What the hell is this?

I Can't Stand [Meeting] You is a collection of all the ridiculous things I've written to and about drummer and composer Stewart Copeland.

I actually did meet him for about five crazy seconds in 2007, again for a few exciting moments in August 2009, and my most recent (and most thrilling!) encounter took place in October 2009, where I proved myself capable of being, yet again, a total dork in the man's presence.

I can't believe what I get up to. And neither should you.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hollywood Bowl Scuffle

Last night's Police concert at the Hollywood Bowl was amazing. I was so excited to see Elvis Costello for the first time! Our trip to Hollywood on the shuttle bus was totally uneventful, and I'm really glad I didn't drive like I did when we went to Dodger Stadium, because there was a lot of traffic and I would've been panicking, cussing a lot, and probably driving on the shoulder. Leaving the driving to the professionals was a smart move. Our fellow riders were pretty normal - we sat near the front of the bus (in the seats normally reserved for the elderly). Across from us was a guy, his teenage son and daughter, and the daughter's boyfriend. They were pretty entertaining. The daughter was whiter than I had been in high school, and she had dyed blond hair, but her outfit (cutoff Levis, red flip flops, and a tee shirt that said "Cocoa Puffs" on it) was highly reminiscent of something I might've worn. She and her brother talked to their dad a lot about music, and Elvis, and the Police. Unfortunately I have to question dad's parenting skills, because he kept going on and on about Sting's solo work.

The funny thing was, while we were riding on the bus, somewhere on the 101 freeway, we passed Patrick's friend Phil, who was taking his wife and son to the show. How often do you see someone you know on the freeway?

Anyway, Elvis was amazing. He came on at 7:25 - five minutes early - and hit us with a song from his new album; I wasn't familiar with it. He sounded great, though, and Pat and I were glad it was just him playing guitar (which could've been turned up a bit), a bassist, a keyboard player, and a drummer. I don't know how he usually comes out, but for some reason we thought he might've brought a horn section or more musicians, and we thought that might just muddy things up. The crowd was really light at that point, and I wondered how he felt looking out at a half-filled audience, most of whom were eating their fancy picnic dinners. Our seats were pretty good. When we arrived, there were two blond ladies in the seats next to us - they were nice enough, said hello. As the set went on, Elvis pulled out old favorites like "Pump It Up," "Everyday I Write the Book," "and a song I really love and didn't expect to get to hear, "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea." Then they set into "Allison," and out comes Sting to sing along.

It was OK.
So Elvis played for about an hour, a couple more songs, a couple I didn't recognize. People seemed to be having a good time, and then this group of people arrived to sit behind us.

There were, I think, three of them. Maybe four. There was a man who his friends were teasing for looking like "Jesse James" (Sandra Bullock's Jesse James), but even though he was plenty tattooed, I just thought he looked like an asshole. You could tell by the way they were talking to each other that they were either already drunk or just thought they were the shit. He was with a woman, who I didn't really get a good look at but whose whiny voice spewed negative comments about the rest of the people around us all night, and another guy, bald, wearing a red shirt, who made quite a few trips for beer throughout the night. Our row had a lot of people who paid money for those seats and then spent half their time wandering around (and stepping on us - we were on the end), and I just don't get it. Sit down and watch the show! Anyway, when the Police came out and the two blonds next to us, who had announced their god-given right to "dance at concerts" stood up, I should've realized that things were going to get ugly.

They didn't, well, not at first. The couple right in front of us also started dancing, but I could see in between them, and there was a video screen close by. I could've stood up myself, but it wasn't that big of a deal. They didn't dance throughout everything, and honestly, what they were doing could hardly be called "dancing" anyway. The man, a tall skinny guy in khakis, basically pointed his ass and shuffled his feet and kissed the woman now and then.

However, the threesome behind us was not amused with blondies' dancing. I think bad things started happening during "Don't Stand So Close To Me" (which was the slowed down, geriatric-friendly version from 1986). All of them had been talking shit to each other - the people behind us were non-stop assholes, saying things like, "Would you sit the fuck down? You're ruining it for everyone," etc. At the beginning I was just trying to ignore them and watch the show. Patrick was between me and the blonds, and he's always so stoic, I figured everything was OK. The blonds were talking back, too, and all of them were belligerent and rude. Finally, the Jesse James wannabe guy (and he was truly a total dick) started pushing one of the women - the one sitting next to Patrick. Now they're all shoving each other, the couple on the other side starts in, and I'm still trying to just watch the show. My binoculars and me were watching Stewart, dammit, and these assholes were just being too loud. Patrick's holding back the Jesse James guy (he tried to hit her, and Patrick wasn't going to let him do that; she was a selfish bitch, yeah, but I could see her side of it, too) and then I piped in, in what sounded even to me like Lisa Simpson, with,

"Would you all just sit down and shut the fuck up! You're ruining it for everyone! Assholes!!"

The effect of my voice was pretty minimal, but eventually they all settled down. I kept saying, "Assholes!" until Patrick shushed me, but I was pissed off. Ruin my night with Sting, Stewart and Andy? Jerks. The rest of the show was great, though, was it just me or could it all have been a lot louder? The music was a lot tighter than it had been at Dodger Stadium last year, the trainwreck in the middle of "Roxanne" was either better or easier to take, and aside from them taking "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" totally straight (and therefore removing, for me, the magic of that song), I was pretty happy with their new renditions of their old songs. Sting was scruffy and bearded (but he sounded really good - the peanut gallery behind us thought he looked "puffy" but I disagree - he looked like a sexy 56 year old man), Andy's medication seemingly kicked in mid-show, because at some point we noticed things were faster, peppier, and more in time (though, possibly, way out of tune towards the end), and Stewart - well, Stewart was perfect. The bit with the percussion set was a lot more impressive at Dodger Stadium because I remember that set being two levels, with him having to scamper up steps to get to his rig, but other than the staging, it was amazing (nobody dances during drum solos, apparently, and for this I was grateful), and he was amazing (the girl with the dudes behind us kept trying to convince them that "Pat Benetar's drummer is much better than Stewart Copeland," and if they hadn't denied her forcibly, I would've. If they wanted to strong-arm their own, I was all for it).

The only thing I would change is that darn headband. Stewart, I know you sweat a lot, you're working really hard, but dude.

I know that he couldn't see or hear me, and he surely isn't reading this now, but Stewart, my eye was on you all night.

No comments: