I remember an instance back in my 20’s somewhere, when I was at the apex of my club-attending, beer drinking, ravenous music phase, when I said to myself “I don’t think I will ever stop going out, seeing bands and drinking beers. People are really missing out.” I remember another time also thinking that I would never (EVER!) be one of those guys who lived in the suburbs, trapped in a box house driving a Saab or whatever. Nothing whatsoever wrong with that, either – I was just a city guy, man. I couldn’t imagine having to drive more than 10 minutes to see bands! Never!
Today, I live in a box house in the suburbs and I definitely do not feel trapped (though we do miss the city). I get into things like interior design, which blinds will look good on the front porch, what kind of artwork to buy for the walls and what can I do about those goddamn birds who ate that tomato in my garden last night? No Saab, either, but admittedly it’s way more boring than that – I drive a 2002 Toyota Camry. Shit though, things change. Goals change. The idea of what is fun changes. What felt so right back then, so automatic, so much a part of me – is frivilous now. And more-or-less gone.
So it’s very rare to pull off a weekend hat trick like I did this weekend: Friday, Saturday AND Sunday, I was out attending some kind of entertainment event. You can see my write-up below of Friday’s trip to see Little Miss Sunshine. On Saturday night Steph and I went up to the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom in New Hampshire to meet up with my parents and sister to see comedian Lewis Black. If you don’t know him, he’s the guy who occasionally appears on The Daily Show ranting and raving about…..whatever.
He’s become a renowned, national touring comic who is selling out all the places he goes and he’s a pretty funny bastard. I can only assume that before Bush became president, he was just another comic, slugging it out, depressed and high on something – just like the 98% of other unknown comics out there. But Jon Stewart saw something in the guy and when Jon Stewart sees something in you, he’s almost always right. Hello, Steve Carell and Colbert. Lewis Black’s angle is largely venting about what is wrong with America, the government, the president and basically anyone else in position of power, political parties be damned. And he plays it to near perfection. He’s a one-trick pony, but his horse is Secretariat. Government has done for him what whores, cigarette snaps and “ohhhhhh!” did for Andrew Dice Clay. Oh yeah, one more thing: it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to open the newspaper one day to find out that the guy had a massive coronary right there on stage.
So it was quite a good show, but the funniest thing about the night was just outside the club: Hampton Beach itself. You see, Hampton Beach is a place I used to go as a kid and at the time, going there felt like you were trapped in the late 1950s. Skee-ball, cotton candy, fried dough, cheesy babes, lots of iron-on t-shirt stores, run-down condo rentals and plenty of Iroc-Z’s. I’m pretty sure there was even a store that sold nothing but roach clips and bandanas back then. Seriously. And while I didn’t see that particular place on this trip, the best part of Saturday was seeing Hampton Beach, eighteen years after my last visit, had not changed one iota. You can still walk the boardwalk and find stores that sell Judas Priest and Iron Maiden shirts. I shit you not. I couldn’t help but laugh. My dad put the icing on the cake when he said “We used to come up here in high school all the time and NOTHING has changed.” See? That place is truly trapped in another dimension. So interesting.
Sunday night put the icing on the cake, though, when Tim Easton and band played in Cambridge, MA. Easton is, unquestionably, one of this country’s best songwriters, period. If you are looking for something new to listen to, I can (and will) find at least five songs by Easton that I will guarantee you will be humming to yourself within hours of hearing. Typically, he tours acoustic/solo, but when I saw he was toting the band for this one, I wasn’t going to miss it for the world. How good is Easton with a band, you ask? My wife Stephanie, she of the (roughly) 10pm bed time most nights, attended the show with me, which lasted until 12:30 – the night after seeing Lewis Black with me and having to stay up until after midnight! Bless her soul. That’s how good Easton is. And he delivered knock-out blow after knock-out blow last night, about as raucous and good natured as a troubadour can get. We left that show on a high that I personally still haven’t come down from yet. So I dare you to take the Easton challenge: let me know if you’re up to it and I’ll make you a mix of five Tim Easton songs. And then you’ll be a fan. Sound good? Of course it does.
Now, though, I’m paying the price. I’m exhausted after 3 straight nights, whereas before, in another life, that would have been “ho-hum big deal let’s do it again next weekend.” Not anymore…….not anymore. Yet here I am, at 11:59, typing a blog post. I do it for you, reader(s). For you.