© 2014 MJL

Get right back to where it started from, Seal Beach

Erica driving down the 5Erica and I rode together to bring a little Nor cal to Orange County. We left a little after 8 and arrived in a front row space of parking  in Seal Beach. The show just feet from where we parked on a grassy knoll. We were excited to be there for sure but mostly we were excited to get out of the car I think.  We had smoked close to a quarter on the 7 hour ride south and arrived a little over an hour early.  imageWe put on makeup and changed like a surfer in the car.

MJ and Erica

MJ and Erica


Photo Credit: Erica Howe  Seal Beach, CA August 2014

Photo Credit: Erica Howe
Seal Beach, CA August 2014

There were chairs set up leaving a grassy crescent in front of the stage that was coned off for what I guessed would be for dancing. But mostly people just sat in their chairs at first, behind the coned lines. I staked out a spot on the side of the stage, behind giant row of speakers.  I wasn’t about to spoil the stage barrier and it was just a few feet from where I had greeted the band and Brian.  After about three or four songs another girl we know,  another Erica,  came over to where I was standing and said I am going to dance with you.  I greeted her with a hug and asked her how she had been, it was Texas since I had seen her at Willies 80th Celebration. She hugged me back and I went back to my dance trance.  Not sure how many songs later she slid her glasses down her nose and realized she actually knew me. Erica was one of my first tour friends. I used to see her at the Viper Room and other shows in LA. I noticed her because she danced by herself just like I did, with her eyes closed.  She didn’t  try to talk, it was just her and the music.  Erica  never seemed to want anything from the band,  she was just someone who understood what the Real is all about.  I introduced her to Erica and they got along famously For the rest of the night.


The two of them danced together and shot tequila during the break across the street at The Hangout.  Once again my friend Annette  made her way over  to the beach after a hard days work on a Tuesday just to see me.  Besides the band  I didn’t know anyone else at the show, the crowd seemed comprised of locals and Anthony’s relatives.  But it was a good sized crowd.  There was some local announcements on stage before the show and all around civic pride in claiming Seal Beach as the birthplace in the band’s  lore.

Photo Credit: Erica Howe

Photo Credit: Erica Howe

The Set began with HOW LONG.

The second song,DON’T TAKE ME BACK.  I am at first disappointed a bit as I think to myself I don’t like this song.  I trip on the lyrics about having a joint in both hands.  I know, its just a song and it’s funny because I rarely hear the lyrics anyway but a joint in each hand presumed lit in both hands, it seemed like over kill.  Chain smoke it if you need but smoking by yourself two joints? It better be rolled right because it would be hard to keep them both lit, by yourself.   Like I said I trip over that lyric…but really I love the song  once we get over that rough patch. Before you know it I am smiling and enjoying the song. Even though my eyes are closed I can’t help doing the jumping thing that they do on stage on perfect cue, synchronized.  (What a show spaz)  I stop myself when I realize but the infectious hook gets you and its a great momentum builder, it gets all but the lamest crowds hopping.  (Southern California) .  By the end of the song I am all give me a light…or two!  I liked the improv-jam on this it seemed to have a little after glow from what was reported as a pretty magical show in  Vail the night before.

LIVING IT UP, it makes me think of Zack it is his favorite song.  I missed him at this show.  But I was proud of myself  that I drove down here without him.  I was prepared to go by myself if Erica didn’t go with me.  This is a great song.  Very hard hitting.


PEACE REVOLUTION I feel like this is my song.  I had my eyes closed but was that a different guitar? It didnt seem to have that same crisp sound – but what do I know? I do know Corey is back and I love it- all is right with the world.  This was actually the song that made me fall in love with the promise on Inaguration Day 2009, at the Filmore.   That first magical show, by the time we got to the Hootchie Kootchie Man my show bags were packed and I was ready to real wheel it, now many shows later I was dancing in Seal Beach.  The sound at this outdoor venue seemed a little funky I decided I would stand on the other side of the stage after the break.  Anthony had a beautiful sound on this song, I liked standing on his side every now and then.  Tato is harder to hear over there unless he is doing a solo.  That is why I like to  be on the other side of the stage so I can hear Tato’s subtle music take me from Lukas’ guitar.  Really if you know Tato he is a lot like that off the stage.  If you are lucky enough to be by him, and you are quiet and just sit back and take it all in– you will hear him deliver some of the best stories, and if you catch half the stuff that he mutters under his breath you will be laughing for days.

