10 Years Ago...
By Jake Vigliotti
June 8, 2007
In 1997, I worked for a television station located in the outskirts of Bristol, CT (which shall remain nameless). Planning excursions with friends was difficult. It was hard to plan things ahead, and even more difficult to plan things ahead for a group.
There were at least six DMB fans among the 97. However, to find an off day for those 6 friends was a near impossibility. But nonetheless, Rils * purchased 6 tickets from Peaches on Route 6 the instant the tickets went on sale. Somehow, some way, 6 friends (or so) from that TV place would go see DMB in June.
I, of course, was going to the show. Rils would too. D-Lew would hit his 1st DMB show since around 1993; he attended the University of Virginia and saw them at the legendary Trax. The Mayor would certainly attend; she was a huge DMB fan. The other three would request that Sunday off (difficult in itself), and then we’d find an additional person to attend the show. The additional person was the Mayor’s friend, Abby; who’s not too shabby.
Rils checked out the schedule and found that Jimmy, the 6th friend, was off that day. The conversation was thusly (verbatim):
RILS: Jimmy, we’re going to see DMB on Sunday. You’re off that day, want to go?
JIMMY: No thanks.
RILS: We’re going to get a couple of cases and party before the show.
JIMMY: Ok, I’m in.
For review: four DMB fans, one vicariously related to DMB through college, one there for the beer. Although we were all friends, it tended to be like a bus stop sometimes; awkward silences and saying the wrong thing at the wrong time – plenty of times.
The Day of the show, we gathered at the apartment of Rils and D-Lew; their household was the unofficial spot for all parties. The Mayor and her friend Abby; who’s not too shabby, arrived. To say Rils was a bit smitten by her is like saying Rip Taylor is a little bit flamboyant. Everything Abby, who I may have failed to mention was not too shabby, said was like butter to Rils. “You like Mountains? I love mountains! In fact, I’ve thought of becoming a mountain!” It was seriously that bad.
We had 6 people, 3 cases of whatever the cheapest thing Crazy Bruce’s Liquor Store carried, and 1 bag of chips. We drank for 3-4 hours, and then drove to Hartford, which with concert traffic promised to be a 1 ˝- 2 hour jaunt. But in those few hours the girls didn’t drink much, Rils was driving, so he wasn’t drinking, and (believe it or not) my ambition when seeing DMB is to see DMB, not be so drunk that I pass out before the first song.
The first sign of trouble that day was all-me. I can’t remember exactly what I said, or what the subject was, but I think it was a Kung-Po-Kitten Chinese food joke mixed with Abby; who’s not too shabby, having a PETA membership.
I don’t mean to throw it all on Abby; who incidentally wasn’t too shabby. This was my surly phase, which I’m sure caused me to throw in a, “I’d eat the ass-end out of a horse if you cook it right”, which caused her to physically refrain from making eye-contact with me the rest of the night.
The second sign of trouble was that D-Lew was not a big drinker. In fact, the first time he ever got drunk he just looked at a beer. For every beer I had, Jimmy had 8. D-Lew drank 4 for every beer I had. I happened to have drank only three (using what is known around those parts as the “Chisolm” method; which is to keep a straw or the beer tab from every drink you have, so the next morning you know how many drinks you had – thus my three tabs the next morning).
The third sign of trouble was, well, Jimmy. Ever see that movie Blind Date? The Bruce Willis/Kim Basinger vehicle where when Kimmy gets too drunk, she acts completely out of control. She was so out of control that one would believe that a real human being could never act so outrageously? I think they based that movie on Jimmy. He’s a great guy, but ever so slightly out of control when he has a few. Basic math (24 and 12) tells you that there were two individuals more fucked up than learning that K-Fed was the sane one.
