The Tea Party – 2 night stand @ Town Ballroom

As suspected for a while, the Tea Party announced they were going to tour Transmission, like they did The Edges of Twilight, for it’s 20th anniversary. Yesssss. My favourite album. They announced 2 shows in Buffalo, and Town Ballroom was offering a slightly discounted 2 night pass. Since it was likely that this tour will be the only time I get to see most of these songs, I was going to go to both.

First night we planned to meet up with Eric and Mary at Expo Market for dinner before hand, where we were joined by Kark and Kelley. It was like old college times again, and I hadn’t seen them since Eric’s wedding, which was 10 or 11 years ago. It was great to see them again.

The shows had no opener, thankfully. Unlike the Edges show, they didn’t quite go in order, moving Temptation to the end, as they typically close with it, and switching things up a bit in the middle. After finishing the album, they took a 20ish minute break, before coming out for a 2nd “greatest hits” set.

Nights 1 and 2 1st Set:
Army Ants
Babylon
Psychopomp
Gyroscope
Emerald
Alarum
Release
Transmission
Embryo
Pulse
Aftermath
Temptation

Night 1 2nd set:
Writing’s on the Wall
The Bazaar
The Ocean at the End
Heaven Coming Down / All Along the Watchtower
Save Me

Encore:
Winter Solstice / Sister Awake / Paint It Black

Night 2 2nd set:
The River
Fire in the Head
The Ocean at the End
Heaven Coming Down / All Along the Watchtower
Save Me

Encore:
Winter Solstice / Sister Awake / Paint It Black

Both nights were more or less the same, except the first 2 songs of the 2nd set. The crowd was a bit more into things on Friday, I think, and the band was a bit more playful with all 3 of them loving the “Stuuuuuu” chants, and Stu was more animated than I’ve ever seen him – hamming it up, egging on the “Stuuuu’s”, flexing his muscles. Jeff Martin didn’t get super political, mentioning how much 2016 sucked and alluding to the political climate, but turning it more about the musicians that were lost, and dedicating Aftermath (I think) to Bowie. The 2nd night had more political allusion, changing Temptation lyrics to “We live in a world where the fear of the President is real”, and both nights they expressed their support for women, and the White Ribbon campaign before playing Release. Jeff’s voice held up pretty well, unlike when they first got back together, where the Lockport show followed Toronto, and his voice was a big old mess.

Mary was super excited for Emerald, which was great to hear, but I was more excited and impressed by Babylon, Alarum, and Transmission. The album sounds great live, and we both thought they should keep some of these songs in their set. The 2nd night, Eric had an extra from his 2 night pass, because he was only going to Thursday so I had invited LeighAnne. Then when Eric picked up his tickets on Thursday, they had given him a whole 2nd pass on accident, so he had another extra, which I offered to Kate. Mary was supposed to come, but wasn’t feeling well and I don’t think she made it.

Leading up to the show I was trying to remember how many times I had seen them. Turns out, these Tea Party shows were number 19 and 20!

The Tea Party plays more than the same 12 songs…

A few days late with this one. Been busy. Tea Party played Hamilton on the 16th, apparently my 18th time seeing them, so I headed up with Mary and J for this special special show. Why was it special? They were playing the entire Edges of Twilight album for it’s 20th anniversary. So many songs I’ve never seen them play!! It was a can’t miss.

The show was at Hamilton Place Theatre, which is where their philharmonic plays, and is so stuck in the 70s it was pretty awesome inside. Since it was an actual concert hall I was expecting some really good sound, and wow, it didn’t disappoint. This was the clearest concert I’ve ever heard. Each of the 3 aspects of the performance were clear as day, with Jeff Martin’s vocals almost too pronounced (though it was pretty cool to hear him breathe, or rather, get ready to hit some of the big notes). I’ve never really been able to distinguish individual drum sounds in a live show before this one, it was ridic. The show almost sounded quiet, because there was no hum or hiss between songs, no overwhelming crowd noise even though people were excited and yelling all the same. It was crazy how good it sounded in there.

