I began to wander, first mentally while sitting two rows up off the floor. Then I had to get up and find some air, some water, something to kick me back into normal life, to remind me I’m okay, you’re okay. But that backfired, as I committed Mushrooms Cardinal Sin Numero Uno: Don’t look at yourself in the mirror. No sir, not ever, under no conditions. My brain kicked into high gear:
Am I dying? Am I dead? Do I normally look this gaunt? No, fat. No, wait, holy shit my eyes are huge, look at those pupils, ha, pupils, that’s funny. Is that funny? Yeah, that’s funny, funny like those jokes about manboobs. Oh man, that guy just looked at me funny, I bet his name is Boris, maybe Lucy. I gotta get out of here, wait, where the fuck am I, can’t I just go home at the snap of my fingers, wait, I have fingers, yeah man, check out my fingers, dude, look at this. Oh no, no, my fingers are freaking me out, bad fingers. Baddddfingeerrrrrrr. Stop singing to yourself. Get out of here already. I hope you die. Nooo, stop. I’m okay. I’m gonna die. I’m not. Wash your face. Fuck you.
So I washed my face and left the bathroom, and I proceded to get pushed threw a throng of unkempt hippie folk, everyone’s eyes darting side to side, everyone looking like the Reaper himself ready to claim me. Pushed and pushed and pushed, I finally made it to to the side of the tiny concourse and bumped into Fake Jerry of the Dead cover band Dark Star Orchestra (who looked a lot like this picture).
“Jerryman you’regreat Igottago, um, okay, kick ass whatever” I think I mumbled to him. By the stroke of luck, I ran into two friends who told me I looked like shit, and one went to get me some water. It was then that I pulled up next to the ketchup and mustard dispenser kiosk across from the concessions stand and began to vomit up everything I had in me, which wasn’t much. After all, mushrooms are food poisoning. It felt better, but I still felt really high.
I then felt the hand of a stranger on my back, as a nice fella came over to say in a typical stoner hippie voice, “Happened to me in Vegas man, happened to me in Vegas.” And it’s happening to me now. It’s all happening. Emily Rugburn.
Slowly I got back in the positive frame of mind, but halfway through the second set when I looked at Donnie and said, “If they don’t play Moma Dance right now I’m going home,” he knew that I was serious. Bam! Moma Dance! The band abides! Now I was determined to end this trip on a great note, and indeed I did. All systems go. From then on out, I saw it and it was good.
I never did get back on the horse. I had my fun and I tested my limits. And I walked away without a criminal record. I wouldn’t trade that night for the world.
11/9/98 UIC Pavillion (stream here)
Set I: Llama, Horn, I Get a Kick Out of You, The Divided Sky, Frankie Says, Dogs Stole Things, Poor Heart, Free, NICU, Bold as Love
Set II: Bathtub Gin, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday> Avenu Malkenu> The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, The Moma Dance, Slave to the Traffic Light, You Enjoy Myself
Encore: Frankenstein, Freebird
What a great run, a solid ass-kicking for everyone…some more than others.
(This story originally appears, for the most part, on Slack LaLane)