One day when I was going through my stuff for Strokes March Madness I had a sudden epiphany — In the early 2000s I had a bizarre habit of recording tons of stuff on cassette tape, so I wondered if I might have recorded anything Strokes related.
Lo and behold, I found a 90 minute red Maxell UR tape labeled “THE STROKES – 9/28/01 – LUPO’S HEARTBREAK HOTEL PROVIDENCE, RI”.
This particular show is especially close to my heart because it was my very first Strokes gig.
Originally the show was supposed to be held at the much smaller sister venue, The Met Cafe, but due to demand they bumped the show up to Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel just around the corner. My friend J and her friend M got a ride up to the show from some totally random older dudes that M kinda knew.
The three of us sat in the back seat of the tiny compact car as the five of us drove for what felt like hours and hours in the midst of a torrential downpour. I distinctly remember seeing the red and blue Lupo’s neon sign through the raindrop-covered car window and thinking “wow, I’m going to see The Strokes!”
Of course it was one of the greatest concert nights of my life. I had already been totally obsessed with them for months and this show was the ignition point for my subsequent decade-long fandom. (I was originally supposed to see them for the first time on September 14th at Irving Plaza during that year’s CMJ, but then all the shows were canceled after 9/11.)
The crowd was really intense, with all these huge dudes pushing and shoving all us little kids in the front. It actually got so bad that I had to pull myself out of the crowd and I watched the rest of the show from the upstairs balcony.
It was because I was all the way up there that I witnessed what I consider to be a “classic” early Strokes moment:
In the middle of a song, Julian was looking into the crowd — then all of a sudden he throws down the microphone stand and LAUNCHES himself into the audience, causing a scuffle. The rest of the guys continue to play, but both Nick and Albert start edging their way to the front of the stage, nearly throwing down their own instruments and jumping in. At first no one can tell what was happening — but then within seconds the club bouncers are rushing to pull Julian — who’s fist was raised at this point — away from some dude in the crowd.
The bouncers pull the target of Julian’s ire out of the venue and JC climbs back up on the stage and the rest of the show goes on without incident.
Pretty much amazing, right?
So if you ever wondered what it might have sounded like to be at the September 28, 2001 show at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, it’s your day. Here’s a MP3 conversion of my crappy cassette tape recording of The Strokes playing “Last Nite” from that show:
“Last Nite” (live) by The Strokes by missmodernage
UPDATE: View the signed setlist from the show.
Every day in for Strokes March Madness I’ll be posting something from my Strokes archive. Please tweet or FB like if you enjoy where this is going.