Okay, so apparently I am destined to NEVER GET ENOUGH GODDAMN SLEEP IN THIS STUPID BOROUGH!!?!
Once again, I went to sleep after 3am only to fully awaken at 7:30am. Clearly, my internal clock is a GIGANTIC JACKHOLE, hellbent on inflicting sleep deprivation torture until I crack and LOSE MY SHIT all over the local short-brim hat, plaid-shirt wearing, tattooed hipsters. I could live with the ungodly early rise if I drank myself into a stupor the night before, but I basically had A glass of wine. ONE. Which in and of itself is one very sad fact. No, my psyche just HATES MY FREAKING GUTS. Or maybe it's that bastard, Mercury in retrograde. Either way...
I call Asshole.
But I digress...
Saturday brought the DC/Baltimore contingent (Steph, Melissa and Sheila) to town for the third and final concert, which meant it was moving day for Cindy and me. No matter how glorious the accommodations at the King and Grove, there was no way five of us could fit in the teeny-tiny rooms. After having breakfast on the pool deck for the last time, *sniff* we jumped into a cab and headed SW to The Pointe Plaza hotel.
Neither Cindy nor I was familiar with Brooklyn. We had no idea where we were heading, but as we got further south below the Williamsburg Bridge we started seeing a couple Hasidic Jews wearing long, heavy coats, prayer shawls and big, furry circular hats atop their yarmulkes. Then a few more. Then several families. Then we realized we were the ONLY non-Hasidic people in the area. The hotel lobby (and hotel) was teeming with Hasidic families and elders.
|furry hats in question above|
And there WE were. Two white girls in shorts and tank tops standing out like a couple of harlots. Oh, Dude, the looks we got... No one said anything to us, but I could feel the judgement. I kept waiting for the a finger wag and a couple "tsk tsk tsk" thrown our way. It was all rather fascinating being on the end of disapproval. But there we were, an Italian and an Eastern European girl being waited on by the Indian hotel staff in a hotel full of Orthodox Jews. America's melting pot personified right there in the lobby.
The two rooms we rented had single beds. Peculiar. Upon further research thanks to Steph, we discovered the separate beds were necessary sleeping arrangements for Orthodox guests to use when their wives are menstruating. Steph found this great site explaining Jewish law regarding kosher sex. Would not want to convert, but they got it all over the Catholics when it comes to getting busy. Sex is for pleasure and emotional bonding, not solely for procreation. (Score one for the Jews) The woman dictates when and where relations occur. (Score two for the Jews) And the man is bound by duty to please her. (Score three for the Jews) Abortion is also permitted if the mother's life is in danger. According to Jewish Lay, the fetus is not considered a life until birth. Surprisingly liberal thinking for a perceived strict culture.
Anyhooo, enough of that. After we got over our curiosity, or at least curbed it for awhile, the five of us piled into a van driven by an affable and patient man named Raphael. The six of us were to become good buds as Raphael was our DD for the evening. He was the man!! No matter where we were throughout the day, we'd call and he'd be there in five minutes. We were convinced he had mastered the art of astral projection.
|not your father's flea market|
Our first stop was the Smorgasburg in Williamsburg near the East river. Steph found this, too. She's the best researcher. Seriously, she should just scour the webs for people for a living. The Smorgasburg is listed as a flea market, but you won't find random vendors selling old, rusty junk from their basements. It's comprised of four long lines of booths offering every type of food imaginable. Incredible.
|so that's what that smell was|
At the bottom is a fenced in pop-up beer garden. Standing behind the white picket fencing, sipping our beverages, watching patrons go by felt more than a little like being the animals at a petting zoo. I half expected people to stroll over with a fistful of Cheez-its (the human equivalent of goat feed) for us to gobble in contentment from their hands.
Nom Nom Nom BAAAAAAAAA!!
|bevy of babes|
|what about leaning?|
And the view... Good God Almighty, it was gorgeous!
Meanwhile, back at the venue...
For their final evening at the Bowl, the band chose their third album, Too Far To Care, even though they had toured extensively last year celebrating its 15th anniversary. Steph and I were a wee disappointed they didn't choose to highlight Fight Songs for the finale, a CD that introduced a lot of fans to the Old 97's, including Stephanie herself, but you can't deny what a fantastic setlist TFTC is. It is definitely a crowd pleaser.
When Melissa is with us, we stand Ken side because she LOVES him and his guitars. She's the only fan I know who actually knows the name and model of each of his guitars. She gets so excited when he uses the shimmering green one.
I swear Melissa's entire summer was made when Ken walked over to our end of the stage and shook her hand when the show was over. It's the little things...
Quick note: I appreciate these four women so much. Each one of them is smart, witty, easy going and an utter joy to be around. There is no drama, just love, support and laughter. Lots of laughter. I'm thankful to these four men for providing the forum through which I am able to know these lovely lasses.
So, we made our way to the stage, Murry-side, towards the end of yet another tedious opening act. Being Saturday night, the crowd was a lot thicker than the prior evenings at this point in the game. It's a tricky thing, squeezing into the front amongst people who have been waiting longer than you. But most fans are cool, and I was able to make nice with the Chicago family beside me. We ended up having a great time singing together.
The air felt electrified when Rhett, Murry, Ken and Philip took the stage. They were going for it on this farewell romp in Brooklyn. Of course, they ALWAYS go for it. Trust me, they NEVER phone it in which is why you see so many familiar faces in the crowd time and again.
TFTC starts with their signature closer, Time Bomb. It's funny to see them rock out to this one without being all sweaty and exhausted. But they never hold back, and neither did the audience as they sang every word back to Rhett and Murry.
When they finished the album, the cheers were thunderous. I can't even imagine how invincible that level of response must make them feel. Damn! That must be exhilarating. The rest of the set had some real gems, New Kid, the One (from my personal favorite, Blame it on Gravity), Won't Be Home with the Heisman line. Ken even agreed to play his lone song, Coahuila!
They poured their soul into an impassioned performance of 504 as the set closer and blew the effing roof off! Strobe lights flashing, broken strings, guitars shredding, pogo jumping, fierce head banging, guttural screaming and unbridled fervor.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the entire three-day run came after the encore break.
Outside of a Rancheros gig or two, I don't think they've ever played it as a band, or at least haven't for a very long time. So what if Rhett reversed the verses. It was big fun to finally hear. I've said it many times before, I have no earthly idea how he can remember hundreds and hundreds of song lyrics. His songs, cover songs, new songs he's still working on... Amazing. I am in absolute awe of his brain. Maybe he IS superhuman.
|thank you, my dear mr. miller and company for a ridiculously fun run|
Twenty years in and they STILL play with a reckless abandon usually reserved for 20-somethings. I don't know how they do it, but Holy Hell I'm eternally grateful they show no signs of stopping.
Although I was sad this incredible run was over, I honestly don't know if I could have survived another night. I was blessed with three amazing evenings at the altar of rock, spent with good friends, but I was ready to make the long journey on this
Too Far To Care
West Tx Teardrops
Streets of Where I'm From
Big Brown Eyes
Just Like California
House That Used to Be
4 Leaf Clover
The Other Shoe
The New Kid
Let the Whiskey Take the Reins
Can't Get a Line
Every Night Is Friday Night
Won't Be Home