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Sex Pistols with Louis XIV (June 7, 2008) Las Vegas

Tonight was the night I wanted to go back to July 19, 1989 at the Meadowlands and to my favorite concert of all times.  At the time, it was billed as the “Monsters of Alternative” with New Order, The Sugarcubes  and, above all,  PiL (Public Image Ltd.)  I will never forget John Lydon’s showmanship and how he won over the entire audience over the principal act, New Order.

I wanted to be a part of that again.  Did I succeed?…not in the least.  Did he win over the audience tonight? Absolutely..but in a different way.  You see, most people were here tonight trying to recapture the essence of the Sex Pistols that made them so taboo!!  Aging hipsters (sorry for stealing this Austin Powers) who wanted to rebel again.  The funny thing about it is that they couldn’t even last for a 2 hour set!!!

It was 7:45 and I had come early to complete my responsibilities of buying $500.00 in merchandise for those friends wanting to say they were a part of history in the making…  My friend was already starting to party early (if you can empathize) so I decided to leave him in the hotel room by himself. Our suite was on the top floor which was the key to this story. 

When the elevator door opened and I entered by myself and saw the door close behind me, I saw a quick hand split the closing doors at the last second and force the doors open and compel me to wait a little longer for a date with history.

The individual who entered was a quite elderly man, I surmised his age to be in his early 60’s and his friend equally so but less weathered.  The unique thing about this man was his outfit.  He definitely was going to the concert and it seemed that he was old enough to be at the original concerts of the Sex Pistols 30+ years ago.  The following is the conversation that ensued….

Me (speaking to the elderly gentleman) : “Wow…you look the part….. I guess I should expect that from everyone tonight”  

Stranger: “Well…you do what you can”

Me (realizing this guy was English I thought he was such a fan, he could understand my references to PiL) : “You see this bandana (I was wearing it on my head like a du-rag) is a PiL concert shirt from 1989 and I told myself I would fit into it for this concert.  Unfortunately, at the time, I was rowing crew for my college and I was quite thin so a Medium was actually very loose for me at the time. I need 2x now so this is the best I can do to keep my promise.”

Stranger (feeling more at ease with me now): “It is the thought that counts…we all appreciate it at this point in our lives” (at which point he came over and hugged me)

My first thought was “What the fuck!! All this touching and I don’t even know the guy..” Well he got off on an intermediate floor with his friend and I remained after he quickly blurted out “Cheers..enjoy the show” as the doors closed behind him.

As I maneuvered past the casino and the media in the Hard Rock Café & Casino Hotel, I confronted numerous people offering to pay triple the price for my ticket. Never would I relinquish my passport to see the man who (to this day) presented me with the best concert performance of my life way back in 1989.  I so desired to relive that moment again.

As I entered the theater I go through my routine of quickly and methodically analyzing the room, the people, the speakers, the height of the different platforms, the control station and everything else that could affect my experience for the night.  I concluded that I needed to risk loss of hearing and coming out without any hematomae and risk entering the mosh pit to really experience the Sex Pistols as they needed to be experienced.    

After the opening act, Louis XIV, was quickly booed off the stage,  (I thought they actually were quite good),  it was time for the Sex Pistols to take the stage.  Those who have been to concerts know that the first thing that happens when the marquee name is ready to appear is that the density of people increases dramatically as you get closer to the stage.  I noticed perfumes, the smell of sweat, weed, and alcohol much more easily now. At least 4 people were continuously touching me and my unobstructed view of the stage was gone.  As the lights dimmed the room erupted in chants and screams.  As they took to the stage, one by one, everyone called out their names. I was just waiting for one person, the key protagonist in my journey back to my youth.  As the suspense increased and a solitary figure reached the central microphone I could not believe what I was seeing in front of me less than 20 feet away.  I stared in utter amazement as I saw the stranger from the elevator hit the stage.  The stranger who had hugged me, who had dared to enter a public elevator with spiked colored hair and wearing a very baggy set of pajamas (surely to hide his new found girth at the dawn of his life) was standing on the stage, in the same pajamas, ready to belt out some of the most famous PUNK rock songs of all times.  Johnny Rotten was what I expected him to be.  Did he have the quick steps of 1989?  Not in the least but he knew how to work with what he had.  I have seen many a punk band and I was probably in a room  with many individuals who wanted to go all out on such a rare occasion of witnessing, (arguably), the inventors of the PUNK scene.  My partners in crime and I made up for his lack of physical aptitude by providing the security guards with more than they could handle.  I received about 7 hematomae that night and my shirt was put to rest later that morning as it contained spit, blood and other liquids which probably have no clear description.  It was an event to be remembered but it wasn’t the event to replace the original feeling almost 30 years ago.  You can’t return to your past but you can learn to accept all new experiences as unique and special in their own way.   

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Sun 6/15/2008 8:59 PM