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Guster and The Black Eyed Peas unveiled

Sarah Vabulas | Wednesday, January 21, 2004

So what is it like to live the life of a rock star, traveling from city to city, playing concerts for thousands of people? Guster took a few moments to talk about how they spent their day (and nights), as they drove from New York City to South Bend to play at ‘The Show.’

Thursday – 8:30 p.m. – Guster loads up the van in New York City to depart for Notre Dame, the first stop on their tour. They sleep for most of the trip after making friends with their new bus driver, Sarge, who named the band’s new bus “Combat Situation.”

Friday – 9:30 a.m. -The band arrives in South Bend and explores a little bit using bicycles, but spends a majority of time organizing and unpacking as the tour begins.

12:52 p.m. – Brian Rosenworcel, the percussionist, says after he spoke with Sarge about the new bus and its name, he politely nodded and accepted the new bus into his life. Shortly thereafter, he writes a post to the band’s Road Journal for the Web site.

3:00 p.m. – I meet Rosenworcel backstage in the Joyce Center and he says the band has just been hanging out and getting ready for their sound check and the show.

3:20 p.m. – News that The Black Eyed Peas are going to be late arrives. Their flights were cancelled and they are to arrive on a bus at about 6:15 p.m. from Chicago. Meanwhile, Guster’s sound crew is busy setting up for the sound check, while the band sits in the dressing room or on the bus. The crew sets the light settings for the show, tunes all the guitars and Rosenworcel’s percussion instruments and plays a recording of some songs to test the speakers.

3:30 p.m. – Guster meanders out onto the stage for the official sound check. They start with “Lost in Amsterdam” followed by a couple of the other songs from their newest CD, Keep it Together. The guys struggle to get the right sound in their earpieces, but joke around with the sound crew to make it more jovial and goofy. Adam Gardner, Ryan Miller and Brian Rosenworcel discuss what songs sound good and what needs to be worked on some more to please the crowd better. They tweak songs, both new and old, to find the right tempo.

Miller then announces that he wants to play “Say it to My Face” just for practice since he wants to “try to learn how to play it on this tour, but most likely will not play it tonight.” Despite admitting they are still learning to play the song live, they sound very good.

When they rehearse, they are just like big kids on the stage, excited and searching for perfection to please the crowd.

4:07 p.m. – They wrap up the sound check, and have a meeting on final thoughts about how everything sounds.

4:15 p.m. – Guster’s stage crew continues to set up the stage by moving the band’s things to the back to prepare for The Black Eyed Peas – although they still have not arrived.

4:32 p.m. – Gardner comes out from backstage to talk with the sound and light guys before leaving to grab something to eat.

4:45 p.m. – Joe Pisapia, the fourth member of the band, or “the band renaissance man,” comes out to talk with me. He “helps to fill in the blanks” by playing guitar, keyboard, bass, banjo, and the lap steel. Pisapia hails from a band called Joe, Marc’s brother, who opened for Guster when they played at Notre Dame in 2000. Guster asked Pisapia to join the band after his band took a break.

When asked what the band had been doing all day, Pisapia admits that the bus was “a world of geekdom,” with lots of “eating and a lot of computer geekery.”

The band is excited about playing Notre Dame again. “Tonight we’re all very excited to get back in the swing of playing nightly. We grow so much as a band when we are on tour. Tonight is special because it is the first part of a four-month tour,” Pisapia said.

Pisapia also comments about the set list for the tour. “It will be a good blend of a lot of the new stuff and a lot of the Guster favorites. A lot of the new stuff, we’re excited about doing. It will be challenging and fun – epic, orquestral pieces. But our set list varies day to day, depending on what area we’re in. We change in just in case people travel with us. It’s different every night with us.”

6:45 p.m. – The Black Eyed Peas finally make it to South Bend and prepare for the show.

7:35 p.m. – The doors open and students rush in to secure front row seats or as close as possible. About 15 minutes later, the floor is packed and students begin to fill the seats.

