Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm In Rapture: Deconstructing the Boston Debacle (Part Three:Pat Benatar! Blondie! The Donnas?!)

I'm sort of running this story in rewind: I began with the Trip Home; jumped back to Saturday afternoon at Salem, then Sunday afternoon alone with Emily Dickinson (BTW, I left the book for Dawn -- Miss Emily deserves to stay In Massachusetts, she would be so lost in the Midwest.) Now I'm fast-forwarding to Saturday night (August 8) and the first of two concerts we were to attend.

Originally, we thought it was going to be one show, Blondie and The Pretenders. However, Dawn, pressed as she was for time, what with working a high-stress job and raising two lovely teenage girls, mistook the billing. Saturday, 8/08, was Pat Benatar, Blondie, and The Donnas, a fairly good act but not worth rushing to the venue to be there in time to see their set. The Pretenders were scheduled to appear on Wednesday, 8/12, with Cat Power opening, definitely an occasion to skip the warm-up act. (I remember once, I went to see Van Halen (with Dave, the 1984 Tour) at Hara Arena, Dayton, Ohio. "Autograph" opened for them. In case you've forgotten, and if you have, please tell me how, Autograph had ONE song on the charts: "Turn Up The Radio". Besides that, they could have been a local garage band. They SUCKED is what I'm sayin'.)

Anyway, sweetheart that Dawn is, she bought tickets for both shows. "I promised you Blondie and The Pretenders, and I'm giving you Blondie and The Pretenders" is not exactly what she said, but it sounds good.

Now, as fate would have it, we could not see The Pretenders' show, as I have explained before. But we made the best of the Blondie/Benatar show.

Twenty-five years does a lot to change people (I hadn't seen either Daw nor Bart since college), but Dawn can always be counted on to Bring the Fun. She even lectured me on the way to the show: "Dale, you need to be more of a participant in your life. Stop standing on the sidelines." Evidently, she had forgotten my modus operandi at school. I didn't bring the fun, I let the fun come to me.

"I'm more of an observer," I told her, adding "I like to watch," one of my favorite movie quotes. (Easter Egg: Here's your trivia challenge. Name the movie which I quoted, the actor who said the line, that actor's character's name, AND the actress to whom he spoke the line. First answer with correct answers for all parts of the question gets a mix cd.)

So, after about 4 Heinekens for me, 4 Bud Lights for her (and some herbal therapy), we met up with Bart and his beautiful wife Michelle.

But I digress (wow, you NEVER digress, Dale). We walk over to the Bank Of America Pavilion, which looks to me like an open-air Sydney Opera House set up at Timberwolf in King's Island. A beautifully engineered shell covered the seats, which were placed on a slope, so that each row of seats was slightly higher than the one before it. It was a beautiful venue for a concert.

The ladies excused themselves to use the pissoir, while Bart and I wandered over to the beer tent. I don't want to complain about the prices, bu I couldn't afford to live in Boston. Twenty bucks got me a Sam Adams Summer Ale and a Miller Lite for Dawn, both from the tap. I told the barkeep to keep the change, cause what was I gonna do with a buck, but I know it didn't impress my server. (Two things I learned in Boston: they don't get discounts on Samuel Adams, and they don't have to sign loyalty oaths to the Patriots, which made Bart happy since he's been a Steeler fan since before Terry Bradshaw played.)

I want to stop here and say something to those of you (Alison and Matthew) who object to my Hawaiian shirts. First of all, they're slimming. But that's beside the point. For the concert I was wearing one of my loudest Hawaiian shirts, and therefore became a beacon to the others in my group. They didn't have to wander around for fifteen minutes looking for Bart and me because my shirt was so highly visible. So Na-Na-Na-Na-Nah-Na.

As I said before, Dawn brings the Fun. And she attracts others who also bring the Fun. That's how we got to meet Joseph Pimentel. Keep in mind that I'm a lousy judge of character, and my first impressions are usually dead wrong. Such was the case with Joe Pimentel and his sidekick David Dutra. I thought at first they were a couple of goombahs, a couple of mooks. And once again, I was wrong.

Joe and Dave were consummate gentlemen. They danced with Dawn, and did nothing untowards (I think Dave got an ass-grab in at some point, but Dawn didn't seem to notice, or if she noticed, she didn't mind.) But there was the Fun, right with Dawn, Joe, and Dave.

