Friday, February 15, 2013

Chattanooga Choo Choo

February 12, 2012 - Track 29 - Chattanooga, TN

Of all the shows on this trip, this is probably the one that I remember the least about, as far as the actual show is concerned. However, I do have a pretty funny pre-show story from this one, that will hopefully make up for that.

This venue was actually on the grounds of the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo. I arrived ridiculously early, both thinking it was going to take me longer to get there from Atlanta than it did, and thinking there was going to be more to see in the touristy part of the Choo Choo facility than their was. As such, I spent a lot of time just wandering around the old train yard, where they have now turned a lot of the train cars into hotel rooms. But the coolest part of the place, in my opinion, was the model train exhibit they had set up. It was expertly done, depicting many of the real sights around Chattanooga and many funny touches, like monkeys that had escaped from a zoo truck, a father with a shotgun attending his daughter's wedding, a dinosaur themed miniature golf course, an alligator living under a bridge and some guys tying their buddy into an outhouse.

But my funny story happened just before I entered the model railway exhibit. I had gone inside the gift shop to purchase a ticket and was just exiting out the door to head towards the exhibit. I glanced off the my left and was totally startled to realize that the tourist walking around the side of the building was not just a tourist, it was Linnell walking around with his camera. He looked mildly startled to see me, but probably not nearly as startled as I was. I quickly hoofed it in the opposite direction towards the exhibit, trying hard not to look back and alarm him. The last thing I wanted to do was spoil his touristy explorations of the train yard by running into a creepy fan girl. But honestly, I think I was more frightened than he was.

But being in the wrong place at the wrong time was just my lot in life at this venue. Because later, after leaving to check into my hotel, I came back, probably still too early and parked my car in the lot outside the venue. There were only a couple of people in line and it was still pretty cold, so I chose to wait in my car for a bit, from a spot where I could see the line, until I felt in necessary to go secure a position. But I regretted that decision a short while later, when, having just finished sound check, the entire band exited the venue and proceeded to walk straight towards me and pile into the cars parked on either side of mine. I desperately tried to look inconspicuous and like I was reading something on my phone, as they all stood just outside my windows, deciding who was going in which car and getting themselves settled in. I seem to have a real knack for awkward encounters with the band outside of venues. And believe it or not, there is an even more awkward story to come from later in this trip.

While Chattanooga was warmer that Atlanta, it was still cold and I was amazed by the guy in line in front of me who was in a T-shirt and looked like he was going to freeze to death. The venue staff rewarded him for waiting in the cold with a poster from the show once we were inside. I seem to recall that it wasn't much warmer inside the venue either. The place looked like it must have been an old warehouse that was converted into a music venue. It was huge and a pretty unique space.

The JoCo setlist: Code Monkey - Sticking It To Myself - Big Bad World One - Still Alive - Nemeses - Je Suis Rick Springfield - Skullcrusher Mountain - RE: Your Brains - I Feel Fantastic

JoCo had Scarface sing Skullcrusher Mountain again at this gig. And there was some nonsense with a fan in the crowd getting JoCo to pose for a picture with something they had brought with them. I think it was something he had been photographed with before? At first he said no, he wouldn't do it because he was in the middle of a show. And then immediately relented and had the item handed to him on stage and posed for the shot. It was something homemade but darned if I know what it was.

The TMBG setlist: Subliminal - Cowtown - S-E-X-X-Y - Can't Keep Johnny Down - Celebration - Snowball In Hell - James K. Polk - Judy Is Your Viet Nam - Battle for the Planet Of The Apes - Old Pine Box - Why Does The Sun Shine? - Careful What You Pack - Pandor Jingle - Spoiler Alert - Cloisonné - You Probably Get That A Lot - The Guitar - Birdhouse In Your Soul - Damn Good Times - Withered Hope - Fingertips - When Will You Die  Encore - How Can I Sing Like A Girl? - Particle Man - Doctor Worm  Encore 2 - Dead - Istanbul

I really only remember a general impression of this show, which was that it was extremely good. It was tight, funny, excellently performed and featured a great setlist and very little of the technical problems or setlist issues that had plagued them at the last few shows. It's kind of a shame that more video documentation wasn't made of this one, as it was a very solid show.

Two things that I can point out. During the Snowball bridge, the Green Avatar went on this whole kick about how he was watching "Joe" with his eyeball, which he pushed up into the camera for some extreme close-ups, while repeating "Eyeball" a few times.

And at the end of Fingertips, Dan left the stage and performed the solo on Darkened Corridors from the sound and lighting platform at the very back of the room. In the big open warehousey venue it was a really cool effect.

After the show, JoCo's bass player, Adam, came up to me in the crowd to introduce himself and find out what my story was, since he had now seen me umpteen million times. He's a very nice guy and we had a nice chat.

Here are a few pictures from the show.

JoCo 2/12/12 #1

JoCo 2/12/12 #2

JoCo 2/12/12 #4

TMBG 2/12/12 #4

TMBG 2/12/12 #10

TMBG 2/12/12 #11

TMBG 2/12/12 #13

TMBG 2/12/12 #20

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