March 02, 2005

The Reflex

Q: What happens when two bloggers take in a great concert together?
A: They spend half their time enjoying the show and the other half writing the post about it in their heads.

Well, that's what happens if you're me and April taking in the Duran Duran concert tonight. Which you're not, but we are. I knew that's what I was doing, but I didn't realize she was until she mentioned it on the walk back to the parking garage. I commented that it becomes "the reflex" you have once you've been doing this for a while. Ha ha. Get it? Anyway...

They had what I felt was a pretty crappy opening act, Ima Robot. Had I been tired enough, I would have slept through their half hour on stage. No one knew them, no one knew their songs, and I couldn't understand a word of what was sung apart from the odd curse word now and again. Not awful, really, simply not my cup of tea. The lead singer, I believe, fancies himself a very skinny version of Robert Smith, voice-wise. Frankly, I would have preferred to have The Cure up there. And I don't even like The Cure much.

Duran Duran was fantastic, though, and it was a show well worth seeing if you are a child of the 80s, musically speaking. Simon Le Bon has still got the voice, most of the moves, and a hell of a lot of stage presence. He also seems to need to spit...a lot. They had this taped-off square behind the keyboard area, and he would pop back there and spit on it, or stop in front of the drum set where he had a cup or two there just for that. I've never seen anything like it, but he managed it in a fairly discrete way; we just happened to have a good view of the Spit Square from where we were sitting.

Which, for once, was not directly behind the crazy, SNL skit-worthy, dancin' fool lady. (Barenaked Ladies/Alanis Morrisette.) It was not in front of someone who decided they needed to sing Every. Single. Word. Of. Every. Single. Song. (Billy Joel/Elton John.) It was also not in the midst of pot-smoke heaven. (Dave Matthews Band.) Nor did I have to stand up the whole time. (John Fogerty.) It was not a view obstructed by a railing. (Simon & Garfunkel.) I was not surrounded by women screaming for a male singer whose appeal I don't get. (Matchbox 20, Clay Aiken.) There was no fight in the seating behind me. (Garth Brooks.) Or in the seating in front of me. (Fogerty again.) It was not about 100 degrees out and I was not dehydrated. (Duran Duran '02/Seal.) The roof of my car had not been destroyed while I was at the show. (DMB again.)

You can see the trend. I have the worst luck when it comes to these things, and they generally bother the shit out of me while I'm there. Almost every time I go to a concert these days, I end up thinking, "That just may be the last one I go to..." It never is, of course, but still.

At last, it appeared that I might just have a near-perfect concert-going experience. Until the chick behind me lit up a cigarette practically next to my ear. I decided not to do anything about it, which always pisses me off in retrospect because she was in the wrong not me, and I spent some time dreaming of an unobtrusive device I could invent that would allow me not to have to inhale the smells of cigarette smoke, pot smoke, body odor, buckets of perfume and stinky, jalapeƱo-loaded nachos whenever I go to concerts and other entertainment events. I have earplugs for my ears, which let me hear the music well enough, why can't I have noseplug filters that let me breathe without all the smells?

But I must have done something nice recently that the universe appreciated. Because before she could light up her third cigarette (which may have sent me over the edge), the people whose seats she and her boyfriend were occupying -- their tickets were for 15 rows further back -- finally showed up. The usher tossed them out of the seats after a protracted discussion and they headed off...just moments before the song Cigarette Girl had been saying over and over again that she really, really wanted to hear. That's right, The Reflex.