Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I went to see The Pogues!!!!!
Okay. So it was 2 weeks ago, but I remember it like it was just last week.
In case you have somehow missed it The Pogues are my most favorite band ever! If you know anything about the Pogues then you know how awesome they are and that they are only sort of still together. They haven't put out new music since 1996 and rarely tour and even rarer, come to the US. And even rarer still come to Atlanta. In fact, I think I have seen the Pogues and Shane McGowan every time they have been in Atlanta: 1989, Shane with his band The Popes in 1994(or was it '95) and then two weeks ago at the Tabernacle.
I can remember the first time I heard The Pogues. It was the summer before my senior year of high school and I was dating this guy (who I will spare his name because I don't want to make him mad.) We had been together for a few months and the relationship was getting a little stale. I remember we were riding in my car and he popped a tape in and said "You have to hear this band. The Pogues. John says they are awesome."
Ugh! John! I thought. Having never heard of The Pogues but completely over anything related to "John" (since just about every guy I knew had a some kind of man crush on him and his name and "cool" were constantly finding themselves together into conversation with me.) and also because of my waning interest in this particular boyfriend-- I flippantly told him; "I hate The Pogues" and popped the tape out and tossed it back to him.
I'll admit, I could be, back then, a little bit of a bitch.
Okay, I can still be a little bitchy but only sometimes-- like when you don't let me have my way. (I am kidding. I never get to have my way anymore. I have kids. Having my way ended when they happened.)
Shortly after that I was in a car accident and totaled my car and broke my pelvis. I spent the rest of the summer in the hospital, at home in bed or hobbling around with external metal bars screwed into my hip bones and on crutches. If you think I was bitchy before you can only imagine how being crippled for 6 weeks made me behave. So that yeah, that guy and I broke up. I will say he was (and still is!) really cute and a very nice guy. No hard feelings, right?
By the time school started I was still on crutches but had had the metal rods that held my pelvis together removed. John, you know the guy everyone but me thought was completely awesome, was in my World Lit class. He thought it was really funny to call me "crip" and made fun of me everyday.
After about a week or two of this and me not being completely stupid--having been down this road with other guys before-- knew this meant that he liked me. And me not being the patient type asked him out first (worst you'll get is a no and little ridicule. And, clearly, I'm okay with that).
We went to the Piedmont Art's Festival.
We had a great time and when I dropped him off at home he asked me out.
The conversation went like this:
John: "Uhm hey, Natalie. I've an extra ticket to The Pogues next Thursday. Wanna go with me?"
Me: "The Pogues! I LOVE them! Absolutely!"
John: "Great! See you at school Monday!"
So Monday after school I went to see my orthopedist and got the clearance to give up the crutches and was declared healed-- though he did ask me to use a cane and to take it very easy and to do nothing physically active until I finished up my 6 months of physical therapy. He ran off a list of activities I could no longer do: gymnastics, aerobics, running, dance, and even PE--all out of the question.
I told him no on the cane and okay to everything else. Then I went to Turtles and bought The Peace and Love album and listened to it all week to familiarize myself with "The Pogues" so I would not look like a total idiot in front of John who, by the way, I had changed my mind about and was thinking he was pretty awesome after all (well, for awhile at least. You know how teenage girls are).
So I showed up at the Pogues with John, fresh off my crutches and thinking that every single one of The Pogues songs sounded pretty much the same.
In case you have never been to a Pogues concert let me give you an example of what the crowd's enthusiasm is like: This is the last half of Fiesta (the final song) in the encore from the March 9th 2009 Atlanta show. We had been right up front for most the show but I couldn't take the abuse of the pit (or the stink--someone ate A LOT of onions)so we moved back for the last songs:
Anyway, I have to say back in 1989 I had NEVER been to a concert anything like that and definitely think that was exactly the sort of physical activity my orthopedist had told me to avoid but whatever! After the first song of that show in 1989 I was a die hard Pogues fan. I had the absolute best time and no concert, until two weeks ago has come close to rivaling the fun I had. And I didn't even drink then! Okay, well at least not at the Pogues since we were underage.
