Eight years ago today, Carlos Beltran takes strike three with the bases loaded, the Mets lose, and the Cardinals go on to the World Series. I am in the office at the Fillmore, staring at the tv in disbelief, while the Chairs of Perception (the once and future Urinals) play their set. Later that night, both bands perform “Surfin’ with the Shah” during our first encore, and then once again during our second. (The only upside to the Mets’ loss is that in a rash moment I have promised to paint some part of my body orange and blue should the Mets win.) And Jen knows the score, so to speak: Back in 2006, I was just beginning to date a wonderful man with one quirk: he came from a family of Mets fans. (I didn’t yet know what that meant.) I’d been looking forward to the YLT show at the Fillmore on Oct. 19 for months. But now I was dating this guy and the Mets were in the playoffs and they were playing an elimination game that very night. I spent the early evening watching the Mets game with him at a bar downtown. But as the game wore on, I became torn. How long will this game last? I can’t be late for the show. But do I leave him now in this moment of tension? Then it struck me: Odds were good you guys were watching the game too. And I wagered that night’s show wouldn’t start until the game was over. I stayed to the end. Carlos Beltran did what Carlos Beltran did. Devastation set in. I told my new love, “Come to the show anyway. The band will be sad too.” We hailed a cab and flew to the Fillmore. The sadness didn’t lift. At some point, Ira took a moment between songs to let the crowd know the band weren’t quite themselves. Their beloved Mets had been defeated–stunningly so. Surrounded by silence, my date shouted out, “Ya gotta believe!” (I didn’t yet know what that meant either.) Ira responded: “You know, we do believe. And that’s what makes it hurt so much.” Without missing a beat, the band launched into a loud, raucous, cathartic version of . . . something. And the sadness started to lift.
I’ve got one more 10/19 story. In 1995, we play at Moe in Seattle with Run On. We’re unimpressed by the club’s hospitality and presumably no one at the club is signing up for our fan club either. I don’t think any of this adversely affects our set–we have a good time playing, and bring Rick Brown up to sing “Neutron Bomb” at the conclusion of the encore, around 1:15 a.m. The second we leave the stage, someone from the venue asks me if we’re done, to which I reply we don’t know until we gauge the audience response. Instantly he turns the house lights on, which is basically the same as a matador brandishing a red flag at a bull. Our decision made for us, we run back on stage before people start leaving, and play the local favorite “Cast a Shadow” (for the moment continuing to keep our issues with the venue backstage) and “Bad Politics.” Then I thank everyone for coming and announce that we have one more song, that this next number will definitely be the last one, and we start “Speeding Motorcycle.” I’m guessing by now it’s 1:25. As usual, James is on bass, I’m playing acoustic guitar, and Georgia is on the Ace Tone. At the conclusion of the lyrics, I play a solo, which goes on and on and on. And on. We never raise our volume and my playing is never atonal (well, not intentionally), but our message is quiet and clear. The house lights come on. We continue playing. Someone from the club goes to our soundman, Mick Learn, and tells him he has to get us to stop. He replies that his job is to make us louder not quieter. We keep playing until the club cuts the power on stage, and the night is over. Actually, it’s not, but this story is.