Of the tickets stubs I have on hand – each of which I took pictures of with a tripod (nerd alert!) – this one was the oldest. It kind of looks like the oldest too. Hardly a historical document, but I like that it looks old. As far as my music history goes, PJ Harvey has been one of my “alternative” favorites for a while. I first discovered her in college (go figure) when I started working for our radio station, the radio’s president was a big fan and “Rid of Me” was the album at the time. That album was relentless – “Rub it Till it Bleeds”, “50ft. Queenie”, “Rid of Me”. She screamed and snarled her lyrics over a bluesy rawk soundtrack and I was hooked.
This show was from her “To Bring You My Love” tour and it’s not actually the show I remember for her at that time, I most remember seeing her at the Avalon at a tiny/medium-sized club show. She owned that room – the skinny, practically albino with jet black hair and a mini skirt – she rocked my world. I dragged my friend Dana Palko to that show (I think) and I don’t think she was happy I did. The big song from that album was “Hello Billy” and it’s as close to a pop song as PJ Harvey will get.
She played that song again at the Tibetan Freedom concert that following summer and I remember that Juliana Hatfield had played earlier that day. I noticed Juliana offstage watching Harvey own the stage and the thousands in front of her. She looked a bit like she wished she had some of that strength. I’m a Juliana fan too, but Harvey always had bigger balls. More on the awesome Tibetan Freedom concert in a future post.
With these older shows I’m going to be scant on details, those early shows were in my roaring twenties when I first had some extra cash in my pocket and too few responsibilities. You do the math. So, I can’t say I remember this Orpheum show too well, but I do remember that PJ Harvey was an original and over the course of the shows over those years, she was able to transfer the strength from her albums to the stage with ease. I was, as with most people next to me, only able to watch in awe.
Her best album in my opinion is the transcendent “Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea”. That album will stand up forever. I’m not sure I ever saw her tour on that album, but I will always go to see her again for the chance of seeing something from it. It’s one of my top 10 of ALL TIME, so if that helps you understand in what regard I put it. If you don’t know it, check it out – “Big Exit”, “The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore”, “This is Love”, “Kamikaze”, every song is good. She wrote half the album during a stay in New York during an extended visit with her man at the time, the strange Vincent Gallo. I was also in the middle of a love affair with NYC (still am) when I heard it, so it all just fit. I’m going to have to pop that album in again soon and enjoy it all over again.
I hope you enjoyed this first installment of my Ticket Stub Tour. I imagine that over the journey I’ll be able to talk more specifically about the shows and less about the artists in general. Hopefully more details will be available. Till the next time…