Evan Kessler Dot Com

The Home of the Brave

They Say It Was My Birthday!

Posted by evankessler on November 5, 2004

My birthday has been over for about 45 minutes now and on the whole it was just okay. Some parts were unbelievable, but as far as entire days go, It felt like any other normal day. The day started off promising if a little annoying as I was woken up at 8:45 am with my brother and Sean Maddison jumping on my bed singing, “They say it’s your birthday, It’s my birthday too.” I got a good laugh out of that. They even put up a Happy Birthday Evan!” sign with an inexplicable graphic of two people weightlifting.

The work day seemed pretty status quo. I don’t know what I wanted, I guess I wanted more people to know it was my birthday and say happy birthday. I’m not going to run around and shout it from the rooftops though. Thanks to Arby, Craig Kafko, David Abbott, Sierra Lindsey, Kristen Ertel, Stacy Angeles, Marty Dundics, Stacey Fryer, Marie Camaya, Marissa Brotspies, Erica Bryndza, Jennie Friedlich, Ruthie Fisher, Amanda Verash, Tovah Hirsch, and of course my mom for their timely birthday wishes. Not that I’m mad at other people for not saying anything, but the majority of the day, I just didn’t feel like it was my birthday as I just sat at my desk. I just sort of felt lame. I don’t really know the reason, but there were just people I wanted to hear from that I didn’t. I can’t even put my finger on who exactly or if that was the particular reason but something seemed like it was missing. I really don’t know what I was expecting at work maybe a cake which is sort of the norm for birthdays at work, but I didn’t get one. That’s probably because the one person who I would have expected to do something for me is out this week. So I guess that’s sort of what was missing. Maybe I’m just overreacting, after all, I am having a party on Saturday.

That being said, my night picked up after work as I went to Bar Nine with Mike Haigh for a drink to celebrate Saimon Kos’birthday who’s was also today. I stayed for a little bit but then I had to meet Rich Burrier, Marie, and Zach to go see R.E.M., which I was really excited about.
Rich and I have seen R.E.M. 4 times together after tonight. We went three times on the ‘Up’ tour my Junior year of college, I think it was the end of summer 1999. We had previously seen them in Cleveland, Saratoga Springs, and Boston. Actually, going to R.E.M. at the Garden was sort of full circle for me seeing as the first show I ever went to without my parents was R.E.M. on the Monster tour in the Spring of 1995. However, this time, I had much better seats. Rich got them through our friend Marie Camaya who was also responsible for our kick ass Wilco tickets at Radio City a couple weeks back.
I have to say, the show was remarkable. THANK YOU VERY MUCH RICH. Rich had previously wondered aloud to me what the setlist would be like prior to the election and how it would reflect what the outcome had been. That was all answered quite early as the show began with the band launching directly into It’s The End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine). The free spirited apocalyptic rant seemed both apropos and irony laced at the same time. It’s almost as if with the words “It’s the end of the world as we know it…”, everyone was thinking, “sure is” and with the lyrics, “and I feel fine” the audience was thinking, “nope, not me”.

The political tone continued through the next song Begin The Begin which hit on more lyrically appropriate themes of the past week (“the insurgency began, and we missed it”). This was an R.E.M. who really didn’t know how to react through banter but spoke louder and more clearly than any speech could have with through the pointed commentary in their songs. Welcome To The Occupation seemed an obvious selection building on the theme of disbelief over the continuation of the Bush regime. Michael Stipe rapport with the audience was almost non-existent rapport but he didn’t need it since we all seemed to know how he felt. The only non musical political statement he could muster was along the lines of “this is a strange Thursday.” Stipe vowed to raise the spirits of the crowd through nearly 2 hours of the well constructed pop songs that Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, and Peter Buck are known for. They didn’t shy away from such hits as Losing My Religion and The One I Love.
Nor did they completely fall victim to their own political by inserting such upbeat songs as Imitation of Life, Get Up, and and optimistic version of Walk Unafraid.

The band came back and ripped through a high powered 7 song encore featuring a new song, I’m Gonna DJ and being capped off with Man on The Moon, which Stipe said was a song that belonged to all of the fans. It was a truly great show, here’s the setlist but I still have a little more to write:
R.E.M. Madison Square Garden November 4th, 2004
“It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
“Begin The Begin”
“So Fast So Numb”
“Boy In The Well”
“High Speed Train”
“Get Up”
“The Outsiders”
“Welcome To The Occupation”
“Sweetness Follows”
“The One I Love”
“I Wanted To Be Wrong”
“Imitation Of Life”
“Final Straw”
“Losing My Religion”
“Walk Unafraid”
“Life And How To Live It”
“What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?”
“Leaving New York”
“Permanent Vacation”
“I’m Gonna DJ”
“Man On The Moon

When I arrived home at around 11:40 my brother and Linda had just finished watching “City of God” my brother took out a bag and gave me a present. He gave me a pretty cool t-shirt that I am certain to add to the rotation. I remember when I hated getting clothes but now I actually love it because I can’t go clothes shopping for shit. After I opened his present, he had another gift, a nice big raspberry chocolate cake from Bruno Bakery and so ended the night. We had some cake and I ended the night off with that happy birthday feeling.


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