So for the first time in a long time of seeing the Tea Party, the setlist wasn’t a surprise but it was different! (I recently got into an exchange with whichever band member runs their facebook – I suspect jeff burrows – about their lack of different setlists in Buffalo.) We knew they were playing Edges in full, and that’s what we got.

Fire in the Head
The Bazaar
Correspondences
The Badger
Silence
Winter Solstice / Sister Awake / Paint It Black / Sister Awake
Turn the Lamp Down Low
Shadows on the Mountainside
Drawing Down the Moon
Inanna
Coming Home
Walk With Me

2nd set:
Writing’s on the Wall
The Ocean At The End
Save Me / Kashmir / Save Me
Heaven Coming Down

Encore:
Temptation

Correspondences was fantastic. The only other time I saw it, in Toronto 4 years ago, Jeff was losing his voice and I think it was cut short, or he didn’t sing part of it, so this was really really great. Silence I think lacked a bit of something, or didn’t translate well. I had a hard time figuring out what song it was when they began, and I don’t think it really cleared up for me as I went on, though of course I knew what it was. After that I forgot a lot of what was on the album so it was like hearing it for the first time haha. Then we got to the one I’d been waiting for, Drawing Down the Moon. That song, gah. Sexiest guitar ever.

The entire album sounded fantastic live, and it didn’t sound like they had to re-learn the songs, or were hesitant on them despite the fact that some of them have probably never been played live, or were last played 20 years ago. It was like they’d been playing them all along and knew them inside and out.

They finished Edges, and took an intermission before coming back for a small 2nd set of non Edges songs. Mary and I both said that it was an incredible let down after hearing Edges, to hear the same songs we always hear. It was completely expected yet still, not an exciting finish to a great 1st set. But a great show none the less. So happy to have heard new things from them. Hopefully some of them get put into the regular rotation. I haven’t decided if I’m going to skip work on New Years Eve to go to their show, since I’m scared of getting the “typical Buffalo setlist” that they claim doesn’t exist (I have proof!). If they announce it as an Edges show, I’m in.

The Tea Party @ Artpark July 16 with Big Wreck

Big Wreck
—-
Inhale
That Song
Wolves
I Digress
Hey Mama
Albatross
Ghosts
Ladylike
Blown Wide Open
The Oaf

Tea Party

The River
Baazar (Cypher intro)
Lullaby
Psychopomp
Fire in the Head
Ocean at the End
Winter Solstice (tease)
Water’s on Fire (Release outro)
Writings on the Wall
Heaven Coming Down
Save Me (Kashmir insert)
Temptation

Encore:
Sister Awake (Paint It Black insert)

the tea party @ town ball room

In an almost last minute fashion, I was able to find Mary a ticket to the sold out Tea Party show at Town Ballroom, making this feel like college. Eric, Mary and I attending a Tea Party show in Buffalo again! Roxy had an extra, so Mary snatched it up, and we were really only missing Danielle and Adrienne to make it really seem like we were young again haha.

Forgetting that we were old and that the Tea Party always has crappy openers and goes on too late, we got there far too early, but made the most of it. We hung out at one of the inside bars until Roxy took us to her secret in front section right before they came on. Score for not waiting at the barrier for 2 and a half hours but still being right in front, albeit on the far left side, in front of the speaker stacks, in front of Stuart. It was a different perspective than we were used to after all these years (this was my 16th Tea show, somehow I surpassed Eric, it was his 15th).

I was going to look at the setlists for this little Canadian and 1 US show tour (score one for Buffalo! The only sold out show, and sold out for a month and a half! They could, and should, play 2 dates here), but I kept forgetting, maybe intentionally because I didn’t want to see that it was the same old setlist with new songs added. And in the end, that’s what it was. But again, like I keep saying…we bitch about this standard set list, and when it’s done, they put on such a great show, and always sound so good, that we forgive them. The new songs sounded pretty good, even if they didn’t necessarily play the ones I really wanted to hear, like Submission. The Black Sea was rocking, The Ocean at the End which is pretty long and epic translated well live. What we did get that was sorta new was a whole 30 seconds of Transmission inserted into Temptation, and a whole 30 seconds of Pulse inserted into…Sister Awake. And that’s about all we’ll ever see of those songs at the rate this band is going lol. They took out Halcyon Days to fit in new songs, which makes me a bit sad, but we also only had to suffer through one verse of The Messenger inserted into Save Me, so that’s a bonus. Psychopomp, highlight as always.

