Friday, September 08, 2006
Guess What? I'm Not Totally Lame!
I may be somewhat lame, and I understand that no parent can ever be 100% cool just by the mere act of procreation - ask any teenager - but I am not chock-full of lame.

I discovered this last night, because my friend Jenny got me tickets to see Godsmack and Rob Zombie as a birthday present, so we went to the show in Boston. Willem and I haven't been out on a date in ages, so the mere act of dropping them off at Jenny's house and driving away giggling and chortling was fun all by itself. We remembered to wear black, so that was a good start - though I forgot to wear the denim jacket Willem had in high school, with the big Metallica patch on the back. (Which in itself is evidence of Willem's bizarre and twisted raised-by-wolves upbringing: It's a Calvin Klein jacket with a Metallica patch. Brooke Shields would be appalled.)

Regardless, we were wearing enough black to fit in, and it didn't take too long to realize that we were neither the oldest nor the lamest people there, which is always a relief. Plenty of sweet grandmotherly types and long-suffering next-time-we're-seeing-Justin-Timberlake girlfriends around, not so many as to overwhelm the place, just enough to make me feel better. And isn't that really all that matters?

The show was really good, worth the price of admission (yeah, yeah, it was free for us... but we bought $8 beer and a $40 t-shirt, so we made up for that). Shinedown opened, and while they looked like another growly too-loud bunch of grunge rockers, they were actually very musical and well put-together. Still much angst, but talented angst. Their cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man" is fine by me on the radio, and they did a neat acoustic/electric combination on stage. We didn't even realize they were going to be there, so we started off skepical but ended appreciative.

Rob Zombie puts on a really intense, bizarre, provocative, disturbing stage show. Lots of nipples and blood, sometimes on the same individual. Don't interpret this as a bad thing - I knew what I was in for ahead of time, and while it was risque it wasn't offensive, to me. Not something you'd expect to see in church, but... well, he just made his point, and made it well. And I'm happy that he's choosing to make his point in the form of music and stage shows rather than by wearing babies around his neck or creating new cases for the FBI profilers to study.

That I know of.

And last was Godsmack. Who actually weren't as earth-shattering as I would have hoped they would be, playing to a hometown crowd, but then I first saw them in 1998 when they were raw and young, playing in bars where the bathrooms didn't have doors and neither did the pool tables (which were occasionally used for the same purposes), so I have seen them before they got big and fancy and popular - maybe I'm just jaded. They were so perfectly loyal to their albums that the experience was really a lot like just playing the album really loud, except for the crowd.

Ah, the crowd. Always my favorite part. I had forgotten how much I really like going to live shows - I don't think I've been to a concert since Jacob was born. Over two years ago. Sad.

My personal favorites were the little boy, maybe 12 though he clearly was cool enough to be at least 21, who sat in front of us with his father. He was cool enough to watch the show without a shirt on, allowing me to see that his slightly-too-low pants were revealing his name embroidered on his underpants. And, really, if your parents have saddled you with the name Fruit of the Loom, you'd better be badass enough to go to a Godsmack show at age 12. He was a good little concertgoer, and my vote for most-amusing was during the topless-women-on-screen section of Rob Zombie's show (which was not 100% of it... though it was close). My little buddy spent most of the time standing on his seat and doing the White Man Angst Dance, complete with head-bobbing and random hand signals that probably meant something to him, but whenever there were certain girl parts on display, he froze like a deer in headlights. Literally froze, arms in odd positions, no discernible breath motions, big buggy eyes... ah, education.

But there were plenty of drunk and disorderly gentlemen (and a few ladies), and older men pretending that they're young and angry (and at least succeeding with the second half), and inappropriately dressed women (that is, inappropriate to their figures, not to my morals) to provide adequate entertainment. And enough people indulging in certain substances that even though I didn't touch anything, I got the munchies.