Thursday, September 01, 2011

road trip!

I'm on a music mailing list, where, for the last few days, people have been sharing stories of their most notable concert roadtrips. Here's my entry:

I was not, at first, a big fan of the Black Crowes. They came to my hometown of Jacksonville, FL on the Southern Harmony and Musical Companion tour. I heard them occasionally on MTV and our otherwise Classic Rock-obsessed radio station (which, to this day, has a playlist which is 95% stolen from 1986), but none of their stuff really bowled me I decided not to go. Day of the show, I'm sitting at my computer doing homework (be fair and honest: I was probably playing solitaire), and the retro rock radio channel, in honor of the show, decides to play two straight hours of the Black Crowes. The more I listen, the more I'm getting into them. After about an hour, I decide I really wanna go see them...just as the dj announces the show has sold out.

Grrr. I decide to instead do what anyone disappointed in life would do...go to the bar. On the way home, I get pulled over. I'm driving a 1973 Plymouth Duster that is, without a doubt, the worst car in the world (passenger door only opens from the inside, driver's door only opens from the outside, the roof leaks so much holes got punched in the floorboard to drain the car, there's an ecosystem of some unkillable alien mold, and there's no foam padding in the front seat...only a folded rain coat prevents me from having a metal enema whenever I drive), and it's about 30 outside, and my heater doesn't, in spite of me going relatively light on the beer, I'm shaking from the cold and can't pass the field sobriety test.

I head to jail. I pass the breathalizer test, but the technician decides to book me anyway, telling me that, under Florida law, if the arresting officer thinks I'm drunk, my blood alcohol level only has to be relatively close. Legal precision! Nice!

They put me in the holding cell. One of the cellmates was convinced the skin around organs was peeling, so he was walking around with his pants around his ankles, scratching himself (that is, until the nice officers came in, grabbed him, slammed him against the wall, and moved him into an isolation cell). Another gentleman was cold and kept trying to steal people's jackets...but everyone just basically told him to screw himself. An intimidator, he was not. Then he took to yelling at the guards, saying he had a health condition. Then he started to insulate himself by wrapping himself up with toilet paper. Then they moved me into a cell block, where my cellmate was a crack dealer.

All this because I didn't go to a show. It was a mistake, I vowed, which I would never repeat. So, when the Black Crowes toured again in our area, I decided to go. Problem one: it was in Gainesville, roughly two and a half hours away. Solution: get a bunch of friends to go with. Problem two: I got suckered into driving, which was an issue because, by that time, the Duster had died (threw a rod the day after I gave it to my brother), and I was in a not-all-that-spacious-bordering-on-microscopic Honda Prelude. Solution: cram a total of eight people inside as if using a clown car. Problem three: tickets were pricey. Solution: wait until band put special $3 "crowes nest" tickets"...because we were all cheap/broke.

We somehow got to Gainesville and untangled everyone in the car. It was at the arena where University of Florida plays basketball, which seats roughly eight thousand or so. There were about two hundred people on the floor, and the rest of the arena was pretty much empty...except for these "crowes nest" cheap seats, which were fairly full but as far away as humanly possible from the stage. I sat down as The Dirty Dozen Brass Band (the openers...who were awesome) least I think it was them and not a bunch of ants with miniature tubas. Then a guy next to me asked me if I wanted a hit...not off his joint, but off his two foot tall water bong. The security guard in the area just shook his head. I politely declined the offer, by the way.

The Black Crowes came on, played for exactly one hour and fifteen minutes, were fairly lame, and then the lights came on. We left the arena and lubed everyone up to squeeze into my Hot Wheels-esque car for the ride home. Our travel time was longer than the show itself...which, itself, was fairly unimpressive.

At least, though, I didn't get arrested this time.

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