Monday, November 07, 2005
I Want To Be A Teenaged Gril
I am a music freak. A music superfreak actually.
My grandfather was a musician. My dad was a musician. I play a whole bunch of instruments (but not well). My daughter got into hip hop at 9 months. I guess its genetic.
I want to start off this next kid right, so my wife and I took our fetus to see U2 at the Staples Center last week. I am not sure but I thought I saw the glow of a lighter shining through my wife's bellybutton.
I have probably been to over 100 shows in my lifetime. As soon as I was old enough to take the train from Long Island into "the city" by myself I was going to shows. I slept on line outside more venues and ticketmasters than I can remember.
-At 14 I was kicked in the head by John Lydon.
-At 15 hot ash from Pink Floyd's exploding Wall almost lit my purple hair on fire.
-At 21 I was hit with Flea's underwear at a Chili Pepper's concert. Not a highlight, but memorable.
And once I started working at MTV it went into overdrive. I could get tickets to almost any show I wanted...and did. Then I started writing music reviews for magazines. I literally went to 3-4 shows a week for 4 or 5 years.
Last week was my first show in a really long time. Years. Since becoming a dad, my whole house is a mosh pit so I sure as hell ain't gonna pay to be in one. Oh - and that's another factor - I don't get crap for free anymore.
I'll get to why I want to be a teenage girl in a second. First, a few things that have changed since the last concert I went to....
- You can get nachos. Nachos? Nachos ain't Rock n Roll! Would Led Zeppelin have allowed Nachos?!
- With the exception of 2 rows behind me, we had the SHITTIEST seats in the Staples Center. Thank God they were only $75 a piece. I remember paying $32.50 for the Who and there almost being a riot.
- Most importantly, I learned that I am officially old. I rolled up paper napkins and put them in my ears. I was praying the people in front of me didn't stand so I could sit and have an unobstructed view. What did I tell you, old right?
But right there, in the Staples Center, amongst 20,000 people, that I became insanely jealous of 4 teenage girls.
On their last two tours U2 has had a huge runway that loops out into the audience. The middle of the circle formed by the stage and the platform are standing room spots. The overall effect is that the band members can walk out amonsgt the crowd and really be right in the middle of a sea of people.
Bono spends a lot of time out there. He always pulls up a sobbing fan or two up to serenade etc.
At the end of their second encore Bono was just about to wrap it up and say good night when he noticed some girls pressed against the platform all the way out in the center of the floor. They had a sign saying they were in a band.
And then it happened...
He pulled them out of the crowd. Bono said, "I sure hope you are not screwing with us. I hope you can play."
There was a few minutes of fumbling while they strapped on U2's instruments and climbed behind the drums. The whole Staples Center was silent. These girls were like 14, 15 years old. Man, this was going to be painful.
The singer nervously squeaked out, "How's everybody doing?" She jumped as 20,000 people roared back, "Good!" They were clearly in over their head.
The drummer counted off. 1, 2, 3, 4...
And they were fucking awesome.
They jumped into "Out of Control" off of U2's 1st album and the place went apeshit. These girls could play. Even from the nosebleeds I could see the look on the guitarist's face. Her face said, "I cannot believe I am playing a U2 song, using the Edge's guitar on stage at the Staples Center and he is standing right here...."
I have been in too many bands to count. They all sucked. Years of playing sold out shows in my bedroom got me nowhere. I came to the realization I was not going to be a rockstar the same week I realized I wasn't going to be in NBA. It was a rough week.
These girls were having their moment right now. The Edge and Larry went off stage and came back with another guitar and bass and Bono joined the singer. Now BOTH bands were playing. As long as these girls live they will NEVER forget that moment. 20,000 people, their favorite band - most musicians go a lifetime and never have an experience close to that.
And in that moment, I wished I was a teenage girl.
at 5:07 PM