Well folks, today is the last official day of Strokes March Madness. *Sniff sniff* It’s been a wild and crazy journey through the last 10 years of Strokes memories. I want to thank everyone for being so kind and encouraging me through this insane exploration into fandom. You’ve all been oh so nice and supportive.
Above is a photo of the first ever Strokes t-shirt that I bought, at my first ever Strokes show. It’s still my favorite Strokes shirt, and luckily I can still get into it. It’s a comfy piece of clothing that’s quite timeless — just like The Strokes.
Tomorrow I’ll be at the first public Strokes show in New York since 2006. I’m going to predict that it’s going to be pretty effing awesome.
Here are some of my favorite posts over the last month:
I thought it would only be appropriate to revisit The Strokes‘ previous set of shows at the sister venue to Madison Square Garden — the Theater at MSG.
In 2003, the band did three sold out shows to promote their newly released second album, Room on Fire.
I distinctly remembering complaining about having to watch Regina Spektor, who I was not enamored with at the time (think I called her a Tori Amos wannabe), three nights in a row.
Kings of Leon were the second openers, and although I did like some of their songs, never again did I ever want to see them three nights in a row — especially with their ridiculous Stillwater hair and mustaches.
My brain exploded twice in one week when both the Strokes and the White Stripes played a double headlining bill first at Irving Plaza (August 14, 2002) and then at Radio City Music Hall (August 15, 2002) in New York City.
The Irving Plaza show was insane of course, with the White Stripes opening, and Strokes playing to the hometown crowd. At that time Julian Casblancas had an injured knee, so he did both shows sitting down on a stool. During the Radio City show Jack White came out during “New York City Cops” and did the guitar solo. Mindbogglingly weird!
I’m sorry, I really can’t explain it, but as much as I love the White Stripes, it was really all about The Strokes last night. Totally. It’s the first show they’ve done in New York in… 8 months… and it’s just… *sigh* dunno. Great.
Anyone else remember these two epic nights in music history?
Yes, this is where all the Alone, Together newsletters first started, with Issue 1. The intro letter was by Matt Romano, and although he called for folks to rename the newsletter (because technically the fan club was called “Alone, Together,” not the quarterly mail outs), I don’t think that ever came to fruition.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Let me reiterate, the Alone, Together fan club is no longer in existence. It was only around for a few years between 2002-2004. Sorry!
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.
Now again, this was 10 years ago and my much much younger self thought that it would be soooo funny to make my own conversational Strokes t-shirt to wear at non-Strokes concerts. I was really into weird novelty t-shirts at the time, so I believed a cleverly-phrased custom shirt was a way to let fellow concertgoers know about my interest in The Strokes while being cool enough to make fun of the fact that I was a Strokes fan.
(You have to remember, in the early 2000s the Strokes were the most hyped band in the US and the UK, so anyone from New York had to also be mildly blase about the fact that they were a fan. Being too outwardly enthusiastic about them could be perceived as very uncool — like wearing a t-shirt of the band you are going to see.)
So what was a girl to do? Get out some scissors, fabric paint, and a stencil set of course!
The funniest thing though is something I found on the back of the setlist — someone (I think it may have been Fab) drew a play-by-play sketch of what happened on stage when Julian jumped into the audience. (The circle and squiggles on the right is where Julian was, the middle “x” is Albert, and the left “x” is Nick.)
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: