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Sunday nights

Games are over. Reality beckons in the form of 5 straight 8 hour days. Then we can do this all again. Sleep in a bit. Spend Saturday with ESPN college gameday. Sunday with the early and late games. Then the Sunday night game to bring it all to an official end. Drain the last of the beers and pop the pills that make Mondays more bearable. It’s late. Closing in on midnight. I’ve got headphones on so I don’t wake anybody as I write these words. Some long lost Who concert from 1979. Listening makes me feel both young and old at the same time. There’s probably a reason for this but I’ll think on it later.

I just finished a book I started on Friday night. A sense of accomplishment there. I won’t bore you with the details but do suggest that anybody reading this surely has time to polish off a good book over a weekend. Two or three hours each night is all you need. If you’re sober, it’s easy. If you’re too fucked up Friday and Saturday nights to polish off 100+ words maybe you should leave the bar earlier. My mom always told me that nothing good ever happens after midnight, and after countless shows I’ve played until 2am, I can say that mom knew her shit.

At closing time it’s like playing to tattooed zombies with massive bar tabs and purple pills more plentiful than my excess guitar picks. All of whom love you until you stop playing. Then they want to shank you in the men’s room with broken beer bottles. And for all this the band gets to drink free Miller Lite Pints, which is like offering your plumber free drinking water from the toilet he’s trying to unclog. But we’re so easy to please. Some nights we even get paid. It’s called capitalism. With 6 strings. It’s practiced by people way too smart to recognize how dumb they are.

I’ve seen at least 29 Viagra commercials today. Can there really be this many guys walking around who can’t get it up without a pill? The guys on the commercials all look virile and movie star handsome. They all appear to have incredibly patient wives who just sit around in a state of perpetual heat waiting for one or them erections that last for more than four hours. A massive industry has been built around these people, as if their pleasure somehow holds the key to world peace. I’m pretty jealous of all this actually. Since I was about 12 all I needed was a girl in the next aisle wearing a skirt. Taking a pill for such a feeling is incomprehensible to me. Like taking a pill to toss a baseball to Dad.

I don’t know. But as Dylan once said, “the hour is getting late”. No sooner did he say it did Jimi Hendrix stole it from him, and then Jimi soon choked to death on his own vomit, which was a stylish way to go in them days as you might recall. But it also served as a warning. Don’t fuck with Dylan or he’ll seal your fate. Just ask Hootie and the Blowfish, who are now playing second on the bill at an Air Force base to a puppet show.

So yea. That’s the kind of night it’s been. Listening to you / I get opinions / I get excitement at your feet.

Keith Moon is dead. How easy to forget. The Who in 1979 were a better band than they had been 2 years earlier when he was still hanging on, washing down elephant tranquilizers with some vintage port and beating up his wife. But Moonie, in one of rock and roll’s cosmic jokes, did himself in by overdosing on a drug prescribed to combat his alcoholism. No doubt his doctor graduated at the top of his class eh?

The Who were as good as ever without Moon (Kenny Jones took his place) and things were going swimmingly well until 11 fans suffocated to death outside in Cincinnati from the crush of too many people in too small of an area. It should have signified something. But before the bodies even had tags on them the band was on their way to the next show. The next night. In buffalo. The show must go on and all that.

The book I read this weekend was about what happened in Cincinnati that night. How the authorities immediately assumed it was all drug ODs. Kids being kids. Except it wasn’t. It wasn’t even all kids. Mothers and Fathers too. Not one of the 11 dead had any traces of drugs or alcohol in their bodies. It was not a “stampede”. Many tried desperately to save lives. And did. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. They two needed to be reconciled. They never were.

Altamont is a cultural memory. Cincinnati is not.

It was the end of the Who. Townshend after Cincinnati was gaunt and spooky and suicidal. He’d always wanted to create a heaven on earth……the perfect note…..that would lead the band and the crowd into some sort of perfect state of ecstasy. But by Cincinnati the crowd had been lost, merely an excuse to pay the bills and provide the after party blow jobs. A cynic might say that Townshend was never any different afterwards than a Mike Love of the Beach Boys. Nostalgia. Want more irony? John Entwistle, the Who’s magisterial bass player, died in Las Vegas while in bed with a hooker and a snoot full of cocaine. All that was missing was the vapid Elvis movie on the TV.

End of the Who? Bah. The boys played that night with a jetted in replacement. At least John went out with a smile on his face. He was no more complex than a hooker in a bed. Aside from being the greatest bass player ever. Yea, that was sorta a problem. But hell, does anybody really give a shit?

Well I do but nobody else does. It’s late. Where’s that 1979 Chicago show. Maybe a week after Cincinnati. The band was astounding. No words on the wreckage they’d left behind. It was like it never happened

But I can assure you it did.

Eleven fans (Teva Ladd, 27; Walter Adams, Jr., 22; James Warmoth, 21; Phillip Snyder, 20; David Heck, 19; Tyler Corcoram, 19; Peter Bowes, 18; Connie Burns, 18; Bryan Wagner, 17; Karen Morrison, 15; and Jacqueline Eckerle, 15) were killed by compressive asphyxia.

Rock and Roll huh?

Man am I tired.

In a bit.

–TF

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