It was 8:57pm on Tuesday, March 24 at the House of Blues (HOB) in San Diego, and the overhead speakers started to play… “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” and the near-capacity crowd caught on immediately and began to sing along.
The song, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” is one of the best known Queen songs, and as The Airborne Toxic Event and Mikel Jollett fans all know, Mikel idolizes Freddie Mercury. In a recent USA Today interview on Mikel said: “I dig that this record kind of embraces my inner Freddie Mercury, which I’ve never done before. I love Freddie Mercury and I love Queen.”
Knowing that, I knew that this was not just a random song picked by HOB, but by Mikel, and I knew that HOB would let this song play through to the end and TATE would immediately then come on stage. I’m not sure why they didn’t do this same thing in San Francisco, where I saw them perform on March 21st, but it was one of the best ways I’ve seen a concert start in years! Not since U2 came out to “Ground control to Major Tom” (David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”) six years ago have I seen such a cool show-start. The crowd was singing at the top of their lungs, along with Freddie, and when TATE came on stage moments after the last notes of “Rhapsody” rang in the air, the crowd was well beyond ready to start singing and dancing.
It was that kind of night. It was the kind of night where Mikel had the urge to sing an entire song, “Time to Be a Man,” amongst his fans below the stage. It was the kind of night where there was not one dull moment, not one moment where the crowd took a break to check their phones or whatnot. Honestly, there wasn’t even as much video recording as I’ve seen at prior shows. Everyone was just so caught up in the moment, including myself. And my vantage point this night was not even nearly as good as it was on Saturday night in San Francisco, where I was literally three people back in the center of the stage. This night, my location amongst the crowd was almost embarrassing considering how much I love this band.
Someday, I would like to attend a TATE concert by myself, or with other fans at least, and be able to be right up front. But this particular night I wanted to enjoy the company of a good friend I hadn’t seen in a while. Yes, she loves the band, but not even close to as much as I love them. So we ate a nice dinner and had a few beers before the show. Of course this meant that by the time we entered the venue, we had no choice but to be in the back or side. Of course I was bummed, but I knew this would happen. We opted for the side of the stage, where I had a pretty good view of Mikel and Anna most of the show… as long as the 6’7” guy in front of me didn’t sway too much!
The setlist was very similar to what it was in San Francisco. I have still never heard my favorite song “The Storm” live, but hopefully someday this will happen. Needless to say, any song performed by this band is #1 on my list, so I really didn’t care what they played. As long as they played as long as they could… which they did… with a total of 22 songs. The band was purely magical on this night. The feelings soared through the faster songs on Dope Machines, through the moody triad on the latter part of the album, and through “Chains,” which is a personal favorite of mine since I first heard it. Of course, same as in San Fran, when Anna pulled out her violin for the first time for “Chains,” the crowd cheered even louder.
The energy only increased when they turned to their classics, playing “Gasoline,” “Happiness,” “Midnight” and the rest. And whenever possible, Mikel, Steven, and Adrian found ways to get the crowd involved in sing-alongs, clapping, jumping, and whatever else they could think of. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there. I’m curious to hear from others who were at this show.
It was by far the best TATE concert I’ve ever been to, and the funny thing is… I know I’ll be saying that again in the future for another TATE show, as they only seem to get better!!!
Lara has lived in San Diego all her life and has always loved music more than you can imagine. She works as an accountant for an international company, and in her free time enjoys many concerts, trying out great restaurants, traveling whenever she can, spending time with friends watching movies (LOTR is her fave!) and keeping up on their many TV shows including Game of Thrones, Arrow and many more. She’s also a long-time Padres Season-Ticket Holder.