Went to the World Cafe Live in Philly last night for an awesome performance by Jonathan Coulton. I’m really glad that we got a chance to go and didn’t miss it. There’s something magical about the addition of a audience, the resonance of the room with live voices and instruments and the subtle changes of a live performer that really help the songs come alive.
The tickets were really well priced at $16 (with a $5 processing fee), but there was a $10 food/drink minimum. So we skipped dinner and decided we’d get our food there and hit our goal. Its easy to see how you can quickly reach and surpass the $10 min. though. My soda was $2.25, but my ‘wonderful’ Tommy Gunn pulled pork sandwich was $13.
I had to send the first one back because it was probably the worse one I’d ever had. It had dry bread which broke as I picked the sandwich up, and worse, there were several large pieces of fat (sans meat) on top. Now, it’s pulled pork. There is a certain amount of fat in there, but the pork itself was not finely chopped, so neither was the large pieces of fat (about the size of a 50 cent piece). So when the waiter brought the replacement, he said “I hope this one’s better. It’s pig. It’s going to have fat on it”. The second sandwich was edible, but I’ve had *wayyyyyyy* better at prices far less.
Alright, back to the concert.. Couple of cool things… When he was singing “Still Alive” (watch), a few people held up cell phones instead of lighters, which was very apropos as it was a technology song. Soon enough, most of the crowd was waving glowing cell phone screens in the air.. even saw a couple of DS’.. really kinda awesome.
Another was a point where he was asking the crowd for a choice in song — who then proceeded to all shout at the same time in a classic jumble, and JoCo told us all to shut up since we weren’t being orderly. Then one guy yells out “Dance, Soterios Johnson, Dance” (listen). Jonathan kinda shakes his head, thinks about it, mutters to himself, and then you realize he really wants to play it, but hasn’t in concert for quite some time. So he says he’s going to do it, apologizes in advance for screw ups and even think he might have to bail half way through. He then tells his intro story, sings the song, proceeds to screw up several times, but recovers with an occasional “shit”, and mulls through to the clapping crowd.
Jeremy got his prototype shirt signed, which was great. When we first got there, we sat with a couple of other geeks (more on that in a second), we talked about the concert and how it was our first one. Jeremy mentions that his claim to fame was ‘this shirt’, and Rachel (from the couple we just met and a marketing person), smiled and said she saw it in the contest — we continued talking, and I realized that she didn’t really ‘get it’. I said, “No, he doesn’t just own the shirt. He designed the shirt.” You should’ve seen her face light up.
So the geek factor was very high, as to be expected at a JoCo show. There was humour at that from Paul and Storm and Jonathan himself. At one point, Paul asked “Seriously, how many of you in here have never had a Calculus class”, and less than 10% raised their hands. Whether from trepidation or truthfulness, it was funny as hell.
Looking forward to seeing him come back.