Friday, December 23, 2005

New Respect for AAR, New Bone to Pick with Rooney

Carla Couldn’t Do It

On Tuesday, December 21st 2005 I was dropped off at the usual drop point (a McDonald’s in Brighton, MI) where my sister Emily picked me up and of we drove to Detroit. That very night Emily and I were going to attend a concert. That the local paper of Detroit (the Free Press) as well as other sources (such as the usually incredibly reliable – the concert hot wire) had posted and printed that the set list at State Theatre on this very night was to be 1) The Academy Is… 2) Rooney and 3) The All-American Rejects.

Here is the first reason I was a little pissed, besides the fact that the heavily chlorinated pool of Lapeer’s Recreational Center had left my skin dryer than the Sahara and burning and itching when we got to the State Theatre something unexpected happened, the first of a few unexpected things to happen that night. I had been to the State for a short visit during the 89X birthday bash earlier in May (where such bands as Hot Hot Heat, The Blue Van, Tegan & Sara, Keane and The Killers played) and in my short stop at the State I had the impression that it was a very small venue, a pit with a small bar behind it. Little did I know there was a (quote, unquote Tyson Ritter of AAR) “Huge Ass Balcony." At least 200 yards going back up and up and up. My very kind mother had purchased tickets over the phone and put them on will call for my sister and me; Mom even played extra for the “better” seats. Emily and I were seated in about the fifth row from the back, at least 10 million feet away from the stage. I’m not quite sure how to describe the temperature of the State Theatre that night. As Trent of Pink is the New Blog said ( - more on that later) “It was slightly warmer than the 8th circle of hell.” And no words spoken were truer. Mind you, I was also literally sweating out chlorine... some people like the smell, Emily said she didn't mind but I still couldn't help feeling alittle self consious, as well as sorry for anyone around me.

Emily and I got there about a half hour late (later than indented) and when we arrived no band was on stage. We sat in our seats and thought it was odd that no band had come on yet. Then “The Academy Is…” took stage. Besides having one of the most ostentatious front man I have ever seen the Academy wasn’t that bad. Emily recognized such tunes as Classifieds (their previous single) and I recognized the song Checkmarks but I didn’t remember from where (later I would find out I knew it from Kyle’s itunes library) Before Academy left the stage the men from AAR came out and set up a table, with cards, beer and crackers right in the middle of the stage, right in the middle of Academy’s set. This was the last show of the very long tour the Rejects had this year, which Academy hosted with them. I have heard of the headlining band pulling the occasional prank on the opener, I’m not sure this was the case but whatever it was it was hilarious. AAR then flipped the table making a humungous mess (all while The Academy Is… was playing) and then got a huge box full of nothing but packing peanuts and dumped them over every member. As well as emptying another box of what looked like flour, or sugar.

At the very tail end of their set the Academy announced their appreciation for the band that played first that night “This Is Me Smiling”. This is where Emily and I started to panic. We basically went to see Rooney, and we were already panicking that we may have missed them but now we were to assume that there were 4 bands playing? Our response to the obnoxious front man was simply a flabbergasted “what the hell?” Then he responded over the mic, “and next, the All-American Rejects! Thanks again Detroit we love you, see you next year!” Now I was really just vexed and about to bust a cap. “Where the hell is Rooney!?” Another duo of people in front of us demanded to know the same thing. What ended up happening is that, Rooney never showed. Someone said that it was because Rooney only toured with the Rejects on the southern half of the tour. Some said they simply did not show up and the Smiling band was added to the bill. Either way I was not pleased, I’m not sure whether Rooney had never planned on attending period or whether they stood up their fans. I wish I could ask Mr. Robert Carmine what the hell happened. I guess you have to look past it (which I did) and I was still looking forward to the All-American Rejects set.

The Rejects took the stage about a half hour later, opening with their new “smash-hit” single, “Dirty Little Secret”, but not after an important series of events occurred for my sister. In between The Academy Is… and AAR Emily got up to go and get a bottle of water (mind you it was at least 1000 degrees at this concert) and on the way back up to our ridiculously high seat in the balcony who does she see amongst us "balconeers", but Eric, who if you didn’t know is Trent’s (pink is the new blog rapidly becoming famous Trent) boyfriend. She asked Eric if he was who he was and he said yes and they got talking and he was relieved to see that my sister wasn’t just another drunken obsessive blog reader. Eric led my sister up to Trent and the moment Emily has been wishing for occurred, Emily met Trent, said their pleasantries and then the next day he even gave her a shout out on his blog. Emily was “stoked” to say the least.

She returned and the Rejects began to play, playing songs off their new album such as the title track “Move Along” and “11 p.m.” and old classic songs off the first record (one of my favorite cds) such as “Your Star”, “Paper Heart” and the old insanely famous for a few days “Swing, Swing”. The show was awesome, and eve though Rooney stood me up I was delightfully surprised with the performance AAR gave me. Tyson (front man- vocals and bass) even came out in a Santa hat with a bottle of wine for the encore, as it was the last show of a long grueling tour. It was a good concert, and it’s always good to see a “punk” (I say that wearily as “true punk” is dead) band that is good live, cause the usual performance of a band of AAR’s caliber (such as My Chemical Romance or Fall Out Boy) usually isn’t pretty. But the fact remains, it was a great show and the Rejects were good, they made up for Rooney’s disappearance and definitely went up a notch in my book.

On the way home between “almost” getting lost (that really was Map Quests fault, and that was n the way there actually… really though, first Wikopedia then poll star now map quest… one site goes they all go. Its that time of season… you know... Christmas lights.) Emily also almost crashed into a snow bank before getting us back onto the freeway, but that’s not important. We were talking about previous shows and she was telling me of her adventures at the Tegan & Sara show (St. Andrews, 2 months ago) and I told her about the Spoon show that was there a few days later that I had to miss. The show was at St. Andrews, doors at 7, on October 27th, a Saturday. It seemed so perfect. But there were problems… My dad was up north with a family friend, Emily had a date, Tricia was in Detroit with her boyfriend, My Uncle was working… even Emily’s friend and ex-coworker, Carla, couldn’t do it. I was quite upset. But her and I saw Guster a month later and then the Rejects, so I couldn’t complain too much.

I suppose the moral of the story is, check at least five sources before you put tickets on will call for a total of 70 bucks. We could have been stuck with a horrible band, like maybe Nick Carter was scheduled to replace Rooney. We got lucky but remember, be safe, especially since it’s the holidays. Merry Christmas.

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