The band Tonic quietly made their way into Boise to play a free show at Bad Irish last night. It was a phenomenal show, no question. Say what you will about Tonic’s music—that it’s too poppy, not real rock, whatever—these guys are hit makers of the first order and their music has aged well. I still listen to songs they released more than a decade ago and sing along unabashedly.
And today, when every other pop star’s voice is digitally edited or muddled with a modulator, Tonic sounded even better live than they do in a studio. But I’m not here to offer a review of the show. I’ve embedded a YouTube video I shot featuring the first song of the night: their hit single, "Open Up Your Eyes" from 1996’s Lemon Parade if you care to judge for yourself.
No, I’m here to tell a quick story about what happened immediately following the show. When the set ended, the boys from Tonic left the stage and headed straight outside to Bad Irish’s patio to enjoy some drinks. Strangely, though, nobody from the audience followed them out. Except me.
I followed Tonic out to the patio. I had designed a little graphic for them to sign, but I had forgotten to bring it or a Sharpie, so I thought, "Hey, why not get a picture with them? That would be even better!"
So I walked out, my concert-going pal next to me and asked lead singer Emerson Hart, “Do you mind if I get a picture with ya?” Honestly, he looked a little tired and perhaps a bit put out, but he graciously obliged. My intent was to see about getting a shot with the entire band, but when I pivoted toward my friend with the camera, I was lined up with Hart, and completely blocking Tonic’s other original member, guitarist Jeff Russo.
Foolishly, I’d left my camera in video mode (which is how I shot that phenomenal short above). So when my friend went to take my picture, he, instead, shot a one-second video of me standing with Mr. Hart. Said friend quickly realized the improper setting and snapped an actual still shot. Great! I was captured in a picture with a famous musician who I think is totally awesome and super talented. And all was well.
Until I reviewed the accidental-picture-that-was-actually-a-video today.
Very distinctly, in the background, you can see a snubbed Russo saying “Thank you!” to my back as he is being left out of the photo shoot (or, as nobody at the moment realized, the incredibly brief film). I posted this on YouTube as well, slowed down in later versions so you can really see it:
Anyway, now that I’m reviewing the whole thing, I feel like a real jerk. I’m apparently one of those guys who bypasses the rest of the band and runs straight to the lead singer: “Hey, you look famous; stand next to me while this guy takes our picture!”
I’d like to leave this parting sentiment …
Dear Mr. Russo,
In case you ever read this, I wholeheartedly apologize for inadvertently squeezing you out of the frame of my picture after your show in Boise on Thursday, June 24. The next time I’m at one of your concerts, if I should be able to finagle my way next to you again, I’m going to reference this story and insist that I get a picture that’s of just you and me. OK?
Tonic’s show was phenomenal and you are no less important to me than is Mr. Hart. And I mean that. I promise from here on out to follow your advice whenever rock stars are nearby and “Open Up [My] Eyes.”