Twenty-Six

By midday it seemed as if my extended birthday weekend might actually be going sour. Tori had a flat tire just across the street from where we ate brunch in Haverhill. My gastrointestinal stuff was giving me shit — both literally and figuratively. And, the local baseball franchise was not winning in a game they had to win to keep playing this year. What was great was that everything seemed to find a way to turn itself around.

The turnaround started with a nice piece of peanut-butter pie that Erik and Greg scoured the streets of Haverhill to find while Tori and Dan dealt with the car and I dealt with feeling sick. They put a candle in the peanut-butter pie and I blew it out and I ate it with my bare hands on the way home because I didn’t realize there were any utensils in the bag. I was most appreciative and I didn’t really get to tell them that because we had to get home, I had to get unsick, and we had a concert to go to.

On the way home we listened to the Patriots game on WBCN and checked out the score of the local baseball franchise’s game during commercials. At home we did the same thing with the television. Strangely, every time we flipped to one game or the other something good happened. By the time we left for the concert, the local baseball franchise had won and the Patriots were up by two scores with less than two minutes left.

I was still feeling sick on the car ride to the concert and I spent much of the ride holding Stephanie’s hand in one hand and my uneaten Caesar side salad in the other. I didn’t want to spend the entire show in the bathroom. Eventually I did eat it though and I was fine.

JonMartin and Julie had paid for a special parking pass to get us in and out of the Tweeter Center faster than usual. Getting out of there is the main deterrant to coming to a concert. There’s only one exit and it takes forever to leave. If the concert’s over at 11, you’re not out of there until 2 AM sometimes.

The show was a good cap to the weekend. Pete Yorn opened and he and his band were solid. I didn’t know any of the songs but I couldn’t find fault with any of them either. As usual, for me at least, it took a while to get used to the sound mix. Maybe it’s my ears. Maybe its that I’m old. I don’t know what it is really, but concerts lately sound very distorted and mixed poorly. The vocals are always way too low in the mix, the guitars too high, and well, that’s that.

The mixing was better here but it still took a while to get used to.

REM came out and was solid as well. Either I’m a much bigger fan than I thought, because there were songs I didn’t think I knew that I was singing along to, or I’m not as a big a fan, because there was a three-song section towards the end of the show where I sat in my seat twiddling my thumbs. My left foot was hurting too, so that explains it a little.

It was very cold too — too cold for an outdoor concert. I don’t think they should be having concerts outdoors in New England in October.

What’s important though, is that I enjoyed myself. I was tired and cold but the band was great and they played all the songs I wanted to hear in between the songs I didn’t know. And, at the end of the show, while playing “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”, lead singer Michael Stipe put on a jersey handed up to him from the crowd, the jersey of the local baseball franchise’s star pitcher, and the crowd, myself included, went nuts.

It’s been a strange and wonderful birthday trip and the best is that I still get dinner with my parents tomorrow and The Lion King on DVD on Tuesday. I couldn’t have asked for more for my birthday. Thank you to all the players that partook in its success.