Band: Tommy & The High Pilots
Venue: The Firebird
Location: St. Louis, MO
This show was AMAZING. And sure. I hadn’t seen The High Pilots since August so I was more than a little excited, but I don’t think it was my imagination. The crowd went wild for them, and Tom, Mike, Steve and Matt went crazy for us. It was electric to be in that audience. I was standing right in front of Steve (an awesome place to be considering how great he is with the crowd) and had a clear view of Tom (and his new blond hair).
First, let me take this opportunity to thank The High Pilots for playing my second favorite song of theirs that I was sure I’d never see in concert: “Lonely Place.” FYI, if you click on the link, you’ll see a video I recorded. Ignore my bad vocals along with Tom’s. How could I not show my appreciation and sing along? Oh, and I haven’t edited it yet, so it still looks like it was recorded on an iPhone (which it was). Seriously, I think they knew how much I loved this song and they played it as a gift to me. That’s how I’m looking at it.
Then, in the sweetest surprise possible, The High Pilots PLAYED A NEW SONG. THEY PLAYED A NEW SONG. And it was great. It’s called “Young and Hungry” and I loved it. I recorded it but, out of respect to the boys, I’m not going to post it. Just trust me when I tell you that it was great. Oh, and Mike, Matt and Steve assured me that their new album should be out sometime this coming Spring. From what I heard at the concert, the wait will be worth it.
And I did, of course, talk to them after their set. Matt and Mike complimented my coat in a pair of adorable accents (the coat has since been nominated for best piece in my wardrobe…it’ll win in a landslide. The election is rigged.), Tom talked with me about the new song, and Steve won hero of the year. After they did not, unfortunately, have my size in a t-shirt, I settled on getting the show posters that I had not yet acquired. Having already purchased three High Pilots shirts, Steve gave me the posters for free (after telling me appreciatively that he saw me singing along to every song…I almost swooned).
By the way, I was totally at the Springfield show on the red poster. That’s where I saw Antennas Up for the first time.
Of course, The High Pilots were opening for Ha Ha Tonka. And, rest assured, Ha Ha Tonka was also splendid. I bought my first Ha Ha Tonka shirt to celebrate their awesomeness.
And, for those of you who see me this week, don’t be surprised if I’m wearing it.
Now, I want to get serious for a minute. The High Pilots are one of my favorite bands (seriously, probably top 2). I love their music. It’s always a surprise. For every gentle and romantic lyric you get in Tom’s crooning voice like:
“Maybe she’s someone I’ve made up. Maybe she’s somebody true. But I won’t rest until I know you.” (“Lonely Place”)
You also get the following line from their most popular song, “Where To Start”:
“I’ll be depressed when I am 40, getting horny, having no sex. Can’t catch a break, I’m too damn dirty. Wish I was 16.”
Like I said. It’s a surprise.
But it’s even more than the music. I love that they care about the fans. I love that they take the time to talk to those fans at their shows (I’ve harassed them enough to know this is the case, and they’ve never been less than delightfully charming). I love that they’re easy and relaxed on stage, and will banter with the crowd. I love that their performance isn’t about US, the audience, admiring THEM, the band. It’s an exchange of ideas. It’s a give and take. The audience feeds them the energy, and they throw it back at us. That seems like something every band should do in a live performance, but few that I’ve seen do it as skillfully as The High Pilots. I think it’s fair to say that I’m a fan and I’ll be staying that way.
And, of course, there was the added benefit of seeing Tim Convy at the show (moog, keys and vocals for Ludo, for those of you who don’t know…and if you didn’t know, shame be upon ye). I took an insanely blurry and dark photo with him and had the following conversation:
Tim: “Are you having a good time?”
Me: “Yeah! I’m loving it. Oh, by the way, I’ll be at ‘A Very Ludo Christmas.’”
Tim: “Really? Me too.”
He’s hilarious. He can’t help it. He also told me that the t-shirts for “A Very Ludo Christmas” were going to be a T-Rex wearing a Santa Claus hat. That sound you just heard was me counting out the dollars I’m going to be spending on merch.
That show should be epic. And, now that I’ve droned on about pretty much everything on my brain this fine but chilly evening, here is the score:
Drink Prices: B+*
*Funny story about the drink prices. We went to the bar and ordered four drinks. The bartender tells us the total is $34. We stare, astonished that the drinks were pretty much $9 each. She then says the total was closer to $22. Oh, math. Why have you forsaken us?