Wednesday, 01/25/06 - 10:08 pm.
From where I was, I could see the five guys walking up to the stage from the back of the venue, and hiding into some kind of tent in the middle of the stage. The lights become brighter, a caleidoscope of Aerosmith melodies begin to play, and the crowd goes wild.
They burst into Helter Skelter, and I take my first picture. But I figured I should follow my brother's advice and move closer again; after all, it'd worked with Lenny Kravitz. So I kindly said 'excuse me' to the fat guy, and got back to section 123, the second row, the middle seat...right on time TO CATCH JOE PERRY WALKING UP THE RAMP.
That was it. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Inmediately, these three previously empty rows where I'd moved start getting crowded. One more second of hesitation and I'd have missed a spot. Some guy showed up and started motioning at us; I thought he was going to ask us to clear off the rows, but he was telling us to move closer. So, I WATCHED THE WHOLE SHOW WITH MY ELBOWS ON THE RAMP! Me, and two more persons on my left, a gal next to me, and what it seemed to be a borderline guy. To my right, there was another couple, but that part of the ramp was higher and they couldn't lean on it like the three of us did.
I had Joe Perry in front of me, and I was in shock. I snapped, snapped, snapped and tried to make eye contact, although I don't think I accomplished the latter. He was playing his Billie guitar, and...wow, just wow. I can't say "I couldn't believe it!", because I was fully aware that it was happening. I have no words to describe how having him in front of me felt, it was like having a tyrannosaur coming up to you, or something. Amazing, Joe "Fucking" Perry, in the flesh.
Next to come up the ramp, STEVEN TYLERRRR!!!! No way, man, no way. I didn't have him exactly in front of me, but it was close enough. He was standing on the higher part of the ramp, so I sort of placed half of my body on the ramp floor, to take a shot. No, no eye contact with him, and the pictures turned out a little blurry, but...I. HAD. STEVEN. TYLER. IN. FRONT. OF. ME. Goddammit!
The sound kind of sucked, though, and Steven seemed pissed about it. So did my camera (suck, not get pissed), because I had to be changing settings depending on the lightning and the distance. I admit cameras and such gadgets are quite a distraction from the concert, but this was going to be my one and only Aerosmith show; I had a hard time balancing between taking pictures and forming memories. Anyway, I didn't take as many pictures as I'd have liked to, because by accident, I chose a higher resolution that only allowed me to take only 30 pictures. I changed that, but I'd already taken a few that I was not about to give up.
I realized this thing about the settings when Tom Hamilton walked up the ramp. Tom Hamilton is a fucking doll, he was the one to come often and stay in front of us. Again, I snapped, snapped, snapped, which is when I read "no memory space". I rushed trying to erase pictures, and meanwhile, he wouldn't go away, bless his heart. Before he did leave, he...HE LOOKED DOWN ON ME AND SWINGED HIS BASS IN FRONT OF MEEEEE!!!
I know exchanging glances with a fan in the middle of the show, for them, is like Bill Gates giving you $5...but to me, that meant the world, and it was one of the best parts of the show. I do regret not mouthing "thank you" to him (definitely not just for looking at me), and only afterwards I thought I should've taken a post-it with me or something. Strangely enough, I never thought of reaching out to touch his pants, or Steven's, or Joe's. I just didn't, and luckily, it isn't something I regret.
Tom came up a couple of times, and Steven once more. He leaned over the crowd, and I was going to take the best shot of the night, but the flash went off too late, and all that was captured was his neck and back...a very clear picture of that. Fortunately, I had the chance to get my, sadly, only non-blurry picture of him. And it isn't that great, considering the previous one.
The setlist was wonderful, and time went by too fast:
Walk This Way
Same Old Song and Dance
S.O.S. (Too Bad)
Livin' On The Edge
Shakin' My Cage
Seasons Of Wither
I Don't Want To Miss A Thing
Walkin' The Dog
No More No More
Baby Please Don't Go
Train Kept A Rollin'
Back In The Saddle
Draw The Line
I was singing along to all of them. Brad Whitford would look my way sometimes, and I'd hope he noticed....just for kicks. But he was obviously minding his own bussiness the wholse show. There was the occasional blonde climbing up on stage, which was funny. Afterwards I wondered if I should've climbed the stage and embarrass myself; hey, I could've scored a hug or something, like this cute girl in the Ultra Sweet Spot or whatever, that climbed onto stage, stopped at the sight of a security guard, and Steven said it was ok for her to approach. She whispered something to his ear, and he hugged her and kissed her on the cheek. Oh, well...I'm not that cute, anyway.
I'd saved some memory space for a video, hoping they'd come to the ramp for the last time, during the encore of the good-bye. But they didn't. Joey Kramer finally got off his drumkit and started to give away drumsticks, but he didn't come to my side. So I have a lousy, from-the-distance, 8-seconds-long video of Steven saying "God bless you, and you, and you...Good night!", and you can see him, Brad and Tom walking off. When he said "you", he pointed mostly at the people on the floor; that's where the boys spent most of the concert, on the two runways, which was such a disappointment for me, and also for the borderline guy, who at some point started to insult Steven for not coming to our side, "HEY, I'M YOUR DAUGHTER'S BOYFRIEND!". Ho-k....
I was afraid I'd leave the venue depressed or something, but that didn't happen. My euphoria hasn't worn off yet, even though I had episodes in which I start regretting things, thinking what I could've done different. But honestly, having them in front of me was more than I'd bargained in real life for. Just attending the concert was defying all laws of nature.
Sure, my wildest dreams included meeting them and hanging around with them for a while, but sadly, I'm just a fan. I realized that when being in the crowd, wearing a shirt with the wings logo, like a lot of people did (one thing I regret is not taking my "keep staring, I might do a trick" t-shirt). I hated being just an average, but you can take my pityful story of "I dreamed of this for nine years" and all that shit, and that still doesn't make me stand out, doesn't make me any special. You still could argue that the people on the floor seats are more of a fan than I am, because they're part of the official fan club, had paid six times what I'd paid for the ticket, and brought gifts for the band, like hats and a pink boa. I'm as much of a fan of them, I swear, except money and geography are not on my side.
My brother was pleasantly surprised with the show. On our way out, I saw a few limousines leaving the venue. I wondered if it was any of them, or just fans having their "ultimate Aerosmith experience" for the Nth time. At the train station, I remembered I was dehydrating, I hadn't drunk water in eight hours because I didn't want to take a bathroom break. We stopped for french fries, our dinner, and took the midnight train, getting back home at about 1:30 am. I got a t-shirt, a poster, pins for my nephews and niece, pictures, video and a horrible recording of the concert, which I'll have to erase because it has a lot of static. Plus the ticket. That's enough to prove I was there, right?
My guts were shaking, and I think my pupils are permanently dilatated. I was carrying bags under my eyes two days before the concert, because since saturday night, I haven't been able to fall asleep before 3 am. Tonight won't be any different. I often go "I should've done this, I shouldn't have done that", and I have this urge of seeing them again, something I promised myself I wouldn't have, because I can't afford it in any way. But I have all these memories, that are worth even more than all the items to prove I was there. These memories are mine, for me, and I can't help grinning so hard that I tear my own face apart, everytime I remember that I was at an Aerosmith concert, in front row.