LOVE YOURSELF, the band’s first single which Lukas told us would be released by Rolling Stone on August 20 I think.  A lot of people around me were talking and I had to try hard to block them out.

LITTLE GIRL always makes me think of the Eckenrodes.



START TO GO which ended the first half(?) Lukas really let it shine on this song, his guitar worked over time and I felt the love channel from the band to the crowd.  Lukas referred to a house he lived in (a lifetime ago) 6 years earlier and he acknowledged Seal Beach as their birth place with a how do you like that kind of finish.  It was strong.

The guys then took an excruciating  break, I had time to smoke and then the Ericas went across the street to have a drink or two and then we waited some more.  We were treated to some local “Hangout” trivia and more local announcements, it seems someone took home someone else’s striped lawn chairs last week…Finally the guys came on after the raffle of diner cards, good for local restaurants.

They played against the setting sun as they came back on and it was beautiful.

Photo credit:Erica Howe

Photo credit:Erica Howe




THE AWAKENING which had a real southern rock sound to it.

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL which always gets the crowd going.

AMAZING  GRACE which he dedicated to Robin Williams

They took their bows and the crowd begged for more as it started to get dark.  They obliged.



After the show Annette and Ericax2 headed to get some dinner across the street.  Even though Erica and Erica had just met and Annette not officially a realer, not part of the usual touring crowd, we were all comfortably chattering with each other as if we had been through a lifetime together that is the kind of familiarity sharing a live musical event breeds.  It is community.  Ohana.Erica to the second power

Tour love

Tour love


Before we knew it we had closed the place down, some of the very best tacos I have ever had.  The SoCal Erica insisted on buying our dinner. When we left the restaurant sitting on the bench in front of the restaurant was a local kid named Gtron, actually his name was Garrett and we found out he was the son of a local dental hygenist.  He told us that fact after we complimented his teeth.  It made me like him so I bought a necklace for me and Erica, they were beautiful shells.  With the necklaces Garrett gave us a free download of his music.  We all visited a bit on the sidewalk with Garrett who became known reluctantly as Shell Boy.  Soon we began to include this other guy who was smoking on the sidewalk in our happy discussion when he asked us if that was really Willie Nelson’s kid.  Unfortunately he is married to a psycho who thought we were all over her old man.  She started the truck and revved it up, his over heated wife went into full anger mismanagement when he didn’t get the hint and began to slowly crank the wheels away from the curb to show her determination.

“Hey Im not done with my smoke!” he yelled at her all caveman like and then began to continue his discussion with Erica.  He quickly abandoned the pretense along with his cigarette as she began to pull away from the curb in earnest almost knocking Erica out with her side mirrors.  He was barely in the truck as she sped off.  Erica waved like Miss Orange County and then said in her deadpan way, Larry is going to have one hell of a long ride home.

With the absence of the truck in the street we had an unobstructed view of the park where the concert was played hours before.  There were still lots of people lingering in the park some starting to fold up their chairs, parents waving goodbye and agreeing to meet for the last free  concert of the summer next week.  Kids running around in that excited way to be together all hyped out on a summer night, away from their parents hovering view.   Then I saw Lukas still over there in the darkness working the crowd of moms and grandmothers.  Playing his part long after the curtain came down.  I have heard it said that a musician plays a part up on stage.  Just like an actor, making eye contact with someone in the crowd.  Seducing them with a magical connection of a lifetime.  But Lukas and Anthony as young barely 20 somethings understood that importance in those early years of connecting with the fans and had the poise to extend  that well after the show is over.

Lukas working the crowd long after the show was over

Lukas working the crowd long after the show was over