Category: Concerts, Events, Music, Reviews
Photos by Melodie Yvonne Ramey Article by Melodie Yvonne Ramey with help from Jessica Bishop LAFAYETTE, IN - Once in everyone’s lifetime there is that life-changing concert. That show that they always bring up after a few drinks at the bar, the show that their best friends have heard about at least a thousand times, and the one they tell their grandchildren about when they are describing how much better music was “back in the day”. Blind Melon fans attending the shows for New Year’s Eve and New Years Day got to experience this once in lifetime feeling twice in a row courtesy of the gentlemen at the Lafayette Theater. What began as the dream of just a few men ripened into a rock and roll fairy tale with stories that will be passed down for generations to come. The adventure began with a soundtrack of “Baba O’Riley” by The Who playing over the speakers as the doors of the theater opened to welcome the multitudes of Melonheads. A gust of cold air rushed in, and wafted the warm cinnamon smell into the lobby courtesy of Cissy’s Nuts roasting in a small stand located just inside the theater doors. The fans stepped inside of the ballroom, and looked upon the multicolored stage in anticipation as they got their drinks from the hospitable and prompt bar staff. On special was a heavenly drink named after Blind Melon consisting of tequila, lemonade, and grenadine. DSC_2241 DSC_3499 DSC_2519 DSC_2316 Blind Melon is an alternative rock band from the 90’s originally consisting of Rogers Stevens (guitar), Brad Smith (bass, vocals), Glen Graham (percussion), Christopher Thorn (guitar), and the late Shannon Hoon. After Hoon’s tragic death in 1995, the band was joined by Travis Warren who then took up lead vocals. Shannon Hoon is remembered as a legend in Lafayette. His unique voice and beautiful poetry captured the hearts of people around the world, and continue to influence people to this day, as made clear that night in the packed theater. Fans traveled as far as Nova Scotia, Canada to be a part of his legacy at least one more time. The theater grew more packed as the crowd lined up in front of the stage. The ballroom was suddenly full of Cinderellas waiting on not just one, but 5 charming princes, and the excited energy bursting from the fans could hardly be contained in that vast room.  The lights became dim, and a purple spotlight swirled over the crowd as they cheered in excitement. Miller took the stage first much to the delight of everyone in the audience. The Miller band is a four-piece group consisting of Darren Grigsby (guitar and vocals), Cole Miller (percussion), Ryan Fletcher (Flute), and LD Miller (harmonica, guitar, and vocals), and also featuring Scott Pazera on bass. LD Miller brought an extreme amount of energy to the stage as he hopped around, curls bouncing, with harmonica in hand, playing like a madman possessed with the spirit of rock n roll. They mixed up funk with blues that, when combined with the low purple and blue lighting, tranquilized the crowd and left them feeling at home and psyched-up for the headling act. DSC_2387 DSC_2427 DSC_2385 DSC_2449 Finally the time that everyone had been waiting for arrived. Blind Melon took the stage to the overwhelming excitement of the masses. Smiles a mile wide were drawn upon the faces of the band as they took up their instruments. Smoke rose above the stage and the band broke into “I Wonder” off their self-titled album released in 1992. Warren grabbed the microphone, and sang with a passionate vigor while Stevens kept a laid back air donning a black fedora and matching black jacket. Christopher Thorn wore his charming sweet smile while his true musicianship shone through, despite being under the weather. The band was full of life, and the set flowed organically. They brought out classic favorites, such as “No Rain” and “Change” as well as an original song written about Shannon Hoon and remembering lost loved ones called “I Won’t Be the Same”. The expert sound provided by the Lafayette Theater's staff member, Noah Freeman, was crisp, clean, and evenly heard from right in front of the stage to all the way up in the balcony. Everyone was having so much fun that they missed the actual count down to the new year, but they didn't seem to mind. The band brought Shannon Hoon’s mother, Nel Hoon, on stage to do the make-up count down. Nel reached one, and down came a cascading kaleidoscopic tidal wave of balloons and confetti. Loud bangs could be heard throughout the theater