August 17, 2013
Holyoke, MA 8.16.13
“If yr not a Dropkick fan than why are you coming?” she asked.
“I’m a goddamn journalist, it’s my responsibility” I shrugged.
She took me seriously so I let the comment ride. I did think about the question for a moment though. Why was I going? Boredom
I guess. I’d been indoors for almost a week, sporadically writing and recording music in manic sessions while white-knuckling sobriety. So when the invitation came to accompany an attractive young professional women like ———– to see The Dropkick Murphys I said “Fuck it. Why not?” I hadn’t seen her in years and hadn’t been to Mountain Park since I was a teen and it was called Mt. Tom Waterpark. Thinking back to that I realize I hold no specific nostalgia for anything about the place except for the Alpine Slide (a concrete water slide without water winding down the mountain and you in a sled with wheels, barreling forward at speeds unsafe) and feeling up my girlfriend in the wave pool. Anyways, we got there and immediately ran into trouble at the entrance. Security was tighter than either of us anticipated and a pint of whiskey was confiscated from ———-‘s purse as she protested “It’s a fucking Dropkick show!” I guided her away from the brute and towards the beer tent. We got in the long line.
“What do you want?’ she thoughtfully inquired.
“I’m good. I’m stayin’ off the bottle these days cuz I’m boring. I know.”
It’s funny to experience someone annoyed with me cuz I didn’t want to drink. That’s totally new. We walked around and talked about how we hoped we didn’t run into anyone we went to middle school with etc. but my mind was somewhere else. I kept having a hard time paying attention, even when the Swingin’ Utters started playing. I kept drifting off in thoughts about the situation in Egypt and finishing watching “The Act of Killing.” God, I realized I must be the biggest fraud in Holyoke. I couldn’t shake the feeling so when ——— lit up some ganja I figured maybe a couple hits would pull me out of this guilty head space. It didn’t. It made it worse. I was a brutal phony in all aspects at that moment, maybe at all times! I felt a freak-out coming on so I grabbed the reigns and decided to go with it. I turned to my right.
“Do you guys know where I can find some ‘shrooms?” I suddenly asked the straight laced couple next to us.
“No, uh, no dude” the guy stammered as his girl eyed me nervously.
“This place man. Be careful… I got ripped off earlier.”
“Oh really?” he said as he craned his neck, feigning interest as to what was happening on stage as they set up for the Dropkicks set.
“Yeah. Someone sold me some fake ecstasy pills” I said in a low tone.
He didn’t respond. I pushed on.
“They had David Bowie’s face imprinted on ’em” I added.
“Alright” he said, but there was no emotion in his response.
Shit… this guy could hold his own, unlike ——— who by this point was slobbering drunk and asking me what the fuck I was talking about. The Dropkick Murphys come out and the crowd goes absolutely ballistic. I was a bit taken aback by the roar and realized I’m not used to such enthusiasm at shows. It was refreshing. Like I said before I don’t know their songs save for “Shipping to Boston” or whatever but I gotta give it to these guys and their fans. They have a ball, jumping around like spastics through the whole show. When they left the stage I noticed the couple next to us were no longer freaked out by me but were throwin’ up high fives to us and everyone around while screaming for more Murphys. I bent my strict no fiving rule for them and started laughing like crazy when The Dropkicks came back and started to play “Baba O’Riley” by The Who. It was fucking incredible! When we all screamed “Don’t cry, don’t raise yr eye. It’s only teenage wasteland” I got the chills.
This was a night of unexpectedness. From being (sort of) sober among an alcohol soaked crowd to getting a little emotional to The Dropkick Murphys covering The Who. I gotta say, I didn’t see it comin’ but I accept the surprise.
I gotta be honest. Will I be listening to ’em tomorrow? Probably not, but I will be keeping an open mind to new experiences and old friends, as corny as that sounds. I gotta be honest.
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