Concert Review & Story: Melissa Etheridge

Zack Hall is my Golden God of the Month for July.

Who is Zack Hall? I couldn’t have told you that yesterday. He is the roommate of Liz Lyons, my friend Nate’s girlfriend, who had her 21st birthday party yesterday. I went to the party, and he was talking about a friend of his who used to work at the Tweeter Center, and who is trying to set him up with this guy who works there now.

So Zack is talking about how this guy offered him comps (translation: Vouchers that you can exchange, with $10, for tickets to a concert) for tonight’s Melissa Etheridge concert. I am a huge fan of hers, so it was like Bat-Hearing:

“Did someone say cheap Melissa Etheridge tickets?!”

I had really wanted to go to this concert, but for some reason Melissa likes to ridiculously overcharge for her tickets. With Ticketbastard service charges, one ticket would have come to about $93.00, and I had already paid something in that neighborhood for the “Live…and Alone” tour, so I couldn’t really cough that up again.

Granted, she’s good enough that it’s worth every fucking penny, it’s just that I didn’t have 9300 spare pennies sitting around.

So I asked Zack if he was using the comps, and he said no, since he wasn’t a real big fan, plus he was going drinking with Liz. So he asked if I wanted the comps. I was like, “FUCK YES!” and he gave me instructions on how to pick them up.

Because of the Six-Degrees-Of-Kevin-Bacon manner in which I had got these things, I didn’t get my hopes up too much on whether this whole crazy scheme would work, but when me and my friends got to the theater, we picked ’em up, no problem at all.

We had to wait a while, since we got their early in hopes of getting the best seats possible. And they weren’t spectacular seats, but they were fucking seats, and they were 10 bucks instead of 93. They had a band performing on the “Rising Talent Stage” by the gate.

Oh, what a misnomer that turned out to be. It was some fucking cover band, who covered two Melissa Etheridge songs. It was like, hello, Melissa herself is here. They were talented, and their drummer was the lead singer, but if you’re playing on a rising talent stage, you better goddamn well play your own songs to get there.

The real opener, some chick calling herself Rosey, no last name, was also fairly lame, though to her credit, she did play her own songs. They sucked, but at least they were originals. She played for about half an hour, and the most applause she got was for the announcement, “This is my last song…”

Melissa….wow.

I’ve seen Melissa Etheridge live three times now, and I am constantly amazed by how unbelievably fucking good she is. 25 years of performing will do that for some people, but she is just….wow.

Her set was a good mix of older and newer stuff, though there were several omissions that kinda pissed me off (Lover Please, Your Little Secret, for example), but it’s just amazing the back catalog of fucking incredible songs that she has to dig through.

There was one song she doesn’t play live much (which of course I’ve forgotten the name of) where the traditional “band goes off on a tangent thing” happened, but instead of just letting them go, she went over to the guitar player, played his guitar, then they went over to the bassist, all played his bass, and they all climbed up on the drummer’s kit and all four of them played together.

They were all having such a blast. That, I think, is the key to a great live show. The band has to be really attatched to the show. Even if the vibe isn’t fun, it’s intensity. And these guys were fucking great.

Melissa’s drummer is a guy named Kenny Aronoff, who is probably the best drummer around today. I’ve seen him drum for the Smashing Pumpkins, too, and he’s just insane. He’s the anchor for that band, and he does a spectacular job of it. Even if his sunglasses (which came over his bald head and made him look like an alien) were kinda silly.

They even played a new song, called “Secret Agent,” which is going to be the first single off her next album, I guarantee you. It’s fucking great. It’s funny as hell, too. The gist of it is about how nobody can figure out whether this girl is straight, or, well, not. The girl, it turns out, is now Melissa’s girlfriend, so I guess we know the answer to that one…

I highly recommend Melissa’s show to anyone who can cough up the money, which you should definitely do if you’ve never seen her. And if Melissa reads this, then hey! Lower your damn ticket prices! You’ll make up for it in volume, trust me.

Zack Hall, I owe you big. I’ll have to get you a thank-you cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.

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