Friday July 30th 2010 8:00pm. Finally arrived at Radio Radio, on the lower south east side of Indianapolis. The excitement was still alive in the car as myself and good friend Dan Berkey turned left onto Prospect St to see a line of 200+ people standing outside. Blaring “Bring me your tea” (personal favorite) and yelling out the window as the crowd cheered back. We all knew this moment had come, the final show, of a genuine band. The Elms.
Anticipation was high as we walked in the door, scoped out the merch booth and headed for the stage. An intimate platform tucked in the back corner of the bar set the amps and covered drums, just waiting to be used. After an hour of awkward dancing to The Ting Tings and looped pop music the opening act came out. Micah Tawlks sang slower folk music for about 40 minutes then humbly introduced the headlining band.
20 minutes later the music fades out and David Bowie’s Changes (on strings) begins to play. Tears build up as I embrace the moment. The beginning of the end. Watching four men stand on stage, hands on hips (unsuccessfully) fighting back tears, I begin to feel everything at once. This moment is an achievement. Beyond blood, sweat, and tears. These men created more than just music, more than just a band, they created authentic passion. This was a moment celebrating the time spent growing close with their fans. This was a moment of triumph over adversity and desperation. This was a moment that would forever be etched in my mind, as true rock & roll.
The show began with an explosion of unrelenting drive and altitude. No pacing and no end in site, I hit record and never wanted to stop. In between songs, stories and memories were told complimenting the intimant vibe between friends. Shouts and hollers were thrown out from the crowd (including me yelling “I just lost my socks!”). Eventually humanity caught up and the knees of the crowd began to buckle. Absorbing the passion, we endured and pressed on- knowing this was the end.
A second wind (personally) was given once the band regrouped on stage and fueled the last half of the show. High energy from “Back to Indiana” and “The Way I Will” pumped the blood back into the veins of the tired that had been standing for three hours. A complete rush, like a drug that literally took over the body of both audience and musicians. Finally ending with an encore and a nod of “In a little while, at another time, I’ll be coming back for another try.” Quiet poetic and completely deserving. Once the show ended, the lights went up and the tears wiped away. Smiles and laughter filled the small venue for the next few hours. The band disappeared for a moment of composure then met awaiting fans with hugs and stories of memories past.
The performance lasted 4+ hours with a 40 song set list. Admittedly I didn’t know all the songs played, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t ride the preverbal roller coaster of emotions. When I finally got to shake hands with Thom, as always, embraced with a hug and thanked each other for “coming out,” but with all sincerity he said “thank you for all your support.” I smiled and accepted, allowing him to be bombarded with friends then made my way to Nate and Chris. Shared a few laughs with both and said our goodbyes. Finally ending the night with a genuine hug from Owen, in which his first question was “did you get your computer?” (referring to my recent tweets) Surprised by the acknowledgement and conversing over the movie Inception, a last picture snapped and I was out the door. The night couldn’t have been better. A perfect ending to a true rock and roll band.