I picked up Waitress T at her apartment and we went to the rock show. This was completely a "just friends" thing, but like any guy, I enjoyed drinking, laughing and rocking out with a very pretty girl in a tight shirt and miniskirt.
She swore me to secrecy about her boyfriend of three months --- it's her boss. (They're about the same age, and he's only a low-level manager, not the owner.) As far as she knows I'm the only person who knows them both and knows this secret. I told her I doubted that the guy could keep such a bombshell to himself among his guy friends, though.
So first we went to Oktoberfest. Even though it's September; go figure. She scored some free passes through her employment, and we wandered the, uh, Biergarten a while. Even though I hate beer. I had a glass of wine. She drank an enormous beer. We had some bratwursts. It was all very touristy.
After that, it was time for the show! We drove out to some place way out of the city (the same venue where I saw Brian Wilson and Bob Dylan last year). We were offered tickets on the way in by scalpers. Then a kid sitting on a railing on the stairs above us called down, "You want some X tabs?" T said loudly, "What?" The kid was embarrassed and mumbled, "Uh, I'll catch you up here." It turned out T wasn't messing with him; she really hadn't heard. She told the kid that she'd given up that stuff ten years ago, and he expressed shock at her age (twenty-seven, but she looks quite young).
Anyhoo. The opening act was some guy I had only vaguely heard of, Matisyahu. He played a set of heavily Jewish-influenced reggae-rap-jam-rock. I don't know how well this transfers to studio recordings, but let me tell you, this guy tore the roof off the sucker. He danced by flailing around with very little grace, he told long rambling stories, he ran around stage like a bozo, and he transfixed everyone. There was some kind of power or presence in him, at least tonight on stage. He also did some damn fine beatboxing. I was thoroughly impressed, as was T. We both couldn't help raving about it.
Then came the main course, the Flaming Lips. Now, I own a few albums by these guys and I very much enjoy their music. However, they put a bit too much emphasis on spectacle for me. Throughout the show, girls dressed in alien costumes and guys in Santa costumes danced; the roadies were dressed as superheroes; giant balloons were released and tossed around; a video screen showed bizarre images, mostly from what were apparently Japanese TV shows; colored lights flashed everywhere; and Wayne Coyne shot confetti and streamers out of some kind of tube. Hey, one of the Santas even proposed marriage to an alien (she said yes, of course).
(The Friar, who joined us briefly with Waitress W in tow during the Lips' set, leaned over and said to me, "I bet they do that proposal every night.")
Well, it's all in the name of enjoyment and letting go and having fun while we can during this infinitesimally brief blip we call life. And I understand and admire that, I really do. But look, about thirty percent of the concert was taken up with Wayne telling us to be brave and not be afraid to love and enjoy life, that is when he wasn't shooting confetti into the air. And that time could have been taken up with more music! They didn't even play "The Spiderbite Song," dammit! And part of the spectacle was kind of dampened by the fact that all the balloons and streamers drifted off into the corner, propelled by the AC.
(The Friar kept on with the cynical commentary while they played "Do You Realize??" He'd say, "Do you realize, Wayne's the only guy with confetti on him?" Or, when spotlights shone into the crowd, "Do you realize, those lights are really fucking bright?")
After the show, I dropped T off at a bar where her housemate was, and I went to the Hangout. I sat in the back with the Friar, W and others, and heard three of the most offensive jokes I've ever heard. Let's just say that if I were to even mention the content of the least of them, I would risk this blog being tagged by the FBI.
Say good night, Gracie.