A dear old college friend of ours plays in a Rock Band That Is Kind Of A Big Deal. They get mentioned by famous people, they go on tour, they have a song on a beer commercial. Rolling Stone knows who they are. You probably know who they are. I’m not saying this to make a big deal, but just to identify what separates them from our other musician-friends. I also live in a town where there is a Prestigious Private University, and Friday night, under the threat of rain, the Rock Band That Is Kind Of A Big Deal played a big outdoor thing at the Prestigious Private University. And we were given free tickets by the dear old college friend, and really really wanted to go.
So the plan was hatched that my fabulous parents would drive 300-ish miles to be with our Bird on Friday night while we went to see the RBTIKOABD at the PPU, and then we’d all pack it up and drive 4 hours north to surprise my grandparents (there are 4 of them, no kidding, and I’m almost thirty and nobody had babies when they were, like 15, making my grandparents remarkably old and remarkably alive), and then we’d all part company Sunday morning.
The RBTIKOABD show was so much fun, mostly because we had “backstage” passes, which meant standing to the side of the big outdoor stage on the quad and NOT being blown away by sound but still getting to face the crowd, and that was most of the fun. I had three wristbands for this show: Paid, Over 21, and Backstage. I am so fucking important.
Let me tell you something about PPU kids: They do this crazy thing when they are a little buzzed and there is loud music playing, where they stick their butts out and kind of crouch down a little bit and rub their own butts on to the waists and/ or general genital area of members of the opposite sex. I’m guessing it’s some modified, white-bread, watered-down version of some serious drrrty club dancing that I’d know little about, but it’s like an episode of Wild Kingdom—some sort of exposed mating ritual. Like when your dog gets that weird red boner and you’re embarrassed for him but it’s just nature and that’s the way it is. So that’s what it’s like to watch the O.C generation do this butt-thing. It’s like seeing a dog with a boner.
These PPU kids are different than State University kids like me, for a million reasons, (I would never have worn hundred-dollar heels to an outdoor concert, for example) but I still recognized so many kids in that crowd of popped-collars and espadrilles. Like the kid in the front row who knows every drum part and LETS YOU KNOW IT WITH HIS FLAILING ARMS, the kid who doesn’t really know the band but wants to act like he does, the kid that kind of knows the band and tries to sing along but doesn’t know the words, the girlfriend who is just along for the ride and pretending to enjoy herself. There was one girl I loved in that crowd, and she was the Girl Who Was Committed to the Tomahawk Chop. I never noticed it in my mad show-going days (probably because I was always in dive bars listening my friends), but apparently the thing to do, the way to show extra support when you REALLY like a song the band is playing, is to do this sort of modified Tomahawk Chop thing. It’s like two parts tomahawk chop and one part standard hip-hop move, the thing with your arm up in the air, wrist kind of bent, pumping it up and down with the music. But the girls’ version is more tomahawk chop than hip-hop move, and involves the arm straight out in front of you, like you’re reaching for a beer in the fridge, and then bending it at the elbow, fist up, to the beat of the song. Most of the girls, I noticed, did this some of the time. This girl did it all the time. By this I mean she did it the entire show. Arm forward, arm back. And not on the beat, either, but totally blissed out and young, not thinking about her baby at home with her parents or how she was going to get home or whether or not one cigarette was failure, or whether four cigarettes was failure, and with the cutest blonde hairdo and whitest white teeth. Right up there in the front row the whole time. She was truly flying the flag for Rock and Roll, and for RBTIKOABD, and I loved her.
In other news from the show, my friend R. stole some kid’s cooler, then lost his flask (Karma?), and another friend’s laugh set off A’s keyfinder (just whistle and this device on your keychain will beep and you will find your keys!) that we have never been able to activate with actual whsitling. I drank a coupla Miller lights, and oh yeah, smoked a couple of cigs. (Shame) It was like when you smell something that sort of reminds you of a time in your life, but you only get the full memory for a fleeting couple of seconds, and you spend the next 5 minutes trying to figure out exactly what that smell reminds you of. Well, Friday night smelled like college to me. Or maybe that was just the Pot Smoke For Which We Could Not Find The Source.