‘one of those bands you just have to see live’ is the tag assigned to spiritualized. armed with frequent spins of the last two albums (ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space and let it come down) and a review from my brother of a show a few weeks back in the uk, i set out for the opera house to catch the travelling jay spaceman show, wondering if the talk could be true.
the dears opened for them…i only caught a few songs, and i wasn’t paying attention to anything other than the bartender next to me, and the logistics of the route to the bathrooms at the opera house. if there were ever a fire, all those relieving themselves would die. so i’ll not say much about the dears. sorry dears.
spiritualized hit the stage around 10:25, bless ’em. i was out taking part in drunken foolishness the night before and i was a bit tired, so i was glad they didn’t wait ’til midnight to get on with it. thanks opera house. they opened with “electricity”. boy did they ever. good, punchy song to get it off the ground, and the light show came right along with it…that song kicked off the trend for the rest of the evening (which i was expecting, given what tim’d told me) of the back-lighting making the guys silhouettes. jason just stood on one side of the stage, near the front but facing back toward the centre, ninety degrees to the crowd. that seemed a bit odd, but i knew they weren’t big on connecting with the audience like that. in fact, not one word was spoken into a mic other than lyrics.
i actually didn’t recognize the next song, nor a lot of what they played for the rest of the set. a lot of the material came from pure phase and lazer guided melodies and even spacemen 3 i guess. but song #3 showed me why jason was standing like that; the song was instrumental and started off slowly and very, very gradually (like, 6-minutes-later-gradually) sped up – very hard to do – and they seemed to be watching jason and letting him control the tempo and acceleration. he was conducting.
now then, i’d like to point something out, to anyone who may read this: no matter how cool you think it is, and how very traditional and deep-seated in your concert-going psyche it may be, holding up your lighter during a slow song (i don’t care that is was during “shine a light”) is idiotic. don’t do it. ever. not even if you’re wearing a tank top and mesh hat at a creed concert and the toilet brush next to you is doing it. not even then. rise above your breeding, toilet brushes. jason believes in you, even in that state. repent, toilet brushes.
i really wish i could remember the set list. i remember “on fire”, “out of sight”, “i think i’m in love”, “walking with jesus” (a spacemen 3 song), and a kickass rendition of “come together”, one of my most favouritest. that was the second-to-last song, i think. i didn’t recognize the last song, but it built up with the lights and we were left winded. they came out for one encore – “lord can you hear me”, which couldn’t have been more perfect – and then they disappeared for good. they played for 1:45, plus the encore; not bad at all.
listen to spiritualized. i didn’t even get into the biggest (studio) appeal of the band, which is observing pierce’s dichotomous relationship with himself and the drugs he keeps ingesting…he loves them, but they kill him. he knows it, but he doesn’t really want to stop. or he does, but not enough. either way, it’s a fascinating thing to hear put to music, but it’s not why you see them live. live, they stand stock-still and appear otherworldly on the stage, wreathed in strobe and holding forth from their stacked marshall pulpit. it’s the power in their preaching that gets you, the force of their bible-thumping. i know, somewhere in that crowd last night, was a kid who didn’t know much about spiritualized and just went to a concert with his buddies not expecting to hear this. not expecting to get religion. and when he went home he probably set aside $20 to go buy let it come down the next morning. or maybe he just got really high. both would be fitting.