when the band's strangeland tour was announced, i tried getting tix to the orpheum in LA on friday the 29th, but seats were difficult to come by and i had the choice of mediocre ones at best. rather than sit in the upper deck, i opted to swoop up general admission tix to the fox theater in oakland on saturday the 30th, and take the chance of showing up early to get a decent vantage point.
i reminded her constantly that we were going up there for my dad's birthday - which we were, just celebrating dinner on a different night - so things were going smoothly until she tried to get smart and get us tix to the LA show, knowing that i love keane dearly. needing to act quickly, i purchased our airline tickets that night to remove any chance of that happening.
i also had to come up with a reason why we were going to be spending time in oakland on saturday, so after some heady thinking, it was to meet my cousins caroline and jason for drinks! since they would be coming from concord, meeting in oakland was the perfect midpoint for the both of us, and it would prevent them from having to pay toll for the bay bridge.
we settled on the belgian beer bar the trappist, which i visited once years ago and was lucky enough to meet dogfish head owner sam calagione on a special craft beer night. we got there at 5:30pm, pored over the incredible menu and went to work on doing some damage.
i ended up going with one of my all-time faves to start out with (allagash curieux, stored in bourbon barrels), before venturing out with mikkeller's hop monster appropriately called 1000 IBU (short for international bitterness unit - as reference, stone's uber hoppy ruination IPA is 100+) and alvinne gaspar, one of belgium's hoppiest beers yet with a fruity undercurrent. we literally inhaled the sausage and cheese plate, along with the grilled cheese and pastrami panini in no time flat.
at 7:15pm, caroline abruptly announced that they had to get going, which caused bewildered looks from heidi, then me as we "thought" we were going to be there for hours. packing up, i told her that there was one more bar i wanted to check out before we hopped on BART to return home.
as we walked down telegraph, the fox theater's marquee proudly displayed keane front and center, which drew a forlorn tinge of regret from heidi. that's when i pulled the tickets out of my pocket, as we cackled all the way into the theater. we had great positioning on the floor - just in back of two shorter girls directly behind the railing - so we settled in for the opening band kiev.
right around 9pm, tom, tim, richard & jesse strolled out on stage and kicked things off with "you are young," the lead track off strangeland, and didn't stop until 21 tracks later. they sang 10 songs total from strangeland, 1 from night train, 1 from perfect symmetry, 4 from under the iron sea, and 6 from hopes and fears.
when i think of keane, oakland is definitely not the first city (nor first 1,000) that come to mind. nevertheless, there was a special energy in the air - perhaps because it was the last leg of their US tour - and the raucous bay area crowd did not stop until the 2nd (and 4th extra song) encore of "my shadow" was finished.