I love Los Angeles because every so often, you have an experience that you couldn't get anywhere else that will last you a lifetime.
There I was Friday night, minding my own business, browsing through my google reader. When suddenly this headline on LAist caught my eye: "Radiohead to Play Los Angeles to Raise Money for Haiti"
Um, come again?
Apparently, Radiohead is in town recording their next album and decided to stage an impromptu benefit concert to raise money for Haiti. From their website:
This is when my heart starts beating really fast. The Music Box is one of those small old Hollywood theaters - seating a max of 1,500 people. The last time I saw them at the Hollywood Bowl, I was one of 18,000. If I were to get the tickets, this could literally be a once in a lifetime performance. The fact that all the proceeds were going to aid the people of Haiti was the perfect excuse for me to spend the money. I hadn't made a donation to Haiti and was planning on making one, just not quite as large as what was required here. lol I checked with Mr. Insom - "Can we get these?" "Sure." Awesome. After a nail-biting Saturday morning spent frantically clicking refresh on the Ticketmaster website to make sure the prices hadn't spiraled further upward, I had them. Two tickets to possibly the best rock concert of my life.Radiohead for HaitiWe're doing a show this Sunday (24th January) to raise funds for the relief effort in Haiti. The venue is The Music Box Theatre at The Fonda in Los Angeles, doors at 7pm. All proceeds are going to the Oxfam Haiti relief fund. We're trying to raise as much money as possible, so tickets will be sold by auction at this site from 8pm tonight until 11am Saturday (PST):
We're in the middle of recording at the moment, so you'll be catching us on the fly.... but if you're up for it, then we are too.
See you then
Doors opened at 4pm (I misread the email and thought it was 5pm - doh!) - I got there at 2:50pm and was one of the first 100 people in line. I had come prepared. In my possession were the following items: a hand cranked flashlight, two sweatshirts, binoculars, a huge bottle of water, dim sum leftovers, headphones, not one but two books, and a fully charged iphone. The pièce de résistance was a large cushy pillow (actually one of doggy insomniac's beds lol) that allowed me to sit on the concrete for hours without my ass getting numb. I set up camp and took a deep breath... the sun was shining and pleasantly warm, folks around me were in good spirits, I had plenty of stuff to occupy myself - I was content.
At 4pm, everyone in the line inched forward to pick up their tickets from the box office. I was under the impression that the concert seating was straight general admission and knew that there were two sections: the main floor pit which was standing only and the balcony which had seats. I had gotten to the line early so that I could run to the balcony. I'm short and the prospect of staring at some giant muscle man's back for 2 hours wasn't very appealing. I wanted to be up high so I could see everything and get clear sound.
I got my ticket stub and was blinged out in a colorful assortment of wristbands.
It actually turned out that when you bought your tickets, you were automatically assigned to one of the two sections. Fortunately, my yellow wristband meant I was designated for the balcony and I was happy, but some people were looking to switch.
And still others were just looking for any ticket at all.
This approach is a tad more dignified than this guy offering to give a ticket holder a little action from one of his porn starlets.
After we picked up the tickets and got bedazzled with wristbands, back in line we went. Once the sun went down, it started to get really cold. I wish I had Mr. Insom around for warmth, but he was in a bar next door watching the football game.
He spent the last 10 minutes of the game in line with me constantly hitting refresh on his ESPN app and complaining bitterly it being a tied game. Whatever dude. lol
When the doors finally opened at 7pm I went straight up the balcony and got a great seat... Second row, right side, one away from the center aisle. Perfection.
I could have been in this mass of people, but instead I had plenty of room and a great sight line.
Here's another slide show of 43 images that has some great shots.
I could see some other musicians doing a long spiel about the devastation, how important it is to get involved, why they decided to do a performance, etc., but Thom only offered a heartfelt Thank You after a few songs at the beginning of the show. When O'Brien handed Thom a paper with the totals from the night which were $572,754, with a guy named Peter spending the most money for his pair of tickets - $2,000 each, he dropped an F-bomb. (i.e., he said an astonished "Fuck me!", 10 years - lol)
One of my fellow line buddies mentioned that he was stunned that the ticket prices reached the amount that they did. Uh really, Thom? Do you have any idea what your ticket prices go for on the scalp market? lol
All in all, my concert experience was amazing. Although you'll hear a lot of people singing along in the youtube videos, thankfully, I hardly heard anything from the front of the balcony. And during some of the quiet songs, like "Exit Music for Film", the crowd would ssssh! the woooooo! people. Gotta love a concert that employs collective shushing.
There were at least three rows in the center balcony set aside for special people that apparently didn't have to wait 5 hours in line like us plebeians.
I'm still glowing. Not even walking into my office at work this morning to find it overrun with ants has put a damper on my smile. I had the best 2 hours of my life yesterday. :)
01 Faust Arp
02 Fake Plastic Trees
03 Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
04 The National Anthem
06 Karma Police
07 Kid A
08 Morning Bell
09 How To Disappear Completely
10 A Wolf at the Door
11 The Bends
15 Dollars & Cents
16 Airbag - Yorke asked the crowd Just or Airbag? They went with Airbag
17 Exit Music
18 Everything In Its Right Place (Thom)
19 You And Whose Army?
20 Pyramid Song
21 All I Need
22 Lotus Flower (Thom)
23 Paranoid Android
24 Street Spirit (fade out)