Me, in my role as observer, kept my distance in case something went awry. I may not be tough, and I probably would have gotten my ass kicked, but I was there to help keep my friend's dignity intact.

In fact, after she wore herself out dancing, she came back to our seats, followed by some weird fuck who thought he could get a dance too, or maybe more. I moved between him and Dawn, and he got the message.

By this time Pat Benatar was on stage, the last act of the night. About 25 minutes into Benatar's set, Dawn, more than a little buzzed, asked if we could go. Sure, we'll go. She apologized, but I told her, I came to see you and Bart, Pat Benatar was just gravy. We said our goodbyes to Bart and Michelle, and started walking to the lot where she had parked.

Let's jump in the wayback machine now, because I've given no indication about how the music was.

Blondie was perfect. Although I didn't hear "Rip Her To Shreds", the band played an excellent set. And for the encore (and I cannot remember the song they did, but it was one of Blondie's best), the band segued into "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". That was it for me. We had left our seats and were standing in the walkway. I had consumed just enough Sam Adams to loosen up and "be a participant". I tried to stop them, but my feet started moving. I mean, it's Michael for Chrissake! How can you not dance? I pulled every MJ move I knew. Michelle asked me if I could moonwalk, but fortunately I was unable to oblige, having never learned that step.

And guess what-Matt and Ali? My friends liked it. So HA!

Two days later, when Bart picked me up at Dawn's to spend the night at his house, I felt the need to apologize. "If I'd known I was gonna see you again, I'd have behaved myself better the other night," I told Michelle. (More on Bart and Michelle in a later post.)

So Blondie rocked the house. And for the record, I'd still do that cute little chick. She is STILL smokin'.

Pat Benatar followed soon after. It was actually a surprise because I expected a longer intermission. Pat Benatar is still lookin' hot, too. There's just one thing that bothered me. I do enjoy a concert where the front man/woman likes to tell a story to introduce the next song. But there were several factors inhibiting Pat's introductions. 1) Her band was the last act. The crowd had gotten used to a presentation with no segues. Finish one song, start another. 2) Pat's speaking voice is very mousy, not the striking, defiant voice of, say, "Love is a Battlefield". So even if you wanted to ther the intros, you couldn't, and everyone around you was talking-no respect. And 3) It's Boston. She's doing her intro while a bricklayer in a Tedy Bruschi jersey yells "Who gives a fuck? Play the Goddamn song!"

So the band: terrific. Right on time. The songs: just as we remembered them. The intros: save it for VH1's Storytellers. Only once, when Neil Giraldo, Benatar's lead guitarist and, as I just discovered, her husband, and de facto leader of the band, introduced a tune did people listen. They had no choice. Giraldo's voice boomed out of the speakers. And he has that old, grizzled, tattooed, been-a-rocker-all-my-life so don't fuck with me vibe that you just knew if anyone yelled "who gives a fuck" while he was speaking, he'd jump off the stage, go out into the audience and commence to kickin' some ass!

They rocked.

Alright, fast-forward to Dawn and me leaving the show. It's obvious that she's not gonna drive. I've got my wits about me, but it's a city I have zero experience with. Dawn can direct me, but what if she passes out? I'm screwed.

Fortunately, she stayed awake for the entire 45 minute drive (give or take: I was too nervous to look at anything but the road. Apparently there's an art to driving in Boston. It's a little like bumper cars, a lot like "get out of the way, asshole". I was the asshole. At one point Dawn turned to me and said "You're not a very good driver." Well, let's consider. I don't know where I'm going. You're too drunk to drive. I'm keeping it together but if I get stopped, I'm gonna test over .10 BAC. Can you put MORE pressure on me? In her defense, when I told her about it the next morning, she was profusely apologetic. Just chalk it up to the beer.

All in all, I had a great time at the show. And Joseph Pimentel? Both Dawn and I friended him on Facebook. You should too-just tell him I sent ya. This guy's picture gallery includes so many concerts and ballgames you wonder when he gets the time, let alone the money, to do all this stuff. This guy is not standing on the sidelines-he's in the game.

God bless you, Joe.

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