Working for Bill Graham Presents has its advantages. I am a bluecoat, which means event staff, which means guest services. Yes, I am one of those people that pats you down for a quick search, takes your ticket and tell you to get out of the aisles. I also get a chance to hear some really good music. It is basically the best summer job a college student could have. I get to work shows from Reno to San Jose. For the past three years I’ve been traveling about to concerts.
It’s almost like following the Grateful Dead around except getting paid for it. During the off seasons, October through March, I may get to work just one or two shows a month, but it seems like the 2002 concert season started really early.
Around spring break there were a lot of big shows for example a few days of Nsync, a couple days of No Doubt, throw in one Rob Zombie, a living Beatle, Paul McCartney, and you have one wild week. On March 25, I was able to work a show at the San Jose Event Center, which is on the San Jose State campus, for No Doubt. I was very excited about working this show; you see, I am a fan from way back. This was my third time seeing them.
The tour was to promote No Doubt’s new album “Rock Steady.” The stage was set up to go along with the album cover that is red, white and black.
For example, the first lines sung by Gwen Stefani were “A real love survives… a rock steady vibe.” And that is what the show had, a total “rock steady” vibe.
A word that describes a No Doubt show is “intensity.” There was never a dull moment when they hit the stage. From the moment Gwen and the gang came out till the very last song. They were always up beat, always on.
One thing I remember the most about the show was the way the group captured the audiences attention. Instead of playing my favorite song.
When you are working, you are not allowed to focus your attention on the band, and you become a people watcher. You notice the little things a fan does at a concert. You see the cuddling from a couple when “their song” is played. You see the spastic gyrating middle age man who has had too much drink that night.
But sometimes you see when the band says, “put your hands in the air, and sway them from side to side!” and everyone actually does it.
It’s a rare thing to see it work completely, sometimes it looks pretty pathetic when it’s off, but the weird thing was at No Doubt it wasn’t off. It was a sea of hands swaying back and forth all going the same way. It was so cool. It made me wish I were up on that stage singing.
No Doubt played songs from each album, with the fans singing their favorite songs like, “Don’t Speak” and “Just a Girl” as well as stuff on their new album like “Hey Baby” and “Hella Good.” A good way to describe the show: it was one rock steady show that was hella good.