Post by weimhunter on Dec 14, 2007 11:16:59 GMT -5
By 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, a long line of concert-goers waiting to get into Rick's Cafe in Starkville snaked far out into the packed parking lot. Thursday, December 13, 2007 11:47 AM CST
A huge tour bus stood nearby. Two white stretch limousines gleamed by the curb. Rick's staffers had fired up an outdoor grill in the parking lot and were selling burgers to the milling crowd. Luckless late arrivals circled vainly looking for any place to park.
Silly me, I'd been concerned the end of semester exams at Mississippi State University would negatively impact the crowd for Blind Melon. As it was, it would have taken a shoehorn to squeeze many more people into the venue. Fans have been waiting, after all, 12 years for this.
“We were so, so glad to see the crowd,” said Ginny Graham, mother of drummer Glen Graham. “It was a great night. For me and for Tyson, it was reminiscent of the old days. It was refreshing to see.”
The Graham's were part of an entourage of family and friends of the three founding band members who hail originally from the Golden Triangle - Graham of Columbus and Brad Smith and Rogers Stevens of West Point. Original member Christopher Thorn of Pennsylvania and new lead singer Travis Warren of Texas complete the group's roster.
The “old days” date back to the first half of the '90s - when Blind Melon garnered massive MTV air and Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Rock Performance ... when they opened for the Rolling Stones, played Woodstock and when Chris Farley wore a bee costume to introduce them on Saturday Night Live - a nod to the image of Graham's sister on the cover of the band's debut album and the subsequent break-out “No Rain” video.
It was all a very long way from the days Glen, Brad and Rogers spent on the Columbus and West Point swim teams.
After frontman Shannon Hoon's death in October 1995, the band eventually separated. In Providence, R.I., on Oct. 7, a resurrected Blind Melon kicked off their first tour in well over a decade.
“I had such a good time,” said Gail Laws, mother of bassist Brad Smith, after the Rick's show. She and husband Dr. Chance Laws live in Columbus and also attended the previous night's performance at the Gibson Beale Street. Showcase in Memphis. “The Memphis show was really great, but the Starkville show was amazing! Lots of energy in that packed house. It was a great way to end this leg of the tour.”
After the band launched their set with “Galaxie,” guitarist Rogers Stevens' dad, Josh Stevens of West Point, left the relative oasis of the family's reserved tables to brave the fray in front of the stage, enjoying the moment as much as anyone there.
Rogers' brothers, James Michael and Joe, were also on hand. James Michael traveled from Austin, Texas, with his band, Moonlight Towers, to open for Blind Melon. Joe and his family live in West Point.
If the big question of the night was how diehard homegrown fans would, after all this time, accept newcomer Travis Warren in the spot the late Shannon Hoon once filled, the band should feel encouraged by Tuesday's response.
Following a magnetic personality and distinctive voice like Hoon's is riddled with minefields. As Stevens said in a phone interview last week, “It's a fine line as to how he (Warren) could have done this. But he's managed to endear himself to the old fans and make news ones as well.”
Throughout the night, Travis Warren perhaps paid homage best by losing himself in the music, much of it written by Hoon. “Nobody can take Shannon Hoon's place,” Warren said just before the encore. “Not me, not you, not anyone in this room ... (we just) want to keep the music of this band going .... and I'll do the best job I can.”
“I think Travis has a great voice and fits in great as the new frontman,” said Jim Swoope of West Point, a longtime friend of all the founding members. “It was a little eerie to hear him sing the old stuff because he sounded so much like Shannon,” he added.
Chris Jenkins of Columbus: “I'm one of those 30-something's who was around when they first got started, so it was nice to revisit the old days. It felt like 1992 all over again. Their sound was amazing. Travis Warren has some big shoes to fill, but apparently he's risen to the occasion rather effortlessly.”
Call it a figment of a muddled mind, but I'm wondering if some serious fans had the transition they may have shied from - seeing a new face in Hoon's place for the first time - smoothed by Warren's theatrical opening gambit.
He entered and blistered through “Galaxie” wearing a stark, white full-face mask and attached wig. The surreal fixed features and vacant eyes amped up the mystery. By the time he shed the rather awesome thing (well into the second number if I remember correctly), the capacity crowd was primed for an unveiling.
The set list blended favorites such as “No Rain,” “Change,” and “Mouthful of Cavities” with strong new material like “Make a Difference,” “Wishing Well,” and “Hypnotize,” songs anticipated on the new album due out this spring.
