|Submitted to Guster.net by Eric
The Intersection Lounge, Grand Rapids, Michigan
The Intersection Lounge
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Thursday, July 13, 2000
Special guests Mission Orange (from Grand Rapids)
The (Astounding) Setlist as Played:
Barrel of a Gun
X-Ray Eyes *
Center of Attention
All the Way Up to Heaven *
What You Wish For
Two Points for Honesty
I Spy -> Numbers
I Wanna Be Sedated tease
Fa Fa *
Circle of Friends (Brian on lead vocal)
* Dan on sax
I felt privileged: Guster gave us everything in Grand Rapids. They played for
almost two hours in horrid heat on a cramped stage. In polite terms, the
Intersection is intimate. In frank terms, the Intersection is a skinny,
smelly sauna with eight feet of stage, a bar, and more obstructed views than a
baseball park. The sole air conditioner vent streams down onto the cigarette
machine, away from the dance floor. The view of the stage is framed above by
a low ceiling, below by the heads of the dance floor crowd and on the sides by
the speaker towers. The effect was like watching the guys through a narrow
rectangle; imagine the eye slit on a welder's mask, if that helps.
Nevertheless, with the thermostat set on "hell" and everyone's sweat sloshing
everywhere, Guster played longer and harder than ever. These guys are the
After the first song, Ryan commented on the hot, cramped conditions; I think
he alluded to how long it's been since they played a bar like the
Intersection. "This calls for a celebration," he says and invites us all to
watch as Brian takes off his shirt.
After Barrel, Brian briefly soloed. Adam and Ryan picked up the offbeat so
they had this cool contrapuntal (?) jam going--sweet! None of us knew what to
expect from the jam, and then they spun into Medicine. Wow. Afterwards Ryan
said, "Yeah. Wasn't that awesome?" They surprised themselves. :-)
15 tunes into the set Ryan called out, "Is there *anyone* dry out there?" We
hooted and hollered because of course we were all soaked. The floor was wet
with sweat and ice water that had been flung by the pitcherful into the crowd.
I wrung about a cup of liquid from the bottom of my Hawaiian print shirt.
Ryan said something about how "we're all fucking disgusting" and we're friends
now, so we should do what you do in church: reach out and shake someone's
hand. The hand of someone big and fucking disgusting. "So, what I want you
to do right now is turn to your neighbor, reach out, and hug someone who's big
and fucking disgusting." Laughing my ass off, I suddenly realized that no one
was standing near me. Hmm. Coincidence? :-)
Ryan went into an extended monologue with the same theme of brotherly love
during Parachute. What I could hear was very funny; I hope someone taped it
and transcribes it.
Without a real break for the encore, they finished up with Brian singing.
(Joe Campbell tells me it was "Circle of Friends," an Edie Brickell tune.)
All I remember was the phrase "I quit!" and some ear pain, but it was funny.
I'm sorry to say I don't remember who posted the comments about the guards at
the door, but she wasn't the only one who had difficulty with them. The
officious woman gatekeeper wouldn't let me bring my camera into the
Intersection. I tried to explain about Guster's policy on photos, but she got
snottier by the second. Later, Pasty put it to rights with the owner (Thanks,
The bouncer was less than cordial, too. He's twice my size. He fills the
doorway. I figured him for one of those "beefalo" hybrids. I went up to him
during the set break and asked if I could cool off outside and be able to come
back in. He folded his arms across his chest and jerked his chin toward a
sign that read, "No Return Entry."
"So, you're saying I should read the sign over there that says there's no
"Is that *your* answer, too?"
"Look man," I said, "all I want to do is cool off. It's gotta be over a
hundred in here." I used my index finger to squeegee the sweat from my
forehead. The woman gatekeeper looked at me with disdain as a breeze from the open door tousled her hair.
"Okay then. Can you at least turn up the air conditioning?"
One corner of his bovine mouth turned upward in a sneer.
"It's on full-blast," he said.
I'm sure you see the parallels here: The Intersection is a hot, cramped, dark
place with a guard who won't let you leave. Hmmm... I wonder who the owner is...
could he have a few names? And could one of his names be . . . SATAN?!? (My
apologies to Dana Carvey.)
I got to meet Joe and his dad, Jerry, and Joe's friend Monica; Laura from U of
M (who brought a Guster neophyte), Matt and Brian and Lynn who tended the
merch table when Pasty abandoned it. (Lynn, if you're out there, I hope you
got your wish.) And of course Mara from U of M and her friend Katie. (I
apologize if I got any names wrong.)
Anyway, this was the best of the three Guster-as-headliner shows I've seen,
and I still feel privileged to be able to talk about it.