USC - Los Angeles - 4/1/00

This show experience would prove to be a little different for me. The company I intern with,, would be covering the USC performance for a feature they'd be doing on Pp. What does this all mean for me? I'd be seeing the show while standing onstage myself.

After a bout of discussion with a stubborn security guard, the Load crew and I make our way behind the giant gates and onto a spot by the back against equipment, while trying to remain discreet. Cameraman Dave remains mobile in various spots around the front of the stage, capturing it all from every possible angle.

There's something truly strange about being in a postition like that that I was in. At most Pp shows I've been to in the past, I was on the far left of the stage. At USC, I found myself on "the Darren side" once again, but that was now my far right. A thousand pairs of eyes stared up intently in my direction {honestly, I have no clue how many people were in attendance; packed, but it was an outdoor show, so you can't really quote a capacity}... at least a half-dozen soft foam frisbees were flung onstage during their performance -- one of which I personally had to dodge -- and not a few springy superballs -- one of which bounced into and all around Jason's drumkit causing quite a display for five or so seconds. When you have these things coming at you rather than from a giant mass you are a part of, a sudden surge of realization comes over you. There is an odd, newfound respect for the band, for all performers who have to face this repeatedly. It is an appreciation toward other bands that are starting out and are not fully used to the experience. You feel like a nervous new substitute teacher, except in this situation, everybody that's supposed to is actually paying attention. It's bizarre. {Hey, if anybody took a picture there, that I'm in the background of-- send it my way, yeah? Thanks.}

They debuted "Lonely Day," very soft and very affecting, and still stuck in my head two weeks following the show. Another brand-new one, "Can't Say No," was going to be played as well, but couldn't due to the strict set schedules each band had to abide to {there had been acts going on since 3 that afternoon; it was 7:30 when Pp went on, with Jurassic 5 and Sugar Ray still to follow}... The sound system there at "USC SpringFest 2000" left something to be desired; for one, I felt that Alex's vocals overpowered much everthing else. Darren later expressed his frustration with what was going on with his guitar: "It kept going to D! It kept going to D and it was supposed to be D sharp!!" The others had problems with their instruments as well... not to say it was a total performance disaster, they personally did very well. The sound simply wasn't as great as it could have been to no fault of their own, but it's not like any amps were spontaneously exploding. That I know of.

The set ended with Jason going wild with his rendition of "Song 2" by Blur; something a little different and a lot of crazy fun. Afterward the band was interviewed for the Load feature. It was certainly, ah, interesting. Oh, was it, even with their worn-out post-show condition. You'll all be able to see parts of the interview soon enough... I'll link it when the feature comes out {it will be in the form of streaming video}. Wuhu. Okay.