||Isidore lashed the east coast with grey rain. We drove northeast under slate skies with the sullen storm chasing us. At Indiantown Gap two Blackhawk helicopters hovered over the highway, adding a choppy surface to the undercurrent of vague dread I've been drifting on. Dread of turning on the tv, dread of war already considered inevitable, dread of these black helicopters, dread of the absolute failure and collapse of everything I know and don't know. Dread unspoken, dread unacknowledged, dread swept for now under the threadbare rug, because right now we drove with a purpose and would not be denied.
Yet the road wasn't with us. Sometimes the road hums in harmony with your intentions and distances diminish. Sometimes the opposite occurs, as it did now. We started much later than planned, and my little-old-lady driving
habits precluded making up for lost time. "The TRUCKS are passing you," said Dandelion. But my Linda Evans model Dodge Dynasty is built for comfort - it ain't built for speed. We plodded steadily on as the rain overtook us. I
wondered if New Orleans had been washed away.
I was dressed in my standard Stones Concert gear - black jeans and a golden tongue event t-shirt from the last Stones gig at the Garden in '98 - on the back the Babylonian lion rampaged through Manhattan, symbolized by the Empire State Building and the now-vanished WTC. I had made sure to wear a small silver hoop in my pierced left ear - pierced in 1972, 8th grade, right after getting the issue of Rolling Stone with Keith on the cover. My dirty blonde hair, recently cut short, was elaborately disheveled in tribute to the Riff. I even wondered aloud if I had any fishing tackle in the car to weave into it. But I'm just not the outdoors type.
Sir Stonesalot hooked his cd player into my cigarette lighter and we listened to Jersey Devils. "Down The Road Apiece" gave my foot some weight. I surveyed his cd stash and requested The Chess Box. Somehow I didn't want to listen to the Stones right that moment - I wanted to hear the kind of stuff THEY play before the show. Great blues from the 40s and 50s, some stuff I knew by heart, some stuff I'd never heard before. We pitched a wang dang doodle. We was fattenin' frogs for snakes. Hours flew by - four, to be exact. The city drew nearer, not yet visible behind the overcast pewter sky, just a looming presence slightly beyond comprehension.
Usually when I make the trip to the Capital of the World I aim for the Holland Tunnel, or sometimes the Verazzano Narrows bridge (my friends in the City are all Brooklynites) but today our immediate goal was Midtown
Manhattan. The Lincoln Tunnel beckoned us. We were now so close to the City that I thought I could hear our friends at Ye Olde Triple Inn clinking glasses of dark frothy Guinness together, toasting us as no-shows. SS started looking at his watch every few seconds - he had a ticket to sell at the Triple, and the time table was getting tight. Still, we knew everyone was staying at the Inn until 7:30, and it was now only about 6. A sign appeared telling us we were 1 1/2 miles from the tunnel - and how long could it take to cover THAT miniscule distance?
An hour, as it turned out. The clusterfuck of rumbling buses and honking cars slowed to a crawl as 6 lanes narrowed to 2 and funneled into the big tube. I switched the heater on and off as the thermostat rose and fell, opening the window to regulate the interior temperature as sweat soaked through my shirt, closing it again to filter out the bus fumes. Whoah OH, smokestack lightnin'.
Finally swallowed up by the tunnel, we did some last minute calculations and decided that as soon as we hit 42nd St SS should bail out and hoof it to the bar while Dandelion and I parked the car. At 8th Avenue he stepped out into the pelting rain and was gone. As soon as he was out of sight, we realized that we hadn't specified where to meet up again.
We parked on 8th Avenue and started walking through the downpour to MSG, a block away. Outside the marquee bore the magic words: THE ROLLING STONES. I was still thinking MAYBE we could hoof it the 20 blocks to YOTI and meet all our friends, but Dandelion was hungry so we retraced our steps and went into a Mexican place. However, everyone who worked there was Chinese, so we ended up in a Subway. By this time, the tension of the drive, the nerve-rattling sensation of driving in NYC in a downpour, and the fact that I was soaked to the skin made me feel like I could puke, so I opted not to eat. Mentally I was in a dark, damp place, and I was no fun to be around. I started to glaze over.
