Sunday, August 15, 2004


Van Halen Concert

The DJ played a Van Halen song today for the sake of those poor souls who missed the concert. I realized that I never did talk about what it means to do a Van Halen. I’ll just tell you the story.

This is maybe ten years ago or more. 90’s sometime. BB and I had been to a couple of concerts before, and we’d been friends for maybe ten years or so. Holy crap. I’ve known someone outside my family for 20 years. I’m getting old. So we decided what the hell. We really wanted to see Van Halen, so we decided to bite the bullet and get the best seats possible. We targeted our ticketmaster outlet and got there early enough to be first in line when the window opened at 10:00 AM Sunday. Tickets were priced at two levels, with the higher cost tickets about twice as much as the low cost tickets. Amazing as it sounds now, the best seats in the house were only $44.00. These were back in our poor days, nearing college graduation. It was quite an extravagance. We got tickets I think in section one, it was row B, and the seat numbers were like 13 and 14, or something like that.

When we got inside, for some reason the lights were down, even though we were like an hour early. Because we were in the floor seats, an usher felt the urge to escort us. And we sit down. Until a few minutes later, when another usher comes down with two people wanting to put them in our seats. I immediately start to think of all the ways this could end up with us getting screwed. When we were first seated, we had noticed that we were in the fourth row, but it was so dark, we couldn’t tell if the usher had put us in row B or not. For all we knew, the first two rows had some special designation, and row A was actually the third row. Well this second usher with the new people looked at our tickets and sent us to the correct row, row B, the second row.

Here’s the best part. The front edge of the stage was not a straight line. It sort of curved in a very shallow arc away from us. This meant that row A was cut short by the curve, and only had about ten seats on either side of the center aisle. Seat one was on the center aisle, and the seats counted up to ten toward the side of the stage. Our seats 13 and 14 were at the end of row B, just past the end of row A. Even though we were in row B, we still had front row seats. We stood at the security fence for the whole show. Well, not the whole show.

You see, the best thing about this concert was that Collective Soul, who I loved, was going to be the opening act. So I’ve got kick-ass seats for two great bands I really love. You may recall that Eddie van Halen had some hip or knee trouble, something like that. So they had to cancel and postpone the concert. You can guess what happened. Collective Soul wasn’t available for the make up date. What you might not guess, unless you indulge in sadistic fantasies, was that the new opening band was Slash’s Snake Pit. They were truly awful. And in all honesty, I was looking forward more to Collective Soul than to Van Halen, which made it even worse.

Here’s another mishap from the concert. BB and I walk fast, even for tall people. He doesn’t get quite as annoyed as I do at slow jerks who get in the way. Caught behind a particularly slow group, I leaned over and softly said, in my best Hulk smash voice, “Can’t…walk…at…human…speed! Must…go…slow…like…the…mighty…snail!” At least, I thought I said it softly. Little did I know the Bionic Woman’s nephew was in the group and heard me. He wasn’t amused. BB and I laughed about it for weeks afterward. Maybe BB get me in trouble. He was the one that tricked me into giving the finger to a cop. Ask me later.

Here was another dud moment. One of the guys, either Eddie or Sammy, gave this speech about how nice we were, how sorry they were that they had to postpone the show, how glad they were that we made it, that this was their last American show and they were leaving for Europe the next day for their tour there, and that to celebrate, they were going to ROCK ALL NIGHT!!!!!! Yeah, actually, I think it was the shortest headlining show I’ve ever seen. I left the concert very disappointed. Van Halen played fine while it lasted, but it was short, Collective Soul wasn’t there, and Slash’s Snake Pit sucked. You may ask if I worry about bad karma for cutting them down, but I figure they owe me. Four years later, they were the surprise special guest at an Aerosmith concert. So now my list of bands I’ve seen most often goes rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, Slash’s Snake Pit. They. Owe. Me.

Awwww. The poor sexy bee girls who tried to invade are burning up in their lab on my TV as I write this. Bee girls. So sexy. So tragic. So buzzy.

Oh yeah. Doing a Van Halen. This is gross. You might want to skip the rest. We get to the show. It’s a bit of a drive. We get inside. Bathroom break. We go in the bathroom, and of course it’s big. Maybe 12 stalls and about 16 urinals. Stalls on the left. Half in and half out of a stall, laying face down, sort of moaning and weakly kicking his legs and moving his arms, in a pool of his own vomit, super drunk, underage, probably late teens, is a guy, whisper/screaming in a hoarse voice “Whooo!! Yeah!!! Urrrp uhhh this is the best concert EVER!!!! VAN HALEN RULES!!!!!”

When you’re that drunk, my friends, you’ve done a Van Halen.
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