News about me, and my thoughts, jokes, and stuff.

Sean's Blog

Monkey Men All

I got a chance this summer to do something I had been wanting to do for 2 decades – go see DEVO perform in concert.  They’ve always been one of my favorite bands, and I heard early in the year that they’d be releasing a new album and touring, so I was on the lookout.  They didn’t end up playing any dates in New England, but they did come to the Albany area, which is only 2 hours drive from where I live, so I jumped at the chance to pay an inflated ticket price (plus nearly another 25% in fees to TicketBastard).

Fortunately, the show was on a Saturday night, so I drove out there in the afternoon and got some dinner before heading to the venue.  They played at a large club called Northern Lights, in the suburb of Clifton Park.  The place is in a strip mall – here are some pictures of it that I took after the show:

I had arrived there at 6:30 (while it was still light out), and got in line outside, as the doors wouldn’t open until 7:00.  While waiting, I had to get a picture of this guy who was just a bit behind me in line:

He had an energy dome logo on the hat, as well as heavy, “Oh No, It’s DEVO” eyebrows on his glasses.  Fun!

I got inside pretty quickly, and immediately made my way to the stage.  This was a rare opportunity, and I wanted to be right up close.  Fortunately, I was early enough to get a spot right in front of the stage, or as close as possible anyway, as there was a barrier between the stage and audience, creating a narrow area for photo and video people to do their thing during the concert.

I had thought that the band was going to take the stage at 8:00, but it turned out that they weren’t going on until 9:00, so I had 2 hours to stand and wait (spoiler: it was worth it).  I talked a bit to some other fans nearby me, and got a pictures of things like this equipment case:

Also, the stage was located in a back corner of the club’s one huge room.  Just over to the right of the stage was the back door of the building, which was being used as a stage door, with the band getting ready in their tour bus outside:

At one point, a car pulled up next to the bus out there, and out of the car emerged the brothers Mothersbaugh.  Mark headed into the bus, but Bob1 initially walked into the building, and he was immediately greeted by a fan yelling, “BOB!” with a bunch of cheering from the rest of us.  He laughed and went back outside (unfortunately I didn’t have the presence of mind to snap a picture at that moment).

One interesting feature of the stage was the background screen.  They had a video screen actually made up of a bunch of large LEDs.  They were difficult to photograph when off, but here’s a close-up of a small portion of the screen:

They did take the stage at 9:00 sharp, with intro music and video playing:

The band were initially wearing their new light gray outfits with masks.  I had seen pictures of the outfits before coming to the show, but I didn’t know that the suits were highly reflective, so when you take a flash picture of the band, they glow:

Here’s a picture without the flash:

I captured a picture of the setlist before the show, though my view of the first few songs was blocked:

Once they played the first 3 songs, they caught up to where I could see the list.  Here’s all of the songs they did, in order (the first, third, and fifth are from the new album, Something for Everybody):

  • Don’t Shoot, I’m a Man
  • Peek-a-boo
  • What We Do Is What We Do
  • Goin’ Under
  • Fresh
  • That’s Good
  • Girl U Want
  • Whip It
  • Planet Earth
  • Satisfaction
  • Secret Agent Man
  • Uncontrollable Urge
  • Mongoloid
  • Jocko Homo
  • Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA
  • Gates of Steel
  • Freedom of Choice
  • Beautiful World

The setlist shows a few dividing lines.  The first two denote costume changes, and the third marks the planned encore.

Some pictures from the first group of songs:

Mark and Bob2 during “Peek-a-boo”:

After “Peek-a-b00” they took off the masks.

The first costume change involved taking off the jackets and adding blue energy domes:

They played like that for 3 songs from the album Freedom of Choice.  Note, the shirts have blue energy dome logos on the sleeves.

Their second costume change involved putting on yellow radiation suits (and they all grabbed guitars) for a set of songs from their first two albums:

During “Uncontrollable Urge,” Mark demonstrated his urge by ripping his suit, as well as those of his bandmates:

A few pieces of suit got thrown out into the audience, one of which was grabbed by the guy next to me.  He tore off a part of that and gave it to me, so I have a small bit of Bob1’s yellow suit.

Dancing in unison at the end of that song:

For the song”Mongoloid”, Mark would crouch at the edge of the stage with a pair of pompoms, and would jump up and shake them.  Here he is crouching just a few feet in front of me:

and here he’s at the other end of the stage:

Back at the keyboard, shortly before they removed the suits entirely:

They ripped the suits off and threw them into the crowd.  None of them came near me, though I was happy to have the piece I’d already received, even if it doesn’t say ‘DEVO’ on it.  This left the band wearing just the black t-shirts and black shorts (and kneepads).

Mark then jumped down into the space in front of the stage, to get a bit intimate with the audience:

Sadly, he didn’t get close to my position.

I don’t recall why Bob1 was covering his ears here:

Shots from “Freedom of Choice” during the encore:

Jerry with his bass:

Mark had a few towels stuffed in the back of his shorts.  During the song, he would take each one out, wipe his sweat with it, then rub it on his armpits, butt, and crotch (outside his clothes) before throwing it to the audience.

Yes, at age 60 he’s still an edgy weirdo.

Their final song was “Beautiful World” – one of my favorites of theirs.

The song featured a special appearance by Booji Boy on lead vocals!  (for those not in the know, that’s pronounced ‘boogie’.)

