Studio X - Seattle, USA
Point Of View
I was as surprised as the next person to find out I had won all access passes for silverchair's End Session in Seattle, especially considering the fact that I'm from Calgary, Canada. This was my seventh time seeing silverchair, and my fourth time seeing them that week. I got over the shock quickly and made my way to the radio station where I would confirm that I had actually won, and I would pick up the directions to the "secret location" where silverchair were scheduled to perform an intimate 30-minute set followed by a "meet 'n' greet."
Sure enough, my name was there and I got the directions. They started handing out the passes at 1:45 p.m. I got a signed copy of Neon Ballroom, which was cool because it was the U.S. version which differs from the Canadian one, so even though I already had the CD, it was still a bonus.
We picked up our laminates and went into the studio where we heard silverchair rehearsing Emotion Sickness. After what seemed like an eternity, they let us in. The studio itself, where the 'chair would perform and talk to fans, was only a bit larger than your average kitchen. There was no stage -- silverchair were level with us. That was so incredible to know that you're on the same level as silverchair. I would imagine that this was the smallest performance silverchair has done in a few years. On the floor, just in front of the bands' feet, there was a line of candles. This added to the intimacy and the intensity of the experience.
Steve (from The End 107.7 FM in Seattle and also one of the nicest guys I know) came out and announced that there would be no photography during their live set, but that afterwards we would be able to take photos of and with the band. He also said that the 'chair were having some technical difficulties throughout the soundcheck, and that they weren't able to get through a complete song without the power cutting out. He asked us to be patient in case anything mucked up during the set.
I think that I could've handled silverchair having to play a song over and over until it was right, but to their advantage, the set was nothing short of perfection.
After another eternity Sam walked out, then Ben and Chris followed, and Daniel was last. They took their places on the stage that was within spitting distance from us (not that we spat on them, it's purely an analogy). It was surreal being THAT close to them playing live.
I don't think they are used to playing within such a small area. It has been a while, especially since the majority of their shows for the past two years have been in front of large crowds.
They burst into Slave with much enthusiasm. The sound was so powerful because the room was so small! It was great! Chris hurled himself over his bass and Ben was slamming his drum kit like there was no tomorrow. Daniel's guitar playing has considerably escalated to another level of rock-god. Somebody's been practicing!
The song was done, and they pushed on through into Point of View. Once again, the sound was surreal. I just cannot believe the way it projected in the room.
Daniel said thanks to KNDD, and spoke about the intimacy as the band proceeded into Ana's Song. This song will always possess a special feeling live. I'm not sure what it is, but when you hear it live, you just have to stop whatever you're doing and pay full attention, because it deserves nothing less. The emotion from Johns is felt more during this song. I was watching Ben lay down the beats, and couldn't help but laugh whenever he played the part that's featured on the Inside the Neon Ballroom" special. I kept seeing him yelling at Nick in my head. Sam played beautifully, concentrating on the task at hand.
Daniel did what a lot of people do when they're on stage. He focused on a point in the back of the room and kept his eyes there for most of the time. It's a good way to feel like you're the only one in the room. Every so often he dartedg his eyes around. He broke the silence by saying, "Thanks. I don't know what to say. I said everything that I had to before the last song, so we'll just play."
The opening chords of Emotion Sickness hit our ears. I still remember having my doubts on how they'd ever recreate this epic masterpiece live. When I saw them on March 26 in Vancouver I stood corrected. It's not hard to tell that anything and everything silverchair have in them is put forth into this song. Daniel's intensity and feelings shine through. As Nick Launay put it, "You're inside Daniel's head." That couldn't be more true. Making eye contact with them during this song was unbelievable because you feel like you're living vicariously through them, if only for a moment.
Just as the song came to an end, Madman broke loose. If I had to give a definition for the word "madman" I would tell people to listen to this song. It's got to be the most musically powerful song they do live, right up there with Satin Sheets, Lie to Me and Spawn Again. As I said before, Daniel's guitar abilities are fucking awesome! He pulls off some Angus Young-like solos and leaves people in awe.
They walked out of the room and just as soon as everything had started, it was over... except that it wasn't really over yet. My friends and I stood there speechless. I really have no words to describe what the set was like. It was unbelievable, surreal, fanbloodymarvellous!! Even one friend, who's not a really big silverchair fan, was extremely impressed. She says she's always impressed with them live.
Yet another eternity had passed before Ben and Chris came out. I had brought my yellow Freak Show vinyl to be signed. I talked to Ben first. He remembered me from the last time I talked to him in Vancouver. I showed him a photo of him taken a few years back. It's really funny and when he saw it he said, "Where the hell was that taken?!" with a big smile on his face. Then he remembered. He signed my vinyl (which he says he's never seen before) "To Lynz" and I got a photo.
Next was Chris. I was glad to get my photo with him because although I've talked to him three times before, I've never had a photo opportunity. He signed the vinyl and I spoke with him for a moment.
John Watson gave me one of Gillies' infamous "Ben's Wood" drumsticks, and I ended up getting a set list signed by all three. I saw Pete Walton and asked him where Sam was. He said he'd go and get him, and that's just what he did, because within a moment Sam came walking out. I don't think he fully gets the recognition he deserves. I spoke with him for a few minutes about Cordrazine, among other things.
All in all it was a spectacular day! Nevertheless, their concert at the Paramount Ballroom was still ahead that evening, but that's another story and this one is long enough as it is!