Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sol Rosenberg Would Be Proud

What a crAzy Wack funKy night. Today was Providence's big annual music/art festival, Foo Fest. This is one we weren't gonna miss, as the headliner was to be the world's #1 partier and dude who was actually rocking while the Strokes were "saving rock 'n' roll," Andrew W.K.

It got to be dark, and finally Andrew came out. It was as beautifully wild as I dreamed it would be. I'd seen the guy live twice before, but one time was an acoustic set, and the other was...I don't know what you'd call it but it was nothing like the I Get Wet album I feel in love with ten years ago--four guitars across, and a maniac writhing all over the place. Even though he didn't have his band tonight, he had the music pumped in, and played some piano over the insanity.

It started out really fun. I used to go up front for rowdy shows all the time. Lately, except for a Circle Jerks reunion show around 2006, I hadn't actually been right in the middle of the blender in a while. Yeah, you might get a concussion from someone landing on your head, or a crushed set of ribs from the crowd surge, or just pass out from exhaustion, but I don't skydive or even go on rollercoasters. This is my risky fun. Kim & I were right up at the stage.

I attempted to shoot some video from that spot. It actually came out pretty good considering my body was moving up and down the whole time. The sound isn't great between the fact that my still camera's video mode doesn't capture the best audio and the fact that the speakers were behind us so the piano and the crowd kind of drown out the loud guitars. But the video gives you an idea what the show was like:

The woman on stage is Cherie Lily, who had played a set before Andrew, and happens to be his wife. Her performance is a lot like an aerobics class. Hence the outfit. The dinosaur was just some guy. Three times I took top-of-head blows, but I'm still conscious a few hours later so I don't think there's any damage. Also, my shorts kept falling down when my camera was in my pocket, but I was able to keep pulling them up. And those were the worst things that had happened. So far.

I remember singing along to one of my favorite W.K. songs, Ready to Die, which always seemed to have the same spirit as some Pac-Men (my old band) songs. One of our tunes asked if you're ready to lose, and our theme song went "We'll eat you alive/And we won't leave nothing left/And we're not gonna stop/until you're all dead" while Andrew's song says "you better get ready to die/you better get ready to kill/you better get ready to run/cuz here we come" along with "we shoot without a gun" and "we cut without a knife." The two Pac-Men songs I mentioned were based, on the surface, on the game Ms. Pac-Man. But the overall point of both ours and Andrew's seems to be, in two words or less, "fuck you." Because you--not you, but the douchebags who infest our society--can do whatever you want, it's not gonna stop us from trying to make things right. We don't even want to actually kill you, we want to do something you'll like even less--ignore you. And sticks and stones and all that. And keep in mind, the fact that we were named after a video game and Andrew is the party master should tell you that we both remember to have fun while fighting the fight. (Pac-Men lyrics by Brian Marshall--written before Ready to Die was released, note.)

So I was singing along, and right toward the end, some part of someone's body flew across my head, and I felt my hat start to slide backwards. I quickly put my hand on top of my head barely in time to save the hat, but glasses disappeared. Gone. Didn't even feel 'em come off. I knew that was it for me. As Andrew says in Ready to Die, "close your eyes and say good night." I can see up close fine, maybe to about 7 inches. After that it's a blur. There was no chance of going to the ground in the dark amongst the jumping feet and finding them. No way anyone would hear any kind of plea over the music, in the off chance they actually caught the things. So I made my way outta there, now a blind man.

Only once has this happened before. In college, when I wore contacts and didn't even have a pair of just-in-case glasses, there was a midnight fire alarm, and I went down to the dorm lobby contacts-less and stood with all my dormmates, not able to make out any of the faces. It's a tough spot to be in. You're walking through a giant crowd--in tonight's case, away from the stage they're all facing--but you can't see their faces. I probably looked like a squinting drunk, walking all around in a desperate search for Kim, who I'd been separated from as soon as the blender had been turned on. I had one huge advantage, though: she was wearing a red dress. After stumbling through the fuzzy masses for about 15 minutes and fearing the worst (A. that I'd just never find her and B. that even if I did, she'd be in no shape to drive us home since I knew she'd had a few pops earlier, and therefore we'd have to choose between a blind driver and a drunk driver), all while missing this great show, I finally spotted the red dress. She was back on the booze line! And she was pissed. Besides losing her shoe, some girl had gotten in her way and took her spot right by the stage and the bouncer dick made a ruling in the other girl's favor.

