(Doesn't this look Wayne Coyne in his Christmas on Mars gettup?)
So here it is.
I left for Detroit about 10:00AM on Friday August 4th. I stopped for gas and breakfast sometime around 11:00AM in Sidney, OH. The breakfast was brief and not worth any kind of comment. I bring it up only because it was the only food I ate for the entire day.
The drive up was totally uneventful. It took right around 4 hours (Google Maps was right again) and I arrived and was parked a block from Comerica Park and State Theater about 3:15PM. I packed up my change of clothes, my camera, car stereo, and a couple bottles of water in my backpack and headed out. I wandered around downtown for about an hour, conversing with various concert goers, and snapping pictures.
Chad, Andy, and Jon showed up a little after 4:00PM. The four of us promptly headed into a nearby bar and drank a few beers while discussing film, showing off various geek gadgets, and our recent move to Cin City. This lasted for about two hours. Over the course of the two hours, the place kept getting progressively more filled with concert goers, baseball goers, and drink goers.
We all headed out of the bar around 6:30 – 7:00 and got in line. Actually, before I got in line, I went up to a bouncer and asked if it was cool if I brought in my backpack and camera. The guy gave me a thumbs up and I got in line. The guard at the door went through my back to make sure I wasn't sneaking in a gun or crack or something. Not finding any, she put a bracelet on my wrist and I went in the building. I picked up a cool Lips t-shirt and we headed to the main house which was about half full to its limit.
Here's where the fun begins.
The first thing I did, after drinking a beer, was take out my camera and begin recording some of the crappy footage you can see in the previous post. I had to hold the camera over my head to get a clear shot of the stage. I recorded two 30 seconds clips and turned to a friend to say something when I got a tap on my shoulder. I turned, expecting to see Angie or Mark (they were on their way over from their hotel) only to see a scowling security guard.
Over the din of the band (The Go Team!) the guard shouted and gestured towards my camera. Instinctively, I turned it off and put it one of the many pockets lining my cargo shorts. He kept scowling and angrily jabbing his finger at my pants. As the song died down, the voiceless motions of his mouth began to scream.
"Whatcha doing? You shootin' video?? Video?"
Of course I was.
"No. Of course not!" I said. "It's a still camera. I thought we could bring cameras in."
"You can, but not video cameras." He said.
"It's not a video camera." It was. "It only shoots stills." It doesn't.
"I saw a little red circle on the screen. A recording symbol." Damn. He was an observant security guard. While we were arguing another, older, guard came up and stood by us.
"There's, uh, a little red light that lights up on the outside before it flashes…" It was a stretch.
"You know, I was going to let you off, but now you’re lyin’. You must think I'm a retard. Show me the pictures you took." I did think he was retard, but would go so far as to say he was an observant retard. I sighed and handed over the camera, turning it on for him. In video mode, the display only shows the first frame of the video so it just looks like a still. Thankfully.
"See? It’s just pictures. I didn't know we couldn't take pictures." I said again, reaching for the camera.
"You can take pictures, not video.” He said, turning the camera over apparently looking for the slot where the DV tapes went. The older guard stepped over and took the camera from the young punk and handed it back saying, “Here, just take pictures of the walls or I'll have to confiscate it." I immediately stuffed in my backpack and walked back to the couch I had been sitting on.
Narrowly avoiding my camera getting yanked, I treated myself to a beer and forced my way to into the crowd to watch Sonic Youth. They were surprisingly good. I think I had always confused them with Sublime or something, because when they started playing long, minimalist-influenced rock songs with few words, I was taken aback. They played a long, very interesting set. By the time it was done, I desperately in need of some food.
I left the theater and headed down a block to a nearby Subway I had seen earlier in the afternoon while I wandered around. However, when I arrived there I discovered it friggen closed at 6:00PM on Saturdays. 6:00PM??? That’s crazy talk. So I turned back around, tummy all a-rumblin’ with beer and… well, that’s pretty much it. Just beer.
When I got back to the entrance of State Theater, I approached the same guard and flashed my badge expecting to just breeze past. Instead she put up a meaty hand in halting gesture.
“What?” I asked.
“Need to go through your bag.”
I showed her my bracelet and flashed my most charming smile, “I was just in here. Five minutes ago.”
“Put the bag there.” She gestured at a ledge. My smile needs tweaking, or something. I handed her the bag tempted to say, “Put it there yourself, lemonhead.” But I restrained myself.
She started rustling through bag much as she had done before, brushing past my toothbrush, underwear, and socks. She stopped on my daily pill organizer. Damn (again), I thought.
“They’re heart pills. This is my overnight bag.” Both were true.
“We have to have them tested.”
“Tested? Tested for what?”
“Hey, I’m just doing my job. A lot of people put things in people’s drinks…”
“And they usually bring in said drugs in pill organizers?” She gave me The Look, so I shut up. My heart pills look like Advil and I happened to have a couple Advil mixed in with them, so when she spotted these, she asked, “Are these Advil?”
“Ok, enjoy the show.” I took my bag back and wandered into the theater. The place was absolutely packed. In retrospective discussions with various people, we came to the conclusion that they must’ve oversold the show because it was so crammed.
The Lips (which are kind of a Rock N’ Roll band crossed with a stage performance) were incredible. See the video in yesterday’s post.
After the concert, Chad, Andy, and Jon all headed back to GR. Angie and Mark reserved a hotel room in Auburn Hills (normally 20 minutes away) for us to crash at after the concert. The idea was they would get drive their yellow Aztec to the hotel and would follow. Do I need to say it didn’t work out as planned?
I did follow them. That part worked out okay. It was the part about 20 minutes that didn’t work out very well. Basically we had to get on I-75 and drive straight until we hit an exit, then drive to the hotel that is actually viewable from the interstate. Instead, the city of Chicago completely shut the interstate down. They didn’t collapse it down to one lane, no. They completely ended the expressway by forcing all of the 12:30AM Sunday morning traffic onto some side street in the absolute ghetto with sparse to no detour signs.
After an hour or so of driving around the hood, we were parked beneath and underpass at a red light. A very loud crashing sound was heard (I didn’t see anything) then Angie drove the yellow bus through three reds lights and headed off over a hill. At the same time, a police car hit its lights and pulled ahead about 20 feet and stopped. I was very confused. I waited until the light turned green, slowly passing the flashing cruiser. I learned later that a old, beat up truck flew past us and smashed directly into a telephone pole completely demolishing it. I missed the entire thing – my view being obscured by the Aztec and the underpass stanchions.
We finally made it to the hotel about 1:00AM, shared a couple bowls of popcorn, and a donut hole. I took a quick shower and fell immediately into a coma. I awoke about 2 hours later completely awake. Monty Python’s Flying Circus was on PBS, so I watched that for a few minutes then promptly fell into a deep, wonderful sleep.