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Jonathan Coulton Takes Atlanta by Storm (and Paul…)

The last time Jonathan Coulton swung through Atlanta, I bought four tickets, expecting we could find someone to go with us. I figured if we failed to find someone free to go, I would just gift the tickets to a couple of random people standing in line (probably based on my perception of their cuteness, but that’s another show…) Unfortunately, the night the show came up, I came down with the flu and ended up unable to attend. I forwarded my tickets to thatcrazycajun, who had planned to attend, and told him to give the tickets away to anyone who wanted them, either that he knew or just to people on line.

So, as you can imagine, I was excited to learn that he was doing another show at the Variety Playhouse. sfeley asked if we wanted to join up with a big group of folks attending, so of course we said yes.

Saturday arrived, and we headed down to meet up with our party at Front Page News, a nearby restaurant. We were the first to arrive, so we set about getting a table arranged for 12, and sat down to enjoy some appetisers. It was right about then that I had a sudden horror-struck realisation. I had forgotten to print the tickets!

I did what I usually do in such situations, which is quietly panic and then look for solutions. I could drive home and get the tickets, and with no complications from traffic get back in time for the show, but that would meant missing dinner and the company that went with it, which I didn’t really want to do. A call to the theatre suggested they might be able to work something out with me, but not until we actually arrived there, which would be too late to enact a plan B should one become necessary.

So I asked our waiter, who was a rather nice young fellow, if they by any chance had an Internet capable computer and printer on the premises. He told me he would check, and came back to inform me that while his manager had one in her office, customers were not allowed into that area. However, if I were willing to give them the necessary login information, they would print my tickets for me. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I wrote down the necessary details on a piece of paper and handed them over. He returned 10 minutes later with the printouts that would get us in the door, and we gave him a 50% tip when it was time to go. The food was also excellent, and outside of heroic measures above and beyond the call of duty, the service was outstanding. I highly recommend it if you find yourself in the Little Five Points area.

Once the crisis was resolved, we were able to settle in and enjoy dinner. Present were myself and kitanzi, sfeley and afeley, rslatkin and vatavian, joyeuse13 and abovenyquist, and some folks who may be on LJ but I don’t know their handles. (Cross connecting the members of these couples to their respective poly OSOs (where appropriate) is left entirely as an exercise to the reader.)

We finished dinner, and set out to move our car to the venue’s parking lot, since we were sure the restaurant really wanted their parking back, and headed inside, where we ran into other friends and enjoyed a great deal of conversation while waiting for the show to begin. Finally, the lights went down, and Paul and Storm took the stage.

Now, I’m not unfamiliar with Paul and Storm, and had even seen them before, way back when DaVinci’s Notebook was still touring. But this is the first time I’d managed to catch their live show, and let me tell you, I laughed my ass off. “Opening Band” is *still* in my head (and I’m re-listening to it on YouTube. Thank you, YouTube), and the rest of their short set was just as entertaining. The faux-Gregorian “NunFight” song was hilarious, and the banter with the audience was rapid and witty. If you get a chance to catch these guys, don’t pass it up.

Jonathan Coulton then took the stage and was pretty much spot on all night. He played his hits, he did requests that he had solicited on Twitter (including two of mine, though I don’t know if it was *my* requests that got them onto the set list, but it made me happy anyway). One of the things I like about Coulton, both here and in every interview I’ve ever seen with him, is how utterly down to earth he is. He seems pleasantly bemused that he took a huge risk with his career and it’s actually paid off for him, and genuinely appears to love everything about what he does. It’s also a reminder that while you can do a lot of gimmicks with lighting and special effects to spice up a live show, you can still go a long way with just one guy, a guitar, and some fiendishly catchy and intelligent songs.

The show was led off with “Ikea”, my two requests were back to back (“The Future Soon” and “Shop Vac”), and of course he did all the big hits like “Skullcrusher Mountain”, “Re: Your Brains”, and “First of May”. My favourite moment of the concert may well have been his cover of Billy Joel’s “Pressure”, which was a very interesting and different interpretation and I completely want a recording of it right now. Paul and Storm joined him for a few songs, and everything was pretty much spot-on through the entire set.

At the end of the night, we staggered out into the warm night air, found our car, and drove home to fall into bed. I had an awesome time, and I don’t doubt that I will be first in line to buy tickets the next time either act comes to town.

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11 Comments

  1. Waiter

    So totally cool that the waiter was (and that also the manager was) so helpful with regard to printing your tickets. All is well that ends well, and the 50% tip was definitely the right move. I am thinking that I will need to go hear Jonathan Coulton someday.

    Nate

  2. The faux-Gregorian “NunFight” song was hilarious

    “Nun Fight” is probably my second-favorite Paul and Storm song, behind “If James Taylor Were On Fire”. Well, there’s also “If Aaron Neville Were Looking For A Parking Spot”.

    (and now *I* have “Opening Band” stuck in my head!)

  3. Actually, you forwarded the tickets to , who asked me to join him. Just as an FYI.

    • Ah, ok. It was a year or two ago, so I misremembered. I knew you and Matt went to the show, but I didn’t recall who I had sent them to. 🙂

  4. I’m glad you had fun. I’ve enjoyed all of their shows that I’ve seen.

    And completely off topic, can I steal your icon?

  5. Still kicking myself for not having been aware they were here again and missing the show. Glad you and yours had fun, though; and kudos to your waiter for going above and beyond to save your evening.

  6. Sorry I missed you there! We were down in front by the exit door!

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