Saturday, October 11, 2008

Foreign Band - Part 1

Chances are, you don't know Foreign Band, even though they are pretty big abroad. Considering their great music, memorable live shows, and diligent work ethic, chances are good that America (and the rest of the world) will know Foreign Band in the next year or two.

I discovered Foreign Band X months ago, was floored by their music, and amazed I hadn't come across them before. Added to the pleasant surprise was an announcement that they'd be playing New York soon. Usually I'm late to the party and discover bands after they've toured for their best album, broken up, died, etc. Not this time. I bought a ticket and anxiously awaited the day of the show.

Despite spreading the word to my friends, I ended up going to the concert solo. No big deal. Either I'd run into people I knew, talk to new people, or enjoy the music on my own. Done it before and would do it again.

The day of the show, I got to the venue more than an hour early. Usually, I don't care about proximity, but that night I wanted to be as close to the front as possible.

There were a cluster of girls at the front of the line and a guy I knew socially through clubbing, Journalist Jason. Jason greeted me warmly, introduced me to the girls, and gave me a swig of something out of an energy drink bottle that looked like Gatorade and tasted like rubbing alcohol.

I chatted with the group, who were massive Foreign Band fans. One talked of flying to various cities to see them live. Another showed me a tattoo design she created involving a full-length portrait of the lead singer. These gals were hardcore and fun to talk to, especially since they were as enthusiastic (if not moreso) about Foreign Band as I was.

At one point while we were outside, I saw a cute guy in black jeans and a hooded sweatshirt wandering around.

"That's George Guitarist! He's such a sweetheart," said one of the girls in line.

Singer Spencer was more the acknowledged heartthrob of Foreign Band, but George was definitely more my type.

Doors at 8pm, and we were finally let in. I was lucky enough to get a spot in the very first row of people, dead center. Not the best for people-watching, but great for band-watching.

After the opening band, the roadies came up to get Foreign Band ready for their show. George Guitarist came out with them to set up his instrument. He looked over at me and we smiled at each other. I felt a jolt of excitement in my stomach.

The show began and the crowd around me erupted in fanatical screaming and arm waving, as they reached for Singer Spencer, an intense and elusive performer who teased them into a frenzy.

Unlike most of the people around me, I focused on George, who kept looking at me and smiling. Or was he? With the bright lights, the audience mostly in darkness, could he really be aiming his attention at me?

During one song, George had a guitar solo and he came around to the center of the stage, right across from me. He waved a beckoning finger at me and I smiled. Then he mouthed,

"You are so fucking hot."


Somehow I managed not to have my jaw fall open in shock, and instead blew him a kiss.

There were a few more glances exchanged during the rest of the concert and then it was over.

Afterwards, I lingered at the venue, where I ran into people I knew. We chatted about how amazing the show was. One of my friends said,

"That guitarist seemed really into you!"

I'm sure I blushed. "We did kind of have a moment."

I wasn't going to try to get backstage or wait around for the band to come out. Instead, DJ Darla (an acquaintance) and I planned on going to an after-party downtown, in the hopes that the band might turn up later.

As we were heading outside, I felt someone tug on my hair.

I turned around and it was George Guitarist.

"Do you know how many times I fucked up out there because I was staring at you?" he said.

I laughed and asked him his name, partly because I was so nervous I wasn't sure I remembered and partly because I didn't want to seem like such a fangirl.

"Are you going to the afterparty at Downtown Club?"

"What after-party?" He looked confused.

"You don't know about your own band's after-party? That's no good." I took out a pen and paper, wrote down the name of the place and address, along with my name and phone number.

"I have to talk to some friends downstairs, but I'll come out to this later."

"You should."

We smiled at each other again and went off in opposite directions.

When we got outside, I asked DJ Darla: "Did that really happen?"

She confirmed that it did.

We didn't want to get to Downtown Club too early, so we went to Tiki Bar for a drink or two first.

My head was buzzing. "You know, I don't even expect George to come to the club later, or to ever hear from him, but what already happened tonight was pretty cool."

"You never know..." said DJ Darla.

I went outside for a cigarette and saw I had a new voicemail:

"Hey, this is George from Foreign Band. So there's this other party happening downtown and I can get you on the list if you want to meet up there. Otherwise, we're still in town tomorrow and I don't have anything going on in the evening, so maybe we could do something then. Give me a call."

Holy shit.

Reality check, please.

To be continued...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

tentative at best

Let's not call it flaky, let's call it whimsical. Capricious, even.

I didn't used to be this way. I used to rely on a firm schedule and found comfort in social activity that was planned days--if not weeks--in advance. Now, not so much.

I say "let's play it by ear" a lot. I won't buy concert tickets more than a few weeks ahead of time. I have no idea how I'll use up the rest of my personal and vacation days this year. I get nervous when somebody asks to do something more than a couple of days from now. I panic if I feel like my time is being imposed on.

What changed? Did I suddenly realize what precious little free time I had? It's not as if it suddenly dawned on me. How did I go from being so rigid socially to enjoying spontaneous plans so much? How did I go from being thoroughly dependable to a more unknown quantity?

J had a lot to do with it. Between the two of us, we had a healthy social calendar. There were birthdays and weddings and holidays and funerals. There was his giant family and my clan of friends. There were our mutual friends. There was always something to do, something we were invited to.

For a while, I loved having days filled with so much to do, with a person who adored me so much. Then I started realizing that we never had a full weekend to ourselves, to do nothing. Even in the early stages of our relationship, we never had that long stretch of time where we sequestered ourselves in bed and tuned out the rest of the world (mental note to make sure that happens in my next relationship). And when we did have a so-called lazy day, even those had a rigidity to them; there were workouts and errands and little things that always seemed to take longer than expected.

Eventually, the time time we spent together started to feel structured, even when it centered around fun activities. I became frustrated that so many social obligations were stacking up weeks and months into the future. I felt like I had less time to myself, too. Despite asserting to J that I was not a phone person, there were frequent phone calls (he checked in with me up to five times a day). What started out as a feeling of having this loving person so dedicated to me grew into a feeling of being smothered and controlled. Some of our biggest fights were about my need for more personal space. I could see how the relationship could become codependent. I had a life outside the relationship that was beginning to feel hampered.

Since the breakup, one of the things I cherish most is having my schedule back to myself. Invited to a party? No need to check with J to see if there is a conflict on his end. Want to stay in all weekend and be a couch potato? I have the final say. Want to spend days in a row being a social hermit and ignoring all calls/emails/texts? So be it. My free time is all my own.

The problem is this nervousness I've developed about making firm plans too far ahead of time. I was the furthest thing from spontaneous for most of my life and now I've swung to the opposite extreme. Last weekend, I had no plans for Saturday and set plans for Sunday. I ended up going to a last minute gathering on Saturday and bailing on Sunday plans.

Have I become less dependable? Maybe a little, except with my mother and closest friends. With everyone else, it's a crap shoot. I'm probably a frustrating person to date right now and yet potential suitors are on the horizon. My independence and new-found unpredictability is probably attractive to many, yet I've been on the other side of the fence, dealing with people like today's me, and I know how maddening it can be.

There's nothing I can do about it right now. I'm enjoying the last minute, the unexpected, following my whims, carving out my own trajectory. It leads to adventure. I am all about adventure these days.