I’ve now seen The Eels play live six times, including an unforgettable show at the Roxy in Los Angeles, which took place moments after their first album was released. I’m a longtime, enthusiastic fan.
But Saturday’s show in Philadelphia was a special one for me, because I took my kids. They’ve grown up on the Eels, and have heard their music practically every week of their lives. It’s as iconic and huge as The Beatles catalog to them.
Last time the band played in Philly, they had the place rocking (as usual), and I wished the boys could’ve been there to witness it. So, I promised ’em they were going with me next time. And on Saturday night I made good on that promise.
The older boy had a district championship swim meet, which complicated matters. It was supposed to be over by 3 o’clock on Saturday afternoon, but I don’t trust that kind of bullshit estimating. I kept telling Toney that this thing can’t get screwed up.
“Why do you think it’s going to get screwed up? Why do you always assume the worst?” she asked.
“Because I live in this world!” I answered.
And it nearly happened. The meet ended at the right time, but he wanted to ride back on the team bus, because the swim season is over, and it was a celebration, etc. Not liking the sound of that one bit, I reluctantly agreed, and we went home. I had a bad case of Phantom Ass Syndrome (PAS), from sitting in those bleachers all day. And I was spinning doomsday prophecies as I navigated I-81 with tingling butt cheeks.
“This is going to get screwed up!” I kept repeating. “We need to be on the road, no later than 4:30!!”
The team bus didn’t leave for another hour, for some reason, and then they decided to stop and have dinner. I was flipping out. So Toney went back and got him, at the restaurant — about 20 miles away from us. He had to shower, and shove some Burger King down his neck, and we didn’t leave until about 5:00.
I didn’t want to ruin the evening, so I was suppressing an urge to go completely wild. I knew it! Goddamn chaos: it’s as predictable as a post-Sunkist soda assplosion.
But we made it. There was a lot of traffic, which was making me grind my molars. But Steve, the boys, and I picked up our tickets at will-call around 7:45. The girl at the merch table said The Eels were going to go on at 9:15 sharp, so we decided to grab some dinner at an Irish pub, down the street.
It was so dark in that place, with the mood lighting and all, I couldn’t read the menu. Still in a state of semi-agitation, I bitched and complained about it, until the waitress wanted to crash a boiler pan over my head. Yes, I’m an old bastard, what of it?
I asked her what beers they had on tap, and she said, “We have, like, 25.” Which meant she didn’t want to recite the list to me. But if they’re going to insist on it being so coal mine-like in there, better get to recitin’, bitch.
The beer was good (Dogfish Head 60), and so was the food (some kind of chicken sandwich). And we got to the show as the final opening act finished her set.
I think the boys were surprised at the size of the venue. They were expecting a big theater, and World Cafe Live only holds 600 people. The show was sold-out, but it’s not a giant room. We found a spot not far from the stage, and excitement was in the air.
Finally, the lights went out, and the voice of an old lady came booming from the speakers (already with the weirdness): “Welcome! You’ve made a wonderful entertainment decision tonight. The Eels put on one heckuva show. So, get ready! Strap yourselves in… and hang onto your hats!!”
The lights came up, there was an avalanche of guitars, and it was pure awesomeness. The Eels are sometimes dark and somber on their albums, but the shows are always a party.
Mark Everett, aka E, is hilarious, and makes plenty of biting comments between songs. And the songs are all rocked-up and roaring. He was almost scary during “Tremendous Dynamite.” The dude was howling, and had a look of pure menace on his face. I was about to shit myself with happiness.
They played for a long time, did two covers (“Oh Well” by Fleetwood Mac, and “Itchycoo Park” by Small Faces), and came out for two generous encores. Then they said goodnight, and the house lights came on. Great show!
But I’d read a review of one of their previous concerts, and it said the band sometimes comes out for a surprise third encore on this tour, after the theater has almost cleared out. So, we stuck around, hoping for the best.
