Monday, August 22, 2005

The Best Concert Ever

When I read the paper on Sunday, and learned about the Mets' mind-blowing collapse, my thoughts immediately turned to Steve. I feared he would have had a heart attack if he witnessed the Mets coughing up that eight run lead. I would have called him during the game but I was in Boston with my band, and even though we'd played at a record store that night we were still treated to a drunk's nutty story (which usually only happens in bars).

"Is there a concert here tonight?" the guy asked as he took off his headphones. "Sounds good, got a good beat," he tapped his leg as he listened to the band playing inside the store. We were hanging around our van, packing up gear.

"The best concert I ever went to was in 1979. Guess who it was?" Everyone else acted busy, but I took the bait.


"No, Bob Marley! He had cancer by that time. Just up the street there, before the built those apartments. You know those apartments?"

"No, we're from out of town," my bandmate Julie replied.

"It's just up the street there. You know those apartments? It was the best concert ever, everyone was there." He tucked his discman in his armpit and began counting off. "You had Gladys Knight and the Pips, okay? Then Stevie Wonder. Stevie Wonder! Next up? Billy Joel! And he did a song with Mr. Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond. Then you had a guy from England show up to play keyboards...guess who?"

I got this one right. "Elton John?"

"That's right! I got arrested for smoking dope that night, but the judge let me off. He said, 'You can't arrest 50 people for smoking dope if no one gets hurt.' The judge was a Bob Marley fan, you see, he was at the concert, and he really said that, 'You can't arrest 500 people if no one gets hurt.' I only got arrested one other time in my life. When I was 17 I almost went to jail for having a silencer, but my dad bribed the judge and got me off. I was really into guns when I was a kid."

Then there was a long pause. Everyone packed a bit faster, but the guy just went into the next part of his act.

"And what's up with Michael Jackson?" he continued. "Is he a white woman or a black man or a white man? He's one ugly dude. He looks kind of like her, no offense," he said, referring to Julie.

By that point the equipment was loaded into the van, and one by one we split off from the performance. He was talking about the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church when I left. I'm just glad I have witnesses because no one would ever believe me otherwise.

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