March 28, 2022 Subject:
in the fall of 1999, i moved from a small town in the American midwest to boston. i was an 18 year old freshmen and wanted nothing more than to go to live shows. at freshmen orientation i met a kid who was wearing an obscure band’s t-shirt. i had on a different obscure band’s t-shirt. we immediately hit it off and made plans to go to the middle east on september 9th to check out this instrumental band from canada we had each heard so much about (but never actually listened to). napster was a thing, but streaming wasn’t there yet.
the middle east was the place for bands like this. it had two spaces: downstairs for relatively bigger acts (capacity 575 people); upstairs for relatively smaller acts (capacity 194 people). this show was upstairs, sold out, and really felt like 200 people packed together in the dark. when gy!be went on there was a surge towards the stage. at 37 seconds into “3rd part” you can hear me say to my friend, “we could move over there… it’s your call…” at 40 seconds he says “naahhh” [over there was behind a metal pole. great joke! I was 18 years old!]
for the next hour and a half i was there. we all were. at 8:03 there’s a wild scream. i remember turning to smile. @datakid nailed it. the whole night there truly was a sense of urgency. it was like gy!be were telling us something we had to know. had to experience. had to feel deep within ourselves at the molecular level. even the sound waves that night had a spiritual agency. as soon as the show ended i turned to this guy behind me who i noticed was recording and said, “i need a copy of tonight’s show.” i scribbled my address on my ticket and handed him my money. (and I left it at that.) months later i got this recording on a cd in the mail, which has long since been lost. this was the recording. it’s a god damn time machine. an artifact of my youth preserved as 1s and 0s.
there are only a handful of truly special moments we get in this life. this was one of mine: captured here for posterity. 9.9.99 forever!
September 7, 2020 Subject:
Wonderful emotional rollercoaster from early history of band
The crowd noise gives amazing atmosphere. The band is absolutely on fire. The recording quality is outstanding - must be from the mixing desk?
The GYBE of 1999 had a heaving, tempestuous sound and this set is a great example. The opening track has the wonderfully long intro with the exuberant all of band explosion and then glide across melody. The second track moves into the more haunting style, while retaining all of the urgency in the finale.
The middle section is that wonder pop melody with crashing cymbals followed by the taunting unfinished business of Dead Methany. The last two tracks prepare for the end of the show - John Hughes ("She Dreamt She Was a Bulldozer, She Dreamt She Was Alone in an Empty Field") is the pretty set up for BBF 3 which brings it all home at canter. The crowd's cowboy screaming at climax is perfect. As urgent now as it was when I first heard it downloaded from a dark corner of the internet in Y2K.