonathan started with The Future Soon. He confessed that he'd had a dream the night before that he was on stage, and turned his back to the audience briefly. When he turned back the audience was gone. For all his nervousness the show went well. The dry ice used for effect during Creepy Doll was great, but not as creepy as Kristen Shirts plucking the single note over and over going into the third verse. (Unfortunately, he messed up the end of the second verse, using the lyrics from the first verse; I hope they can find a way to dub it somehow, because I really want to see that performance on the DVD.)

I had worn my re: Your Brains shirt, and during the song started pointing at the lyrics that were visible on the shirt. A camera zoomed in on me. Paul (he told me later) was watching a feed in the back and cracked up when I made to brush away the blood covering up some of the lyrics.

Toward the end of the concert, Jonathan referenced his dream again, and someone yelled "Turn around!" When he did so a few people did a duck and cover in their chairs, which I joined in on. Laughter ensued. Or continued. Jonathan finished up with the Rock Band version of Still Alive and an audience sing-along of First of May.

Before leaving the stage, Jonathan announced that... there was cake! Four large sheet cakes were brought out, each with a picture from his Thing-a-Week CD covers. Once everyone was off the stage and the cameras were done catching the standing crowd, I darted in to grab the set list. I got Jonathan to sign it, explaining that he'd run out of things for me to buy and this is what I was reduced to. But [ profile] brigideire, [ profile] cerulean_me, and I also made sure he got a piece of the cake before it disappeared.

[ profile] zdashamber commented after that it was one of the best times she'd had at a concert. I'd have to agree, though there were some times the cameras made him and the audience a little self-conscious. The performance last year was missing some of that, but both performances and audiences had a lot of energy to them.

There are more more photos on Flickr, some better than others.

From: [identity profile]

Thanks for the link to you-guys' videos! I'm gonna have to pay more attention to when JoCo is in town. I keep running into songs I like and finding out that it's yet another one of his. The man is crazy creative.

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