In just a few short hours, I’ll be watching my great loves, the BoDeans. And all I got to say about that is: I hope they don’t remember me. In years past, I’ve called their hotel rooms countless times, waited for them by the backstage door, stalked their band limo, infiltrated their dressing room trailer, and done all manner of corrupt and amoral things in a bid for their attention. (Not that.)
I haven’t seen them live since 1998, and it’s just as well. When I discovered them at Milwaukee’s SummerFest 10 years prior, I’d quickly and robustly decided their music paired perfectly with my college’s official beverage — a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Soon, I’d fallen in love with one of their lead singers and subsequently followed the band everywhere, an easy feat since they were from Wisconsin and hey! I lived in Wisconsin. So I showed up in their hometown bars, visited church basement concerts, hung out where I thought they hung out, and it was just sad. (But sexy, right?)
Time passed, I moved to Chicago, and continued to show up at every BoDeans concert in the greater tri-state area. The band routinely played the Chicago Theater every third week in November and since my birthday often fell on the day they played, you can just imagine the lame hell that broke loose. Each time, my best friend and I somehow worked our way up to the first row in the concert hall, as I screamed “I LOVE YOU KURT!!!!” *just* managing to narrowly escape an ugly death by trampling. Then, sweaty and bedraggled, we both would make our way to whichever exit we could monitor for their departure. And a handful of times, they hung out with us.
One time on my birthday, we actually made it into their limo. Of course, Kurt was absent, as he was on all these excursions, but my friend Lisa and I drove back to the band’s hotel with Sammy, another lead singer, and Bob, the bassist. We hung out in their respective hotel rooms, pretty much just sat there, then went home. Rock ‘n roll what?
This type of behavior persisted November after November. And I absolutely promise you that if you listen to a BoDeans live album, you will hear a faint but fervent, “I LOVE YOU KURT!!!!” in the background. But now, I just can’t get it up anymore. I’m older, as are they. In a recent picture of the band, I barely recognized them (let’s hope that goes both ways), and I wonder if I can recapture some of that old fire; if it’s even physically possible. Can I still enjoy the band live without the Pabst? Will a glass of Merlot kill the whole vibe?
I suppose I’ll find out. But I’m going to wear my good tear-away underwear just in case.