We gathered up the troops (read: got the two drunks in the car) and hoped in the car. We 6 listened to the DMB show from 9.6.96 on our ride to the “insurance capital of the world” in a vehicle made for 2. Jimmy took a ‘window’ seat in the back so he could properly hang out of the Jeep and scream at the cars we passed. I sat in the middle back, because Abby; who I may have mentioned was not too shabby, sat shotgun and that way couldn’t physically see me. We also stopped once so D-Lew and Jimmy could pee. Before we left Bristol. Two minutes after we left the house…
Somehow after the first piss-stop, we were able to get Jimmy and D-Lew to hold it until we at least got to Hartford (and the traffic jam). I’m pretty sure I attempted to make up with Abby who was not too shabby about whatever I may have said, and I left her with a question of her well-being with these choice words, “You need to piss too better run for that big tree over there.”
We wound up parking somewhere to the left in the main lot, but it may as well been like remembering you’re in the “Itchy” lot with all the cars and lack of markers. As soon as we parked, Jimmy jumped out of the jeep and sprinted toward the Meadows like a cat after an open door. I gave chase though I’m not sure why I gave chase. In hindsight, I should’ve let him go, but I didn’t. D-Lew and The Mayor followed up. Rils’s and his unbelievably cheesy lines to Abby who despite her distaste of me, wasn’t too shabby brought up the rear. “You know, I thought of joining the priesthood as a youth, I would’ve lived in an Abby then, ironic, ain’t it?” “Isn’t walking on dirt fun?” “I hate Jake too, you know.” Stuff like that.
We arrived at the gate, all six of us. On our way through security, four of our group attempted to sneak in cans of beer. Three were successful. I won’t say who was the one who was caught, but it was the genius who cupped his hand over a beercan and thought he could waltz through security. But his name rhymed with Gee-Moo. We actually sat down near the refreshments and made a pact: in case anyone got lost, just meet outside the gate at the flagpole, and we’ll wait for you. Sounds good.
Just for some perspective, this was 1997. Only drug dealers had Cell Phones. The Warehouse was a pipe-dream, meaning only people who had friends that worked at Ticketmaster got good seats. It was lawn-city for us. We stood about ˝ way up on Stage-Left (Roi’s side). Basically we were between where Dave and Roi would be. D-Lew actually had the outside left, then me, Rils, Jimmy, The Mayor, and Abby; who couldn’t get far enough away from me despite being not too shabby.
Jimmy was dancing like a madman! Of course, it was just the house music between acts. Oh this is not good, I thought. I tried to pass the time with everyone by playing ‘count the pukers’ – a fun pastime at Hartford shows if you’re in the lawn. Just look around, and then count everyone you see in the act of vomiting! The game ends when someone less that 1 group away hurls. We made to six when the 15 year-old girl who clearly had tried aftershock for the first time (and I do mean clearly) ‘took one for the team’.
D-Lew, despite not being a huge DMB fan, now possessed beer-brains. It’s sort of like Beer Muscles. It’s when you convince yourself that you’re an expert on a subject, and nothing can convince you you’re wrong about anything.
”I bet they open with Brickhouse.”
Now, you know they don’t play Brickhouse. I know they don’t play Brickhouse. But don’t tell Mr. C’ville that.
”They don’t play that.” I calmly retort.
”Yes they do! I saw them at that bar-where-they-always-played and they Always played Brickhouse!”
”You know,” Rils said addressing You-know-who; who was you-know-what, “I love pigs. It’s because the third one build his house of bricks. A brick house indeed.”
Kill me now.
DMB took the stage while the sun was still up.
And in their usual nonchalant manner, waited what felt like forever to begin playing.
Dave was probably a minute into the intro for One Sweet World when the constant shouting of “It’s starting!” finally got the majority of fans to shut up. The Brickhouse cry subsided.
For a scant moment, I thought even the most intoxicated of our group would survive the evening. Yea, right. When the sun ceased during Seek Up, what little sanity our party had left also went down for the night.
About 13 minutes into Seek Up, Jimmy announced, “I’m getting a beer!” Before you could say one of those snappy phrases that denote a quick passage of time (Jack Robinson, Jack Sprat, or Wholly Shit… Jimmy!) he was gone into the abyss of fans.
Rils probably had a shot at stopping him but was too busy throwing darts at Abby; who you probably realize by now was fairly aesthetic. By the time Rils realized Jimmy started to move, Jimmy was gone. Clearly, someone had to go and find him.