Since it was now past the time that everyone had decided to leave YOTI, we went to the Garden and waited to see if we could spot anyone, especially SS since his bald pate would be a shining beacon. We weren't really talking to each other much by then, just standing in front of the big placard with Muhammed Ali's likeness and staring into the crowd. I realized I'd left my binoculars in the car so I went back out into the rain and retrieved them. When I returned there was still nobody there so we went in.
Our seats were in two different sections - Dandelion's behind Woody's side of the stage, mine in section 334, Keith's side, midway between the two stages. Mine had looked lousy on the seating chart but in real life it was fine - I'd forgotten that there are no REALLY bad seats in the Garden. The lights went out and the Pretenders started their well-played, well-received greatest hits set, while we searched the stands for SS. No luck. The Pretenders set flew by - it semed to take about 15 minutes. In my row, there were lots of empty seats. A middle-aged rotund fellow was in the seat next to me, and I asked him if he'd seen any shows on this tour yet. He hadn't. "Wait'll you hear 'Can't You Hear Me Knockin'", I said knowingly.
Then I went on a tour of the walkway seperating the 200 and 300 levels. I met up with Dandelion and we went to search out SS, thinking that at least we should find him so he'd know how he was getting home. We saw him heading for his seat. He'd just arrived from YOTI - we could've easily made it there, had we known that everyone was staying until the last minute. That miscalculation, along with everything else that had gone wrong so far, was my fault, of course.
Christ. None of this was working out too well. I'd had nothing to eat, nothing to drink, nothing to smoke, nothing to snort, NOTHING. We arranged for a meeting place after the show and all of us went to our seperate seats. While the blues tape played, I drifted into uneasy sleep.
I slept, gentle readers, and I dreamed. I dreamed the most MARVELOUS dream!
I dreamed that the lights went out, and the arena rose to it's feet to pay homage to four gods who had deigned to favor us with their presence. I dreamed that Keith Richards was slashing the fabric of the black night into confetti, and that the confetti turned to diamonds in the air. I dreamed that he was playing "Street Fighting Man" and that Mick Jagger was dancing at his side in a red leather jacket, looking 26 or 27 years old from my vantage point. I dreamed that Ron Wood was there too, in a long black webbed sweater and black jeans zipped up from the bottom. He was playing a Coral electric sitar, not as loudly as he had at the Vet, and of course his hair was perfect.
I dreamed that Sir Mick was singing "I'll shout and scream, I'll kill the King, I'll rail at all his servants..."
I dreamed the World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band were playing the World's Greatest Rock and Roll songs in the World's Greatest arena, in the World's Greatest City. In my dream they were playing "If You Can't Rock Me", a song I'd heard them do at my FIRST Stones show in 1975. Dreams are funny like that! I left my seat and scooted around the walkway, skirting the entire arena to check out the sights from Dandelion's section. It was an interesting view, one from which I could plainly see StonesDoug waving his license plates in the front section. I dreamed they were playing their latest single, and that it rocked. I took my binoculars and started reading the setlist off Charlie's plexiglass drum baffle.
And it was then that I KNEW I was dreaming, because I saw these words: "Loving Cup", "Rocks Off", "Rip This Joint", "Tumbling Dice". I was obviously dreaming that it was 1972. I went back to my seat, this time fairly skipping and singing out loud to "Wild Horses", stopping along the way to admire the many different vantage points afforded by this great rock & roll hall.
When I returned to my seat Mick said "We gonna do some songs from Exile," and the screen behind him was filled with the image of the guy with three pool balls in his mouth. "Loving Cup" was just too perfect for words. "Rocks Off" bested the version we heard at the the Tower, and was accompanied by grainy home movies of kids getting their rocks off in the 1970s - drinking, nodding out, kissing, going to Studio 54. Were they Mick's home movies? Jonas Mekas's ? Robert Frank's outtakes from Cocksucker Blues? Then "Rip This Joint", which I hadn't seen them do since '75, and which always makes me think of Jack Nicholson in the "Stripped" VH1 special.
"I thought I was having a heart attack!" he opined then, and he was sitting somewhere down below me now too, because things like that happen in dreams. I hoped he wasn't having a heart attack - hell, "Stripped" was SEVEN YEARS AGO. The Stones are younger and more fierce now,
somehow - oh yeah, this is a dream. Dream logic.
Many other strange and wondrous things happened in my dream. I dreamed Keith played "Thru and Thru" and NAILED it, and then totally destroyed "Before They Make Me Run".