And it happened. There were about 30 or 40 of us still hanging around, when the Eels returned, and E yelled, “We’re not finished!” They started rocking the shit out of the place again, and a large frowning clown was onstage for some reason, just milling around and interfering with the band members. Then a monkey-woman in a prom dress was there, and it was getting really, really strange. The older boy snapped this photo:
They finished with some kind of thrashing ridiculousness, possibly called “Go, Eels!” That was the chorus, anyway. Heh. Then E said, “That’s it, go home.” And thus ended a fantastic night.
For the record, the Secrets were blown away. I don’t think they were fully prepared — which is exactly what I was hoping for.
I’ll get back to the normal stuff tomorrow.
See ya then, my friends!
Now playing in the bunker
Try Dropbox! It’s free and fantastic.
I’m glad to hear you and your sons had a nice time.
Patty in Cleveland says
Awesome that you got to enjoy that with the secrets!
Fancy Pants Maguire says
Unagi is my favorite type of sushi
Anago has some things going for it, too.
I have not yet had the stones to try uni.
It never fails that everything you would like to do happens at the same time/day. Never spread out evenly so you can relax, everything at once with a mad rush in between.
Root 66 says
I couldn’t begin to imagine what kind of concert my dad would attend (Lawrence Welk, Slim Whitman–or something along that line.) Nor could I imagine going along with him.
Your kids must think you’re the coolest/grooviest/gnarliest dad in the world. Kudos to you, sir!
The food at World Cafe Live is pretty decent BTW, good cheese plates.
I’m considering taking my 4 year old there to see Ron Sexsmith next month. He’s pretty mellow and non-threatening. Is 4 too young? I think it’d be good for her…
That clown scares the bejesus iut of me. Creepy, man…creepy.
Me too! I was grooving along reading the update and WHAM – had to scare me into a drooling, rocking, thumb sucking idjit.
And the “frown” clowns are the creepiest.
Alchoholic child-molesters. Why else would a grown man dress up like a clown?
Yep – the sick fucker John Wayne Gacy comes to mind.
Not Oprah says
Full heartily agree with that. I would have been outta there.
Very cool Jeff! I took my parents to see Neil Diamond (shut up – it was a freaking great concert!) and I’ll always cherish those memories.
Just think – if you couldn’t read the menu, chances are you couldn’t reeeeeeally see everything on the plate. I hope you didn’t come across any odd crunching.
Root 66 says
…just make certain that the rice isn’t wiggling before chowing down!
Keep in mind Restaurant Dining Rule #1–don’t piss off the people who handle your food.
I would have loved to do something like that with my parents. They never did anything fun.
I’ve taken my brother to see Drive By Truckers and Two Cow Garage but that’s about it.
Tonight it’s the Seedy Seeds from Cincinnati.
Sounds like good memories. I would have liked to have seen the monkey woman in a prom dress.
Jeff, that was an awesome thing to do for your kids.
Now I’m wishing my dad had taken us to see… Hendrix, the Doors, Zappa, really anything along those lines. But he did almost as well by taking us to the ultimate 1969 movie double feature: “2001, a Space Odyssey” preceded by “Barbarella”. This was very exciting for my 11 year old self.
I hope the Secrets remember their Eels concert, when they’re in their 50s, as fondly as I remember that movie matinee.
Joe T. says
Very cool, but I would have been going apeshit too at the decision to stop for dinner with the team. Maybe it’s us……NAH.
Seeing one of your favourite bands in a 600 capacity venue is awesome, catching the secret 3rd encore is even better and sharing the experience with your kids is a hell of a way to top it off!!
I took my 12 year old to see Neil Young last year. It wasn’t really her thing but she was a good sport. I am hoping that 20 years she will look back and fondly remember having the chance to see a Canadian icon.
Your Pep lady was a Litch. I encourage you to Google the term and use it frequently. I just learned it last night.
i can shed some light on the clown situation…i was at the show the previous night in NYC. The clown is the first opener on the tour and he was actually pretty great. puddles pity party is his name. Its a bit too much novelty to be a long act but hes got a great booming voice and the few songs he did were fantastic, kind of morrisey or david byrne esq.
eels were great, was my first time seeing them.