Monday, June 20, 2011

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

One of the tenets that some of us – especially those who have lost people before their time – generally operate under is to live well, as life is all too short. Appreciate the good things while you have them, stop and smell Rose’s . . . those kinds of credos that most people say but far fewer employ.

Regrets . . . I’ve had a few, but most of them that stick in my memory are of paths not taken, events passed up on for reasons that seem silly in retrospect. Weddings, road trips, sporting events, and, quite frequently, concerts. The moment-in-time gatherings that you hear about later and wonder why on earth you missed it.

Case in point, the Primus / Fishbone show at the Boathouse circa 1991. I had an exam the next day. There’s no way I studied / didn’t drink / passed the test, right? From what the guys said, it was an all-timer.

On Saturday I got into an intoxicating (-ed) conversation about rock and roll icons I’m glad I got to see before they were gone. Jerry, Joey, Jimmy (before he went for the gold and started to suck), etc. Our friend Otis stands atop the heap, having seen Elvis as a young kid.

For me, the one that got away was Joe Strummer and/or The Clash. Word in the Strummerville circles was that a reunion was . . . well, if not imminent, then a distinct possibility. Joe and Mick had buried the hatchets of years past, Topper was cleaned up, and Paul was still hanging around the industry. Then Joe Strummer had a fatal heart attack right before Christmas nine years ago, and that was that. I couldn’t fall back on memories of The Clash at William & Mary Hall in 1982, because I wasn’t there. Too young back then, and by the time I was in high school, that was that for The Only Band That Matters. I should’ve sought out a Joe solo show but never did. Shoulda coulda woulda. That was that.

Which leads me to yesterday. Father’s Day, and I awoke to a newspaper story about the Big Man heading off to the promised land. Very sad stuff for those who knew him, and kind of a bummer for those who would have loved to see him stroll down the archway one more time. I’m just pleased I got to see the E Street ensemble a number of times.

In September of ’99, I missed the first couple of days of a family Maine trip to make my 3rd Springsteen show of the week. Took some heat. Worth it. Bruce had just reunited with the full band, and it was their first East Coast tour. Our friend Cricket had a ticket connection, and she generously got me tickets to a trio of shows at the MCI Center in DC.

The third night I was in the 13th row, and our late, great chum Evan rode his motorcycle up from Georgia to see the show with me. He remains the biggest Springsteen fan I’ve met, though I’m certain his equivalent exists in scores of towns in the Garden State, around Philly, and in states and countries everywhere. Anyway, if you aren’t the superfan of the band you’re seeing, it’s a close second to be with someone who is. Insights and Pabsts were shared all night, and it was another brilliant set from the greatest collection of showmen (and showwoman) I’ve witnessed.

Which leads me back to yesterday. My morning featured quick visits with my dad and then my stepdad, handing them some Johnnie Walker black and cards that included more heartfelt sentiments than I’ve offered them in the past. The recent spate of good friends losing their dads and my own two experiencing health issues certainly warranted it. Okay, it was warranted regardless, but sometimes dudes can be stubborn.

After that, I took my daughters to the beach. Can’t beat it.

Finally, we get to my point: I was pretty beat, had a few in me, and thought about blowing off nighttime plans in favor of an early bed. Nah . . .

Instead, I went to see Phish at Portsmouth, VA’s NTelos Pavilion. One of the best venues I know, for those looking at their favorite bands’ dockets. Intimate amphitheater on the river. Meanwhile, I’d never seen Phish before; I know a fair bit of their stuff but had missed out on the space landings at Hampton Coliseum in years past. Last night was worth the trip.

I thought the show was phenomenal. Sounded amazing, huge energy, and although they didn’t do any of the stage antics of their lore (e.g., descending to the stage in a large hot dog), they pulled one stunt: they brought their four fathers on stage for a little banter and appreciation, followed by their children. Winsome.

And here’s where it wraps up . . . in a modest, not showy way, they paid tribute. Middle of the first set, without ado, they started in on “Thunder Road.” They had no sax to perform “Jungleland” or something more Clarence’s style, nor would they want to even try. After the song:
“Thanks, you guys. Thanks for puttin’ up with a little shakiness. We learned that from a place of real love. That was for the great Clarence Clemons, who passed away yesterday.”
And then directly on to the next song. I was surprised and impressed. Mainly I’m just glad I went last night. Surrounded by a slew of friends, many beverages, and a rock and roll show I’d not seen before, I was living well, since life is all too short.




. . . and so is Rob. DAMMIT, I tried, little buddy, I just couldn't make my way through it.

31 comments:

zman said...

For reasons I do not understand or remember but regret I did not see Nirvana at W&M Hall in 1994.

Geoff said...

I'm sitting at a bar having a beer. Married couple sits down next to me 5 mins ago. Conversation gets increasingly heated, culminating in the husband just yelling "You know, I'd just like to have sex once in the month of June!"

And then I laughed.

zman said...

So you had sex with him?

Whitney said...

Oh, and tonight I am seeing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I said living well, not wildly.

Geoff said...

Of course I had sex with him. When I detect even the slightest human suffering, I can't help but act.

Marls said...

Geoff,
Don't ever go to a Mets game. You'll have to fight the urge to fuck everybody in the joint.

rob said...

the deadspin staff isn't jealous of grantland at all, nosiree.

http://deadspin.com/5813690/introducing-the-grantland-comments-and-corrections-desk

TR said...

Summer solstice in the house!

(Or, as my pessimistic side likes to think of it, the day that leads into progressively darker days for the next 6 months.)

zman said...

Oh my god, danger!

Whitney said...

I think I might have been the only guy at Phish and the Mormon Tabernacle on consecutive nights. Though the Phish crowd probably had grandparents in the Tabernacle masses.

Both audiences smelled equally stale, though one group's stench was veiled by Patchouli and doob. (Patchouli and Doob are the on-air alter egos of radio tandem Z-Man and the Teej.)

Have to say, the MTC was slow going; for 300 people on a stage, you'd think it woulda been a little louder. To stay awake we played the Where's Waldo game of Spot the Non-Caucasian. Those Utahans (Utards?) sport some serious honk.

Danimal said...

norm macdonald's show canceled. frown. tear. sob.

TR said...

Whit - it's Utahn. Not that you (or anybody else) really cares.

Danimal said...

get me two, utard.

Marls said...

Wrath of Utahn?


Utahnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

zman said...

Johnny Utahn?

Whitney said...

Thanks, TR. Some of those state demonyms are weird. Like Floridiot, Vermontalban, Idaho-bag, and PA-hole.

Whitney said...

Zman, I think Danimal beat you to that cross-reference, sort of.

Zmanimal!

Dave said...

i remember tha fishbone/primus show. very very sweaty.

Danimal said...

coloradolt
mainerd
nebraskicker
wyoming dynastist

Danimal said...

missouritard

Danimal said...

mississippiinapod

zman said...

Vaginian.

Danimal said...

oklahomaslice

Danimal said...

whit in the 50th state....
hawaiigor

TR said...

Nice job with that "lunchtime post" Teej...

T.J. said...

Yep, apparently I have a job that requires me to do things. I hate this new twist.

Igor said...

There's a new twist? Chubby Checker's gonna be pissed...

T.J. said...

As are the Fat Boys...

Danimal said...

Master Chef is very watchable.

T.J. said...

Culinary delight posted.

vanjulio said...

Minnesoblackantans