We left for Asbury Park right after Beth had finished work, so we got there when it was still daylight, and walked on the boardwalk for a while. There really wasn't much there, in terms of people or businesses. We did stop into one restaurant to get soda and a slice of pizza, though. I have pictures from the boardwalk up here.
When we entered the venue, it was already crowded, and some people were even in an outdoor section. I originally made the mistake of trying to get through the crowd to find a better location, but it was so cramped that this didn't work out at all, and it took some effort to get back out again. If you're one of the people that I plowed through, I'm sorry, but there wasn't really another viable option. That's one reason I hate going to standing room only concerts. I have problems with being that constrained. Still, it was the first such concert I'd been to in a while, so I can't really complain, except about that one part that was mostly my fault anyway. I think the Stone Pony is a nice venue in general, but the design of the audience area leaves something to be desired.
I've seen TMBG live more than any other band, but I'm still never quite sure what to expect. There are a lot of songs that have been mainstays of the live show for years, and sometimes a show won't have much else, and will be practically indistinguishable from other recent ones. At other times, however, they'll pull out some surprises from their back catalog. This time, the main surprise was "Where Your Eyes Don't Go," which was part of the second encore. I haven't been reading setlists or reviews for other recent concerts, so I don't know if this is typical on this tour. Since it had been so long since my last TMBG show, even the overplayed songs didn't really bother me. And it was cool to hear some songs that, while maybe not rare for live performances, were at least ones that I hadn't heard live much, like "Withered Hope" and "We Live in a Dump." Of course, they also did "Asbury Park," which was originally performed at an earlier Stone Pony show that we didn't attend. Pictures are here, and while I won't pretend the quality is particularly good, you can at least make out the band members. Oh, and I guess it's now technically the twelfth, so happy birthday to John Linnell!
That's pretty much all I have to say, aside from the fact that I have to wonder why someone who was walking behind me scratched my back. I didn't mind (in fact, it kind of needed it), but it was rather curious. Did they do that to everybody they walked behind? Was it a case of mistaken identity? Were they a Neko Case fan (I was wearing a Neko shirt)? Perhaps I'll never know. But at least I didn't get kicked in the head backstage!