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Thursday, 1st March 2001

Houston, TX - Fan Reviews

Fan Review By Mike M. Erkenswick

The stage was in the middle of the Astrodome, but it was not an "in-the-round" stage like those used during the Hysteria and Adrenalize tours. Instead, it was set up for the band to face one way, and the stage itself rotated in a circle, back-and-forth, throughout the show. The show was being videotaped via several cameras. One was mounted on a high boom from the back of a pick-up truck, and the rest were hand-held by personnel walking around on the ground at the base of the stage. This video was projected onto several projection screens mounted on top of the stage structure, so even when the band was facing away from you, you could still see the action very well.

The one thing I noticed with respect to the projected video was that during EVERY guitar solo, it went to Phil, even when Viv was soloing; usually it would swap to Viv by the end of his solos. (This was a shortfall of the VH-1 Storytellers show as well, IMO.) If they intend to use this for a TV show or video, hopefully there was another camera on Viv and they'll use that footage appropriately. Joe and Phil were the only two running around the stage with energy, IMO. As usual Phil had his shirt ripped off by the second song. Partway through the show, Joe did make a comment about them playing the rodeo, and asked to have the lights turned onto the crowd; this was not only so he could see the crowd, but so he could take a picture with his own camera. Also, during LGR, he changed the line to, "I suppose a RODEO's outta the question..."

Rick always seemed to have a smile on his face and he was banging away the whole night. Sav was laid back as usual. Viv was even less energetic than when they played the KRBE show here in September 1999. I couldn't tell if he was tired, bored, sick, or just too busy singing background vocals all the time. His playing was as good as ever, but he just wasn't much fun to watch (maybe the video director noticed this too, and is why the cameras didn't focus on him much). Foolin' was the first song to get the crowd going, and was the first time I really saw anyone on their feet.

And of course Love Bites drew out the lighters. But as previous reviews noted, they got the most out of the crowd with PSSOM and Rock Of Ages. The crowd was loud, but you didn't see everyone on their feet like you would at a regular concert until the last two songs (maybe an effect of the rodeo venue). They seemed to have a few problems with the mixing. Occasionally Joe's vocals would go down in the mix too much, and the guitar solos weren't always brought up right at the beginning. But overall it was a nice volume, and given that the Astrodome was not designed for concerts, the sound was pretty good. We even called my sister (near Chicago) on my cell phone and let her listen to most of the show. :-)

The concert was too short at only an hour, and yet it was nice to hear 5 more songs than they played at the KRBE show. Too bad we haven't heard anything off Euphoria in Houston except Promises and Goodbye (I regret never hearing them play Paper Sun), but that's a function of the venues, show lengths and expected crowds. They were selling "left-overs" of sorts at the show: Euphoria Tour 2000 items. There were two t-shirts, one in black and one in dark blue, each with stage shots of each bandmember on the front and the U.S. 2000 tour dates on the back. There was a grey t-shirt with the stage shots on front, and just "Euphoria" on the back.

Despite the limitations I mentioned above, overall they sounded great and put on a great show, well worth sitting through my first-ever rodeo. Joe was singing and screaming his heart out, Phil was shredding as usual, and as I said earlier, Rick was pounding away at his drums and seemed to be having a great time. They haven't made a formal stop in Houston since the Slang tour (so maybe it was partly a case of "absence makes the heart grow fonder"), and I hope the response they got from the crowd here and at the KRBE show a year-and-a-half ago was enough to bring them back on the next tour.


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