This is the setlist from Montreal but it looks accurate. Jeff Martin did a bit of Little Drummer Boy in Save Me…and a few lines of something else Christmasy in another, before something in the encore.

The LoC
The Bazaar
The Black Sea
Psychopomp
Fire in the Head
The 11th Hour (with Halcyon Days intro)
Lullaby
Water’s On Fire/Release/Water’s On Fire
Save Me/The Messenger/Kashmir/Save Me
The Ocean at the End
Temptation/Transmission/Temptation
Encore:
Heaven’s Coming Down/All Along the Watchtower/Heaven’s Coming Down
Encore 2:
Winter Solstice
Sister Awake/Pulse/Sister Awake

It looks like a short setlist, but they played for 2 hours. We tried to think of what else from the “standard set list” got cut to make way for the new songs, and I could only think of “Sun Going Down” and full versions of “Release”, “Halcyon Days” and “the Messenger”. Maybe that’s it. I’m happy we didn’t get “The Maker” lol. “The 11th Hour” had only been done a few times, so perhaps if they do a summer tour we’ll get a few more new songs. (Oh they took out “Writing’s on the Wall” too which is A-ok with me.)

new music!

I always said I wasn’t going to be one of those “old” people who wasn’t in touch with new music, but, here I am, and I’m that person. I realized the other day I haven’t bought or even really listened to music from a band that’s come out in the last decade. Sure I’ve listened to new music, but from old bands. Ugh. And I hate to say new bands suck, but…nothing that I *have* heard on the occasions that I’ve listened to the radio has caught my fancy. So I’ll just put in my decades old music (god, how is it possible that I can even say that!?!), or new music from decades old bands, and enjoy.

Which brings me to this week. New music from one of my fav bands, The Tea Party. Their first in a decade! I was excited and scared all at the same time, as their last album Seven Circles was mediocre, and their live release from last year, or the year before was pretty freaking terrible (the mixing not the performance). But holy crap this record is pretty good. I borrowed it from the internet last week, but crossed over to Canada the other day to pick it up from HMV since American amazon wasn’t offering it. Of course like any record, a few songs I could leave, like yet another Daniel Lanois cover (The Maker), a throw away hidden instrumental at the end, and one I’m not sure of (Black Roses) but over all, the songs go back to their roots, covering all the different sounds they’ve had over the years – zepplin-esque, eastern influenced rock. Thankfully they lost the Tom Morello guitar tone from Seven Circles and went back to the style Jeff Martin is best at. I wasn’t impressed with the initial single, Water’s On Fire, because it’s a ballad, and I thought a poor choice for a first single in a decade, but it’s grown on me and it’s not that bad. Brazil has great rock guitar in it, that we expect from them, Submission sounds like a Gary Numan cover (specifically Cars, and I guess it was intentional) and thus is cool, and the “required” long song The Ocean At The End is reminiscent of Correspondences, and really very nice. I’m very happy with it and excited to see them live again – AS LONG AS THEY PLAY A DIFFERENT DAMNED SETLIST! In looking through my blog archives in search for a date for one of their shows from 05, I discovered Eric and I bitching about them playing the same setlist ALL THE WAY BACK THEN!