Rick's owner, Rick Welch, said, “I'm honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to bring Blind Melon back to our area. I think it will be a show people will be talking about for years to come.”
In its earliest days, a young, tireless Blind Melon built its fanbase on the road. Now, with the exception of the younger Warren, they are husbands, and most are daddies. The challenges are obvious.
“With the touring, you do still get beat up,” admitted Stevens, who has lost significant time at home in New York with his wife and daughter this year to cross-country recording and performing.
At least for the present, the band gets a break during the holidays. The tour bus pulled out of Mississippi in the wee hours Wednesday morning with most of the crew, but Brad, Christopher, Glen and Rogers were able to stop over for a brief visit.
The immediate future holds a potential late-winter tour in Europe and Florida's Langerado Festival in early March, with R.E.M., Ani DiFranco, Gov't Mule and many more.
As Melon makes its new way, most fan feedback seems to echo something Jim Swoope said. “It was good to see them together again and so into what they are doing. It's something that I just never thought I would see again. I feel like Blind Melon are just now getting to pick up where they left off. I hope the best for them.”
The tempo for Galaxy was indeed fast during the Starkville show. I forgot to set the tempo (I00bpm) before counting off and the metronome was at it's default tempo of I20bpm, significantly faster than I00. I realized this during the count-off and it took a while but I managed to settle the tempo down to a still brisk clip. A rare occurrence, and a nightmare for about 20 seconds. We thought it was pretty funny.
Another exciting anecdote from the topsy-turvy world of heavy rock...
Last Edit: Dec 18, 2007 1:43:45 GMT -5 by glengraham
patzeller: ive seen the band in MN in 2015, Denver (home) in 2016 and last night in Chicago. Despite Brad missing, the bands chemisty was the best I’ve ever seen. Awesome awesome show. Guess I’ll be heading to Edmonton in June!
May 9, 2018 18:47:40 GMT -5
melonwheels: Picture of BLiND MeLon on MSN ...under "one hit wonders"...... hit or no hit..... the people in this band have done miracles for me and they dont even know it. The music from them can do magic....Thank you to all the guys in the MeLon band.
Jun 8, 2018 6:50:16 GMT -5
galaxieman: Hi guys! I'm new!
Aug 13, 2018 17:46:38 GMT -5
jaakko: Hi there! I´m new here! Straight to the question... Is there any possibilities that Blin Melon would tour somewhere in europe someday? I need to see and hear my all time favourite band live before I die. Do I need to fly to U.S.A?
Aug 22, 2018 13:25:11 GMT -5
Deleted: They hope to get over there soon!
Aug 29, 2018 9:26:29 GMT -5
michaelt: Hi! I'm looking for someone here who is an expert in Blind Melon autographs. Would need some help, thanks
Sept 13, 2018 13:31:36 GMT -5
crobar: Anyone know who played the harmonica lead in the song "change" at woodstock '94?
Jun 4, 2019 16:53:44 GMT -5
crobar: If you watch the video on youtube for "Change" at woodstock '94, a dude is welcomed out on stage to play the lead harp. Shannon thanks him but you can't hear the name. The guy killed it and I'd like to know who he is/was. Any help is appreciated.
Jun 4, 2019 18:33:52 GMT -5
Deleted: Danny Clinch
Jun 6, 2019 10:05:55 GMT -5
yknotpurple: It's great to see you together again, now let's get a tour together!!!
Oct 1, 2019 17:11:37 GMT -5
blindemme: I always wonder why a guy who has everything going for him does that.
Mar 18, 2020 23:16:42 GMT -5
cannansmusic: TOES ACROSS THE FLO!
Jun 2, 2021 15:00:49 GMT -5
lisa: Blind melon take me back to a really happy time of leaving school and having the world at my feet. I am about to watch the doc. I am looking forward to seeing what the band thought of history being made and the creation of timeless music. RIP Shannon
Jun 5, 2021 3:15:13 GMT -5
cannansmusic: Glad to see I’m not the only one here Lisa !
Jun 9, 2021 8:44:33 GMT -5
blindmango: Hi, I'm looking for anyone with info on the promotional Soup Can from 1995. How rare are they? How much do they go for? What was in side? I cant find anything that confirms the contents or special and surprising promotional ingredients. Thanks
Oct 31, 2021 2:51:45 GMT -5