My husband, Ryan (aka Grizzly Adams) wasn't such a huge Pogues fan but went as my chaperon to the show and is now too a die hard convert saying it was one of the best shows he has ever been to. Personally I can't imagine what could top it since my number 1 and number 2 are Pogue shows and number 3 is the Pixies when Ryan and I saw them at their reunion show at the Fox a few years ago. Good times. Good times.
I sure hope that I don't have to wait another 20 years (especially since I don't think Shane is going to live to see another 20, but you never know) to see them live again. I have to say that I feel pretty darn lucky to have seen them twice and I hope and I pray that they will come back next year.
And those not privy to my Facebook page here is some of the photos and other videos from the show:
On my way in the car driving ITP, riding shot gun and drinking a pint! Soooooo excited!!!!!
Me and Pookie (my sister). Please note my hair. It is sober in this picture:
Crowd before the show. Everyone has giggled about the dude with the tiny bad ass mustache. Set list courtesy of Dogwood Girl's husband.
I have cute picture of me trying to make out with Dogwood Girl but not posting it since I don't want to make her mad since she has some pictures of me that she could post on her blog in retaliation.
Must stay in Dogwood Girl's good graces. . .
Me and Steph! (she has no incriminating pictures of me since she never brings her camera. Of course, I have no incriminating pictures of Steph either because she is in the always good girl club. Psst. It is cause she is lawyer and is smart.)
Pogues coming to the stage and before all hell breaks loose.
All hell breaks loose and we are going . . . we are going . . . where little girls get trampled and pressed up against the stage! Woo Hoo!
Getting crushed in the pit when they opened with Streams of Whiskey!Arghhhhh!!!!!
My shirt strap (made of chains) got ripped. I had to tie the chains together. Then my hair and clothes made a fast downward spiral.
Spider Stacy singing Tuesday Morning!
In the pit! Love it!
I did though, I will not so proudly admit, almost get in a fight when some guy shoved me out of the way. It was one of those "You will not put baby in the corner" kind of moments. Only it was a little less 1959 and a lot more redneck and I'm a gonna kick your ass kind of moment cause I am klassy when I have a few pints (yes really, only a few. I'm a light weight). Ryan was holding me back and I was like I can take him! I can take him! He's tiny! I'm a marathon runner!
It was totally the beer talking.
Okay! Done now with the getting smashed and thrashed about.
Me and Ryan after the show.
Or, our hair on The Pogues.
See, see how drunk my hair got? It took me almost 2 days and 3 shampoos and conditioning to get all the knots out.
It had a fucking fantastic time!
Rainy Night in Soho! Every band has their ballad!
I hear you talking in my head
I'm not singing for the future
I'm not dreaming of the past
I'm not talking of the fist time
I never think about the last
Now the song is nearly over
We may never find out what it means
Still there's a light I hold before me
You're the measure of my dreams
The measure of my dreams
Aw, just makes me fall in love. . .
One of my all time favorites: Sally MacLennane
Okay, people, here's the bottom line: Yes. I love beer.
Yes! I love to drink!
Absolutely! I love to have fun.
And yes, The Pogues epitomize that lifestyle.
But the fact of the matter is that they are amazing musicians with an incredibly unique sound and some phenomenal-- on the level of modern poetry-- lyric writing. The pairing of Shane McGownan's gravelly and "been through the ringer of life" voice with the peppy and uplifting Irish/big band sound is just so . . . tangible. It is like complimentary colors: red and green, blue and orange. The sounds both belie and endorse each other; a fine and complex pairing.
Just look at this:
from Thousands are Sailing written by Philip Cheveron
. . .Thousands are sailing
Again across the ocean
Where the hand of opportunity
Draws tickets in a lottery
Postcards we're mailing
Of sky-blue skies and oceans
From rooms the daylight never sees
Where lights don't glow on Christmas trees
But we dance to the music
And we dance . . .
I am sorry but that speaks for more than just good old Irish drinking music. There is darkness, there is optimism and hope and well, reality.
Well, again I have run out of time about all that I have and want to say but I think you should give the Pogues a listen and even if you don't like their sound I still think --if you get the opportunity-- it will well be worth your money and your time to see them live. Might change your mind.