Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Yesterday morning on NPR Brian Leher did a segment on "Most Memorable Concert". I thought I'd share mine...

In April of 1996 Radiohead played a show at the Metro, a small rock venue near Wrigley Field, in Chicago. At the time they were a band with one album and one song, "Creep". Their album OK Computer would be released in 1997, and debut at #1 on the UK charts. It would go on to win a Grammy for Best Alternative Album and be nominated for Album of the Year. Ok Computer was, arguably, THE album of the late 90's.

I went to the show with my cousin Sam and, as usual, some random girl. It was his idea to go. He would have gone without me I'm sure, but he didn't have a license. We took my Dad's Jeep Grand Cherokee. I figured I was heading out to see a band that was on the verge of obscurity. I assumed that I had caught them on a downswing--I usually don't get wind of things until they're over. I was looking forward to hearing "Creep".

Little did I know that I would never again be as cool as I was the day I saw Radiohead play the entirety of a yet-unreleased OK Computer for 100 people. That was it. My life since that moment can be described as a long party at my house, in my honor, with no guests.

It was an awesome show. We danced our asses off. We were all sweat and smiles and rock and roll when the band finally called it quits. We filed out with the rest of the lucky hipsters.

We parked across the street from the Metro at a hot dog stand called "Wiener Takes All". We took our time getting back to our car. We bought some cigarettes, had a hot dog and fries and talked loudly in superlatives about what we had just witnessed. Finally, we ambled towards our car. I asked Sam for the keys.

I had given Sam my keys, despite my better judgement, because I was rather hefty at the time and there was no room between my thigh and my pocket for a set of keys. I didn't want to take a purse into a rock show! That would just be stupid! Sam is built like a Barbie doll. There was room for a pineapple in his pocket. He wouldn't have to do anything with the keys, just hold them in his pocket until the end of the show.

A word on my cousin Sam: He got arrested on the day of his Bar Mitzvah for skateboarding on city property. If I have a knack for getting myself into scrapes, Sam has a full-fledged talent.

He crowd surfed. Of course! Who could resist the urge to climb onto the arms of this crowd while hearing this band at this moment in their careers? He crowd surfed. I stood there with my hand open, in front of my fathers locked, immobile car, watching Sam turn out his pockets onto the pavement. The knowledge of what happened descended upon us in the parking lot of Wiener Takes All like God did upon Jacob at Beth El.

Reader, you've probably guessed it. Sam lost the keys.

We dove back into the Metro and scoured every inch of the floor. We poked through cigarette butts and pot roaches, everything slimy with wet dirt and sweat and beer.

We could not find them anywhere.

I went into hysterics. I tried calling a locksmith but it was insanely expensive and I was an unemancipated youth. I tried calling my parents, but they were nowhere to be found. Sam's parents were also out. It was the father of the random girl, god bless him, who drove to the city and picked us up. He had quit smoking, I remember, but he chewed on cigars. The cigar on his mouth was flat and wet.

We left the car at Wiener Takes All until the next day when I drove in with my Dad and a spare set of keys.

I think we all felt like Wieners that day.

Happy Birthday, Sam!

1 comment:

Emily said...

LOVE the line about there being room for a pineapple in his pocket..... still giggling - teehee