Now, do I even need to tell you who volunteered for that? Could it be The Mayor, whom we’ve barely heard from? How about Rils? Yea, right. Abby; who’s not blah blah blah, I wish (not really). I’m sure not playing baby-sitter.
That’s right, D-Lew will find Jimmy. That’s like sending the black guy to check out a strange sound on Star Trek. Yes, I even knew at the time what a bad idea it was, but put yourself in my shoes: He yelled Brickhouse 237 times and we were only 4 songs into the show.
It was during Say Goodbye when the kind heart of The Mayor finally caved. “We must find Jimmy and D-Lew!”
I think we all felt that Jimmy was long gone by then, lost in the sea of beer and chicks. He could survive. D-Lew, on the other hand, he was in a foreign land. This could very well be his first time intoxicated to this extent. I felt bad. But he did yell “Brickhouse” 237 times. “Don’t forget the pact!” I calmly reminded the goodly Mayor. The pact will save him! I think…
Just as DMB was finishing up a fantastic set with Too Much, I looked down and saw D-Lew wondering aimlessly. “D-Lew” The Mayor screamed as she threw him to the ground with a leaping tackle. D-Lew was safe again sans the bruises.
After the encore break, DMB played Drive In Drive Out, Dave said his salutations, and they were gone. The big problem was that 90% of the crowd was expecting a two-song encore. We waited almost 2 minutes before the house lights came on and we headed out.
For those of you who have never visited the former Meadows, getting off the lawn is akin to a rat race. Very small passage out, very sharp turn, very steep road. We were 5-across at the bend when a mini-stampede broke out. The outside left moved much more quickly than the inside right side, and in the blink of an eye we were all separated! The only person I could see was Abby; who despite the sweat and the anger was still not too shabby.
”Abby!” I yelled, shortening her name to a more acceptable nomenclature to yell in a crowded stampede.
The force of the flow of those exiting took me right out the gate and to the aforementioned flagpole. Of course, about 20 other groups had the same idea we had, so the flag pole is 6 deep in people. I stood off to the right of the flagpole waiting for everyone to arrive. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
Great. Everyone is lost but me.
The first survivor I saw was The Mayor. She looked like she had just gotten off a river-rapid ride, soaked from head-to-toe in beer and sweat. Apparently there had been a beer-spilling incident on the way down, and The Mayor bravely spared the ground from getting wet. She was not happy.
The next to come were Rils and Abby; who were walking arm and arm. Now in my book she was officially shabby. Bitch. Rils, I meant.
The crowd was still flowing out when the wet, stinky, melancholy Mayor announced her intention to vacate the facilities immediately, post haste. Without D-Lew. Without the now long forgotten Jimmy. We tried to reason with her, but it was like trying to talk Britney out of lip-synching; ain’t gonna happen. We were able to stall her for about two minutes, then we simply had to go.
I think it was the, “We’re fucking leaving right now! I don’t care who we leave!” that cinched it.
It was almost like a scene from a movie; just then D-Lew came stumbling out the front gate and walked right by us! We quickly grabbed him, and he had this glazed over look on his eyes, the kind you get when you either A. were just in a stampede or B. were a character on the Pirates Of The Caribbean ride at Disney. It took him a second to realize that we weren’t going to throw him to the ground and step on him, which judging by the size 9 footprint on his back clearly happened. And what did poor, stomped upon D-Lew have to say after his triumphant rescue?
”I can’t believe they didn’t play Brickhouse.”
The five of us, shy only a Jimmy, trekked to the car. The reasoning, from The Mayor, was that Jimmy probably went to the car.
Now, even reading this you know there ain’t no way Jimmy’s at the car. He just jumped out of the car like a dog after a bird as soon as we pulled into the spot. But walk, and walk, and walk we did.
Shocker. Jimmy wasn’t at the car.
The girls and D-Lew stayed at the car while Rils and I walked, and walked, and walked all the way back to the front of the venue.
Shocker. Jimmy wasn’t there either.
After a brief look around the venue, searching for people who were lying in their own vomit, we walk, and walk, and walk back to the car.
