Editor’s Note: Welcome to The Last Show, a new Vanyaland series where we talk to performers about their last traditional live appearance before the pandemic hit. As we slowly make our way out of this mess, and a return to stages appears to be coming (eventually), here are the stories of bands, artists, comedians and others who performed their last live gig in front of an audience around this time last year. These are their shows, their stories, their memories.
Vanyaland: When and where was your last show before the pandemic?
Carissa Johnson: My last show was at Harvard & Stone in Los Angeles with the Cure-Alls on March 1.
Who else was on the bill?
V Torres, Christina Apostolopoulos.
What was notable about the show?
This was the last night of my “Hundred Restless Thoughts” tour, and I was just gearing up for a solo retreat in Los Angeles to get my thoughts and work in order for the next record. I invited Nick and Steph [The Cure-Alls] to play the show with me and they both flew in to town that day, we rehearsed at Bedrock then went straight to the show. Harvard & Stone is a little hole in the wall in Hollywood but it’s a really magical place. It’s definitely one of my favorite venues in the city. It was the first time Nick, Steph, and I played our new song “The Upside” and the first time we had all been on stage since July when we opened for Damone at the Sinclair.
What do you remember the most about the show?
I remember just getting on stage and thinking this was really the end of an era in my musical career. Nick, Steph and I all live in different states and have worked hard to make shows happen as The Cure-Alls, but it’s gotten progressively harder as all of our lives have taken somewhat different paths. I was really in the moment, more so than probably any show I’ve ever played because I thought this could be the last time the three of us got on stage for the foreseeable future. It wasn’t a packed show but I remember the other bands sticking it out to the end to see us and the sense of community was palpable that night. It was really special.
If someone told you live music would be going away for at least the next year, what would you have thought?
I still don’t really know how to process that. It’s so strange to just have your livelihood and most of everything you know pulled out from underneath you in an instant. I wouldn’t believe it that’s for sure, and I still can’t.
If someone told you live music would be going away for at least the next year, what would you have done differently?
I think I would have just gone out to every single show I ever pondered going to. There were a few I almost went to but instead went home and had a quiet night in. I think after a year of quiet nights in I definitely could have handled a few more sweaty, crowded, loud nights before this all, haha.
What do you have coming up or coming out:
New album! This year! New singles with music videos coming this summer and a full length in the fall. Very excited.