A half-hour earlier, we'd both been up front, having the time of our lives, and now we were completely deflated, far from the stage, not even able to concentrate on the music. We made our mad faces for my camera. At this moment, my glasses were probably getting stomped on repeatedly by a drunk, sweaty, yelling person.

Anyway, I made sure Kim didn't buy that next drink, and as it turned out, she said she was okay to drive. (And believe me, if I had even the slightest feeling she wasn't, I wouldn't have given her my keys.) But first we had the end of the show to watch. I finally realized that, hey, using my camera's zoom, I could actually see with perfect vision since, like I said, I can see close up. So I recorded "Party Hard" and had to watch the whole thing on my little screen:

In the middle you can hear me offer up my right shoe to Kim. Andrew also played "I Love NYC" but changed it to "Providence"--don't know if he personalizes that one for every town or just us and it's gettin' reeeeally late now so I won't do the research. He closed with "I Get Wet." We both decided that the experience was worth our troubles. After an extended search for the glasses and the shoe (I was no help--when you lose your glasses, you also lose the ability to look for your glasses) by the stage area, all we had was this:

Was it even mine? It's certainly the right shape. But the thing was so scratched up I couldn't even see through it to see if it matched my prescription. I decided to save it as a souvenir. I kinda needed new glasses anyway.

On the way home, the big question was, Did I have some kind of alternate way of seeing? I've got stuff to do that involves enhanced vision. Without it, I can't get anywhere or do anything. I'd recently found some old pairs of glasses and knew exactly where they were--I'd brought them to Block Island last weekend in case the surf knocked my glasses off. Turns out it was a crowd surfer I needed to be worried about. I should get one of those straps. We got home, I found the old glasses, and, whew, close enough. I'm wearing them now, though I would have been able to write this without them, face pressed up against the keyboard.

And now for the Red Sox report! In the car, before we got the score, Dave O'Brien mentioned that if Beckett gets the win, he'd be something like 70-30 with Tek catching him. Or the team would be. The point is, it was 11:30, the game started at 10:10, and Dave was iffing about a win. So I'm thinking we're not only up, but up big. Inning ends, and he says "Mariners 5, Red Sox 0." Goddamn it! Help a blind brother out!

We get home, and after the successful test of the old glasses, and after I find out that much worse things happened to concert-goers on this night, I put on the TV, and, as if this night couldn't get any weirder, who's coming up to the plate for the Mariners, but Wily Mo Pena!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Could this all be a dream? Nope, Wily struck out. That's how I knew it was real.

Then came our rally against Felix. A Scutaro triple that hit off the guy's glove at the wall, an Ellsbury dong, a Gonzalez shift-shucking bunt that almost reached the outfield, and a Pedroia opposite field dong. 5-4 now. But double plays in the 7th and 8th were killer, and we didn't score any more. The weirdness of this day actually made me forget to check a Yanks score, and it turns out those dicks won, so we're a game up.

good show man, i went down in the pit and actually lost my hat; and my beer coozie; and my cellphone...nice vids though i found myself in one of your frames -errrrc
There was a lone Red Sox cap on the stage the whole time we were searching. I assume this wasn't yours since it would have been easy to find. Anyway, that's cool you're in the video! One of my favorite things in life. Me in someone else's pics/vids or someone else finding themselves in mine.
nah it was a black foam dome with the state of texas in a triangle
I'd say call AS220 to see if they have it, but those bouncers were acting like dicks, throwing stuff off the stage that people were putting there for a lost 'n' found type thing. They probably threw everything away and kept the good stuff.
sounds like a good old time! pits are too much for me at this point, unless they're pretty relaxed and dancey as opposed to thrashy. i desperately needed a new prescription when i saw the specials last august, and, that was my first glasses-destroyed-in-a-pit experience, but fortunately i was able to get new ones a week or so later. i actually managed to find mine after the song when they got knocked off, both lenses were in tact, but scratched to shit and the frame was busted up, so i tossed them after the show, trying to be a minimalist and all.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States