It's been a year since Kenny and I whizzed ourselves up Route 9 to see Todd in the traveling Tiki lounge show in South Park, I mean Amboy, NJ. This time I let Kenny talk me into hurtling ourselves all the way to Manhattan to see the Ringo All Starr Band at the Beacon Theater. On board the local train to Penn Station, I pulled out a nail file to occupy myself during the long trip. After filing my nails, I was covered with tons of tiny dead cells and commented to Kenny that it looked like I had enough dead cells so I could clone myself. I told him, "Now the old tired part of me could stay home and relax while the newer cloned version could stay up late and enjoy the concert."
Entering New York City is usually an experience just this side of being in a bad futuristic sci-fi movie, but having recently spent time deep in the Amazon jungle, it was like the title of the book "Future Shock" coming alive before my eyes. We caught a cab arriving at the Beacon Theater at 8:15 and started the long climb to the top of the rafters. Half-way up I'm out of breath and making jokes about nose-bleed altitude, as we are in the cheap-cheap seats in the upper-upper balcony just short of the outer rings of Saturn.
Although I've never seen a real Beatle perform live, I do remember vividly watching them on the Ed Sullivan show when I was 14 and had posters lining my walls like any girl that age. This was a very strange event for one such as I to be seeing a Beatle perform live after all these years, when it seems to no longer matter. Kenny is of the younger generation and was beside himself with over-elation and joy bubbling like champagne.
We sat down just as the band came on. I was smart enough to bring super powered binoculars so I could at least see something of the show, although peering through them had a feeling of voyeuerism ala James Stewart in Hitchcock's "Rear Window". Todd was dressed in retro-flashback hippy fashion with a loud patterned shirt and bell-bottom spandex pants that sported galaxies and universes exploding up his legs. I looked at Kenny and joked, "Todd must have looked in his closet and said, 'Hmm...Let's see,---what doesn't match?'" But then in a fashion sense, Todd has this way of making things that normally don't work...seem to work. Maybe he was trying to cheer himself up with this outfit, as there seemed a glimmer of sadness, or perhaps boredom, hovering just over his heart.
When Ringo came onstage I howled like the 14-year-old girl still alive inside me even after the passage of so many years. It was weird to finally see a Beatle. Time does strange warps and weaves and sometimes even seems to bring you right back to the beginning only to find you're starting all over again.
Kenny likes boys and all of his attention was turned to the saxophone player dressed in silver lame' with matching shoes and bulging muscles reminiscent of that Terminator guy. My first few comments were about Ringo's effeminate gestures and that little wiggle in his hips. I think I kept remarking something repeatedly like, "He's so little and cute! I didn't know Ringo was gay!! Is Ringo gay?" Kenny and all my gay guy friends always insist all men are gay, as they secretly wish this to be true. So I knew I couldn't count on Kenny for a truthful response. But then I thought my ex-husband was gay the first time I saw him, and he turned out to like girls so much he had to chase lots of them even while we were married, which explains the "ex" portion of that relationship.
So the music begins and Todd shines like a Beacon in this theater of the same name. He was in his element choosing to stand in this light, as he joined the ranks of the other icons in a short saga of history unfolding or was that "history repeating itself?" Acoustically speaking the sound sucked, but it didn't deter from the reality that the energy pouring into the guitar solos was on certain spiritual levels moving the universe slightly closer to evolution. His beautifully impassioned voice on "I Saw the Light", seemed to echo that haunting sadness hovering around his heart reverberating through the hollow yet hallowed halls of this archaic theater.
Someone behind us was smoking marijuana and between Todd's clothing and the smells, I yelled that familiar word, "Flashbacks!" I looked at Kenny shaking my head and said, "Boy, some things never change." I had to very quickly rethink my feelings about the universe actually evolving. So many worlds within worlds. It was when Todd picked up the guitar that was painted in colorful retro hippy fashion which swirled and vortexed in and around the patterns on his pants that I told Kenny this was all too reminiscent of the early 70's at the Academy of Music during a midnight show of Spooky Tooth, The Strawbs and King Crimson when I was in the upper-upper balcony tripping on Purple Haze. Somehow peering down the long corridors of time and space through these super binoculars at Todd's clothing and that guitar sent me into sensory overload.
Shortly thereafter Kenny leaned over and said, "Do you feel something wet on your coat?" We turned to see that the young girl behind us had puked all over the floor. Back at the South Amboy show last year, Kenny got baptized with some guy's vodka drink. This time both Kenny and I got slightly annointed with the spattering of churned over and regurgitated food and alcohol. We immediately hurled our bodies over a few rows to occupy new seats to escape the smell. But this maneuver only brought us closer to the big guy drinking beer and shrieking as if he were a large maimed animal in great pain. I don't think my perceptive observance was too far from the truth.
I sat on the edge of my seat hoping not to fall face forward over the balcony waiting in anticipation of the guitar solo as they kicked into "White Room". This old hippy girl was in the rafters howling with delight and screeching out a tribal yell with Kenny, as Todd's solo on this number dragged me out of the murky bogs of the Dante's Inferno-like surroundings and into the light of a newfound day.
Aside from the silvery buff saxophone guy running around the stage and not counting Ringo's little wiggle, Todd was actually more animated than the others, as he jumped up on the drum platform at one point and did his version of the "Cool Jerk" dance thing. Todd and Jack Bruce seemed to have a musical rapport that was lacking among the rest. At one point I think the Purple Haze flashback did kick in because I could have swore I actually saw little music notes dancing between them during one particular intense music interaction.
The other musical highlight of the night was the crisp vocals on "A Whiter Shade of Pale", and I found myself still wondering what these Procul Harem lyrics mean even after all these years. Kenny and I were impressed with Gary Brooker's matching purple jacket and beret covering a full head of silver hair. Kenny was the punster this time when he said, "Silver Hair-em."
I realized I haven't seen any of these other guys in concert prior to this night, other than Todd. The night was nostalgic to say the least and even confusing in a time warp sort of way, but nostalgia can be a reminder not to get trapped in repetitious boredom. I may be an old hippy, but I'm still always searching for those molds to crack open and systems to bust. Those were the good old days, but they won't even hold a candle to the brightness that the future holds.
On our descent down from the rafters, I mentioned to Kenny that instead of getting a new prescription for my reading glasses, I wanted to just attach these super binoculars to a virtual reality type helmet. Then I would be able to see things better in far away places without having to travel the actual distance. I sunk deep into contemplation about these virtual possibilities, which could spare me from being puked on and subjecting myself to witnessing so many people trying to drown the loud wailing cries of their pain and trauma in alcohol and drugs.
On the street while I was hailing a cab, another big drunk guy was talking right in Kenny's face distracting him from seeing the large bus speeding right towards him. Kenny was in the midst of verbalizing "Why do people have to drink?" when the bus creamed him. I yelled, "Oh no! You killed Kenny! You bastards!" But then Kenny gets killed every week in South Park, I mean New York. New York is the place to be!#@%$!
Yeah...Time does strange warps and weaves and sometimes even seems to bring you right back to the beginning only to find you're starting all over again. Every day is a good day to start over again.
Amazon Girl & Kenny
a.k.a. Baba Bosa Noveau
(Names have been changed and will continue to do so, to deflect the psychotic and protect the sane.)