In the middle of the song, during a long instrumental part, Booji told a story about getting to go the the Neverland Ranch to hang out with Michael Jackson.  I kept expecting the story to take a creepy turn, but that didn’t happen.

All too soon, the show was over.

The above shot shows “DEVO” in silver letters on Booji’s back.

And that was that.  They were only on stage for an hour-and-a-quarter, but I do feel like I got my money’s and time’s worth.

Posted by seaking on 08-29-2010 at 08:08 pm
Posted in Arts/Media, Surreal with 3 Comments

Happy Blog Day to Me

This technically should have been posted yesterday, but I didn’t get to it.  In any case, it has now been 5 years since I started this blog!  The first post went online August 25, 2005.  Now, I don’t post as often as some people I know, so in 5 years I’ve produced the same number of postings that others would crank out in 6 months to a year, but it has been fun, and I think much of the content has been appreciated.

I have a couple of posts coming up that will relate events from the past month, and I think it’s time for a few more web comic reviews soon.  I also am planning on updating the non-blog parts of this site, possibly incorporating a lot of that content into the blog’s layout theme.  And then I should probably revive the Sadlibs site.

As always, people can comment here on what they think of the blog, the rest of the site, etc.  I’d appreciate any feedback.

Posted by seaking on 08-26-2010 at 08:08 pm
Posted in Meta with 1 Comment

From Riverbank, under Roadway, to Reservoir

I previously posted about my bike trip over the July 4th long weekend.  On the Monday of that weekend, I went for an extended hike.  This was another hike of parts of the Metacomet-Monadnock trail – I covered sections 3 and 4.

As with other one-way hikes, I brought my bike along on the back of the car, parked at the end of section 4, and then biked around to the beginning of section 3.

Section 3 begins on the Northern bank of the Westfield River at a point in West Springfield (but very close to the Westfield line).  The river flows behind a bunch of businesses on US-20, and I locked up my bike in a parking lot there, then took a very short path down to the river to get some pics.  Here’s the view upriver to the West:

And downriver to the East:

From there, I went back up and crossed Route 20, to begin the hike in earnest.  This involved a bit of walking on side streets until I got to the spot where the trail actually goes into the woods.

Once that happened, I spent nearly half a mile walking near a quarry, partially using its dirt access roads.  Then, the trail went off into deeper woods near a marshy area.  Just a little ways into those woods, I came across this structure:

It was very run-down, so I don’t think it gets used any more.  Who knows what it was used for in the past – maybe camping for hunters?  (there is a sportsman’s club of some kind near the quarry)

Just after that, I came across some large and weird fungal growths:

There’s nothing in the pictures for size reference, but each of these big ones was a good 8 inches in diameter.

The trail started skirting the edge of the marsh, so I started getting pestered by mosquitoes.  I also got a few more pictures:

That lower area wasn’t completely wetland, I think, because there’s a sort-of road there, which is probably for access to the power lines that ran overhead.

Lots more traipsing through woods followed that area, without much to photograph, but I did come across an open area where a tall tree had split:

Not sure what caused it.

Eventually, section 3 comes out of the woods by the Massachusetts Turnpike.  At that point, one has to walk West alongside the pike (and a bit downhill), until you come to an underpass for an old quarry road.  Apparently, a number of people have been here – and they’ve left their marks.  Here is the underpass before I went through:

And inside:

At the far end of the tunnel is a gate you have to climb through:

Here it is from the other side:

On the far side there are railroad tracks coming by at an angle, which also go under the Pike:

And a bunch more graffiti – these being focused on flowers!

Perhaps someone wanted to help Nature reassert itself on all this concrete in its midst.   🙂

Once I crossed the train tracks, I was at the end of section 3.  I sat down and ate the lunch I’d brought.  It was a very hot day (temp in the 90’s) so I was trying to make my 2 bottles of water last.  Fortunately, I’d packed a nice, juicy peach, and didn’t need to drink so much with my food.  (a peach has never tasted so good)

Having eaten, I commenced section 4.  It differs from section 3 in being on higher ground, so even though it’s also very wooded, there are views to be seen.  Also, there are old communication towers:

Those are 2 different towers that I passed.  These are on a ridge that runs North-South, and which has a number of views to the West. Here’s a view of Barnes Airport in Westfield:

Last Fall, I had taken a picture of that airport from the other side, while biking past on Route 202.  At the time, I remember seeing the ridge and the towers beyond, and though of that this time.

I was also high enough up to have birds of prey flying around.  Here are 2 that passed almost directly over me:

Later in the section, I saw some views of the Western part of Holyoke:

Soon after that, I got a little lost.  The M-M trail is marked with white paint blazes on tree trunks (and occasionally on rocks).  There was a point where I found a double blaze, which indicates a change in trail direction, and then saw a blaze on a tree off to my right.  I headed off in that direction, and then had trouble locating another blaze or a well-traveled path.  I did find one old, faded blaze, but nothing beyond that.  I tied looking in several directions for 15 minutes or so (worrying about my water supply), until finally I made my way back to the double-blaze marker and looked further along that trail.  Sure enough the trail continued on what looked like a trail, and then made a slight turn to the left.  So, I got underway again.  After nearly another hour, I came down to US-202 in Holyoke, near the McLean Reservoir, where I had parked the car (in which I had extra water stashed).

Total hiking distance was about 8 miles.

Posted by seaking on 08-19-2010 at 11:08 am
Posted in Hiking with 0 Comments