What song…

What song has you belting at the top of your lungs as you scrub the dishes or play air guitar with the sprayer or vacuum cleaner attachment?

At the curve in the road of a somewhat difficult week, I found myself singing The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge.” Sometimes, in life, there’s a time when lyrics ring so true for you it hurts. At least, it happens to me a lot. I catch myself saying, “Isn’t that true Layne?” Or, “That’s damn right, Eddie!”
As I dished out the Palmolive and scrubbed the coffee pot and cat food dish, Anthony Keidis took me to a time long ago, where I felt a similar melancholy.
I was nine and we were moving only one town away, but to me, my whole world was rocked. I had a small, tree-roofed hideout behind some apartments in Fox Ridge Apartments in Blacksburg, VA. I would often go there to write or think or just be. Someone had a radio playing in a nearby apartment and I closed my eyes…
“Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a partner. Sometimes I feel like my only friend is the city I live in, the city of angels, lonely as I am, together we cry…” It was then that I realized how much power music had over me.
The other night, hands submersed in dish soap bubbles, I truly appreciated my vocal talents for the first time in many years. A friend of mine had suggested “living fearlessly.” It didn’t have to have parameters. “Just try it.”
Singing aloud, from my soul that night, the cat as my only witness, I understood what he meant. Fearless.
“Sometimes I feel like my only friend is” music. But I know that’s not true. I am blessed to have many friends. Music often threads us together, and that is a double blessing.
Someday, my best friend for life, in dreamy male form, will probably climb over the black stems and staff and hand me a fermata. Someday.


Concert etiquette

I’d hoped my Eddie Vedder concert review would be charged with unabated excitement and passion. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Hotel: $119
Tickets: $400
Gas: $40
Crowd: irrevocably rude, ignorant and hideous

Usually it’s the crowd that charges me up. When you have a good audience, it really makes the show. This audience was so loud, talking over the opening act, that he unplugged his guitar, shortened his set, and was visibly upset.

Dear Pearl Jam fans who expected a Pearl Jam show: did you not even listen to the new solo album? He’s not going to play “Animal” on a ukulele just because you were acting like one, calling out during the memorial song for Clarence Clemons. I’ll pause here for thoughtful consideration:

Now that we’re back, Eddie was very gracious and even played a few Pearl Jam numbers, and also his version of “Hide Your Love Away” (complete with harmonica, be still my heart.)
This somehow made me forget about my uninvited contact buzz (the people beside me fired up a joint mid-way through the second song.)

There were so many flashes of photography in the first song, Eddie stopped the show and said, “Friend to friend, can I ask you a favor? Go ahead and take all the photos of me you want in the next 30 seconds. Then, please put your phone away. I feel like Justin-fucking-Bieber up here.”

The woman behind me talked really loud throughout the first set. I gave a few questioning glances before saying, “Excuse me, but while I appreciate your discourse on Eddie, I didn’t pay to listen to you talk, I paid to hear him sing.” Mom told me later, “You know, one of these days someone is going to kick your ass!”
Me: “Well, I’d rather get my ass kicked standing up for what I believe in that sitting on my ass and saying nothing!”

I do not think that cellphone waving is an appropriate substitution for its forefather, the lighter. It’s obnoxious, actually. Leave the light waving to the guy sparking up the doobie, okay?

Secondly, put your iPhone away and BE IN THE ROOM WITH THE PERFORMANCE. Sing. Dance. Clap. But don’t smother the ukulele’s soft tones and the warmth of Eddie’s voice with your NASCAR-rally bellows. It’s just not appropriate.

After the show, Mom and I waited for two hours, but were completely spent. He came out and shook hands with people. I had my hand out, grasping thin air, only wanting to touch the hand that redeemed me so many times. A sweaty dude threw himself in front of me (and the only picture Mom mustered now features his armpit where Eddie’s face would have been) and drunkenly offered to buy him a beer. Eddie looked at me, briefly, but was turning away.

I see his sea-blue eyes boring into me, but feel somewhat unsatisfied. For a moment, I pondered the larger-than-life-sized Eddie poster that looked at me during my childhood. It was better than that, in retrospect, of course. But the whole night felt frustrating.

If you’re going to be a dick, please don’t go to a ukulele concert.

I feel like, someday, I might be able to shake his hand and tell him thank you. Maybe when my book is published. He will, after all, be in the credits.

Sorry to leave this on a less-than-best note, but I have to be honest.

Basic concert etiquette:

1) Do not smoke pot in an indoor arena, please.
2) Do not carry out loud conversations during the performance.
3) Put your fucking iPhone away and enjoy what’s in front of you.
4) Make sure any picture-taking device is on a lovely setting called “Manner/Museum” KEY WORD: MANNER(s)
5) Please try to wait until a song is finished before whooping and slobbering like the rude bastards you’ve become
6) Please show respect to any/every opening act. After all, you paid to see them, too.
7) If you are bigger, stinkier, and more aggressive than the small lady in front of you, don’t crush her while she’s trying to have a small moment with the singer.
8) Please do not drink yourself stupid so that you are getting up in front of everyone every ten minutes.
9) Please make an effort NOT to spill the beer (that you shouldn’t have in the theatre anyway) so that people slip on it.) If you do spill, clean it up, for God’s sake.
10.) Don’t be a dick.

And now for something totally different. Concert highlights:

Eye contact with Eddie
Good seats
Mom in tow
Nice road trip with Mom
Eddie on keys, covering the Boss’s “All Night.”
The meditative chant from Into the Wild (I think Snakes was channeling me.)
The harmonica (God bless this instrument.)
The fact that Eddie had the original recording of the Hawaiian ocean in the background for “The Light.”

I think I might review the album next post. There’ll be no negativity in that.
What’s happened to courtesy?

Eddie, I’m sorry. And thank you for being so kind, with two encores, to a most undeserving crowd.

Be well and rock on,