And then came the surprise. U2 released their album with no fanfare or build up on itunes as part of Apple’s iphone 6 press conference, for free. Called “Songs of Innocence” it’s been 5 years in the making and is rumored to be only one of several releases coming up. Dave Fanning, friend of U2 and radio guy (?) suspects it’s one of 3 coming releases chronicling U2 decade by decade as this one is all about the 1970s and the band themselves have claimed to have more material ready to be released. My first impression is…we’ve heard this all before. It’s the same sound, same style, same…thing. Even though Eno and Lanois had nothing to do with it, it’s just….U2 I guess. I hate to say it, I’ve been denying it for years, but I don’t want U2 to sound like U2. I like 90s U2 when they did something different and ground breaking, and didn’t just repeat themselves ad nauseum. I was excited when they were working with new people on new music, but in the end, it’s just them. Still. There is nothing exciting on this record, nothing catchy, nothing fun. I hesitate to say it’s depressing, it’s just not exciting. The first song The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) held potential that very quickly went away, devolving into the usual, what I like to call “Miracle Drug”ing of the album. It has the same vibe as How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and Electrical Storm. It is rather minimal, with no weird random out of place Eno-esque organs or horns, which is fine by me, but there isn’t anything else there either. (I just looked at a review of the album when looking for the track titles and it said that the album sounds like U2 ripping off all the bands that rip off U2 which reminded me that I had the thought that the album sounded like Coldplay LOL)

So that was my first impression. After listening a few times, I will say the 2nd half of the album is much better than the first because it sounds different! There is some “weirdness”, or well weird for U2. There is strong bass lines that remind you Adam exists, there are female vocals from someone, there is interesting guitar work from Edge, and slow synthy stuff. While there aren’t any lyrics that stand out as cringe worthy, like “people get squashed crossing the tracks” from Bomb, the lyrics aren’t good either. Bono used to be a poet, wtf happened to him? And while there aren’t any songs I out right despise like Moment of Surrender or Yahweh to name a few, there aren’t any at this point that I can say I like either. And that’s sad. I could easily never listen to this again and not miss it. Susan had listened to it before me, since she has itunes, and had said it was edgier than their last one. I’m not sure what she was listening to LOL.

But I will keep listening until I know every word, as I have a history of not liking U2 albums at first listen – yes even Achtung Baby, the greatest album ever made, I didn’t appreciate at first. I’m sure it will grow on me some, but a classic or brilliant album it is definitely not.
***
In other news. I’ve been struggling with my head big time. Since July my headaches have become intolerable. I finally went to see neurologists again, and they gave me a nerve block in my head which was a failure. So now I’ve been put on another preventative rx, topamax. Starting week 2, I’m not sure of it’s efficacy yet. I can up the dosage 2 more times, so we’ll see. I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle the side effects if they get worse with the increased dosage though, as it makes my hands and face tingle, a bit of dizziness and stupidness lol. I’ve started taking dice class, finally after 11 years, so tingling hands and stupidness isn’t really good for that hah. Failing that, I already qualify for botox treatments, as I have a 30 year history of failed treatments, but that also takes time to start working so it’s best to have them under control before starting botox to bridge the gap. I just know I need something to work, and soon, cuz I can’t handle it anymore.

the tea party @ gratwick park

hey a free tea party show down the street from my house!! while they are never disappointing, getting the same set list 3 years in a row is getting a little old. especially since they are in the studio working on a new record i thought we might get something new, the way we did before interzone mantras. but alas, no, the same setlist as the last 2 lockport shows for the most part. they didn’t even do The River, when they were on a stage 15 feet away from the freaking river! But they sounded as good as usual, and it’s always entertaining, so I can’t complain too much. Jason came with again, as well as Jeff cuz he was off on Sunday, and not knowing them at all he was very impressed. it was damn hot, and knowing the band wasn’t going on until after 9 we didn’t end up meeting kate at her dad’s house until 8:30ish and walking across the park to get in. perfect timing.

