Band: Tommy & The High Pilots
Venue: The Outland
Location: Springfield, MO
First, I’d like to say that I am not stalking this band. It’s their own fault for (a) playing near enough that I can see them frequently and (b) inspiring manic enthusiasm in their fans.
Second, if you weren’t at The Outland last night, you missed a great show. As a wonderful surprise, The High Pilots actually played last and it was worth the wait.
Shall I count the ways?
Their song selection was spot on, as usual (though I really need to remember to request “The Limit” next time…haven’t seen that song performed since last November). They had a mix of covers, old stuff and new stuff. They’ve got a knack for playing sweetly moving songs then sweet songs designed to make you move.
I’ve decided to give you a retelling of the concert. In this story, you are me but I’m not you. Because I like being me and you will too. Here’s how it was:
Your blood’s pumping, you’re smiling at Tom’s antics and they start playing “On The Line.” You look around at the audience and you see a couple of their fans closing their eyes and swaying to the music. Then you laugh when Tom introduces “Bluesy Floozy” as a song about a bitch who was a floozy.
They announce they’re going to play something new. You’re excited and scared. What happens is wonderful. They play a song called “Broken Down.” It’s sad and beautiful and you’re mad at yourself for not recording the song so you can listen to it until your iPhone tells you it’s time to move on (then you find the song on YouTube, so you don’t worry about it). Then it’s cover time.
“This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” by the Talking Heads. Tom’s voice is exactly right for the song. It’s a moment of clarity and the bar seems to be a little quieter. Except for the girl standing behind you. She’s a bit noisy. Talking at a concert in front of the stage seems like a weird place to talk, but maybe the band can’t hear her.
Tom announces that it’s another new song. You peeked at Mike’s setlist so you’d be prepared for this song. Because this song has been haunting you for weeks. You record “Devil To Pay” and proceed to listen to nothing but that song for the next day and a half. You also notice when watching the video that Tom definitely noticed the talkative girl. He shushes and gently chastises her. This has no effect.
They play another new song. “Here In My Hands.” You’re impressed with it, but know that it will take a few more listens before you can fully absorb it. The excitement of “Devil To Pay” hasn’t worn off yet.
Then it’s time for a real crowd-pleaser. Matt comes to the front of the stage, and they start on “Lorraine.” This song is about a prostitute. You cheerfully belt out the chorus and demand to know where your money’s gone. In this case, the answer’s the merch table.
Then they conclude with their most famous song. “Where To Start” takes you through troubling times, with the lesson that being in love is enough. You smile at that message and are delighted that the audience seems to know this song. You’ve all got this.
But wait! There’s time for an encore! They whip out a U2 cover of “Desire.” Tom comes down into the audience (not a terribly crowded one, but it’s still great) and the bar really gets into the song. Tom sits down in the middle of it, and chats with us. It was an energetic and well-executed cover that still sounded like The High Pilots. That is the sign of a great cover.
Then the concert is over. You snag a setlist, talk to the band members, buy another shirt (because 4 wasn’t enough…you needed 5) and tell them goodbye. You get hugs from everyone, excitedly hear that the new album is tentatively scheduled to be released at the end of February and walk out of the venue, pleased with the way this evening has gone.
Okay. Here’s the scoop. It was a great show, even if the turnout was small. This band deserves a huge audience with people lined up to see them. They’re worth it. I’ll support them always because I love their music and they will always deliver. They keep getting better, they’re great guys and I’m positive you should never play pool with them for money.
And, now that I took you through the entire concert, I’ll give you the score:
Drink Prices: A-
*As mentioned previously, a girl was talking THROUGH THE ENTIRE CONCERT. It’s one thing to talk at the bar or the back of the room, but she was close enough to the stage that the band heard her. They tried to get her to stop. She refused. To this girl, I have a message:
I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you never come back to a High Pilots show, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you do, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will spill a drink on you.