KPRi hosted a free private concert at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Woodstock outdoor event space downtown for their loyal listeners, featuring The Airborne Toxic Event. Before the show, some of the band members were walking around in the audience and talking with fans. The band’s lead vocalist and guitar player, Mikel Jollett, told my friend it would be an unplugged set. While it looked plugged in to me with keyboards, drums, violin, stand-up bass, and another guitar and bass, on stage Jollett held his acoustic and said, “I feel naked without my electric guitar. . . . This is the most acoustic fuckin’ solo I’ve ever played.”
This could be what he meant.
They deviated slightly from their original set list, which was: “Wishing Well,” “This Is Nowhere,” “Gasoline,” “Something New,” “Happiness,” “Echo Park,” “This Losing,” “Mindsight,” “Goodbye Horses,” “All I Ever Wanted,” “Innocence,” “Moving On,” and “Missy.”
The band opened with “Wishing Well” with Jollett starting out on keys. He switched to the guitar for “This Is Nowhere,” then changed up the order and went into “Something New,” before playing “Gasoline.” One of the advantages of staying at the Hard Rock Hotel is that the balconies open up to the music venue. Just as the band began playing “Happiness,” Jollett pointed to a hotel room across the way and said, “Everybody look! There’s a couple watching us from their room!” The crowd turned around and looked. Jollett continued, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if they were naked?”
They skipped around and played “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses,” which Jollett said they hadn’t played in quite a while. Another deviation led to the beloved “Sometime Around Midnight,” which began with Anna Bulbrook’s haunting violin solo and Jollett later singing with his eyes closed in an almost prayerlike stance. They did a cover of “Goodbye Horses,” written by the late William Harvey who passed just a few days ago on August 4, 2009. Jollett shared a story about how Garvey had contacted him to let him know he was singing the lyrics wrong. All along, Jollett had been singing “lying over you” when it should have been “flying over you.” They followed up with “Innocence” and then ended with “Missy,” during which they went into a cover of “Ask” by The Smiths.
I’m not sure if the Hard Rock ever reached capacity for this event. It was a comfortable crowd, and there seemed to be ample room. The band was supposed to go on at 6:00 pm, but at that time someone gave an announcement that sounded like maybe they were waiting for more people to show up, and they didn’t go on until sometime around 7 pm.
Sometimes private can be too private.
You can still catch The Airborne Toxic Event for another free show tonight at the Del Mar Racetrack as part of their Four O’clock Fridays and free concert series.
(Note: The picture attached is from my old-school LG flip phone. Apologies for the low quality. The generous Rosemary said she would also post her pics of the event.)