Tanya Donelly and Kristin Hersh!
[music | Nick Cave - Let Love In]
Holy Crap I can't wipe the dopey smile off my face. Natalie and I have seen Kristin Hersh perform a couple of times (50 Foot Wave opening for the Pixies at BU, 50 Foot Wave opening for Throwing Muses at the Middle East), but I'd never had the opportunity to see Tanya Donelly either solo or with the Muses, I'd always been either too young/too poor or she wasn't playing out much. Just bad luck. I've always had a huge Tanya Donelly crush, which absolutely remains intact.
The venue was the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, which is a tiny movie house/performance space. This makes for comfortable seating and a very intimate environment (seats ~250), which was wonderful for this show. As for intimacy, I was the dickhead coughing his brains out between pretty much every damn song. Don't get too mad, at least I kept it together during the music (not easy), besides, whatever my body is revolting against will probably kill me soon enough.
This show was very nearly perfect, my only regret was that the second show was sold out by the time we found out and bought tickets for the first. By "second show" of course I mean, "second show...OF THAT NIGHT". That's right, they had back-to-back 2 hour shows. Our show started with a set by Tanya Donelly, with her husband on guitar and Joe McMahon on keyboard/bass/upright. It was just great. Stripped all the way back, she played a good amount of newer stuff, occasionally reaching back, finishing with Green. There was another attempted step back in time, which could have been cool, Dean was picking at the beginning to Speed and Sleep while Joe was frantically going through notebooks looking for music, and failing (she sprung it on them, whatever it was, so it's not really his fault). Maybe he found the music for the second show so they can find out what she got all excited about all of a sudden.
Kristin Hersh's set was fantastic also. She was pretty stupefied at first that Tanya had done Green in her set "I was...totally not prepared for that...wow...I wasn't ready for it...". We had no real idea what to expect, since we've seen her a few times in a few different incarnations. She came out solo and played a blistering acoustic set with her awesome zombie gaze fixed.
The Set We All Came To See was of course the set I've been waiting 20 years to see, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. Even Tanya's bumbling-ness was hilarious, like they'd planned slapstick sketches or something. I loved the bending down to check the setlist or pick something up and cracking her noggin on the mic, slamming her guitar neck into Kristin's guitar. I can't help but hope to see another Muses tour with her on board full time. I'm not dealing with recounting songs, it was great, whatever they didn't play they probably played in the second show. I think it's pretty safe to say that anyone going to these shows was going to be a hardcore Muses fan to say the least, so it didn't matter that the Big Hit Songs (the TV hit songs) didn't get played. Everyone loved everything.
The Middle East show was released as a live CD of course, and I would love it if they release these two sets also. Of course we'd get both shows to see what we missed.
As a side note, for the second time in a few months, I've been the master of celebrity blow-offery. After giving directions to Nivek Ogre and sending him on his way, today we basically followed Tanya and her daughter around cambridge all afternoon with me not noticing. To be honest, I was mesmerized by her daughters skirt the first time, and the second time I was intently watching a pigeon fend off a bunch of smaller birds for a piece of bread at Bertuccis, and didn't notice her walking up and having a slice.
Natalie was looking at her hair and was going to mention that if she had blonde hair she'd look "just like that girl there", but didn't bother pointing her out. Had she, my head would have exploded as I jumped up to shake poor Tanya's hand off. As it was, I was just trying to decide how to catch the damn pigeon and make someone watch it during the show so my pigeon could have a friend.
Side-side-note: I really do applaud the music that both of them are releasing on their sites as MP3s. Tanya has a bunch of demos from Star (which I didn't know was supposed to be a Breeders CD, cool) as well as demos from Beautysleep and Lovesongs. Kristin has a bunch of Creative Commons licensed MP3s and FLACs from KH, 50 Foot Wave, and Muses over at Throwingmusic.com. We bought the CDs, but I appreciate the sharing all the same and I can only see that as being a good way for people to get the music into their hands, which is the important thing.