We drove up to UCLA last night for an Aimee Mann concert, and somehow, despite all the rain on the way up and back, we managed to not need our umbrellas at all.
The concert was great, and very different from the last concert we saw at Royce Hall just by virtue of having a full band behind her (Tori Amos performed solo last time we were there). It was also very different from the last time we saw Aimee Mann, at the House of Blues last summer. For one thing, she was focusing on songs from her new album, The Forgotten Arm.
It was also much more interactive than either of the other two concerts. What stuck in my mind was the request section. She had everything set up so that people would write the request on a piece of paper and leave it on the stage, but when she got to the break, people were shouting out titles. One guy came prepared with what looked like a balsa glider and wrote his request on that, adding that it was his birthday. I don’t remember his request, but she improvised “Happy birthday to the paper airplane man.” I’ve seen singers who get talkative, and singers who improv silly songs, but it really felt like the house was much smaller than 1800 people. (Of course, you could still make a drinking game out of the number of times she says “Thank you so much” after a song.)
Another funny moment was when someone shouted out a request for “Voices Carry.” “Voices Carry?” she said. “Why not ask for a Cyndi Lauper song? ‘Time after time…'” Surprisingly, after performing “King of the Jailhouse” for an encore, she finished up with none other than “Voices Carry,” altered to fit her current style.
The one thing I didn’t like about the concert was that the amplification was up way too loud. The couple sitting next to us left partway through because the woman kept covering her ears.
Of possible interest to my brother: the bio in the program was credited as labeled as “Courtesy of Wikipedia.”
The concert let out at 10:00, which was just as well, since the drive back was…interesting. Since we’d had to eat early to make it up to LA by 7:00 (and we just barely made it—the opening act had started singing), our plan was to grab a snack in Westwood and eat on the way back. We were surprised to find that there were lots of places open at 10pm on a Sunday, but I got frustrated trying to figure out which parking lots were fair game. We just got on the freeway, figuring on stopping in Manhattan Beach for a McDonald’s we knew of next to the freeway. The rain came back as we drove south, and then we started seeing lightning. When we stopped for food, we just parked the car facing southeast and watched the light show. There was a fantastic lightning bolt that snaked sideways across half the sky in front of us. The rain got pretty heavy for the rest of the drive, but for some reason it cleared up again by the time we got home.