8:00 p.m. – The arena’s seats are almost completely full and students are still coming in.

8:05 p.m. – The Black Eyed Peas take the stage, filing out one-by-one with the drummer, keyboardist, and a synthesizer playing music to bring them out. They come out jumping around with tons of energy, and the crowd is screaming despite the fact that most of the students came to see Guster. BEP exemplifies hip-hop at its truest, expressing themselves through their lyrics, as well as their ability to partake in freestyle rap and break-dancing.

9:07 p.m. – The Black Eyed Peas end their set with their chart-topping hit, “Where is da love?” which brings the whole crowd into the show. Passion exudes from every member of the band as well as the audience. Not even a minute after leaving the stage, the band comes back out for their 15-minute encore, which involves a saxophone competing against a guitar for the sweetest-sounding solos before a trumpet steps in to take the limelight.

9:31 p.m. – A restless crowd begins to cheer for Guster to come out and play. The half-hour intermission seems too hard to handle for the Notre Dame Guster fans.

9:50 p.m. – The crowd picks up on the sounds coming from the speakers; most, if not all, Notre Dame students recognize that part of the movie Rudy was heard, so they begin to chant “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy’ as the band climbs out of the darkness.

The band immediately begins the show with high-energy songs most of the audience is familiar with. Miller invites the crowd to sing along.Throughout the whole show, the crowd remains in awe of Guster, excited to be listening to a band frequently heard in their dorm rooms and apartments. On request, Miller asks the band to play “Rocketship,” saying “Do you mind if we go on an adventure? We have no idea what’s going to happen, OK?”

10:30 p.m. – Guster is about halfway through their set, but both the crowd and the band are into it quite a bit as the band takes the time to jam out like they are known for in most of their concerts. During “Medicine,” an older Guster song, they feature Pisapia by adding some ’80s flare to the song with three guitar solos. The crowd erupts following each, cheering Pisapia for the amazing work of his fingers. In the song following, Rosenworcel has the opportunity to show off his talents as a percussionist with a killer drum solo, leaving the crowd only to madly cheer for the exhibition.

11:05 p.m. — Guster exits the stage, but the crowd knows they will return and cheers for them.

11:07 p.m. – Guster returns to the stage to play three more songs before setting the audience “free to go to Rally in the Alley,” Miller said.

11:22 p.m. – Guster leaves a stunned, yet enthusiastic crowd to depart the Joyce Center Arena for other evening activities.

Tai Romero, coordinator for “The Show”, said, “There is no final count for attendance, but it is over 4,000 people. Over 1,000 bought tickets at the door.”

“The Show” was a great event, and it seemed that most students thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

“I think it was phenomenal. I couldn’t see empty seats when it started. I was very impressed with all our student volunteers. I wasn’t all me. It wasn’t any me. It was everybody else pulling together,” said Romero.The band seemed to have a great time there, too. “I thought it went very well. The crowd was great. It was definitely a party atmosphere, especially with Rally in the Alley tonight. I can’t wait to go to Rally,” Gardner said.

Some students said they saw The Black Eyed Peas and Guster at Rally in the Alley later Friday night.

“It was great to kick off the tour with a great night. The Black Eyed Peas overcame all those obstacles of cancelled flights to do a great job. But I’m really excited for Rally in the Alley,” Pisapia said.

Saturday – 2:00 a.m. – Guster climbs on their tour bus, “Combat Situation,” guided by Sarge, to head for Chicago to fly to Oakland for a concert the next night.

The Black Eyed Peas performed well and were full of energy the entirety of their set. It helped keep the crowd interested despite the unfamiliarity with their songs. Guster stole the show, however, with fans singing nothing but praises about the performance. Guster’s reputation of being amazing live held true for ‘The Show’ and this tour promises to be one Guster fans will not want to miss.

Contact Sarah Vabulas at vabu4547@saintmarys.edu