When I scratch my nails down
someone else's back I hope you feel it....

Holland is good for concerts. Better than Canada, at least. Not only do lots of good acts come here but because it's such a small country it's generally easy to get to whatever city and venue any particular artists might be performing in. This is unlike Canada where the major cities are many many hours apart... using air travel. Not that that stopped me from jetting out to Vancouver or Toronto to see concerts, of course. But I certainly didn't do that with the same ease that I now do when I take the train to Rotterdam from my new home in The Hague.

Which is what I am about to do... but since when is there a big hole in the wall of Centraal Station?!?

The secret of getting a seat on the train is to walk all the way to the end of the train furthest away from the entrance to the platform. If one required any further proof as to the immense laziness of the human species, this is it.

I was worried about what I would eat this evening. Burger King is dangerously close by once you're in the train station. Sushi is too expensive for my current welfare status. So I was glad to be able to get a somewhat healthy Toscany Turkey wrap. It has white flour, yes, but it's better than a Whopper, right?

After arriving in Rotterdam it's a short ride on the subway to "Zuidplein" where the the concert venue Ahoy is located. No need to keep track of which stop the train is at... one must simply follow the crowds of people.

It is a miserable day today. Lots of rain. I fear for my feet being soaking wet for three hours while at the concert.

And here is my first stop at Ahoy... the box office.

I can't say it enough to you amateur concert-goers who worry about not having tickets ahead of time. No one seems to listen, but you really don't need tickets ahead of time.

I got to Ahoy at 19h30, that's 30 minutes before the concert started. At that point there were good seats on the side, halfway back available. But I opted for the floor instead, which was also available, and ended up 8 metres from Alanis.... Not as close as approximately a couple hundred people, but closer than the other 16.000 people behind me.

FROM THE BOX OFFICE, by the way, not from a scalper.

I can't say it enough.... there are ALWAYS seats that come available at the last moment.

See? No scalpers required. Look at the thousands of losers who got their tickets months ago and are sitting up in the stands at the back.

Ok... so, the last time I reported to you from an Alanis Morissette concert I remarked on the number of lesbians in the crowd as well as the fact that they can't dance (which led to my christening the crowded area in front of the stage the "Lurch Pit", in reference to Lurch from the Addams family, who would probably dance with as much grace as many of the lesbians seem to).

Anyway, just in case you didn't believe me about this... here ya go. Some lesbians. And don't let the shirt fool you. Everybody knew that she was a lesbian. I should have got a picture of her making out with her significantly older girlfriend.

Alanis's opening band is a fellow named Gabriel Mann whose band consists of an electric piano, a bass guitar and drums.

Gabriel was pretty good. They made some good noise considering the lacking instrumentation in the band. People used to complain about The Doors having a "hole in their sound" because they didn't have a bass player. They thought this was cool, but also tried to fill it up by having Ray Manczarek play bass on a Fender bass keyboard thing. That worked, sort of, but the "hole" was still there... so cool or not they still got bass players to come into the studio after the first album as well as on tour with them. Because you don't want a hole in your sound, man.

But did Gabriel have a hole in HIS sound? I am still not sure. Certainly not the same kind of hole problem that The Doors had. But I am still not sure, hours later.

Ah... but with the end of Gabriel's set the difference between headline acts and supporting bands is clear. Gabriel says goodnight, waves goodbye and walks off stage... and then returns 30 seconds later to help the roadies carry his piano off.

Here we see all the people who are further away from the stage than I am. The Lurch Pit is quite full, as you can see.

Me in the Lurch Pit... sweaty, stinking of pot, cigarette smoke... and hairspray. But fortunately there aren't all lesbians down here. There are some heterosexual hotties around as well.

And Alanis finally takes the stage.

Alanis Takes the Stage (MPEG Movie - 46MB)

Oh right... one thing unusual about Alanis is her tendency to pace back and forth across the stage while singing.

(Notice the guitar player at the right side in this and the previous photo. He looks like an ugly version of my friend Landon.)

She's more than a pretty face in leather pants though. She plays guitar too.

I think we're at a point in the universe where the idea of people not taking pictures at a concert is pretty much dead. I mean, people were always sneaking cameras in anyway, but nowadays everyone has a camera phone (as was evident by the hundreds and thousands of people taking photos with them during the concert) and unless the security plans to confiscate everyone's phone I guess they'll just have to accept that pictures will be taken.

All that said... I must also add that with my camera in low-light mode the shutter stays open longer and challenges me to hold it completely still for two or three seconds. I am not always successful, as you can see.

Another thing that Alanis does is whip her hair around and spin around on stage. This concert was apparently not a spinning night for her since she did it only this one time. Usually she's more spinny. She even tapes her ankles like a football player or hockey player to avoid spraining them.

And this is the photo of the night.... I caught Alanis in mid-air, in mid-spin, and the photo is quite clear and sharp to boot.

This photo didn't turn out so well, but I was trying to get Alanis silhouetted against the screen behind her.

This photo REALLY didn't turn out, did it?

Alanis paces off to the opposite side of the stage.

The audience sings along with Alanis. And, again, notice how many people are NOT as close as I am... I who bought my ticket half an hour before the concert. Not that you should confuse my last-minute-ness with a lack of dedication to see Alanis. First of all, there was no way I was missing this show (once I found out about it three days ago... which is a story in itself, since I'd checked for up-coming concerts just 6 or 8 weeks ago and the only thing of interest then was U2... then all of a sudden Queen, Alanis... what's the deal?) Secondly, I would have gone as high as 125 Euros for a ticket from a scalper had there actually not been anything available at the last minute. And maybe that doesn't seem like THAT much to qualify me as dedicated, but the limit of 125 is determined by the fact that that is how much money I have until the end of the month (two weeks, almost, from now). So what does that tell you? Food? Or Alanis? At least I've got my priorities straight in life.

Alanis playing the harmonica.

Alanis lets the audience sing the verses of Ironic.

The audience really gets going on the choruses of Ironic.

The final chorus of Ironic. As it turns out there's only one more song after this.

Stepping back out into the fresh air is like a revelation. The rain has stopped. It's a new world out here and I am blissfully alone, aware of my failures in life as the sublime intensity of the concert slips into memory.

The other concert-goers are mere shadows, it seems, as we shuffle toward the metro station.

One last view of Ahoy. Three hours ago it was a different world. Three minutes ago the same.

All that remains now is to take the train back home. I arrive at my house before midnight. Not even a late night, is it? Makes you wonder why I am the only person I know that went?

And with that my night comes to an end. I leave you with a Set List of the evening, with some samples to listen to. Not everyone appreciates the crappy sound quality of the homemade bootleg recording, but it gives you an idea anyway.

A Sample of the Opening Act - Gabriel Mann
PodCast from the Lesbian Lurch Pit
Waiting for Alanis to take the stage

8 Easy Steps
What I Really Want
Hands Clean
Not The Doctor
Are You Still Mad
Knees of My Bees
Not All Me
Hand in My Pocket
So Pure
Front Row
To All The [Boys] I've Loved Before
You Oughta Know
You Live You Learn
Wake Up
Thank You

The Entire Concert in MP3

And just in case you didn't like my photos I also include a couple of photos I stole from the Associated Press of Alanis's Hamburg show a few days earlier.