Tuesday, March 08, 2005

it was no walk in the park...

Saturday, June 12, 2004 was the day I finally realized I wasn’t young anymore. It had been about ten years since I was at a concert like this, and I am sure the only difference between the two was the eyes with which I viewed them.

Today’s the day! The Pixies and the Chilli Peppers live hooray! Get a bus into town, another one out to Phoenix Park. Not quite sure where to get off or where to go? Just follow the crowd! Off at the final stop of the Number 10 and follow the crowd! Walking and walking down the road to the corner. Long line outside liquor store. Get around the corner, what an incredible sight. Empty cans and plastic pint glasses and crumpled bags without chips and squashed chips without bags and bodies and everything all over the ground. Girlfriend has to pee; I’ll wait outside the pub. Boy no older than my 7-year old lights up a cigarette in front of me. She comes out of the pub, couldn’t go, line too long. Walking and walking to the front gates of the park. They’re handing out free bottles of Lucozade. People get the idea and go back to join that line at the liquor store so they could smuggle vodka in with the bottles. How much were the tickets again? Walking and walking till we see some portaloos. Ah there you go, there may be a line but it’s not too bad. Join the line, moving nicely. Most other people continue walking and walking, doesn’t seem too far, don’t pay much attention. Heck, we’ve loads of time, it’s only just after 4pm, Pixies not on till 6:30, and it’s not like they’re gonna start on time. People try to cut the line and walk straight into the portaloos but Stone Cold Steve Austin is in charge so nobody cuts. Girlfriend pees, back to walking and walking. Some people pass us, we pass some people. Blokes climb over high fences to pee cos they didn’t like the look of that line back there and realise they won’t hold it till they reach the gig. Walking and walking. Now they’re handing out water, but only if you hand them money. “The nearer you get the dearer it gets!” they cry. The tickets were sixty euros each, around $75. We sip on our Lucozade, not too much in case we have to pee again. Walking and walking. The thought occurs to me if I complain about all the walking I’ll sound like an old fart. Besides, there’s a statue thing in the distance, can’t be far from there. Walking and walking. Why did some people go a different direction when they got to the statue thing? What did they know? Best go with the majority. Walking and walking. I knew I shouldn’t have worn these goddam Caterpillar boots; I only did in case it rained. I didn’t account for the walking and walking. More walking and walking. What a day to get my worst hay fever attack. Of course I expect they cut the grass in the park the day before the concert. Sneezing and walking and walking and sneezing. That’s sixty euros PLUS the booking fee whatever that was. Every time we’d reach a bend, we thought the gig was around it. I can hear the Thrills, they’re on before the Pixies, we can’t be far now. Walking and sneezing and walking. We have friends there, getting texts from them telling us where they are. Walking and walking. Finally around a bend we see in the distance where the gig is. A wonderful sign marked “entrance”. Bit of walking and walking to get to it. Now I can show someone my ticket for the first time. Into the arena. I see signs telling me where I can buy beer. Signs telling me where I can buy t-shirts. Signs telling me where I can buy chips. I’m looking and I’m looking – where’s the goddam stage? Maybe there’s a sign? It’s between acts, maybe the beer stand is going to turn around and have the Pixies playing behind it? Id have easily paid an extra tenner if they took the goddam walking away. Let’s follow some people and see where they’re going. Ok, not these people, they’re in line for beer! Will we get one? Look at the line, not bloody worth it. Besides, it’s 6:15 by now, you never know, The Pixies might be on time. Maybe that crowd is headed to the stage, through a gap in the trees, ahhhhh THERE it is! I see a stage! Making way through the crowds, trying to avoid both rubbish strewn everywhere and stepping on peoples heads. Trying to text our friends see where they are, no coverage. Walking towards the stage, cheering starts, music starts, The Pixies open their set bang on time. And the set went like clockwork. We knew the songs, we sang along, Frank just screamed out his tunes didn’t say a word, Kim muttered something about Wicklow, but few heard. Every step toward the gig will mean a similar step away from it at the end. I stand between my girlfriend and a crowd of drunken stoned lads who are throwing themselves all over the place to impress some very young girls beside me. One encore. The Pixies fucked off around seven thirty. Better get something to eat, how bout an ice cream... Sit on the ground for 10 minutes. Throw wrappers on the ground with the rest of the filth, not a trashcan in sight, as they’d be pointless. Back to where we were before for when the Chilli Peppers begin. They open their set. We know some of the words. Big screen beside the stage flashes the score of the soccer game I was recording. Goddam I was sure I’d be able to miss the score at a gig! Anthony Keidis has to tell the other band members what to play next after each song. Thought they may have had all that worked out before they went on. God I’m sounding like an old fart but I really wanna write about this. The real entertainment comes from the shaky human pyramids all attempting to go three-high while surviving the barrage of half-full Lucozade bottles being flung at them by some very accurate hurlers! About one in ten pyramids achieves their goal of having the lightweight person on the third tier reaching out both their hands in a victory salute before the whole thing comes crashing down. Most just come crashing down. A half-full Lucozade bottle whizzes past my ear. Fuck all I could’ve done if it hit me. Oh wait, the Chillies are still playing! Have they done Under the Bridge yet? Anthony tries to relate to the Dublin crowd between songs by saying how cool U2 are. Ah THERE’s Under the Bridge. Cracking tune, we sing along, well at least till the high bit at the end. Gig’s over, time for walking and walking again. This whole piece just looks like one big long rant, which of course it is. This time it’s everyone at the same time, walking and walking and walking. Follow the signs to the city centre. Walking and walking. At least the sneezing has stopped. Walking and walking. The sun was just setting on that evening in June when the Chillies left the stage. Ah, at least now I can see the gate in the distance. More very slow walking and walking, and the walking is getting slower by the step. Now we have almost stopped. Maybe if I scatter points in bold type throughout it will make an impact. Now I can see why everything is so slow. The path which is full of people walking in walking is about 70 or 80 metres across, while the exit gate we were all heading for was no more than 12 meters across. It may have been narrow, but the gate was definitely wide enough for buses to ferry people back and forth to or from a point much much closer to the stage. Once finally out of the park, more walking in walking in the vain hope of finding a taxi. It was 3am by the time our walking finally stopped, and my boots could come off. I could not think of a time that I had felt more pleasure than when I lay on the bed in my bare feet twiddling my toes. I thought it best not to complain in case I sounded like an old fart. I wonder if I mentioned all the walking enough?


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4 comments:

Anna said...

I can totally relate... the front row of the balcony at the Olympia is about my speed!

Anonymous said...

Well..following your suggestion that I start a blog..I decided to check yours out...This was a well written piece J...Youre getting better...I particularly liked the repetitive use of the word 'walking'...jeeze I was almost knackered myself just reading it. Maybe I should start practicing the aul writing lark, if Im not too tied up shagging odd balls in Alicante ;). Bula Bos!.. 'one of: your better online mates'

Buffalo said...

You poor, poor old man. Ain't life just a bitch?

Good job.

The Singing Butler said...

Love the Chili Peppers.