Liam Gallagher and his band Beady Eye rock First Ave
Liam Gallagher of Oasis brought his newest band Beady Eye to Minnesota on Monday and rocked First Avenue.
This past summer while I was in New York my wife and I attended three performances by Beady Eye. The first was on the David Letterman Show, the second was in the same Ed Sullivan Theater for a webcast, and the third was in the Village at Webster Hall. At all three shows my wife was up front, and at Webster Hall she was even given Gallagher’s towel. Sure it was like a scene out of an Elvis performance from the 1970s, but this was her high school heartthrob playing in a small venue.
December in Minnesota is a lot different than New York in June. So arriving early to get a spot up front in the line was a task that took some planning.
My wife and I left Duluth five hours before the doors opened, and arrived in Minneapolis at about 4:30pm… A full three hours before doors would open. You may ask, why would one want to arrive so early? The answer was to get some autographs or perhaps a photo with the band.
First off, I must admit that I am not the biggest Oasis fan. I remember in the mid-1990s hearing many stories about their fighting, and I thought they had a few good songs. When they came to Minneapolis in 2008 my wife and I were in about the 8th row. It was a great show, but my wife, the Oasis fanatic, left in Britpop heaven. So when she was given a sweaty towel by Gallagher back in June of this year, she walked through Times Square back to our hotel clutching it tightly and trying to sniff any remnant of Liam DNA out of the gift/prop. She even got a sore throat for two weeks after sniffing the towel and self-diagnosed it as “I-miss-Liam-itis.” It sounded serious.
Let’s just say I am not quite the Oasis fan that she is, but here I was three hours prior to doors opening sitting in a pub across from the venue watching intently for anyone to begin the line up to go in. There is a back garage area at First Avenue, and when the door opened three men began chatting up the security guard. My wife, wanting an autograph or perhaps another picture with Liam (as the one I took in New York came out a bit blurry) decided to leave our warm sanctuary and see what the guys standing by the back garage door knew.
These three turned out to be other Gallagher fanatics; one in fact had seen Oasis 70 times throughout the world and Beady Eye nine times to date. There was also a young 16 year old Oasis fan with his own band, and the young man’s dad. The super 70+ fan knew the driver of the band’s car and was told when the band would be done with their sound check and heading back to the hotel. My wife joined the three and waited for her chance to meet the band. After about a half hour I decided to join her out there and left the warm Irish pub to check what the status was.
Finally, about 15 minutes later than the super-fan had said, Gem Archer, the guitarist from Oasis and lead guitarist of Beady Eye was being driven out and stopped at the garage door.
Gem got out of the SUV, signed a few autographs, took a few pictures, and even signed my show poster from the 2008 Oasis show. My wife remembered his birthday was coming up in two days and wished him an early happy birthday. Gem had to think about what day of the week it was as he had been on tour for a few weeks now.
The young man with the band had Gem take a picture pointing at the 16 year olds band’s CD. He said he had just done the album work the day before and immediately called his band mates to share the story of his bounty.
After the moment passed and Gem left, the cold, single-digit weather overtook us all. We all went back to wait in the pub across the street, but at about an hour before the doors opened a young man started the line. He had on a leather coat and a t-shirt showing as it wasn’t even zipped. I on the other hand had my winter coat, hat, gloves, and four shirts on underneath, yet I was freezing when I stood in line to hold spot number two.
The thing I hate about First Avenue is that even if you stand in line on the left side of the doors for hours the people who are in the know understand that the right side forms a second line just before doors open. The bouncer even told me that there was a heat lamp over there so I became person number one in the heated line.
The next step to conquering a show is to have a plan. My wife was on the left side as person number 3 in line, but I was number one in the other line. We decided I would go up front when the doors opened and she would hit up the band merchandise table while I saved her a spot. For some shows this plan has to be executed quickly and to perfection as every second I have to hold a piece of real estate along the front row feels like an hour as people rush in.
There we stood for an hour waiting for the opener, then Black Box Revelation, the opener from Belgium played, and then finally Beady Eye came on at 9:30 pm. The guy in the front row next to me was a student from UMD and we ended up talking a lot throughout the show.
Beady Eye live is amazing. I can’t stand the CD as Liam is too nasally for my taste, but my wife tells me that is the signature part of his style; part John Lennon, part Johnny Rotten. I suppose I would prefer a bit more Lennon and less Rotten. When Gallagher came out he was wearing a long trench coat and scarf, and by the end of the show his sweat was showing through. My wife instructed me to make sure I got pictures of him sweaty too, to “see the sweat progression.”
In New York the set list read that during the last song the bouncers were instructed to let Gallagher through the barricade midway through the last song to avoid the crowd. Knowing that was his style my wife and I debated about leaving before the last song to catch him so she could get a picture with her heartthrob. The UMD student next to me told me that he had seen a video on Youtube.com from a show and Liam came into the photo pit next to the front row and shook hands with the audience.
Needless to say he did this in Minneapolis and this time my wife was ready for him with two 45rpm records for Gallagher to sign. He signed them both, but when I tried to get a photo of my wife with him the crowd from behind surged and it was impossible. The UMD guy next to me shook Gallagher’s hand and was cheering and reveling in such an honor.
It was a great show, but driving back to Duluth on Monday night was a lonely ride home. Sure my wife and I had lots to talk about, but four hours of sleep doesn’t leave much time for proofreading articles.