The things you do for love.
If you know me you also know that I kind of sort of like totally really love and am maybe obsessed with the band Arcade Fire. I suppose my level of love and obsession can’t quite name me their number one fan. That title probably goes to someone younger with more energy and perhaps more predisposition to obsession. I don’t run a fan site. I don’t follow them around the country. I haven’t memorized every lyric of every song (though I know a good many). There are no Arcade Fire themed tattoos (or any tattoos of any kind) on my body. I listen to their music. A lot. I can be found regularly perusing the Arcade Fire posts on tumblr. I cannot bring myself to delete the recorded performances on Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Fallon.
Last March we made it to Minneapolis to see their Reflektor tour. It was amazing! With a good stroke of luck I was right near the stage front and center. I had ample opportunity to touch the long legs of lead singer Win Butler. For most of the 2 or so hours I stood with my hand to heart, in definite awe and definite bliss.
There was only room and budget for one Arcade Fire concert, though. They played 2 dates in Chicago recently but I knew it would be too difficult to go.
Then I heard that the lead singer, Win Butler, was going to be doing his DJ thing at a Chicago bar after one of the shows. Win Butler up close. I had to go.
I fretted. It seemed like a stupid thing to do. You know, drive four hours on a work night/school night to hang out at a bar way past my usual bedtime. But still, I had to. I have friends in Chicago with spare rooms. So I asked to stay. I talked my husband into taking the day off work. I secured babysitting for the kid by way of my parents (halfway between our city and Chicago). She would miss school, but this was Win Butler! I made it happen.
And we went.
Here’s the bad part: I got a rip roaring headache. Probably because I put on some eye shadow. Whenever I wear eye shadow I usually get a headache. Pretty much anything that could possibly cause one a headache gives me a headache. Lack of sleep, too much sleep, poor diet, msg, pms, changes in weather, stress, lack of caffeine, make-up, cleaning chemicals, wine, cheese. I don’t really know about the cheese part, I’m just guessing. But I’m 40 years old and I was going to a bar and it was Win Butler! I really wanted to wear eye shadow.
So it’s only like 7pm and I’ve got a terrible headache and still hours to go until Mr. Butler would be arriving at the club. Because I have a certain amount of paranoia about missing out on things, I figured we should get there early in case there was a line. There was no line. And we were really early. Mark and I had one drink each and then we left the bar to wander the area. There wasn’t much to wander. We walked up and down the street like 5 times. Finally we decided on getting dessert and drinks (coffee for me) at one of the restaurants. I chose the stupidest dessert ever. It was a ginormous cookie ice cream sandwich and I ate it. It didn’t help. I don’t think dairy mixes well with alcohol. At least in my stomach.
We went back to the bar–The Beauty Bar. They offer manicures. I didn’t get one. Mark and I sat in old hair dryer chairs (the kinds with those plastic half bubbles that come down over your head). We drank and we waited. A couple other DJs played music before Win arrived. The second one was a bubbly semi-androgynous dude. Super skinny, long black hair. He was mesmerizing as he bounced about to his beats. Skinny girls holding drinks swayed nearby. Everyone else in the place looked Latin and a couple guys danced like no one was watching. I am fond of this type of dancing.
Finally he arrived. It was so weird to see him just walk in and be standing right there. I mean, when you are a fan, you know the person is real but it is still hard to make sense of it when they stand there in the flesh. So tall. And adorable. Wearing a goofy hat and a Dr. Dre shirt.
I seemed to be some sort of novelty because people kept talking to me. The androgynous dj play danced with me and told me I must be a big fan and when I said he was a good dj he held my hand to his heart. It was weird and kind of lovely. Other fans (when they arrived, after the concert got out) talked to me, too. Maybe because I’m 40. Was I an anomaly? I’m sure there were other 30-40 year olds there. Not many, but I spotted them. Win Butler is in his 30s. It’s not like I was trying to hang out with Ezra Keonig (not that I wouldn’t want to). I’m hoping I looked interesting and not out of place. Either way, people were nice.
He played for a couple of hours. David Bowie, the Talking Heads, Nine Inch Nails, Michael Jackson, Kate Bush, The Knife. I sort of danced but mostly I just stood near the DJ booth and stared/not stared. I wanted to stare. I was trying not to stare.
The conga players from his touring band had come along. They were enormously friendly Haitian guys with long braids. They shared a bottle of something (rum? something. It was strong. I had a sip because one of the conga players poured me one but I couldn’t take more than a sip). One of them gave Mark some drink tickets and urged him to head to the bar. It was fun. It was weird.
And then I left early. A four hour drive to Chicago, hanging out hours before, kid out of school, and I left early. But, I swear, I felt terrible. Terrible terrible. The headache was so bad and on top of that I was nauseated. It wasn’t because I had too much to drink. I only really had one cocktail, but the night was not agreeing with me.
Yes, I’m mad at myself for leaving nearly. If I had stayed just a half hour longer I probably could have perhaps really met him (and not just shook his hand from behind the DJ boot–this after I communicated with him a couple of times via notes on my iphone–once to ask him if Regine was sleeping :( and once to thank him for playing Kate Bush–to which he smiled and then shook my hand. God.). But all I could think of was getting to bed and putting ice on my head. So we left and I never could really meet him and yes, I’m 40.