as the balloons burst in wonderful colorful explosions. The audience embraced each-other in passionate New Year's Eve kisses underneath the rainbow colored light show. Members of the band could be seen vivaciously stomping out balloons, and throwing them back into the crowd. DSC_2935 DSC_2576 DSC_2707 DSC_3025 DSC_2962 DSC_2980 DSC_2542 DSC_2699 DSC_2718 The music began again after midnight with a renewed ferocious vigor, and the party raged on. Stevens grabbed a cigarette out of his mouth, and in one swoop popped a balloon thrown at him by a fan, only to return said cigarette to its former location, and continue right on playing unfazed. Glen, despite now having a festive balloon adorning his cymbal, never missed a beat. Brad’s long braids cascaded down over his face as he sang fervidly into the microphone while brandishing his bass like a luminous lunatic. It was like reveling in the best parts of the nineties, complete with flannel shirts and an attitude of cool aloofness and spontaneity. Finally the fairy tale night came to an end, and the band announced the after party at Digby’s, a local restaurant and bar located just around the corner. The after party was packed. The smell of fried food and the sound of Blind Melon playing softly over the radio brought an air of comfort and good cheer. Drinks were poured steadily as the crowed re-hashed the amazing show they just witnessed. The bar stayed crowded until closing time when the patrons had to be forced apart to get ready for the night to come. DSC_3490 DSC_3486 DSC_3482 DSC_3344 DSC_3468 DSC_3484 The very next day brought in an even larger crowd than the first. The air of excitement was bigger, undoubtedly fueled by stories of the night before. SpaceWords was the opening act for New Year's Day, and they did not disappoint. SpaceWords is a five piece band made up of William Pinnick (Guitar/Vocals/Drums), Aaron Ade (Guitar), Kelly Greene (Bass), Jeff Lageveen (Drums/Vocals), and Kevin Hull (Guitar/Vocals/Drums). The phenomenal light show provided by the theater’s own Robbie Alford flashed bright white light down onto the stage in lightening-esqe strobes. Their sound is reminiscent of a mixture of A Perfect Circle, Incubus, Stone Temple Pilots, and the Foo Fighters. The band brought some excitement to the stage as Drummer Jeff Lagevveen danced wildly in-between each downward stroke of a drumstick. They played several songs off their newly released self titled album. The band grooved together seamlessly, and their passion for music was apparent throughout the entire set. DSC_3604 DSC_3580 DSC_3566 DSC_3535 After a short intermission Blind Melon took the stage once again. The good times and playful atmosphere spilled into the night as Travis grabbed the microphone using it as a bat to swing away balloons left from the night before, and thrusting it out toward the crowd to encourage them to sing along. Many of the Melonheads not only harmonized along, but had their wishes granted even further as the band obliged all they could to come up on stage to be a part of the show. Some of the phenomenal guests that joined them included Annie Meyer for a beautiful version of “Mouthful of Cavities”, Jonathan Sirls from Scale Hound for "Sleepyhouse", and Krissy Motley from Mr. Uppercut for a spectacular rendition of "The Duke". Shannon’s daughter, Nico, also stepped on stage to help perform “Change” under the soothing violet lighting where fans wrapped their arms around each-other, closed their eyes, and sang along. DSC_3696 DSC_2576 DSC_3712 DSC_3736 DSC_3751 Blind Melon’s love of music was insanely transparent throughout the two shows. Not only are they all incredibly talented musicians, but their humble, down to earth attitude makes them relatable, and puts people at ease. It is amazing how music can bring so many different people together. Shannon Hoon put it best when he said, "Life ain't so shitty. There's a lot that you can be, and ain't it a pity, but its alright to smile back at me". In a world where normally strangers hardly even say hello to one another somehow an entire theater of people became connected as one, and they all smiled back at each other. Every single person got to be exactly what they wanted to be if even just for one night. Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon will not only live forever in their music, but they will live happily ever after in the hearts of all the fans they touched on those extraordinary New Year's evenings. 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