By Emmanuel Gutierrez |Asst. Features Editor|
Cage the Elephant performed a secret show in Santa Barbara for “Live from the Artists Den”, a PBS sponsored television series, on Oct. 15.
Fifteen minutes late to the show, in what would become a six hour round trip, I feared being denied entrance as a result of my tardiness.
Fortunately, that was not the case.
An intricate, glass blown ornament hung from the ceiling in twisted, conical rainbows.
The audience was composed of an abundance of bearded spectators reminiscent of Zach Galifianakis and gray-ponytailed hippies dancing and clapping in the quaking, harmonious resonances.
A Martha Stewart look-a-like in a crocheted ascot sideswiped me in her effort to get closer to the stage.
I was suspicious and wary of her dash to the frenetic action due to it being my first rock concert ever. I immediately checked for my wallet—it was still there.
There they were—Cage the Elephant shrouded in artificially produced fogs blanketing the atmosphere, diffusing the radiant blue hues and pulsing bisque—and they vanished.
Dark silhouettes remained, crescendoing electric guitar and percussion emanating from them.
They rocked a stellar performance.
Matt Schultz’s dancing, while passionate and with theatrical flair, I found to be a bit excessive in duration and thus a tad awkward. But apparently, I was in the minority.
He shook violently, the veins in his neck and face grew rigid, as if he were on fire and he forgot to stop, drop, and roll.
He thrashed his head in the air, yelling into the microphone sans synch in motion, resulting in sequences that lacked vocals.
During these more intense, lyric-less moments, the audience of hands in the air became a sea of iPhones—literally nothing but white Apple devices in protective cases.
I felt out of place with my DSLR in hand, but this feeling faded rather quickly.
I felt like a sniper; much more precise, and even so more effective with nary a photo pixelated nor grainy.
Throughout the experience, time must have eluded me, because the show had ended unexpectedly.
And so did the connection exclusively attributable to the symbiotic energy reciprocated from band to audience during live performances—something foreign to me until that day.
After a string of chants, borderline begging, Cage the Elephant returned and played the intro to Sweet Home Alabama.
“Be careful what you wished for,” teased Schultz.
The band then concluded with a rocking performance of “Shake Me Down.”
For the grand finale, Schultz plunged into the crowd, and the hands of a dozen strange, but amorous fans clamored to his sweaty, glistening torso.
He rose, standing on the hands that held him up—crowd walking. Never before had I seen such a spectacle in person.
The sheer amount of trust—or perhaps carelessness—involved in such an act was beyond my own comprehension.
Maybe I lack trust in others, or perhaps my fear of heights would persuade me to never consider such a proposition.
Regardless, it was amazing.
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