Monday, December 10, 2007

TVD Boards the Mothership

Big Andy and I are rattling toward the USAir Arena in his truck on our way to pick up some very last minute tickets to see the Page and Plant Tour in '95. It's our friend Gary's birthday and as a last minute idea, we're going to pick up any old tickets for the show while his girlfriend takes him to dinner. The show's been on sale for months and at this point -- and on a lark, the rafters will be a-ok. The tinny radio's buzzing with the local rock station playing tons of Zep in advance of the show. We've had a few beers and we're chatting about the Zep and I say, "Y'know man -- sometimes I hear a Zep tune on the radio that I've heard for eons now, and I'm never sure of the title. Like this one -- Bron-Y-Aur Stomp -- I mean, c'mon." Andy's got a cig hanging from his mouth as he's driving, "Dude, so right -- I have the SAME problem." So, we sidle on up to the Will Call and request four tickets. Dude slides four tickets under the glass to us, his hands covering the face of them so we can't see what they us a wink and says, "If you two can name five tunes Page and Plant are playing on this tour, these four are yours -- face value." "Mother f'er," I'm thinking, "we just HAD this conversation! We don't KNOW the song names -- SHEEZUS!" Andy's looking at me, I'm looking at him -- WTF? "OK, OK -- I just saw the Unplugged special on MTV...uh, er..." People in line behind us are are literally fuming as we're standing there, pulling Zep song titles out of our ass. But y'know -- we DID. Andy's on about "Are these obstructed view - are these OBSTRUCTED VIEW??" Guy says, "If you don't want 'em fine" -- slides the tickets in a block under the window and Andy's unfurling the lot and running toward the seating chart posted on the wall. "DUDE," he says "...LOOK." So, Gary shows up after dinner with his then girlfriend. Gary's a truly fantastic guitarist, a hay-uge Zep fan and an even bigger Jimmy Page fan -- literally could be his guitar idol. "Thanks for getting the tickets guys," he says not expecting all that much for the evening's vantage point. We head into the arena where the lights have already gone down. Andy's holding the strip of four tickets as the ushers are flashlighting them up and down and moving us on...lower, ...lower, ...lower.............second row.........f'n ...CENTER. I literally got splashed with Plant sweat, we were so close. And Gary? I think he had a rather decent Birthday.Led Zeppelin will play their first public gig in 19 years at the O2 Arena in London, and their first UK show since 1979 THIS EVENING and yes, I entered the lottery to win tickets and yes, I didn't win and yes, I'm wearing a tie right now getting ready for work. And yes, here's the last gig Led Zeppelin played with Bonzo on 07/07/80 in Berlin. (Smell the Plant sweat? I do.)

Train Kept A Rollin
Nobody's Fault But Mine
Black Dog
In The Evening
The Rain Song
Hot Dog
PART 2 (65 MGs)
All My Love
Trampled Underfoot
Since I've Been Loving You
PART 3 (62 MGs)
White Summer/Black Mountain Slide
PART 4 (86 MGs)
Stairway To Heaven
Rock And Roll
Whole Lotta Love


Anonymous said...

Dood, awesome! I totally forgot that it was my birthday. I was like 27 or 28. I don't remember dinner, but I do remember Mertl driving and taking the worst fucking entrance to the beltway you could possibly take, all the way on the west side. Then it took literally forever to get to the Cap Center...and then we got lost even trying to find the bleedin' exit for that. And don't even ask me how the back roads went! Suffice to say we made it last fucking minute as you guys patiently waited for us--graciously missing the opening act, who I was supposed to have liked (I can't remember their name!). Not only were you guys on your last leg of waiting, but I had no idea how awesome the seats were. It was like 2nd row center and cream in your jeans awesome. You did leave out one fine detail. Remember cajoling Plant after he made a couple of poser faces by chanting "Percy, Percy, Percy!"? And I'm pretty sure he gave us a dirty look and flipped us the bird...but in a fun way! Being singled out by Percy was classic! Thanks for the special night. I wish I could have been in London tonight. Big Andy called me today at work around 4:30pm EST to simply share with me that Zep were on stage and that we weren't there! When I came home from work tonight, Andy had emailed me two links to NME articles that had just be written about the show. And now on my late night return from Three of Cups I get your message. Thanks so much for forever associating me with Zep and with my idol Mr. Page.

Rusted Root was the opener!

Lastly, when you mention Jimmy Page as my idol I hear the word of a Mr. Tim McKenzie in my head as he has made fun of me on this one point for years. My sophomore year in Highschool I briefly dated the much in demand Tracy Houlihan. I think we went on 2 dates and nothing much happened. Anyway, Tim knew her from his grammar school days and bumped into her several years later. Apparently, what she conveyed to Tim about me is that I kept a photo of my electric guitar in my wallet and that I was all about "my guitar this, Led Zeppelin that!" God bless ya, Houls!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. Love it