As many of you know - I have seen some concerts in my time. Few of them have been as enjoyable as seeing the Hold Steady at the Crystal Ballroom last night. All too often I let all the minutia of concert-going ruin the experience. The crowd, the setlist, the sound, the heat - I've realized - all bullshit. Last night I reflected on what Craig Finn's lyrics have meant to me over the past couple years and let out some pent up anxiety I've held in for a long time.
There was fist pumping, dancing, screaming and (surely) mild wife-embarrassment. The band played at Springsteenian break-neck speed, many songs back to back with little or no pauses. I left the Crystal Ballroom sweaty, and feeling good. The songs of The Hold Steady always remind me of a time in my life where I was quite lost between dropping out of high school and flunking out of community college. Reflecting on how far I've come while rocking out was a great combo. Now obviously I'm not saying thats what the Hold Steady's lyrics ARE about, they just happen to bring up that sentiment for me.
I think one of my favorite moments of a live show are when you hear a song in a different way, or more importantly, if you really HEAR a song for the first time. That happened to me last night when I really heard the title track of their latest LP "Stay Positive". Again, the lyrics happened to strike a meaningful chord for me last night: