THE LAST FIVE ...

Closing up shop
- Wednesday, Aug. 02, 2006

It may be time for a change
- Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Entry in the air
- Friday, April 21, 2006

Still here
- Thursday, April 20, 2006

Music of the moment
- Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Or ... BE RANDOM!


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101 in 1001
American Road Trip, 1998


OTHER PEOPLE

Chupatintas
Dancing Brave
Fugging It Up
Kitty Sandwich
Mister Zero
Sideways Rain
Ultratart
Velcrometer


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2001-06-12 - 12:51 a.m.

Celebrate we will

This is entry No. 247
To go until the Dano 250th Entry Celebration: 2

We walk down the hill and through the tunnel, emerging onto the field of Giants Stadium, the great arena rising around us. Ahead of us my sister Jessica, our friend Christy and her boyfriend Mark the signs point us to the right and Section 15, where we slide into row 16. As Macy Gray warms up the crowd, I gaze around me at the new perspective I have of this stadium. We sit on what I estimate to be the goal line of the football field, a platform beneath our feet protecting the turf where the MetroStars are now in season and the Jets and Giants will return in a couple of months. We are at the goal line of the east end zone; the stage lies 100 yards away in the west end zone. The press box sits to our left, atop the structure. I look up and remember the view I had from there looking down upon the opening game of the women's World Cup. We sit now not far from the spot where Mia Hamm scored the first goal of the tournament in front of a record sporting crowd at the venue.

In our informal pool, I have 8:20 for Dave Matthews' arrival on stage, and when the ambient music fades and the lights dim a little after 8:15, I look like a genius. As he and the band launch into "When The World Ends" and the day dims, the low clouds over northern New Jersey reflect the light from the surrounding cities, so as the concert progresses, it never really grows dark. The perfect low light allows for easy viewing of the far-off stage and sharp video screens as well as a clear view of closer surroundings.

While Dave and the band meander through their two-hour set, I shift between standing and sitting, since my view is often obstructed by a combination of distance and the rows and rows of fans in front of me. I stand for the more energetic tunes "I Did It," "Rapunzel," "Drive In Drive Out" and relax, leaning back in my chair for the mellower melodies "Angel," "Best of What's Around." I watch the 16-year-old girl with a tank top that reads "Naughty" suck on her Ecstasy pacifier in front of me, and the shirtless guy in a long skirt around his waist groove in the open space to our right. Security removes one fan that I see.

What had been a warm, humid day has cooled off nicely, a pleasant breeze descending upon us in the bowl of the stadium. The group of girls to my left leaves early and as I sit for slower songs, I am able to stretch out, resting my arm on the seat next to me and leaning back to look up at the scene around me. To me it seems a rather mild set, with more mellow songs than I'd remembered from previous shows. But I'm satisfied with the meandering in and out of rowdy numbers, though I'm a little underschooled on the newer concert traditions.

The set ends with a nice run from "Angel" to "True Reflections" to "Lie In Our Graves" to "What Would You Say," marking the first time I've seen that selection live to the first encore of "The Space Between."

Almost as if on cue, when the band begins "True Reflections," the light show in the heavens picks up along with that on stage. As the stage lights are set to correspond with certain drum beats and guitar chords, the lightning jumping between the clouds seems to fall in line as well, providing flashes that bring cheers from the crowd. The breezes intensify as well, and the scattered thunderstorms that were predicted for the evening are now inevitable the question remains as to when they will commence. I stand there smiling as Boyd reminds me it's down deep inside of me and I'm inspired to amend my situation.

With "Lie In Our Graves" comes a familiar extended jam session and introduction of the band by the Lovely Ladies. The lightning is more frequent now, the wind a little stiffer, and the rain noticeable in heavy drops, but they're few and far between. As they continue into "What Would You Say," the breeze is that type which warns of an incoming cloudburst, the cool, damp, fragrant wind lugging a storm behind it.

The band returns for its encore and the lightning has moved in and the first clap of thunder can be heard above the stadium walls. The technicians in the towers near us cover their spotlights and begin the climb down as "The Space Between" comes to a close. A few fans behind us begin chanting "Two Step," and others in the vicinity join the request. As Boyd and Dave go into the song, anyone who has been sitting including the four of us jumps to their feet as the rain starts in earnest. Lighting is continuous now, the thunder presumably right behind (though unknown to us, who can only hear the music), the rain coming steadily. As if on cue with a chord change, the wind whips down, blowing the falling water sideways, shifting it in sheets across the beams from the stage lights, various colored streaks falling from the sky through the beams and smoke. We're all dancing now, celebrating amidst the torrent, which brings BB-sized hail stones as well. Our clothes even beneath our raincoats are soaked in minutes, those around us without rain gear are drenched in seconds. The frenetic pace of the music is matched by the whipping wind and wild dancers; each bolt of lightning now shooting downward as well as among the clouds draws cheers and whoops and whistles from the crowd. Soon the seats on the open field are emptying, men and women going to dance in the aisles and open spaces between the rows of plastic seats and the wall of the bowl. As I look around, Mark tugs on my arm and we're off, arm in arm in arm in arm making our way to the fast-filling tunnel, a bottleneck of drenched music lovers trying to squeeze beneath the concrete. Stepping off the platform covering the field, we wade through a temporary river and must soon pass through a waterfall from the seating deck above before we're beneath the stadium, shuffling along like cattle toward the exit and a return to the elements. Only by the time we make it back outside a matter of 10 minutes or so the tempest has stopped, and we walk to the car in soggy shoes and soaked socks with our jackets open and groups of people large and small screaming and hollering at the excitement of it all.

Hey my love do you believe that we
might last a thousand years
Or more if not for this,
our flesh and blood
It ties you and me right up
Tie me down

Celebrate we will
Because life is short but sweet for certain
We're climbing two by two
To be sure these days continue
These things we cannot change

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