Sunday, October 1, 2006

Yo La Tengo @Loew's Theater, Sept. 29th

So last week, Ste came over for dinner and his cell phone ringer went off -- "Mr. Tough" by Yo La Tengo -- a song that he loaded up on his phone himself ("adorably nerdy" is what Indie Twin Dave termed it). We talked about Stereogum's contest and how fun it'd be if either of us won. The very next day, I got an email that I was one of the two lucky winners. Basically, each winner and a guest would be flown via helicopter from East 34th Street on the East River to Jersey City, then driven to a bar by the venue for some pre-show drinks, and granted tickets to the Yo La Tengo show. As soon as I found out I won, I called up Ste and told him to keep Friday the 29th free. Now who's the coolest sister?

We contemplated telling our parents about our thrilling plans, but decided against it. I mean, they worry enough about us as it is -- did they really need to hear that their two only children would be riding a helicopter together around lower Manhattan? Nahhhhh...

Friday couldn't come sooner. We met up at the heliport at East 34th Street with the other prize winner and his guest, Adam from Matador Records and Scott from Stereogum. The six of us piled into the helicopter with our pilot and headed off into the evening sky:

Yo La Tengo @Loew's Theater, Sept. 29, 2006
Yo La Tengo @Loew's Theater, Sept. 29, 2006

We flew down the East River above the bridges and past lower Manhattan. It wasn't easy taking good shots because the helicopter was so shaky, but here are pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty:

We swung back towards lower Manhattan for an amazing view of the island, and Ste gave the finger to his office building. Then, the pilot advised us to hold on, and suddenly dropped the helicopter into a dive. I doubt that was really necessary, but suppose he had to create a little fun for himself in our short 10 minute ride. We landed safely in Jersey City just north of the Colgate clock, happy that we did not die!

After grabbing a drink at a dive bar nearby, we headed to the venue, the beautiful historic Loew's Theater.

Yo La Tengo @Loew's Theater, Sept. 29, 2006

We were given some nice 10th row center orchestra seats, and for almost two hours, we were treated to an amazing set by our heroes, Yo La Tengo.

Yo La Tengo @Loew's Theater, Sept. 29, 2006

YLT is such a sonically diverse band. They are three musicians who demonstrate their versatility in vocals, instrumentation, emotion and tone with each song. They are not glamorous rock stars, but appear to be people who truly enjoy playing music for music's sake. From Ira's falsetto to his punk scowling, to James' hammering bass and acoustic strumming, and Georgia's attack on the drums and gentle harmonizing, Yo La Tengo took us all over the place, playing many songs from their latest effort, "I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass" as well as a good number of classics, including the opener "Sugarcube." There were moments when James' bass line and Ira's guitar solos assaulted us so hard that I could feel the hair in my nostrils moving. I particularly enjoyed the beautiful "I Feel Like Going Home" with Georgia on lead vocals and piano, and "Stockholm Syndrome" featuring James sounding Neil Young-esque. (But no "Autumn Sweater" or "Little Eyes".)

After the show ended, Ste and I met up with Adam and Scott and also Amrit from Stereogum (and Village Indian -- I was in music blog heaven!) and hung around the lobby of the Loew's for some beer and talk. Happily, we got talk to Ira, James and Georgia, who were the nicest people, and Ste and I got be the dorky fans who asked for autographs:

Yo La Tengo @Loew's Theater, Sept. 29, 2006

My worst dorky fan moment probably occurred when I handed Ira some of the pics I took of them at their concert this summer at Prospect Park. It paid off tho -- Ira shared some of his cookies that a friend baked for the band -- they were sugar cookies with the word Ass on them. Ira Kaplan gave me an Ass Cookie! Awesome!

Yo La Tengo @Loew's Theater, Sept. 29, 2006

(Thanks for the picture, Scott Stereogum!)

And by the time we left Jersey City to head back home (via PATH, not chopper), it was well after 1 am. What a great way to start off my birthday!

PS -- We're on Stereogum now too!

PPS -- And on the Matablog, too!

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