Symphonic Overload

I never, ever learn. Ear plugs are a must for me at concerts.

Last night, Jarid had an extra ticket to see Rooney and The Polyphonic Spree at Terminal 5 on 11th and 56th. Last minute, he asked me to go, so I said yes, even though I had no clue who Rooney was and my only experience with The Polyphonic Spree was a college roommate’s continuous playing of “Hold Me Now” on iTunes.

After bidding adieu to a co-worker with few very strong (and cheap) happy-hour margaritas at El Cantinero near Union Square, I was quite buzzed and not paying attention. Instead of taking the A train to Columbus Circle, I grabbed the E, which I only remembered didn’t go to that station until I arrived at 53rd and Lexington. I was already late in meeting Jarid and had to back track. I hate subway decisions marred by a few drinks or not sleeping the night before.

We got to the venue, which is one of the warehouses-turned-concert hall on the west side of Manhattan. We arrived in time for Rooney, which I wasn’t too impressed with. I didn’t like the lead singer’s voice, although the music had an 80s-pop-new wave vibe that I enjoyed. After YouTubing them when I got home, I discovered the polished Rooney wasn’t too bad, although I’m not sure if the songs will make it to my play list. “When Did Your Heart Go Missing” has the same sort of poppiness of Journey’s “Suzanne.”

But Polyphonic Spree – all I have to say is wow. If I had based my concert attendence on YouTube, I probably wouldn’t have gone (but hey, the price was right). And I am so glad I went – YouTube does not do this band a grain of justice. The show was absolutely amazing – I’ve never seen so much energy on a stage at once. It completely blew away half of the concerts I’ve been to, some of Journey’s included. The show is an absolute sight to see, from the robes to the ticker tape (in fact, I was still pulling confetti out of my hair and shirt two hours later).

In a way, The Polyphonic Spree reminded my of the symponic quality of Electric Light Orchestra, although lead singer Tim DeLaughter does not compare to ELO’s Jeff Lynne by any means. The Polyphonic Spree, in a way, is like ELO². Besides the electric strings, it also had a horn section, a choir and an extensive percussion section – approximately 25 musicians, in all. The way they just melded into one another is what makes The Polyphonic Spree so good. I don’t know which song that sang towards the end – it was the last before the encore – but the musicians left one by one until it was just the harpist and the audience singing. It was an amazing moment.

If they come around New York again, I’ll definitely go. And perhaps next time I’ll know a bit more than “Hold Me Now,” and its covers of Nirvana’s “Lithium” and Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die.” And I will bring hearing protection. My head feels soooo numb right now.

Oh, and I survived standing in between Superfan (who coincedentally looked like the chick who hit on me at the Def Leppard concert in 2004) and Drunk Birthday Girl. No injuries to report.

On the way home from the show, Jarid and I grabbed one of the new taxis with the touch screen. It had weather, news and entertainment – perhaps to distract you from crazy driving? He paid with credit card, just so he could use the touch screen, but it wouldn’t let him tip less than $2!  We only took it for a few blocks because of his ankle, so in reality, the tip was only $1 or so. Now, minimum tipping – quite funny.

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