Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
By Bob HeaningIf green should turn to gray: Keep it simple. Worry about the people in your car and that’s it. If you lay out money for food, beverages or anything else (wink, wink) consider that money gone. Most people are deadbeats and who wants to chase a bunch of drooling idiots around the parking lot for $10 a head? Not me. Either have the money you need in hand before you make your purchases or don’t put yourself in that situation. That’s your call, but if you get beat by people you’re meeting at the show don’t say you weren’t warned.
May 27, 2004
I spent many hours while at Marist College in the mid-90s grooving to the sounds of “Ants Marching” and “Two Step” at the “Renaissance Pub” (Renny’s to the uninitiated). But, it wasn’t until my friend (and yours) Jake Vigliotti took me to a show at Giants Stadium in 1998 that I became a true DMB worshipper. Having enjoyed the atmosphere at Yankee, Ranger, Jet and Giant games, concerts like Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton and even The Grateful Dead, I was amazed at the feeling of community there is at a DMB show. Well, there’s that and the fact DMB shows are riddled with hot, young girls…..my favorite kind, by the way. The term “tailgate party” is like the words moose or elk. Even when there are many you say it in the singular. At a DMB show tailgate party really is singular. Never in my experience have I gone tailgating with friends and ended up spending my time with people I never met like I have at a DMB show. It really is just one big party. Though I was a casual fan before my first show, Jake introduced me to a world I immediately felt at home in.
Recently another DMB Fan website ran an article written by the Coca-Cola appointed Deputy Commissioner of Tailgating. I’m sure he’s not a bad guy, but I’m guessing he and I run in a different type of crowd and I’ve always enjoyed poking some friendly fun at people in positions of authority. The Deputy Commissioner suggested bringing items like dry rubs, containers of black olives, cilantro, pleated Ziploc bags and the “Holy Trinity” of tailgating, tongs, spatula and basting brush. First, I’m from Jersey and I’m more likely to be hanging out with someone named Cilantro than someone that knows what cilantro is. Second, in my crew the “Holy Trinity” of tailgating is lemonade, Ketel One and ice. Judging by the equilibrium issues I’ve witnessed at DMB shows a lot of you are in the same boat. My tailgating tips?
Hey reckless mind/Don’t throw away your playful beginning: Bring a table for beer pong. It’s been longer than I care to say since I graduated college and I forgot the beauty of beer pong, especially outdoors. We called it “Beirut” and we allowed rebounding, but that leads to fights, so save rules that encourage contact for private parties. It should go without saying but anyone playing from outside your group should supply their own beer. Unless you’re Puff Daddy I doubt you can afford to treat everyone in lot C12 to free beers. Establish rules before the game starts and stick to them. Everyone plays differently and there are no rules that are right or wrong. Just make sure everyone is on the same page. The closer it gets to showtime the harder that becomes. And please, I beg of you, no wagering.
Bartender please, fill my glass for me: Solo Cups. I don’t know about you, but nothing says party to me like red Solo Cups. My junior year in college we lived next to a Seventh Day Adventist Church and every Saturday I would get a kick out of looking out my bedroom window at churchgoers looking disgustedly at our Solo Cup-littered front lawn as they walked to services. I wonder how many sermons were about us. Solo Cups are also the cup of choice for beer pong. Keeping your drinks in cups helps keep security away as well. Even if you are one to stay on the right side of the law you still don’t need to be hassled by the man. At the Meadowlands last August we started playing Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” and security appeared out of thin air like the cop in “Terminator 2”. Nobody got in trouble, but it temporarily took the wind out of our sails.
I’m going to drive me right out of my brain: Always have a designated driver, never be a designated driver. This suggestion pretty much goes for any situation. Leaving the parking lot after a DMB show can look like the bumper cars at your local fair. And along those lines...
Day is gone I’m on my back/Staring up at the ceiling: Don’t get so banged up you go from the charmingly funny village idiot to someone who should have handles and be called Samsonite. People look forward to these shows all year. Don’t make your friends have to spend time making sure you don’t walk into traffic. It’s fun to party, but have some kind of grip on your capacity. At a show at the Garden a few years ago six of my friends put a 1.75 liter of Captain Morgan into six Big Gulps for the train ride into the City. My friend Gary got the sweats, puked and had to be dragged out five songs into the show. Not one of the people he sat with still talks to him. And while I’m at it...
