So – I saw The Promise Ring for the first time in 1997. They were playing in Oakland, California, and I was living in Berkeley (just north of the OAK). Throw in a boy I was madly in love with, and there are tons of reasons I’ve been in love with TPR ever since that day. There’s a huge part of my heart that feels forever connected to them.
Alas, time goes by. People break up. Bands break up. Life rearranges itself. And although I wasn’t incredibly surprised when I saw that TPR was doing a string of reunion dates (Davey von Bohlen’s emo-esque predecessor, Cap ‘n Jazz, played a reunion show at Echoplex in 2010), I was incredibly psyched. I haven’t seen them play since 2002-ish … and there were even a few years of broken-hearted-ness that kept me from listening to them at all.
The only thing is – as happy as I was to see The Promise Ring play, I’m pretty sure Davey was just the opposite. He still put 100 percent of his heart and charm and … ridiculously cute dance moves … into the show. But he was quick to share that he really didn’t want to be on the stage. At all. In fact, he mentioned – numerous times – that he’d pretty much rather be doing anything but singing.
Fan: “Dude, stop complaining and do your job!”
Davey: “That’s the thing – I have a job. And this ain’t it!”
Fan: “We paid $25 a ticket! We own you tonight!”
Davey: “I’m not saying I’m going to walk out … I’m just saying I don’t want to be here.”
In that sense, the atmosphere on stage (from Davey at least) was less “reunion-shows-rock!” and more “kill-me-now.” I get it. He’s married. With kids. And has 1,000 more important things to stress about than Avalon’s lousy sound-system, or songs that made me cry when I was 20. Still, it made me sad to think I was virtually “forcing” him to play when he definitely did. not. want to.
Granted, I understand the boys have been doing this reunion “circuit” since February-ish, so maybe the high of reuniting has simply worn off. Regardless, Davey still (begrudgingly) rocked his heart out. The guys played a huge range of songs, from oldies like “E. Texas Ave.” and “A Picture Postcard” to quite a few songs from “Nothing Feels Good” and “Very Emergency.” Most surprising: The crowd was full of young’uns. I was expecting to see a bunch of 30-ish “kids” re-living their youth, but there were tons of late teen/early 20s folks rocking out, as well.
Despite the sadness (I guess it wouldn’t be an emo show without a little emotional over-sharing), Davey is still the cutest dancing guitar boy ever, and his voice and songs still hit me like they always have – and no other band ever will. Yeah, we’re definitely older (it was actually Davey’s 37th birthday the night of the show) and in different stages of our lives. But just being there was like being reunited with a piece of my heart.
One of my faves, awesome as evah:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaFxZaqIQYU]