Thursday, June 28, 2007

30th Anniversary of Elvis' last concert

My first concert was Elvis in Kansas City in '74(I was 4). Early show I believe. He actually wore the American Eagle jumpsuit. I can recall the excitement of the first few moments with the spotlight on him as the arena was illumintated by what seemed to be a million flashbulbs going off at the same time. He did the whole kneeling on the stage with back turned to the audience while spreading his arms to reveal the "bedazzeled" eagle. Quite a striking moment. I also recall it was the first time I'd ever been in a multi-level parking garage.

His single at the time was "It's Midnight/Promised Land". I can remember sitting in my room listening to it on my tiny 45 turn table that opened like a suitcase. It had a built in speaker in the top. My mother walked in my room one day and discovered me weeping as I listened to "It's Midnight". She asked what was wrong and I replied, "When are we gonna see Elvis again?"

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Thursday, June 21, 2007


The faithful freaks were already there by the time Lindsey and I arrived(right of the barrier). She scurried up to the rail, but after spending 3 1/2 hours waiting for Ween, I decided to stay about 5 rows back ensuring I would get the whole picture in without missing out on the stage drama.

No sooner had I squeezed my tiny little ass down when I was greeted by Kind. He ended up staying there the whole show(yipee!).

We were both pleasantly surprised to discover everyone around us was young, intelligent, and well spoken. We had 4 hours ahead of us and we made the most of every moment. I'd brought along a backpack full of balloons, confetti, and streamers which added to the party that was already in full swing. Several people in front of us led the crowd in sing-alongs of Jelly, Bohemian Rhapsody, and multiple Happy Birthdays. Kind joked that if we sang their entire set the band would have no reason to come out and play.

The first hour and a half, the energy was climbing at a dizzying pace. Kind and I agreed this was gonna get as crazy as we had ever seen. And after the OKC show, that's saying a LOT. We saw Lindsey get Kliph's attention and then watched as she had a brief conversation with him from the lip of th stage. (Kristen, this girl is gonna give you a run for your money).

The crowds momentum was slowed by an argument in front of us in which one guy took it upon himself to put up a road block for a couple who was trying to squeeze their way up to the front. After some discussion, several of us agreed both were at fault and that security should have gotten involved much sooner. After about 45min. two thugs appeared and tossed him over the barrier. The whole situation was very sad. Cooler heads would have prevailed. With their exit, though, a HUGE amount of tension collecting above our heads evaporated.

Wayne(and band) was, of course, coming and going. With each new appearance, he insighted the crowd that much more and this pushed the anticipation to a new high. Finally, around 11pm, he announced that the band was going to perform a "sound check" and that we should refer to it as so in order to prevent anyone of authority climbing down their throats. The War Pigs that followed was downright dirty. The sound system sounded phenominal, specifically Michael's bass. It was thundering!

The lull that follwed(another hour or so) deflated the mood for a bit, but as soon as the band came back all was forgotten. The delivery of boxes of laser pointers didn't hurt either. The band was preparing to throw everything but the kitchen sink at us and, like good freaks, we were more than prepared.

Knowing that talking about music is like shitting about fucking, I'll let the video and audio recordings do most of the talking. I personally thought both were flawless. Even the premature popping of the giant Jelly balloon couldn't stop Wayne and Co. from moving forward. He made a "keep it going" movement in Stephen's direction and went right ahead and attached another to the leaf blower with help from Capt. America. The second went off without a hitch. "I love it when a plan comes together."

The crowd was a real exercise in duality. They were bat-shit crazy in all the right places and as quiet as a tit-mouse when necessary. Wayne spoke several times between songs and nary a hoot or holler was heard out of respect. During the Tapsmir>Superman performance, you could've hear a pin drop. Very sincere and moving.

Needless to say, the "ball", the UFO, and lasers were delicious eye candy. Even the new half circle screen was a joy to witness. We got it all. Sensory overload to be sure. Smoke and green lasers(from the stage) assaulted our senses and obscurred the band several times during the course of the show. It was more than we could have dreamed, and I know I can have some pretty fucked up dreams.

Musical highlights:

Mountainside(You could see Kind's brain slowly dripping out of his right ear). The S&M match between Wayne and Steven was electrifying!

Wayne's guitar playing during What Is The Light>Observer.

Kliph, on two feet, attempting to destroy his hand cymbals during Pompeii.

Vein Of Stars. I have a personal connection with this one, folks.

And the Rolling Stones cover, Moonlight Mile, was so far out of left field we all stood there with mouths agape.

But, I think I'm forgetting something...

Meeting Wayne in OKC and at the 'Roo(or Dizzying Heights and Soul Crushing Lows)

Do you believe in magic?

I do. And have for a long while. The thing about magic is that you never expect it, are always looking for it, and when it comes you're still surprised.

I'll preface the story with a few seeds that were planted long ago...

Joe, Lindsey, and I had driven from Houston to see the show and, just before the concert, Lindsey had managed to say "hi" to Wayne during the costume contest out in the parking lot. We were all three lucky enough to get interviewed on camera just as we entered the venue. This, despite being screamed at the entire time by a local policeman. We stood our ground, answered the questions, signed a release, and set off in to the now "Legendary" show.

Inside, we scrambled to our position located directly in front of the long ramp that had been constructed center stage. This is where we first met Doug(aka kind1002) and his friend Adam. They were bummin' pretty hard because the airline had lost Doug's luggage and everything he had for his travels to 3 shows in 2 states over the next few days. Harsh. At the conclusion of the evening, we swapped e-mails and Lindsey, Doug, and Adam stayed in touch while I lingered about more than I care to admit.

Of course the first UFO show has gone the way of legend, but it had a even bigger meaning for me personally. Ya see, three days before the show, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Melanoma. I was crushed. But, as bad as this news was, I wasn't about to cancel this vacation I had planned weeks before while at Lollapallooza(I'd purchased the OKC tickets at 9am the very same morning I was to see them in Chicago's Grant Park). In fact, I needed the escape now more than ever. And while I won't discount the "love" that was in abundance at the show, the "hope" provided to me by the band and audience in OKC was the thing I held on to most of all. The crowd at Bonnaroo was playful and giddy with excitement. But the OKC crowd was simply beside themselves with joy. Their cheering lasted the entire show and never let up(even during the opening acts). The noise they produced resembled that of a 747 engine soaring down the runway. It was HEAVY.

Did I mention that there were a couple dressed as a nun and priest standing next to us? Well, there was and I took the final exclamaion of "LOVE" during Spoonful to propose to Lindsey and have the priest marry us. I can hardly wait to see our wedding video(he-he).

Anyway, we parted ways with Doug and Adam with the agreement to meet again at NYE. Sadly, this did not materialize. I was scheduled to start chemo around that time and was in no shape to spend the time or money that it would have taken. Meanwhile, I watched as Doug took the "Dance On Stage With The Flaming Lips" prize on NYE. I knew there was something special about that guy and this confirmed it. I was sooooo happy for him. He is truly a freak of the highest order.

Fast forward....

Lindsey(who celebrated her birthday on June 1st) said she'd like to go to Bonnaroo as her gift and I was more than happy to accommodate her. After a few e-mails to Doug, we all agreed to meet up at some point during our 4 day musical extravaganza. We made contact the first evening and, after several calls and text messages plagued by electronic gremlins, hooked up again in front of the Which Stage(4 hours before the Lips were scheduled). Yowza!

This is where things start to get crazy...