Sunday, January 28, 2018

COC with BLS and Red Fang in St. Pete's

With an assistant who’s eye is still healing from getting injured in the last mosh pit, you are leery.  Thinking back to all the concerts you went to weekly by yourself when you were living up on Lake Erie, summon the courage to convince yourself lighting does not strike in the same place twice in theory.

It’s not like it’s an abnormity for you to go see Corrosion of Conformity; blend in with anonymity.

There’s a type of comfort found when you’re hiding in the crowd, becoming one within the masses.  Given the history, did you really think they wouldn’t notice the former Harley Girl wearing glasses?  Honestly, did you think that you would just be holed up in one of Jannus Live’s dark crevasses?

Maybe you did, but it’s kind of hard to say you hid when you’re in front of the barricade, heaven forbid.

Red Fang had just taken the stage when you walked in, so you beelined straight for the barricade.  Camera in hand, furiously snap as many pictures as possible before the end of the third song is played.  When the other photographers start shuffling towards you, it’s time to hide like a masquerade.

Push past people into the shroud.  Walk through a cloud.  Appreciate Red Fang playing loud.

It drowns out any conversation that people are having, allowing you to fully take in every note.  Rhythmically, you find yourself moving to the beat, bopping around like a hurricane tossing a boat.  There’s a little violence to the motions, along with a dreaminess, and the song lashes like a knout.

It digs into your flesh, burrowing with each thresh, as if the song were attempting to enflesh.

By the time Corrosion of Conformity takes the stage, you cannot contain yourself any longer.  Commanding you to move like a marionette, the notion to dance was not just growing a little stronger, the melodic groove combined with violence pulled your strings to dance around as if a warmonger.

“Um, excuse me, dear.  Do you realize you’re not the only one here?  I just wanted to make that clear.”

Snap back to reality.  You just danced crazy through the whole set.  The people behind you were upset.  Apologize for getting a little too wild, as you couldn’t help but react to the beats and produce sweat.  Attempt to move a little closer, and the cry babies follow you, so you try to make an offering: a calumet.

While up front, you’re identified.  A stage tech comes well supplied.  He tosses something to your side.

At first, you’re not really paying attention, so he throws another to the person on the other side of you.  Look up and see him smiling at you.  He gives the, “are you ready?” look.  Grin: you know what he’ll do.  He smiles wide and tosses a guitar pick inside of your shirt, landing between your tits, and his smile grew.

He waved after throwing it down the hatch.  Nobody dared to snatch.  “That was a pretty good catch.”

You clarify that it was good aim, and leave it at that, not wanting to explain touring the country again.  Years had passed since your younger years of being sexy and dominating, with Ozzfest being your reign.  The people on stage remember you, so why do you have to gab with strangers or even try to explain?

Just smile like it’s random.  Pretend that you’re just part of the fandom.  No need for a memorandum.

Watch the other photographers go where you just were for COC, only now you’re just in the crowd.  Waiting until the last minute to ask Bill for a photo pass, it didn’t matter if you swore or got too loud.  With a sold-out show, it’s hard to expect him to have one extra, and it didn’t matter if you were proud.

At least you got to wave at Pepper.  It’s hard to pretend to be a schlepper.  It’s not like you were a leper.

He acknowledged you on stage, as he had every other time that he’s seen you; he’s your Cheshire cat.  Appearing in multiple books of yours, he always has his token huge grin, but then, it’s like where’s he at?  He’ll disappear as quickly as he appeared, making you wonder if he was just a hallucinated diplomat.

He’s always been one of your favorites.  It’s not because of his hits.  You know the guy behind the glitz.

In New Orleans, he kept tabs on you like an uncle, and Frenchie told you to call him Mr. Roper even.  Checking out a guy that wanted to marry you, calling out his bullshit, Pepper was a guy to believe in.  Never one to make you feel uncomfortable, he and his bandmates were just always even Steven.

Bring a vegetarian dish for Mike.  Woody taught you to like Dwight Yoakam.  It’s never, “take a hike.”

First time meeting Reed, he chatted like he knew you forever, welcoming you without having a clue.  When you brought a friend that played bass, they put on Mike Gordon’s video to teach what to do.  There’s literally all styles of music that the guys of COC are into, and well-rounded musicians should, too.

Black Label Society, now that’s a whole different story.  Perhaps they have notoriety of insobriety.

That’s not the side you knew, as you recalled Zakk playing Uno with his kid just like any average dad.  You remember walking up to Robert in Denver, not having a clue who he was, chatting like a comrade.  Once you learned who he was, he made tour fun by making funny faces whenever you looked sad.

Then there’s Nick.  When you heard his fate, it made you sick.  Is everybody viewing him to be a dick?

You can only remember hitting the jackpot for him, which is nothing you expected to do in Reno.  Walking through this hole in the wall joint, your friend wanted to talk to him, seeing him at the casino.  Nick told you to sit and play slots, and when the coins started falling, you didn’t even know.

Did you hit cash out?  The light started flashing, so there’s little doubt.  The manager came about.

Drinks all the way around, big handshakes and congratulations; you won by playing off of his money.  Surreal, the three of you couldn’t believe it.  Slurp down free drinks, and laugh how it’s funny.  Completely a gentleman, Nick gave you a large sum of cash, insisting you keep it: “you won it, honey.”

Let’s not forget Jim.  Didn’t he play with White Lion?  That’s him.  Eat with him backstage on a whim.

Oh, the long, dark-haired JD.  Were you grinning at thee?  That eye contact could very well be silly.  Wait, did Zakk just say he had been on Tinder more than 20 years?  That’s one worn out old willy.  Claiming that he’s never had an STD, that only makes paranoia grow; scratch like having morbilli.

Even the techs, you hadn’t seen in years.  They’re the unseen heroes slinging gears.  To them, cheers.

There’s some you’ve seen at other shows across the globe, as the music scene is filled with pools.  Having expensive equipment, it’s not like these big named bands want to hire a bunch of dumbass fools.  Passing years, you see the same faces, as the techs are the guys that seem to know about all the tools.

These guys are good in a jam.  They’ve even explained a music program.  They have skills, Madame.

Speaking of skills, Zakk jammed on a baby grand piano, as did Dario, but there was a feeling though.  Within the pit of the stomach, you could feel a premonition, a feeling of death that you felt below.  Thinking of Dimebag shot in the face right before they unveiled his picture was creeping in slow.

It was the feeling Drowning Pool had.  They called the death; it was sad.  Who’s next is bad.

Right when you worry that it might be someone famous, fearing it could be Zakk, it’s hopefully not.  Instead, this one hits a little closer to home, but you wouldn’t know until you were in the parking lot.  You could feel something not right, but it was not anyone expected that you would have thought.

Leave the venue and hear music play.  Stop when you hear a band slay.  Time to dance more, hurray. 

Stormbringer was just playing covers, but they were meticulously on point like you couldn’t believe.  Though the tiny momentary blissfully ignorant joy was another moment where you could be naïve.  Stopping to rest, check your phone to find that one of your school friends died; you cry and grieve.

Think to how life is short.  Sometimes, it’s the little things that thwart.  Enjoy the musical consort.
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