Tag Archives: David Hidalgo

Standing in the Way of Control

18 Oct

This backstage pass is from the show I missed in high school. I should ask the guy selling it on eBay how it was.

Like fishermen, I could go on and on about “the one that got away.” I’m talking about concerts that I coulda/shoulda/woulda gone to had I had more forethought/money/connections/taste.

Like Adele appearing at the Royal Oak Theater soon after her debut album 19 came out. Or Bob Dylan, with Mike Campbell and David Hidalgo backing him up, on the Together Through Lifetour. Even the first concert I was ever invited to go to – Foreigner in 1982 – was a no-go … meaning I missed my chance to hear “Feels Like the First Time” during my first time at a rock concert.

The most recent show to add to this category is one that I actually had tickets to and went downtown to see: The Gossip, who were slated to play at the Majestic on Tuesday, October 2. I assume they played. I don’t know.

My older daughter and I had cooled our heels for an hour when the doors didn’t open at 7:00 p.m. as promised. After another hour standing in the tiny cafe-cum-performance space (the result of downsizing from the main stage, perhaps because they didn’t sell well), we saw band members from the first of two opening acts still folding t-shirts and burning CDs to sell at the merch table. As of 9:00 p.m., The Gossip’s lead singer Beth Ditto was walking through the sparse audience, posing for photos and, uh, gossiping with fans with no indication that they or any other band was taking the stage any time soon.

It was a school night; my daughter and I were exhausted; she had homework and I had a meeting in the morning. So we split.

(I have to hand it to the Fueled by Ramen concert production team: they kept the trains running on time. Three opening acts would take the stage one after the other starting at 7:00 p.m. sharp, each playing for exactly 30 minutes with a 15-minute changeover. By the time the main attraction hit the stage, you knew it was 9:15 without even looking at your watch.)

We had really looked forward to seeing The Gossip, which my daughter and I discovered together via their first couple of albums. Beth Ditto is something of a gay icon: a plus-size young lesbian with a take-no-prisoners voice and a penchant for stripping to her underwear when in the throes of a performance. A large percentage of the audience at the Majestic was out and proud,  a wistful reminder of our days living near the Castro in San Francisco where, as a drag queen friend of mine observed, “Every day is Halloween.”

Some would say the creative process can’t be rushed and if you can’t stay out late, that’s your problem, not the band’s. But they owed us a show starting at 8:00 and they failed to deliver. In Commando, Johnny Ramone’s posthumously published autobiography, he griped about his bandmates’ occasionally lousy work ethic. He only missed a couple of gigs in his life: once due to appendicitis and another because he had been assaulted and suffered brain damage. According to him, all the other Ramones shows started at the time printed on the poster.

The drive home from the venue was quiet, the air heavy with weary disappointment. My daughter felt bad, having given me the tickets as a birthday present. I felt horribly square, wondering how many more concerts I have left in me if I can barely stay up past 10. Then again, I slept more soundly that night than I have in months, perhaps the best birthday gift I could have received this year.

Here’s a glimpse of what we think we may have missed:

See you on the flip side …

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