Yesterday, I set off for work at the usual time (6:45) and had my usual crazy Friday of non-stop teaching. It's always fun, but it is also exhausting. When you add this on top of a week that had me feeling slightly run-over, you can imagine that when I left at 2:30, my body was ready to sit for a while. It got its wish. The drive to Oakland took about an hour-and-a-half. I met Summer at the Rockridge BART station, and we took the train into the city to get some dinner and get to the Warfield on time.
What can I say? Keane gigs are always awesome. These guys are legitimate musicians performing really well-written music. As tired as I was, by the time the lights dimmed and the intro music started, I was finding my second wind. You can hear this wind in my high-pitched shrieking in this video:
The crowd was electric, Tom's voice was in top form, and the set list was great. I did rather miss "The Starting Line," as its a favorite of mine from Strangeland, but I don't decide the set lists and I refuse to complain because they played so many of their best songs with their usual energy and passion.
After such a topsy-turvy week, I definitely had moments of raw emotion during the show. The first came during "Silenced By the Night," which Tim once described as being, perhaps, a metaphor for coming out of a dark period. My own interpretation of the song fits this, and one reason I love this song so much is because of this meaning--I know, all too well, that feeling of being in a dark place and fighting your way out of it. Last night, the song nearly made me cry, especially as Tom sang, "'Cause baby I'm not scared of this world, when you're here..." and then geared up for an enormous, heartbreakingly gorgeous "Whoa" at the top of his voice.
Of course, the crowd roared throughout "Somewhere Only We Know," Keane's biggest Stateside hit, and sang along pretty much every word. Tom held his microphone stand high above us, encouraging us to sing along (as he always does). I almost cried again, because this song represents so many wonderful things to me--it's the song that brought me to that first Keane gig in 2009, and because I always loved it so, I've met some incredible people I may otherwise never have known.
Other highlights of the evening included Tom describing the neighborhood in which the Warfield Theater resides as, "the strangest neighborhood I've ever been in..." with a rueful chuckle. Welcome to The Tenderloin, Mr. Chaplin! A few minutes later, he described the band's bus trip into California (they came to us from Boise, Idaho) via Interstate 80, and how impressed he was with how beautiful this state is (insert huge roar from the crowd). "You've got everything! Mountains, the ocean, the Napa valley..." It was a proud California Girl moment for me.
Summer, attending her fourth proper Keane gig, was laughing at how she now knows Tom's signature hand motions and stage moves. We would jokingly imitate him and giggle while singing along to the music. I once saw someone describe Tom as a boring front man because he never changes his "shtick." I disagree, and maintain that you don't need to do gymnastics up there when you have a voice like Tom Chaplin's.
The other guys were in top form, too. I knew something was up when Tim stood up from his stool, moved it several feet back, and stood at his keyboards. Sure enough, the band started "Is It Any Wonder?" (Summer's favorite) and this means Tim rocking out so hard you have to worry about whiplash. Jesse, as usual, danced around with his bass and did a few percussion duties (I saw him with claves at one point). He climbed up on the drum stand with Richard and I giggled, remembering a picture that was once put up on Twitter of Jesse pretending to bite a laughing Richard. Alas, no such shenanigans last night. Still, the grin on Richard's face as he and Jesse interacted said it all--these four guys are like brothers, and they still love to make music together.
I took two videos, a couple of bad still shots, and some Instagram shots that are in my Week in Instagram post below. Mostly, I spent Keane's 90-minute set being in the moment, singing along, dancing, and letting myself get caught up in the emotional intensity of Tim's lyrics. After the week I had leading up to Friday, I needed to just let go and enjoy. I later remarked to Summer that this was much needed "music therapy."
Unfortunately, we were unable to stay after the show to meet the guys--apparently they came out to say hello, but we had a BART train to catch back to Oakland, and the service shuts down around midnight. I'm just glad I got to see the show, hear the guys live. They never disappoint me, and I'm grateful to live in a place they visit regularly. Some countries only see Keane every 3-4 years. The U.S. gets them way more often than that, and the bay area sees them pretty much every tour.
I leave you with this thirty-second snippet of action from "A Bad Dream," showing just how energetic these guys are, how much they give to their fans.
Come back soon, Keane! California loves you.