Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Rock Star Weekend

Last Thursday my friend Jenny from Columbus emailed me and told me that a friend had bailed on her and that she had an extra ticket to see Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow and The Beastie Boys and did I want to go? Um, hello? Hell Yeah! The show was at Hara Arena and was part of the "Rock the Vote" campaign. I had never been to Hara Arena and the only thing I knew about it was that is was in the not-so-nice section of Dayton and that it was a really old building. Both proved to be true!

Jenny and I planned to meet at the Arby's near the Arena. Not that this has anything to do with the story, but Arby's had a huge sign for fried macaroni and cheese. How artery-clogging delicious does that sound? I didn't have any and recently found out that the promotion ended a couple of days ago. How sad.


I really wanted to bring my camera to the show and had emailed the arena earlier that day and they said absolutely no cameras were allowed so I didn't chance it. When we got to the door they were searching purses and frisking people before allowing them to go inside. I decided to go to the line with the burly dyke. She told me to spread my legs and put my arms up. She felt me up and down and then proceeded to say "I need to feel for underwire" and then she cupped my breasts. Hmmmm. What do they do if someone is wearing underwire in their bra? How is underwire dangerous? Days later, I'm still pondering these questions!

The floor in front of the stage was already full so we didn't get very close to the front. I noticed that the crowd was pretty much made up of UD students so I knew there would be vast amounts of stupidity occurring during the show.

We basically people watched while waiting for Ben Harper to start the show. There was a girl there whose hair I couldn't stop looking at. She was an attractive girl, but her hair was really matted, almost like a bad wig. It reminded me of my old drag queen friend Tabitha who could never afford a good wig. She would wear this old natty black wig and you could always see her blonde hair through the clumped hair pieces. It was bad. We actually took up a collection so Tabitha could get herself a new 'do... Jenny said that the girls hair was real but I just can't imagine why she would want her hair to look like that!

I also noticed that all of the older people (yeah, my age!) were sitting in the stadium seats. This was probably a wise choice being that I decided later after escaping a near-death experience while standing next to the mosh pit that I am old... just like them - the old fogies sitting down with their beer and pizza waiting for the show to start. But, there I was on the floor and really, that was fine with me. I kind of like being where the action is. Now, if everyone would just behave.

I knew of Ben Harper but wasn't quite sure what he sang. I kept waiting for him to sing something I was familiar with but that never happened. He opened with Queen's "Under Pressure" and I knew that one, but I also knew that it wasn't his song. I kept asking Jenny if he has sang anything I should know and she kept saying no. I learned later that the song I would have known, had he sung it, was "Steal My Kisses". I would have definitely known that one!

The next act was Sheryl Crow. Okay, first of all, she looks amazing! This woman really has not aged - especially with everything she has been through! She put on a great set and I was really glad that she chose not to play "All I Wanna Do" because it would have annoyed me. I can't help it. I just get annoyed when the crowd gets stupid when a musician plays their "hit" and that's the only song they know. I know it's dumb and petty, but it annoys me - especially at a Blues Traveler show.

In between songs during Sheryl Crow's set The Beastie Boys came out on stage. They sang 'Happy Birthday' to Ad-Rock and gave him a cake. They also did something with a trophy but I'm not quite sure what that was all about. Needless to say, the crowd went nuts when The Beastie Boys came out. I didn't have my glasses on so it took me a couple of minutes to realize that Ben Stiller was with them. Jenny and I just looked at each other like "Whoa! That's Ben Stiller!" Very cool.

It seemed like forever waiting for The Beastie Boys to come out. I was more than ready! The crowd had definitely grown larger and I knew mayhem was about to happen. Just before The Beastie Boys took the stage I noticed someone was smoking a clove cigarette. I immediately had flashbacks to 1987 at Northwoods Mall in North Charleston. It was back in the day when I smoked cloves and then one day, at the mall, I became violently ill and had to run outside to throw up. I threw up blood and really, that was the last clove I ever smoked. The smell of cloves alone is enough to make me want to hurl so I politely asked the kid (and I do mean kid!) to stop smoking it. I think I shocked him by asking him to put it out because he just said "alright" and them BAM! The Beastie Boys were onstage. I think the kid moved away from us because I didn't smell it again. All I could smell after that was pot... and a lot of it!

The Beastie Boys rocked! They pretty much look the same with the exception of MCA's grey hair and Mike D's "Arnold Horshack" hairdo. Ad-Rock looked exactly the same... and really, he's just exceptionally hot. I've always loved watching him perform. The best part of the show was when they started doing "the weave" and Ad-Rock ran off the stage and Ben Stiller, dressed as Ad-Rock, ran on the stage and started singing/rapping. He kicked ass.

Sadly, this is the kind of show that it's nearly impossible to meet the bands afterward. If they frisk you for a camera I can't imagine how they would be around the acts post-show. I didn't even bother with it... and you know I can't stand leaving a show without meeting people! I also had to work the next morning so that was an incentive to head home. Oh well!