Shocker. Jimmy still wasn’t there.
And everyone at the car was asleep.
We have officially given up on Jimmy. The five of us, the three sleeping all in the back and Rils and I drove all-the-way back to the town known as the most Godforsaken city on the East Coast.
We dropped off the girls, much to my joy to get rid of You-Know-Who; who despite all we’d been through I must admit was still not too shabby, Dammit. Rils was intending to walk her to the apartment but a well placed, “Hey Rils, how’s the herpes doing anyway?” (from you guessed it) convinced her to make the long 12 foot walk to the door by herself. It was my only joy of the evening.
We arrived back at Rils and D-Lew’s apartment, just the three of us. Guilt finally set in. D-Lew was still dropping “Brickhouse” references, and driving me completely nuts. Stupid Rils decided to drive back to Hartford to look for Jimmy. Of course I went too. Stupid guilt. Or I just wanted to get away from Captain Brickhouse, the real reason is a bit hazy all these years later.
We drove, and drove, and drove all the way to the former Meadows. We didn’t find Jimmy. Shocker.
As we were driving back, on 84 west of Hartford, we passed that little diner you can see from the highway. At this point, I was ready to just notify the next of kin and move on with my life, so I suggested we stop and get a bite to eat. The place wasn’t that full when we drove by it; but Rils was now on a mission to find Jimmy.
We got back to Bristol and D-Lew had a message for us: The Mayor called and said she just remembered that there was another exit to the former Meadows on the other side. Maybe Jimmy was there still waiting for us.
”No.” I said.
”Come on.” Rils said.
”No.” I said.
”Come on.” Rils said. Again.
”No.” I said.
”Come on.” Rils said. Again.
We drove and drove and drove back to the former Meadows. To the other side.
Shocker. Jimmy still wasn’t there.
So we drove, and drove, and drove back again.
As we passed by the same places for the third time, my only comments were, “Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament!”
We pulled back to the apartment of Rils and D-Lew and Rils turned off the vehicle. It’s now close to 3am. On a Sunday. In Connecticut. There’s only one thing that could make this day worse: Before we got out of the Jeep, I said, “If I walk in this place, and Jimmy’s sitting on that couch drinking a beer, I’m going to kill him.”
Rils walked in first, after all, it was his apartment. That probably saved Jimmy at least a bruise because there he sat, on the couch, drinking a beer.
”Howdy fellas!” he calmly said. He was acting like he just got back from a relaxing day at the spa which provided a complimentary deep muscle massage.
With all 6’4 of Rils holding back my not-6’4 frame, I was eventually calmed down while a shocked (at me!) Jimmy told his tale:
He scampered off to get another beer, he realized quite quickly into his journey that he might have trouble making it back because A. he forgot who he was with and B. he didn’t take a straight path down to the walkway.
So Jimmy did what any sensible person would do; he snuck into the reserved seating area. From there, he slowly made his way up to the front row of the show! This would be a good time to remind you he was only going to the show for the beer. In the front row is where he remained for the rest of the show. So what happened afterwards? Why he filed out with the crowd.
He exited out the wrong side, he said, but realized it quickly. But rather than back-track, he just grabbed the first taxi he saw and hailed it back to Bristol.
While on the way, he convinced the cabbie to stop at that diner right off 84, the same one I wanted to stop at, and bought the cabbie a burger! They then made their trip back to Bristol, where Jimmy realized he didn’t have any money! He then had the cabbie drive him to the only ATM around (near what used to be the Raddison), got out $60, and paid the fair ($50 – no tip since he bought the cabbie dinner).
”That was a lot of fun! We’ll have to do it again!” Jimmy cracked.
”Eh,” D-Lew replied, “I just wish they would’ve played…”
”Don’t Even Say It!”
EPILOGUE: D-Lew stopped me the next day at work.
”You know, I was thinking about it, and DMB didn’t play Brickhouse, that was another band I was thinking of.”
As he left, I swore that I’d never, ever, go see DMB again!
But wait till you hear what happened to me the next year!
* Names are changed or nicknamed to save embarrassment.
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