Writing’s on the Wall
The Bazaar
Lullaby
Psychopomp
The Messenger
Fire in the Head
Heaven Coming Down
Nobody’s Fault But Mine / Sun Going Down
Zahira / The Halcyon Days
Save Me / Kashmir
Temptation
Winter Solstice / Sister Awake / Paint It Black

the tea party – lockport – 8-24-12

another local tea party show, at lockport again like last year. only they changed things a bit, and while it’s still a free show, they moved the VIP section to directly in front of the stage. so if you want to be close, you have to buy VIP tickets for $22, which include one drink. it’s not really a bad deal, i’d gladly pay $18 to see bands i like. this time i took Jason along with me, as i love to spread the tea party love, and even though it’s not his style really, he enjoyed it and thought they were quite good (which made me happy haha).

it was the usual set list from them, which is sorta disappointing, but in the end they always put on such a good show it doesn’t matter. i’m pretty sure the only differences from last year were opening with “the river” instead of “writing’s on the wal”l (making it the first time i’ve gotten to see the river), an intro into “sun going down”, and a new hendrix “all along the watchtower” and led zepplin “stairway to heaven” mashup inside of “save me” instead of…whatever they were doing last year, “i love you” or something? joe said they skipped “correspondences” again, as well as “shadows on the mountainside” which would have been great to see even if it’s not a fav song, it’s something different. they also left out “zahira” before “halcyon days” and “release”. also “the last goodbye” cover was in there somewhere, maybe before “the messenger”, but i’m not sure.

The River
The Bazaar
Lullaby
Psychopomp
The Messenger
Fire in the Head
Nobody’s Fault But Mine / Sun Going Down
Halcyon Days
Save Me
Heaven Coming Down
Temptation
Encore:
Sister Awake

Kate had texted earlier in the week to get together after the show, but i never heard from her that day. happens that we ran into her as we were leaving, so we ended up going to hang out at her boyfriend’s house for a while afterward, which was fun.

2 days of tea

It is mighty hot outside. yuck.

The first day of the tea party brought leighanne, mary and i to toronto to see them at the Sound Academy, which is a pretty nice place with a terrible location next to a dump…or…something that just smells awful, and in 100 degree heat, that was very unpleasant. thank god the show was inside, i’d never see an outdoor show there. We headed up after they got out of work, arriving around 8:45 but still managing to catch at least half of the 2nd opener…I forget their name, they were not good enough to bother remembering…bleeker street or something? Anyway…Tea went on around 9:45, and I was just so happy to see them together again. They are still one of the best rock bands I’ve ever seen and I’m continually impressed that only 3 guys can make that much sound live. I did not think I’d ever see them on stage again after the break up, so they could have sat there picking their nose and I would have been happy. They sounded as good as ever, Jeff Martin wasn’t singing any high notes, and I’ve heard people complain about it but they have to realize, we’re all getting old, voices just don’t work like they used to. He sounded great. Setlist wasn’t too surprising, they have been playing The River, but left it out this show for some reason.

Writing’s on the Wall
The Bazaar
Lullaby
Psychopomp (!!! the only song i really care about seeing)
The Messenger
Fire in the Head
Correspondences (!!! ok i lie, love that they played this too)
Heaven Coming Down
Sun Going Down
Zahira / The Halcyon Days
Save Me / Last Goodbye (Jeff Buckley cover)
Release
Temptation

Encore:
Winter Solstice / Sister Awake / Paint It Black

We hit ridiculous traffic after the show, because the gardner west was closed and we were forced to take lakeshore out of the city. The holdup was inexplicable, no accident, a lot of cars, but no reason we weren’t moving…An hour and a half later we made it through. Aggravating.

Friday brought the show in Lockport, a free show as part of the Canal Concert Series. It was mighty hot out once again so I didn’t want to go too early, and then everyone bailed on me, so I ended up driving down alone and arriving around 5:30. There weren’t many people there and I was able to walk right up to the rail where Joe and his friend were waiting. Score. Eric met up with us around 6, and 2 opening bands later…the setlist was the same except no Correspondences, no Release and still no River. Jeff Martin mentioned how his voice was hoarse and it got worse and worse throughout the show, so I knew the set was going to be cut short long before they ended with Save Me, and then an encore of Temptation and Sister Awake. Every time his voice went out he sort of smiled and rolled his eyes. I felt bad for him, it seemed almost painful. Aside from the voice issue, they sounded great again. He did the same spiels between songs, as he always has done, and said they were back for good and wouldn’t go away again (and I certainly hope so, you can never have too much tea party). Excellent double shows, I’m just so so happy to see them on stage again.

