The Best Show We Ever Played (or was it the worst)

Best Show Our Band Ever Played

It was 1999 and we were still partying like it was. I was in a little band that had toured all over New England, New York City, West Concord and has seen moderate amounts of success. We graced the cover of the Boston Globe, played almost every venue from Boston to Concord, had our record mastered by a Grammy nominated artist and had enjoyed spins of our music on the radio. We were nowhere near the verge of becoming famous but at the time it felt like we were.

Just like every band, we had our good shows, our great shows and our “oh my god what just happened” shows. We had the show where the car got towed, the show when a motorcycle entered the club and did donuts, the show that we dropped our pants… The most wonderful thing about being in a band is, you don’t know what the show on any giving night will be. Will today be a success or will the audience toss a shoe at you. Out of the countless shows we played there is one of our shows that sticks in my mind like a sharp tack. It was July fourth, I remember because there were fireworks.

It was going to be a fun weekend and we would be staying and playing the night at a house party. We were not expecting much of a crowd. Our band had been invited to play “Flyin’ Bryan’s birthday and backyard BBQ ‘part two’ party”. I had never met Flyin’ Bryan before and we booked the show via a mutual friend of a friend’s brother.. We had to drive about 2 hours to get to this house in the middle of nowhere. We were expecting a patch of grass or maybe a corner of a basement to play, set up our gear and perform. When we got there, we discovered something that we were not expecting; about 600 people, full outdoor stage, professional lightning, and a full “Pink Floyd” level sound system. We knew tonight would be a good night. The crowd was electric and that passed into us and got us charged for the best show we would ever play.

We were getting our crap out of the car, a small 1999 Ford Focus hatchback when something caught my eye. I saw a double-decker bike. Then I saw another… and another… five in total. Now, if you have never seen a double-decker bike, and up to that point in my life I had not, they can really freak you out when you see one. Basically they are a bike frame, welded on top on another bike frame. This makes the bike, twice as tall and twice as far to fall from. These bikes were zooming around the crowd, knocking into people and falling over just as often. I thought that this would be the craziest thing I saw that night.. It wasn’t

Is that a pool full of Jell-O? Yes, yes it is. Is that about 20 mostly naked girls? Why, yes.. yes it is. Is that 20 mostly naked girls wresting in Jell-O, eating the Jell-o, chicken fighting and dancing? Umm…. While I was trying to let my brain comprehend what I was seeing, I was grabbed and introduced to Flyin’ Bryan. Mr. Flyin’ Bryan could be best described as a product of the 80’s, possible porn star, mustache connoisseur and adrenalin junky. He brought us to the stage and showed us his pride and joy. A ramp. A ramp 3 stories high. A ramp that looks just about as safe as a rusty nail embedded in your foot. A ramp that ends with a large metal ring. Flyin’ Bryan looks at us, proud of his party, proud of his stage, proud of his ramp.. Smiles and says “I’m gonna jump my bike down that ramp though a flaming ring during your set... That ok buddies?”

I think we should recap- Jello wresting, double-decker bikes, ramps, flames, a pro stage and a Flyin’ Bryan. What could top this? I’ll tell you what... a stranger joining us on stage during our set. During this time of our musical career, we had crazy stage banter. We were entertaining, funny like Steve Martin and wild and crazy like… like,. Umm Steve Martin. Because of our craziness on stage, the audience saw it as part of the act when someone came on stage and started whipping my band mate with a shirt while we played. We did not know him. It wasn't planned. We politely asked him to stop and requested that someone come collect their extremely drunk friend from the stage. No one came. We kept playing. The crowd got wilder. The crowd seemed to get bigger and the crowd moved as one like a sea of heads. I didn't know then and still don’t know now where they came from, but they appeared in my hand, possible tossed to me from the side of the stage… hair clippers. “Shave-his-head! Shave-his-head! Shave-his-head!!!!”

Now, you might not have experience with this request, but when a crowd of about 600 people start chanting for you to shave someone’s head, you shave that person’s head and you don’t ask questions. I do the dead, hair flying all over the stage, onto the ground and under the audience’s feet. Elated with my barbering skills the crowd erupts and the now bald stranger lifts me above his head. Mr. Bryan bombards down his ramp as the fire at the hoop erupts with gasoline and he flies. More Cheers, more applause, more Jell-o. We finish our last song to 600 people jumping in unison. 600 people chanting our names. 600 people lost in our musical creation. We own this crowd, They are ours. I run to the edge of the stage.... I leap…. I fly.. .They catch me and I surf off into the night as fireworks light my way.

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