Down the hill fell Jack and Jill/And you came tumbling after: If you plan on getting obliterated think about wearing a mouthpiece. Three of the most terrifyingly funny face plants I’ve ever seen have been at DMB shows. The first one was at Giants Stadium in ’98. I was sitting next to a fetching young lady and we were getting along quite well. It was obvious she was intoxicated, but who am I to judge? After about 45 minutes, during the opening act (Beck) by the way, she goes to stand up and falls face first driving her head into the empty seat in front of her. Her friends helped her up while I stood by watching in shock/elation. Jake and I laughed about it for months. The second one was similar, but it was my friend Mike that fell and he did it during the encore when he hadn’t had a drink in over an hour. We were all standing and Mike just took a header into the seats in front of us. At first he fell with his body stiff like Greg “The Hammer” Valentine used to back in the day, but once he hit the seat he folded up as he scrambled to get his bearings and get back to his feet. I have a recording of that show and I swear you can hear all of us laughing at him. The third one may be my favorite, though. As I returned to my car after a show at Giants Stadium there was a kid about 18 years old running through the parking lot with a backpack on and three huge balloons full of nitrous. He somehow tripped and landed right on his balloons popping all of them. He dejectedly picked himself up, looked around and kept heading in the direction he was going. I was laughing so hard I had to duck behind a car and take a knee. The poor bastard.
Could I have been anyone other than me?: If there are just two of you going to the show, and you have the means, bring a ton of beer. The party will come to you. At the first show Jake brought me to he and I had more beer than we could have drank in a whole weekend and within 20 minutes we were surrounded by tipsy, vulnerable college girls. I don’t think I even saw him for the last hour we were in the lot. Unbeknownst to me Jake told some intoxicated little vixen I was then current UCLA quarterback Cade McNown. If I had any warning whatsoever I could have played it off, (editors note: in 1998, the celebrity Bob most resembled was a lighter Private Pile from Full Metal Jacket – it was a phase he went through – he has more of a well… Cade McNown look to him now) but I performed as poorly as McNown did in the NFL and had to come clean. Interesting side note to that story, McNown ended up getting banned from the Playboy Mansion for getting intimate with one of Hef’s girlfriends. As far as I’m concerned that’s as impressive as winning a Super Bowl MVP.
Splish splash me and you takin a bath: Don’t wear anything you really care about. The list of things that could ruin articles of clothing are endless, water, mud, ketchup, mustard, Mad Dog 20/20 and blood are just a few. Anyone that was at the June 11, 2001 show at Giants Stadium will appreciate this one. It was unbearably humid during the whole show and most of the audience was praying for rain to break the humidity. I was on the field about three quarters of the way back as the band started “Two Step” as the last song of the encore and the skies opened. At first it was only raining up by the stage, but it rapidly moved back. For the duration of the 10 minutes the band played it rained like I’ve never seen before or since. People on the field were scattering in the mayhem. It was a true panic situation. It was raining so hard that at one point I took two straight inhales that brought nothing but water into my nose and mouth. I almost drowned!! The band never missed a beat while the crowd was going insane. Download this show and listen to the pandemonium in the background. There was a flash flood on the field and I was up to my ankles in water. I just took off my shoes and socks, left them there and walked back to my car barefoot. It was a religious experience.
No need to bear the weight of your worries here/Let them all fall away: Know your venue. Tailgating at Giants Stadium rocks! Not as much as Chinet plates, but you get the picture. Security is fine as long as you don’t act like an idiot and there is plenty a space. The other venues I’ve seen DMB at aren’t as good. I’ll start with Camden because it’s the biggest crap hole of the bunch. Let me put it this way, when you are in Camden if someone asks you for $5 for “medicine” for their “baby” that is dope fiend for “I need crack or I will start to detox”. There is one road leading to the Tweeter Center and if you go I hope you have the next day off because the traffic in the parking lot after the show is hell on earth. Saratoga is a beautiful facility and a great place to see a show, but there is no alcohol allowed anywhere. Terrible for tailgating, but a venue you should see at least once nonetheless. The Garden is the Garden. You can’t tailgate in the traditional sense, but there are plenty of gin mills in the area to pre-game and nothing beats the energy in the City. Speaking of which, Central Park was a phenomenal time and I hope they play there again. I did, however, have a little problem when I took a solo trip to the potty. Everything looked alike and after almost slipping in a puddle of urine (I’m not kidding) I got tremendously lost and spent roughly an hour and a half wandering aimlessly with my cell phone signal jammed. When Dave sang the lyric “could I have been lost somewhere in Central Park” during “Dancing Nancies” I was, in fact, lost somewhere in Central Park. It’s a special moment when you can relate to someone’s lyrics like that.
I hope my suggestions and reminiscences both help and get you pumped for the rapidly approaching summer tour. DMB shows are special and you should remember that nothing lasts forever so enjoy every show as if it were your last. And most importantly, as Dave likes to say, be good to each other.
The views and comments expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of antsmarching.org.