And it was true again last night: Timprov had a really wretched day Saturday and was not exactly skipping around singing yesterday, but we made it up to Sakura and the Xcel anyway, and had a really good time. And I love the Ladies, and I love the Xcel (Palace Of Hockey!), and I really love the Ladies in the Xcel. Making fun of Norm Coleman in fairly subtle ways, even.
The differences between this year and last year were pretty much all to the good: last year's was a holiday concert (and no, I don't mean a Christmas concert -- BNL has some Hanukkah stuff I really like, and their opening band was all Hanukkah songs last year), and I'm almost never going to like a holiday concert as well as a non-holiday concert. It was a lot warmer this year, and I was feeling better -- on the walk over from Sakura, I said to timprov, "I remember this walk being much, much longer." But I was perpetually tired at this time last year (due to being sick, not due to trying to do everything under the sun simultaneously as is my wont otherwise -- it's a different kind of tired, I promise).
The opening band was worse than last year, and the people behind us were...the sort of people I thought had stopped going to Ladies shows, frankly. They were the, "there's a band playing, let's get tickets and get sticky-drunk and sing along with the choruses to their hits and talk through the rest!" concert-goers. I thought the Ladies were past that stage in their career and not yet to the "Maaaaaan -- I loved these guys when I was in college, maaaaaan" stage. But it was still not enough to ruin or even significantly dent my concert-going experience.
They played songs from all the albums, I think, including the one not yet released. I was very happy with what they chose to play from the new album, and I'm enough of a BNL fan that it's hard to make me unhappy with an assortment of past tunes. They're pretty good at varying tempo, mood, etc., and I didn't go into it with any one song I "had" to hear.
Kevin Hearn (keyboards, accordion, some guitar, all-around useful) has kept the Bolshevik Beard from last year. We approve. Jim Creeggan (bass) has gained immensely in confidence and performance ability (I don't mean musical ability -- he's always been good at that) in just the year since we saw him last. Since we saw him at the Shoreline in '01 -- wow. And the other guys were relaxingly and lovably themselves, and it makes me happy to go hear them play. I expect that the effect would wear off if we went more than once or twice a year, but we don't, and anyway maybe I'm wrong and it wouldn't wear off at all.
These guys are such geeks. I love to watch our own kind being rock stars. That part is so good even aside from the music, which is of course far and away the main point.