the Spectrum Center - Irvine - 2/11/00

My friends Shelli, Mallory, and I arrived at the Spectrum Center late. Five songs late. We ran up to find the stage "by the Cheesecake Factory" in Gibraltar Court. The first sounds we heard blasting through the speakers around the outdoor stage were that of Jacques' voice cracking as usual on "By My Side." Funny thing about that song- it needs the cracking, his straining, his breathlessness, in order to have the full effect it does. If you've heard it, surely you know what I'm talking about. They're part of the song, and just as necessary as any other aspect of it.

It was chilly out. Jacques even wore a little snow cap. Still, it was impossible to be cold among the group of people crowded around the stage. Throughout the set, shirts and drumsticks were thrown at the audience... Jason climbed on the pillar behind his drums... Jason and Sam passed a cigarette back and forth... Alex used one of those tiny handheld Casio keyboards during "Fine On My Own," which actually worked out well; he later used it to annoy people by yelling "Jacques!" into it and replaying it over and over in different keys.

Back to what I can piece together of the set. "Anthem." I'd never heard this one until then. It's a gorgeous soft one, the kind you close your eyes on and just listen. Somebody's Baby... hadn't heard that one since July. A few songs after was what I had been yelling for, "California!," and then... they start asking the crowd if anyone knows all the words to "Still D.R.E." Someone does--- and it's my friend Evelin. They call her onstage, she goes up, and starts rapping back and forth with them. Hilarious. And yes, Evelin, we know, we know-- you DID know all the words, but just freaked out onstage. You DID know them.

After that was something unexpected- "Airbag." {That's a Radiohead cover for the uninformed.} Wow. The earth moved. Alex comments that they hadn't performed that one for a long while. "Not since April," I yell, "at UCI!" Jacques relays this back to the audience.

Close with "All Over Again." The show ends and they guys move on over to the Limbo Lounge {a clothing/ accessories store that sponsored the show} where they met/greeted everyone and autographed piles of stuff. Terrific performance overall, surprising for a free show at an Irvine shopping center. And hi Cheryl, Pam, Eric and Sydney! Always so nice to meet new people...