I’ll never forget the winter of 2002-2003, the first time I heard Guster – in the car, rounding the bend of Buckingham Pond, on EQX: the song was Barrel of a Gun. I forgot about wherever it was that I was headed and went straight to the closest music shop. I didn’t know the name of the band or the song, so I sang it to the guy behind the counter. “I have to have this,” I demanded. He nodded in an okay, just please don’t hurt me way and, luckily, knew just what I was singing, so was able to provide my first Guster CD: Lost and Gone Forever. I’ve been hooked ever since and have, quite unapologetically, seen 9 or 10 shows now.
My ability to expound on Guster in an uncool fashion really warrants its very own blog, so I won’t torture you too much about it here. Suffice it to say that I was incredibly excited to be able to see them 2 nights in a row, on Black Friday and Whatever They Call The Saturday After That, in Montclair, NJ at the Wellmont Theatre.
First, though, was Thanksgiving. My mom, God bless her, made a whole dinner – some for M and me and some for Andy. We drove down together to see Boo and bring him to Andy’s apartment, where we all had turkey sandwiches and black soda for lunch. Jonah took his usual two baths while we were there…
…and then we took Boo for his regularly requested car ride? and came back to the apartment. My mom and I left after Jonah’s second bath and another request for car ride. During car ride I asked Andy to put Guster’s Easy Wonderful in the CD player, and Jonah and I sang songs in the backseat, moving our clasped safe hands up and down to the rhythm, singing the oooo-oooo-oooo-oooo-oooo part of Architects and Engineers like two little grinning goofballs… Jonah bursting out in a laugh every so often. He loves Guster too now. Score.
I like to joke that I have a bachelor’s degree in Guster and am working on my Master’s. I know to bring canned food and ping pong balls to their shows, and I know better than to try to win the “meet and greet the band” prize after the show. One time when I set out to win (and did win, by bringing box after box of food) the opportunity to meet and greet the band, I brought them a gift bag full of cookies and goodies, a mix-CD, and a letter that undoubtedly said something very very geeky. Brian-the-drummer came out first after the show, and tears came to my eyes. I was barely able to choke out “Your music makes me so happy” before I abandoned all hope of appearing normal, shoved the gift bag at him, began to cry, and ran away. Fail.
But the shows were both fantastic, each featuring a different song off their first album, Parachute. They almost never play songs off Parachute live, and they said it had been something like 18 years since they’d played either song. To those of you who may be reading and knew me in high school: nothing’s changed. I’m still the geeky girl.
So here are some pictures of the shows. At one point Ryan put a disco ball on his head; all the lights hitting it made the whole place a big disco – always the whole band and crowd laughing, dancing, joyful, energized by some cool twist on every song.
Adam on the horn
Ryan singing and jamming
All the Gusters
…and Ryan with his disco ball head.
I want to bring Jonah to a show. I hope someday I can. If not we’ll just keep on singing Guster songs.
While I was in New Jersey I was contacted by A.H., another beautiful singer from Shaker High School. She said that a group was getting together that night (Saturday) to reminisce about Mr. Fleischer – but I was a state away. Shit. I would’ve loved to see everyone (and beg two or three people to sing). I am so touched by the comments my old peeps, and Ned’s old peeps, have left me.
Lives intertwined. It’s all so amazing, this world and how it works.
P.S. Jack and Almanzo are buddies now.