Jenny and I said our goodbye's and also said "see you tomorrow" because my Future-Baby's-Daddy was in town! Blues Traveler!! I was so excited for that show I could hardly stand it! It seems like forever since I had seen them so I was having serious withdrawls! We planned to meet at the door at 7pm so after work I booked it home, changed clothes and headed out again. I was exhausted from the night before and working all day but it didn't matter!

I arrived at Bogart's a bit before 7 and called Jenny. She said they were on their way so I headed to the front door and waited. I was the only person for a while and then was joined by some guy named Shawn who chatted me up about Irish music. He also gave me a history of the Cincinnati bar Molly Malone's. I have no idea why all the chat about Celtic Fests and such... he just started talking about it and I was trapped. He was nice, but I finally told him that I don't know anything about Irish music. He said that was okay and kept giving me the oral history of every person involved with the Irish music scene in Cincinnati. Hmmm. FINALLY Jenny, Holly and their friend Amber arrived and I was saved!

When the doors finally opened we made our way to the front of the stage and stayed planted. If one of us needed to to leave the stage we would strategically spread out so that no one could penetrate the front row! We are serious. We are BT professionals! Don't mess with us!

The opening band was from Cincinnati. Grooveshire, or something like that. I didn't really care for them and their last song was about Matt Maupin, which was touching, but kind of a downer. After what seemed like forever, we knew BT was finally going to start... this is indicated by the steaming beverage for John Popper. When they bring out the steaming cup, as Jenny and I discussed, you know it won't be long!

All the of the BT crew were in costumes, being that it was Halloween, and I figured the band would probably dress up as well. Apparently it was a Star Wars theme. JP was Darth Vader... that's the only costume name I know since I'm not a fan. I think Chan was supposed to be Obi-Wan Kenobi, but I'm not sure.

As always, the show was awesome. I caught another harmonica. I like to think that John aimed it directly toward me since he admitted he did that the last time I caught one. We met Tad and Brendan after the show but by the time we went outside to see if we could catch John he was already on the bus. Tragic. I really wanted to ask him about his knives, the secret compartments in his car for the knives and why they never play my favorite songs! Perhaps next time.

After waiting in the parking lot we all said our goodbye's and headed home. I decided that Vine Street in Cincinnati on Halloween is not exactly the safest area in town.

Saturday was uneventful. I slept alllllll day and it was lovely. I hadn't done that in a very long time. Justin finally had to wake me since he thought I might need to find some nourishment during my slumber marathon.

Sunday I had to work at IKEA. My part-time job that I am VERY MUCH over. It sucks. Most of the co-workers are lazy, the management doesn't give a shit about anything and the customer service is horrendous. I loathe going in there.

When my shift started I talked to the manager on duty about the possibility of getting off early so Justin and I could go to the Obama rally at the University of Cincinnati. I had been waiting for Obama to come back through Ohio since we are a key state. I received an email from the campaign saying he was going to be in town and I really wanted to go. The manager on duty said that she couldn't make any promises but would keep me in mind. Whatever! There was definitley opportunity to send me home early, but didn't I should have just done what everyone else does and call in sick. When it was time for me to go I busted my ass and got out as soon as I could. We knew parking would be a mess and that there would be masses of people to navigate through.

We made it to the rally around 8:30 and actually didn't have a problem parking. We walked to the stadium and "merged" into the line that had already formed. We couldn't see the end of the line so that is why we cut, I mean "merged"... you get the picture!

We were in the stadium seats and I really wanted to be on the ground. Apparently you had to have some golden ticket or something to have ground access. From where we were you couldn't see facial features adn really, the sound quality was awful. There was a horrible echo and you had to strain to make anything out. Regardless, I was thrilled to be there and really hope that tomorrow there really will be a "change"!!

During the rally they handed out signs to people and Justin said he wanted one. He managed to grab one when they were being handed out. After a couple of minutes of him holding it I happened to look down and the sign said "African Americans for Barack Obama" and I started cracking up!! I told him to look at the sign and we just laughed. I said he should trade with the people next to us. We told the girl that we aren't African American so it really doesn't apply to us... she finally agreed to trade. I thought maybe there was something Justin wasn't telling me!! I really wish I would have thought to take a picture of Justin holding the sign.

Speaking of signs... there was this crazy lady there that is apparently my new BFF. She had her own sign:

We told her that we liked her sign and then spent the next hour talking to her about politics and how she thinks Hillary Clinton is attractive depsite her wrinkles. When I took her picture she asked if I would send her a copy. I said of course since I have done this for other people when they don't have a camera handy. She then proceeded to write down her name and address. I asked for her email and she said "Oh, I don't have a computer!" Um, now I have to actually print a photo and send it to her. Alrighty, then!

We borrowed her sign for a photo op:

We left the rally and headed back for the car, on the way buying a couple of Obama '08 buttons. When we finally reached the car it was about an hour wait until we were finally able to leave the garage. Traffic was really backed up, which sucked since I was really tired. We came home, relaxed for a bit and crashed.

Awesome concerts, hanging out with fabulous and hot friends and seeing our future president... It was most definitely a wonderfully full weekend!

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