He kept stopping and looking over at Ronnie like he wanted to stop the song and start over, but the band persevered and ended with a maelstrom of guitar delights. I dreamed that "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" made EVERYONE in the place cheer and laugh and dance and high five and light joints and declare with certainty that it doesn't get any better than THIS, no matter what "it" is. I dreamed that Bobby Keys blew outrageous tenor, only to be outdone by Mick playing absolutely brilliant harp, only to be eclipsed by Ron Wood's shining moment of the night.
I dreamed they paid homage to Muddy Waters on the b-stage, that when they did "Shattered" and Mick said "I can't give it away on 7th Avenue" he pointed his finger AT 7th Avenue,and that "Brown Sugar" was so good down there that I swear the roof was starting to lift off the building.
Then they said "Goodnight" from the b-stage and I went for another lap around the hall as they started "Sympathy". I dreamed I was completely without inhibitions, that I was walking like I thought _I_ was Mick Jagger,that I was singing as I swaggered, as a sea of delirious faces blurred by me, also singing. "Whoo Whooo!!!" said everyone. The screen behind the band caught fire, kindled by the unrelentless abandon. I made it over to Dandelion's seat in time for "JJF", which of course was absolutely incredible. Keith, on his knees at Lisa's feet, thrashed his guitar and laughed. Then they bowed, Mick and
Keith in the center. For the thousandth time I shouted and hooted and screamed till my throat hurt.
And still the dream went on! I dreamed we got our car out of the lot and parked around the corner from Mustang Harry's. I dreamed we once again got soaked. I dreamed that my hair had gone from slightly Keithed, to Drowned Rat, dried to a perfect Albert Einstein, got
soaked again and ended in a Sid Vicious. I dreamed we traversed the bar, full of concert-goers, and there at the back table sat Gazza, Jaxx, Maxy, Moonie, Scope and ... could it be? Who ELSE could it be? AZQB~!!! Finally we met The Royal Squiggle !!! Ah, our joy spilled over as everyone yelled at each other about how great this dream was. Maxy hugged me and his razor stubble scratched my cheek.
Oh, my readers, the dream went on and on. It involved Guinness and friendship, Nanker and Maxmeister, joy and celebration. It lasted until 2 am, and then we returned to the car and drove home. At 6:15 am I let my passengers out and drifted off to sleep. I'm still not completely awake, but I think I need to go to MSG in January, perchance to dream again.
That was positively delicious.
I just put on Ronnie's version of "Worry No More" to celebrate.
That was wonderful. *Goosebumps*! I'm going *out of my mind* waiting for January before I can get a second hit... curse these parental restrictions!
And your father'd be there with you...
-tSYX --- If he only could!
||Sweet merciful shit on a Triscuit that was good!
||Well holy shit that brought it all back home!I read that with a bottle of hand lotion and a box of Kleenex next to me!A great read for sure FPM.I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to see you this time around!The crazy thing is I had almost the same exact dream!
I am now officialy counting the days till January!
||Whoa! I'd give you a Gassy, but your trophy room is probably clogged up with the stinky things.
That Exile set was too much for words.
What a band. Just when you think they had done it all, the start rewriting the books.
Thanks to posters like you, I saw that MSG show. I guarantee I would never have considered it if it hadn't been for Gasland, C10, etc. I'm a lucky, lucky man at this day and hour.
Stones are a way of life. And a lot of fun too.
I hope that everyone gets the chance to read your "dream". You have, by far, taken the baton from all of us and ran with it. Thanks for the insight...I know it came from your gut.
||yes, thanks Fleabit - some nice riffs in there!!
hey parmeda, and no offense to you fleabit, don't forget nasty habits' adventures at the tower - he really pulled one out of his hat with that effort
i now await the SS trilogy (and where's your report nanker -or are you making up time at the office?) and once our European correspondents (not forgetting jaxx) have had time to get their critical perspectives back home their international view - you know airports, customs, hotel rooms, weird accents - that sort of thing - is keenly anticipated - and is that all we're getting out of max?
or will they choose not to tell?
am i expecting too much?
am i putting too much pressure on myself for when the stones get here?
is this message board f$%king with my mind or is it just the dope?
how long,oh lord,how long...
[Edited by stonedinaustralia]