Here we are now. Entertain us. – Nirvana
This entry we’re going to set the DeLorean on cruise at 88 miles per hour and go back to the future, only we don’t need a vested, sweaty Michael J Fox to accomplish it. All we need are concert tickets. Music has always had the unparalleled ability to transport you back in time to when you first heard it. My friends and I are avid concertgoers, and in case you couldn’t guess, we mostly gravitate to 80s new wave bands. We’ve seen a lot over the years, and due to the smaller venues and lower demand for tickets, many of the shows have been quite intimate.
You have to be pretty diehard and on message boards to hear about many of the shows, therefore attendance can be minimal. Last year I was among about 75 people to see Modern English perform at Lee’s Palace, and about three years ago, about 50 of us witnessed Alison Moyet in all her regal glory. The beauty of these concerts is it’s alarmingly easy to finagle your way backstage. I’ve had beers with Howard Jones and a Flock of Seagulls. In fact, I declined an offer from the Flock to join them at an Irish pub across the street from the venue because I was afraid they would roofie me and I’d wake up in an alley with their trademark haircut. Kind of a twist on the Zorro marking.
But my shining rock moment was the chance to hang with my all time fave, the Machman – Gary Numan. I’ve been a huge fan since I was ten years old, and I’ve followed him from his revolutionizing the synthesizer, and all the way through his industrial phase where he became the major influence to Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor. I’ve actually seen him a few times but last year he was performing at Toronto’s Opera House, and I set the stalking to overdrive. I insisted we arrive several hours before the show, and then told my friends I’d catch up with them at a pub down the street. Spotting the tour bus beside the building, I debated over which Fletch character would get me inside the sound check. My British accent is worse than Dick Van Dyke’s, therefore pretending to be family was out of the question. I had a slight limp due to a mildly twisted ankle, but the Polio card lost any sympathy or lustre years ago. (Thanks a lot, Morrissey.) So, I had to be honest and tell them that I was with catering. A roadie led me through a side door and I hung out for two hours listening to the sound check and previewing the entire concert. This was great because at the actual concerts, I’m seemingly always stuck beside some shidiot rookie concertgoer in orange tab Levis with his hands clasped, giddily asking, “Do you think he’ll play Cars?” Meanwhile, any Numanoid worth his vinyl will take that opportunity to go peruse the hastily assembled merchandise table.
I know he has to play it, but I loathe hearing it. It trivializes the depth of his catalogue, and validates his unfortunate label as “one hit wonder.” Anyways, the real crowd pleasers are Metal or Down in the Park as they are much better “live” songs. So, after mingling with the band and clearing off the vegan sushi table, like any good catering staff would do, I rejoined my friends and regaled them with my brush with celebrity and accompanying memory card full of photos, as well as spoiling the set list.
Next Thursday, I’m off to see the Psychedelic Furs (again), and although I won’t be pretty in pink, (black is more slimming) I am already rehearsing my ruse to get backstage. So, if you see me there, don’t blow my cover or ask about my dark sunglasses and white cane…