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The End of an Era of Rock and Roll -The Elms final show

[img_assist|nid=2424|title=The Elms final show|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=205|height=300]After a 10 hour drive, a two hour wait outside the venue, about an hour waiting through the opener and a set change, The Elms hit the stage at about 10:00 PM.  Owen Thomas, lead singer, walked onto the stage with what seemed to be a tear in his eye.  This show was to be the last for The Elms, whose career spans ten years.  A little over four hours later, the show culminated with a bunch of tired musicians and a satisfied audience.

I’d made the trek to Indiana a few times before, as my sister lives an hour south of Indy.  As it turns out, she was out of town that weekend.  But that didn’t deter me from swinging through Columbus, Ohio to pick up a concert friend and continue the adventure to Radio Radio in the historic district of Fountain Square, Indianapolis on Friday July 30, 2010.

My friend had never seen The Elms in concert before, and my experience with the Seymour, Indiana four-piece has been sporadic over the years.  Most shows included short sets with little to no time in between songs for the band to talk, and less time for [img_assist|nid=2425|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=270|height=255]Thom Daugherty, lead guitarist, to offer extended guitar solos.  This show was different.  To be honest, I had no idea that Owen was so witty and candid, and that Thom may be one of the best guitarists who ever played in front of me.

From the initial moments on the stage, through and including the final notes of the encore, the band gave everything and more.  Later Owen described the night on his Twitter:  “1st part of the show: pure energy. 2nd part: pure emotion. 3rd part: pure endurance. It was the opposite of what I expected.”

[img_assist|nid=2426|title=Owen Thomas|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=222|height=300]Owen also wrote on his blog about the night, “By hour four, I wanted every drop of sweat out of me, every muscle and nerve to be completely engaged. I wanted to finish strong, with my whole heart. I desire for the work of The Elms to be remembered as pure, no cutting corners, no phoning it in when we got weary. That’s how I wanted to spend the final moments, giving everything I had left. Giving more than I had left.

He was successful.

Prior to this night, the band solicited fans to submit song requests for the last show.  As time was ticking away over two hours, I wondered what would be the closing song.  “The Towers and The Trains” blew me away and seemed like a great ending, yet so many good songs had not yet been played.

Owen soon took the stage solo for a few songs.  Maybe the band would come back for a couple before making it a night? [img_assist|nid=2427|title=Thom Daugherty|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=201|height=301] “This is How The World Will End”.  Maybe this would be the end?  Ah, but familiar songs like “Burn and Shine”, “Black Peach” and “Who Puts Rock and Roll in Your Blood” had not yet come across our ears, along with “Bring Me Your Tea”.    Oh right, “Nothing To Do With Love” and “Speaking in Tongues” were on the set list.  Wait, did they play every song that the fans submitted?  I finally noticed Thom flipping through more than one page of set list.  (In the end I believe they played some forty songs!)

The around 200+ crowd seemed to provide the energy necessary for The Elms to continue giving out pure unadulterated rock and roll.  It felt like a family by this time.  I thought the session was complete just before the four-hour mark at 2:00 AM.  An encore followed, resulting in a playing time of just over four hours.  My feet hurt, and I was dehydrated and sweaty.  Nevertheless I knew I had just encountered one of the most amazing live sessions I had ever heard and seen.

I can’t wait for the DVD of the show to be released.