[There are some superb photos of Immi's Dallas show over here ]
Saturday I awoke still giddy from the glory that was Imogen Heap's sublime concert in Dallas the night before. I got out of bed, all toasty-holiday-happy, and got on the computer. I blogged a mile-long entry about that show, and then I looked on her tour roster on her MySpace page. Hmm. Austin Saturday night. It's not that far - just about 200 miles exactly from my front door to downtown Austin... Hmm.
I looked online and saw I could have flown down for $111, which is not so bad, but then would have been the car-hiring and I would have had to remain in Austin until 8AM. Hmm. I like the book I'm reading, but not that much. Plus, I hate flying. Anyway. I went to the site for La Zona Rosa and found there were still tickets left, and for a mere $27 I could have one of my very own. I decided to buy the ticket before I made up my mind to go, entirely. I thought at least my options were open that way.
I asked brother-in-law if it made me weird, retarded and stalkerish if I went to see her in Austin. He said no, that I would be a stalker if I went to Phoenix to see her. In comments, someone this weekend has called me a groupie and another comment called me a dead-head. Fair enough! I'm laughing at that.
Then I realized that all this time I've been craving a weekend in just pajamas, what I've really needed was a dose of spontenaity. I decided to go and got all gussied up. I decided I would rock the dress-over-jeans look that is so bohemian and so right-now, and I wore a red & white Indian frock with embroidery around the neckline. I asked husband if I looked like George and Ringo in their Ashram phase, did I look like a guru? He assured me I didn't. I wore heels, though not spike and not sandals. I had zippers on my jacket pockets and carried everything I needed in my pockets so no bag was necessary - here's to simplicity.
I loaded up the car with tunes and a bottle of water and an iced tea, gassed up and was on the road before 5pm. Showtime was 9. The drive down was pleasant, and I listened to The Eraser, Thom Yorke's [Radiohead] cd which came out & I bought in July, but just peeled the plastic off a week ago. I never changed the cd - this one floors me and I recommend it highly. More on that another time.
The last time I went to La Zona Rosa was 14 years ago and then it was a Mexican Restaurant. Now it's opened out into a warehouse area that is the central concert venue in the back, basically a huge metal shed. Austin was warm, too. People were at the concert in shorts and sandals. At one point, I saw water misters spraying over the shed area. Indoors. Great. I could feel my hair sucking it up and curling for its very life. I was destined to be a white girl guru with an afro. By the time I arrived, the capacity 1200 venue was sold out, and I was relieved I bothered to buy my ticket online. People were hanging out in front trying to buy tickets off other people. Too bad I didn't buy 2 tickets and make some of my money back for the trip.
Levi Weaver played again but was plagued with technical difficulties and didn't do the Radiohead cover this time. Then came Kid Beyond, a beatbox guy who did some amazing stuff with digital looping. A lot of the crowd was there specifically to see him, and they went wild for his stuff.
Since this venue was standing room only, the vibe was completely different from the more manicured and refined Dallas setting of McFarlin Auditorium. Imogen seemed to enjoy both shows equally, but I think she very much was buoyed by the energy of Austin's large audience dancing along with her to her superb music rather than sitting politely. It was incredible. I'm so glad I went, but next time I'm buying a couple bottles of water and bulldozing my way up to the edge of the stage early, rather than trawling around for little nooks to see beyond the tall people convention.
I talked again to the girl at the merchandise table and she asked me to come back and talk to her some more when people weren't at the table. At some point when Kid Beyond was playing, I came back to her and the photographer Ryan Obermeyer was there. We had a conversation and I got to view close-up the wondrous engineering marvel of his black feather mohawk. I asked if he ever slept in the feathers, because it would be a shame to wake up with wonky feathers, and he said he had and that it did make them wonky. He was very interesting, funny and charming and wearing a pair of pin-striped white baseball pants. I like someone with more fashion guts than I have, and he had them in spades. Then again, someone with a mohawk is never saying "don't look at me." He asked me if I was familiar with local hotels, and I said the only one I'd stayed in was the nearby Hilton, but laughingly said that I have a moral outrage about sending money to Paris' family these days. Nice guy. I asked him how he came to work with Imogen and he told me that story. I expected someone like him would be aloof and inaccessible, and I find he quite the opposite - he's a nice guy. Ryan's also a brilliant artist.
Immi's set seemed identical to Friday night's except that she had no difficulty with the equipment this time. As a result of the more seamless transitions between songs, there were not so many little moments of chattiness from the prior evening, which seemed to make the experience warmer rather than uncomfortable. Friday night it almost seemed as if she might return from her computer with a tray of teacups and cookies for everyone.
The Dallas audience was more average-to-high-style and freshly scrubbed, whereas there seemed a much greater cross-section of Austin humanity in attendance Saturday night. There were quite a few Suicide-Girl types, loads of people with facial hardware, and--inexplicably--there were loads of little sorority girl types. This show had more older people than the Dallas show, and I didn't feel such an antiquity then. People in Austin seem more apt to have their own style aesthetic, and for people-watching, this was probably the best show I've ever seen, other than any show by The Cramps. I'm still baffled by the idea of people wearing strappy spike-heeled sandals to a show where they are mashed up in a huge crowd of people. I'll bet there were toe injuries, is all I'm sayin'. Yes, this should carbon-date me as having punk-rock-era street cred.
Having talked to the lovely girl at the merchandise table over time, I felt pretty comfortable with her. Before I even bought the Austin ticket, I knew from the previous night that it was extremely unlikely there would be a chance to meet Imogen, so I'd sort of let go of that aspiration altogether. Imogen began her final song at midnight, and a 3-hour drive home lay ahead of me. I knew if I waited to try and meet Imogen again, it would probably be 1:00 or 1:30 before I even got out of town, so I asked the merch table girl if she'd give the necklace to Immi for me. I had my business card in the little drawstring pouch with the necklace, with a little note of thanks for the music written on it, and I handed it over. I hope she gets it, and I hope she likes it, but there it is. I made a nice gesture, and it goes where it goes.
I'm so glad I got to see both shows, I'm feeling rejuvenated, and now I'm ready to make some more jewelry. Tra-la-la!