Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Get Thee Up On A Hill Ye Old Farts
This has nothing to do with fashion or style - just nostalgia and maybe a little stage costuming and props.
My friend Samantha suggested that I take the day off on Sunday. I don't take too many days off anymore for growing-a-business reasons. Plus I have orders that must be finished and out by Halloween. I had been sick all week, and wanted to do nothing that had anything to do with my current existence, so we went to Strictly Hardly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park - a free weekend of country and bluegrass - and Gogol Bordello was playing later in the day. I thought if I got a little bluegrass in before Gogol, that would be cool, but when we saw the sea of people, we decided to get up to the Gogol stage and stake our claim.
Things have changed since the days of my early concert years. Maybe because it is a family event and an all day thing, but people had plots of land staked out with blankets and tarps in front of the stage. WTF? In front of the stage? When did this kind of thing happen? I felt like Rumpelstiltskin upon awakening.
Sam and I picked our way through the throng and staked our claim on a 12"X 5" piece of grass and then spread out on an abandoned sheet in front of us that ended up belonging to stage crew. WTF? Why would crew - or friends of crew want to be in the crowd? I was confused or misinformed. Is backstage not cool anymore? Did something happen I'm not aware of?
Unbeknownst to me, Elvis Costello was on before Gogol Bordello. Sam suffered through it, which made me feel old, but it was kinda funny. She had to explain GB to some guy my age - it was all very educational and I passed the celery sticks. This was a nice surprise because I really hadn't even known what was going on this weekend, but what kind of gave me the chills was that he started singing Friend Of The Devil which was sung in pretty much the same place in 1975 - I believe that 1975 was also maybe the only time I was at a concert at the park - of any magnitude. ( I purposefully never attended a Grateful Dead concert again) And of course, some friend of the crew was on the "crew sheet" with us and we were all fairly close to the stage so it looked like old Elvis was singing to us, which also made it all very surreal for me. (He was probably checking out some kids about to fall out of a tree) Could he have remembered my face from all those times I saw him perform in the old days? Haha. A sign that my time is up in SF and I must move on? Perhaps that one. I still think he's cute.
But what got weird is when some people wanted to stand up at the stage when he came on. The usual photographers wanted their 2 cents, the die hards wanted up and personal. I would have gone up too, but the old farts on their chairs and tarps started throwing food and garbage at the people standing up. Security made everyone sit down. Sam and I stared at each other in amazement. What planet are we on? Who are these old out of shape farts and why are they here in their folding chairs in front of a stage? This isn't the beach! Don't people stand in front of the stage anymore? Do they have a clue who is coming next? Get thee up on a hill ye old farts. Get thee away. Thou dost embarrass my generation.
So my nostalgia trip was over and we rushed the stage for Gogol. The old farts were either trampled or carried away to lie down and dream of a Jimmy Buffet concert.
We knew the front of the stage wasn't going to work out for us. But we had to try. Samantha is very strong, but she and I just couldn't hold back the surge of humanity bearing down on us. It was fabulous for a couple songs. Just like punk rock back in the day and I got to go crazy for a while. Then, while holding back the sea of humanity, I started screaming in my head......."oh God! My knees! There go my knees!" Some Russian guy was holding onto Sam's fresh tattoo, so we got out of there and danced and jumped up and down on the sidelines til I made myself sick.
And a good day was had by all.
Now back to work......