I wanted to let everyone know the blog is still alive, and I am well. I hope you are too! While my boot review writing has slowed down, my listening to them has not. In a time where hate seems so prevalent, I hope the music of live PJ can help bring about positivity. Below is my take on Houston 1 2000, a wonderful show for any summer....
In a low, almost southern-like drawl for the Texas crowd, Ed softly asks, "How y'all doing?" The first night of two in Houston, Texas begins with a sweet Long Road. The audio mix is soothing, with warm tones; most notably in Matt's drum kit. His tom toms resonate deep, complementing Ed's baritone. Matt plays the outro to LR a bit more upbeat, leading into Breakerfall. Flawless, lively renditions of the three rockers, Breakerfall-Corduroy-Whipping are next. Having Whipping early in a set is quite cool, with lots of energy to boot. There is an absolutely killer version of Hail Hail. "You know who you are, you're in love! Yeah!" It sounds as if Ed is about to explode with energy and is incredibly into it. Add to it Matt playing extra build ups on the interlude. That raw live feel feeds into Animal next. Matt and Mike in the first verse are on fire with extra drum fills and a guitar slide right there to exploit it. Mike's outro also sounds brighter and more up front. Dissident's intro is a little off with Matt missing a beat and Mike getting a bit off time and missing notes. The rest of the song is pleasing. Matt kills it by dynamics on this one with crash cymbal/kick drum build ups mid way through Mike's riff. Ed tells the crowd afterwards that Houston feels like Hawaii compared to the 28 degree show in Alpine, Wisconsin earlier in the tour.
NAIS features some scratchy and swampy riffs from Stone, and a slightly different snare roll from Matt as the song builds into its massive interlude. Driving it with force and essentially double timing it for a moment, the placement of the snare roll is superb musicianship. GTF-Untitled-MFC is elegant set flow. Go listen for the subtle kick drum accents in Untitled. They are far more than just background beat. Contrasting and harsh set flow is made with a blistering Habit, then into a soft Wishlist and bright Betterman. Odd, sure, but I enjoyed it personally here; especially since the set has felt heavy so far. Ed doesn't struggle with the lyrics on Wishlist like he did in many of the 2000 shows.
It's almost a quick rarity interlude late in the main set with Evacuation and Mankind; illustrated by Stone saying they are going to do another obscure one and then play ones you know. After a terrible start, they try to redo Mankind. Mike struggles throughout the song. It's pretty ropey, but thankfully, Evacuation is mostly solid to make up for it. Ed mismatches lyrics some, but it's a convincing and enjoyable play. As much as I love hearing some oddities, it's a minor fumble in a set that's been very tight so far. Jeremy-Black-Porch help remedy this as an epic way to conclude a main set. Porch is especially strong with Ed's lyrical improv in the jam. "Some people give....some people hate." The Ten trio feels somewhat dark and somber in its placement in the show, in an intriguing way, and emphasized by the moody lyrical improv by Ed in Porch. As a whole, it's a truly enjoyable main set with Mike and Matt showcasing energy and power.
Last Exit-SOLAT-Sleight of Hand are 3 of my favorite PJ tunes, so to have that trio initiate the encore leaves me incredibly jealous. All are played well, and nothing too flashy. It's interesting that SOLAT and SOH can work so well together. The guitars and Jeff's bass create a thick, atmospheric wall of sound on the chilling Binaural number. Even Flow is titled “Buried Alive” tonight, good energy late in the gig. Jeff shines on Mike's solo early on with deep, rich tones.
"My Son is Slow" improv features Ed strumming softly, and vocal melodies reminiscent of a Janes Addiction tune, to my ears. It leaves one with a smile as the guys move immediately into Last Kiss; a nice way to build momentum for the overplayed cover. Those two should be played together again. Another car song follows, as RVM gets the show rocking once more. Jeff stands out in the mix for me, just rock solid. Next, about midway through Soon Forget, Ed has to stop and proclaims, "It broke!" The Houston crowd loudly claps to the beat of a quiet little song, and finishes fine. YL then concludes the show.
Houston night 1 2000 is an incredibly fun bootleg. It is not a full blown party show like Philly 2009, nor is it an epic like Seattle 2 2000. It is, however, a truly great show in its own right. I've listened to this one probably 6 times in full and each time it grows on me bit by bit. The second night in Houston is a slightly tighter show with a few more rarities, but doesn't quite establish the feel that this one captures. Both come recommended. In fact, all 4 of the Texas gigs from 2000 are quite strong. Most fans seem to agree that Lubbock is the strongest of the bunch. While I enjoy that one tremendously, I still believe Houston 1 is my favorite of the Texas 2000 run.