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Rain Delay

May 7, 2006

"I don't normally pick up guys like this!"
-Lisa, a cute 36-year-old brunette, to me last night at the WRAX Crawfish Boil

The WRAX Crawfish Boil last night didn't go as expected. But, since it's my life, it had plenty of fun, impromptu moments. These things always just seem to happen for me.

First off, like an idiot, I didn't double-check the location of the event and simply presumed that it was taking place in Pelham at the Verizon Music Center. As I drove up, I thought it was kind of strange that there wasn't much traffic. Then I realized the sad reality: there was no concert there! Ugh.

I called Pouncey, and he said that, in fact, the Crawfish Boil (concert) was taking place downtown, over by UAB's campus. So I hopped on I-65 and headed north.

It took another two calls to John to determine the exact location of the event, but I finally found it. Parking was totally catch-as-catch-can, though there weren't any paid parking areas, so it was a free-for-all. Luckily, most of the people were already there, but there were enough vultures like me looking for spots to make it challenging. I found I had found a spot over by a bread company, but this large guard walked over my way, and I soon figured out why the two cars had pulled out of the "supervisor" spots just before then. Finally I lucked out, snagging a plum spot in front of a Sherwin Williams paint place. A couple of blocks of walking later, I was there.

The ticket price of $15 was amazingly low. Thumbs up to the promoters for not charging exorbitant prices on that. The place is apparently a real venue of sorts, the "Schaeffer Eye Center", though it looked like something thrown together for a summer outdoor concert. Located at 18th Street and 1st Ave South, the venue is set next to train tracks, with the tall buildings of downtown in the foreground. But it wasn't a concrete jungle; there was plenty of grassy room there, which made it ideal for a festival type setting.

The plan was for John (Pouncey) and his roommate to meet me there, though I ended up never seeing them. I'm not sure as of this writing what happened. But there was plenty to do and see, and I'm not the type who absolutely has to have a crew with me to have fun. It does help, though, but it's not like I was helpless in that situation or anything.

I wore my blue Sirius Satellite Radio cap, giving some free advertising for them. The most disrespectful thing I ever did at a concert was wear a 98 Rock shirt at a 97X concert after Gauvaween 2004, but that happened by accident. I don't have anything against WRAX, but this city deserves to hear about Sirius as much as possible. Normally I don't wear hats, as I have a huge head (seriously, my head is huge), but the Sirius cap is a flex-fit. And as it turned out, it was a very advantageous thing to have.

My timing was perfect, as I got there right before P.O.D. took to the stage. They were going out of their way to say, "Thank you Birmingham!" and such, which makes me snicker as I always think of Mick Foley doing that at WWF shows and Jerry Lawler shouting, "Cheap pop!" But P.O.D., for those not in the know, sings a song called Boom that we used as out open for the BTLS show when we first started on Sirius that talks about the "boys from the south." The lead singer kept talking about having played at some bar at the Five Points district in 1996, and it went from cheap pop to seeming like a legit love for Birmingham. It was pretty cool to see.

It began sprinkling rain toward the end of the P.O.D. set, but not enough to cause a panic. Then the rain stopped, and I figured okay, all was well.

Eerie Pub Crawl
Andy Holland (right) and I survived the Eerie Pub Crawl. (November 1998)
Not so fast. The skies opened back up, and it started to really rain. Hot wet chicks are a-okay in my book, but still the rain started causing people to leave en masse. I went over to buy some Dippin' Dots (it had the shortest line), and the rain was coming down pretty hard at that point. Some kid in line behind me, who was probably 15 or so, asked me which bar was my favorite on the Eerie Pub Crawl (I had my "I Survived The Eerie Pub Crawl" shirt from 1998 on for the show, since that's a good conversation starter.) I admitted to him that, with all the drinks I had on the crawl, they blended together. He told me as I made my purchase that he wanted to go on that someday. It's in Edinburgh, Scotland. If you feel daring, find out how rugged you are and give it a try. I was in my drinking prime when I did that; today I'm not so sure how I'd do.

One interesting note -- two girls offered to buy the shirts from Andy and I on the spot as soon as we had earned them. We turned them down, and I'm glad. Seven and a half years later, I'm still getting my money's worth out of mine.

My hat came in handy for blocking the rain. With my freshly shorn head, I would've been a wet mess. Plus, I went a little crazy and shaved off my goatee in prepping for the concert (perhaps why I got carded two times out of three last night), though I dunno what my goatee would've done to protect me from the rain, now that I think about it. But considering that I seldom wear hats, I'm glad that I had one on for the show.

With all the people having left, it did allow me to get closer to the stage. Live came on, and I finally got to see them perform in person, 12 years late. See, in the fall of 1994, I gave up a chance to see them play in Nashville to take part in Model UN. It may sound ridiculous, but I had made a commitment to do Model UN, and I wasn't backing out. Even though I was representing Iraq (no joke), and I knew I had about zero chance of getting any sort of bill passed based on that fact. But that's beside the point; now, 12 years later, I finally got to see Live. Besides The Band, I think Live has the most confusing musical group name of any mainstream act of the past century.

As the first song began, an attractive girl got my attention. "Can you buy me a beer?" she abruptly asked. Her name was Lisa; she explained that she didn't have her ID with her and that she had managed to get separated from her friends. I said okay; she told me she was 36, which surprised me, since she looked about my age. She even bought me a beer for my trouble. "I don't normally pick up guys like this," she spouted; funny, I thought I was just buying beer for her. Lisa paid for one for me as well out of the $20 she handed to me (she offered), and we went back over to where we were. She asked if she could hang with me and my friends, and I started to explain how I couldn't find the guys I had planned to meet there... but then, mid-sentence, she spotted her friend, and poof, she was gone. Actually, that's a microcosm for some relationships I've had. But, hey, free beer.

It was cool seeing Live perform, though it wasn't like they were only playing songs from Mental Jewelry and Throwing Copper like they did at the 1994 Nashville show. But they performed a cover of Johnny Cash's Walk The Line, which was pretty cool...

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