Yesterday was officially my last day of work out here. It was a low-key end to a most enjoyable stint. But I certainly got to celebrate it in style…

Billy HowerdellTaking the afternoon off work, I headed down to New Orleans with Jeff, Jenna and Caleb (who had come from Monroe). Our destination was the University of New Orleans where the evening’s entertainment was provided by none other than A Perfect Circle! In a way I envied Jenna and Caleb who were being treated to an amazing first gig experience (although I can’t really complain, having gotten to see Maiden at my first one!) We had floor tickets in the large arena which allowed us to work our way far closer during the fairly decent opening act, The Burning Brides, than I had hoped to get.

It really was everything one could hope for from the band, with a longish set encompassing the majority of their two albums. Maynard was reasonably talkative, joking around occassionally and teasing Jeordie about his Marilyn Manson roots as he introduced the rest of the band and then, “Jeordie – who? – Jeordie White – who? – Twiggy Ramirez – ohh.” Indeed, he did his best to embarass the poor chap since he used to live in New Orleans, culminating in a Jeordie-sung solo rendition of Will Ferrel-inspired “Fred’s Got Slacks”.

James IhaThe stage presence of the band is indescribable, above all James Iha, now sporting stunning long white hair, who just oozes unbelievable coolness without ever saying a word. The lighting was fantastic, especially the effect with layered silhouettes of Maynard during the first song, combined with a stage set comprising of eerie metal-twisted trees that strongly (strangely?) reminded me of coathanger sculptures.

So now, the morning after, I am as sore and raw-throated as ever, but could not possibly have asked for a better experience. Almost makes me glad I missed them back home since I got to share in Jenna and Caleb’s first experience. It was very cute to see Jen start bubbling the way she does this morning, and it took me a second to realise that it was the first time she’d heard a song by the band after the concert and so she was getting to hear the weird fusion of the studio version with her mind playing back her gig memory. The expression on her face certainly took me back.