dream

i dreamed i was at some club/bar on allen st waiting for a show to start. there were a few bands playing, don’t know who and there weren’t many people there yet. i wasn’t paying attention and a band started to play, a song i recognized. holy crap it was the tea party, reunited. they were playing “halcyon days” i got so excited to see them back together again. jeff martin had lost a bunch of weight and looked really good. i went to talk to him after the song, and asked if they were supposed to be playing that day, and he said no it was a surprise for the people who had come to see the other bands. i was just so flippin excited and i was texting everyone i knew who would be happy at the news that they were back together. they kept playing and still hardly anyone was there, and i was like, booo no one is going to know they got back together cuz no one is here to see it. then i started to question whether it was really happening or if it was a dream, but told myself no this is so totally real and not a dream. ha.

went to the aud today cuz it was warm out. it’s better to go on a cloudy day though because it’s so back lit. bad pics. lots of weird people there today, all talking to me, and they trapped me standing on the big blue thing in front and i couldn’t get down and away from them haha. one looked like trevor hurst if trevor was a shriveling old man. he claimed he used to work there when he was younger, and remembered running around all the ramps and running around empty sections of seats. and he said something about alice cooper but he wasn’t making alot of sense. other guy was telling me how he saw his first hockey game there, and the sabres/philly finals fog game. all the ice surface is gone now, and they’ve started taking down the seat sections. the garage doors are either gone or just left open now, you can see through to the street on the other end. it’s going to be just a shell soon… 🙁

Jeff Martin in Buffalo

it’s been an eventful 2 days…well…for my life at least haha.

wednesday brought babysitting megan so jenn and jeff could go out. but by saying i babysat, that’s not really true. i was there, and i played with her, but adrienne was there too, and she changed and fed and put megan to bed. but wow she grew alot since i last saw her. and she came to answer the door. wasn’t expecting that haha. but it was fun. hung out with jenn and jeff a bit after they got home, then went to dennys and home.

and then my stomach exploded again. gah 2 times in 1 week.

good thing i went to the dr today. got a prescription again but i also have to go see a stomach specialist, and get a biopsy done or whatever happens when they stick a tube down your throat into your stomach. not til august though.

stopped at starbucks for a pomegranate frap, which wasn’t as good as i had hoped for. but i got a new book about the cold war. *dork*

tonight brought jeff martin at thursday in the square. adr and i headed down around 5, and found joe r. right up front. so joined him and watched burning paris. joe and i were both like, why do we know them? they were all in other bands we had seen before. haha. then jeff martin. i can’t say i’m too enthusiastic about his new stuff. i like dark and moody jeff martin of the tea party, not married father happy jeff martin. of all the tea party songs to do, they did “the messenger” barf. “turn the lamp down low” was good tho. and it turns out, i knew the keyboardist.

my favourite crappy band from the casino featured this really cute guy, but they still did bad versions of u2 songs among the other covers they did. they’d always play on sunday nights. recently i saw them and noticed cute guy was gone. that’s a shame. well cute guy is now the keyboardist for jeff martin. that’s quite a step up! congrats hahaha

so after the square we went to ihop for food before meeting adr2 and bliss at club diablo. ran into paul there, as well as the photographer i spent sunday with at the terminal. there really wasn’t anyone else there, and we totally took over the juke box. tons of nin. it turned into reminiscing night, and we had way more fun that we probably should have. had yummy drink that was basically malibu and pineapple juice, which i had been planning to order anyway. just big, and with a little devil hahah. so yeah. way too much fun.

going to try to get tuesday off to go see peaches in toronto. i got written up for my attendance, for my sick days without sick time. ppl keep thinking i called in to see trent, and i didn’t. i’ve actually been sick!