Thursday, May 6, 2010

07/23/05 Allman Brothers Band @ PNC Bank Arts Center, Homdel, NJ

08/23/05 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
Set 1: Jessica, Statesboro Blues, One Way Out, Gamblers Roll, Maydell, Firing Line, Hot 'Lanta, The Same Thing1, Who To Believe, Melissa, Stand Back, Hoochie Coochie Man, Mountain Jam > Drums > Bass > Mountain Jam
Encore: Preachin' Blues, Whipping Post
1 with Chuck from moe

This show was a bit tricky because I had traffic court scheduled earlier in the day. For some reason, probably the late July heat, I was wearing shorts to court. The officer told me that the judge would not even see me unless I was appropriately attired (i.e. wearing pants). Luckily, I had some track pants in my car. This would factor into the equation come concert time.

I sat around waiting for my verdict for what seemed like an eternity.

The story of how I ended up there is the epitome of the series of unfortunate events that was seemingly substituting for my real thing called life at that time.

I was on my way back to Queens from picking up Arabic papers in Bay Ridge for my aforementioned short-lived newspaper delivery gig, when my 1994 Chevy Blazer decided to die on the BQE.

To complicate matters, I was on my way to make up a final. I had just finished my first semester at Queens College and I had almost straight A's. However, in my haste to get to summer, I left one page blank on a final exam. The professor realized it was an accident and gave me a chance to complete the test, but my automotive troubles negated that chance.

To further complicate matters, I had just started a job in White Plains the day before, a job that I would soon lose due to lack of transportation. I only worked there for a day and it was the most ass-backwards organization with which I have ever been affiliated. It was one of those companies that profits off needy college students, in this case harnessing our youthful naive energy to paint houses and solicit area homes for business. The "manager" was only in charge because of seniority, and he called me a liar when I told him my car was broken. No one seemed to have any idea how to paint houses. So at least that loss wasn't too serious.

Anyways, I had the vehicle towed to the nearest location and headed home. There was still, however, the task of delivering the papers to locations all over New Jersey.

I decided to head to my parents in Rockland and commandeer my mother's station wagon to complete my route while she slept. This was just before GPS navigational systems became affordable, so I printed out a stack of Google maps and hit the road, first returning to Brooklyn to retrieve the bundles of newspapers.

I figured I'd be able to bang out the gig in one sleepless night, but I was woefully mistaken. Whereas I had done the Conecticut route a number of times, this was my first go at the New Jersey one. Nary a stop went by without a wrong turn sending me traversing down endless side streets in various suburban enclaves.

Weary and world forsaken, I headed back after completing less than half the route. Half asleep and in a haste to get to bed, I approached 90 on the Palisades. That's when I got pulled over. A speeding ticket was bad enough, but I had left my license in my car and my mother had her registration in her wallet, so a relatively simple stop turned into a sticky situation. I escaped unscathed, save for three tickets that would bring me back to the wooded riverside parkway pre-Allman Brothers.

That should be the end of the story, but I had another night of newspaper delivery left. I decided to take a break midway through to complete a casual encounter, figuring it would lift my sunken spirits; it just made me feel dirty.

After what seemed like an eternity, I dropped off the final papers in Englewood and headed home. It was after midnight and the main strip, Palisade Avenue, was empty. I pulled a reverse U-turn at a red light and headed home. Alas, there was one car in sight, and it was a police cruiser.

I was pulled over for the second time in a 24-hour span and I just had to laugh. I was given two separate tickets for the single maneuver in addition to another for no license, bringing my grand total to 6 tickets in under a day, a personal record that stands to this day.

I just had to laugh and headed straight to a Suffern bar to drown my sorrows.

In the span of a few days, I had lost my car, my two paying gigs and a bit of sanity. I got 6 tickets and banged a fatty. If ever there was a time to let my soul shine, this was it.

So that in a nutshell is how my life was going in the summer of 2005, but I was still living in the city and catching live music with acceptable frequency, so things weren't all that bad.

To get back to the story at hand, I recieved a fine that I was ill equipped to pay. I may still have a bench warrant in New Jersey come to think of it.

So after that ordeal, I headed down to Holmdel.

I pulled in just a bit before showtime, copped a $20 lawn ticket and set about raging the lot proper.

This pregame stands out as one of the most successful in my career. I feasted like a king on tailgate burgers and drank the finest beers. One group of erstwhile lot bartenders asked me the most embarrassing thing I'd ever done in exchange for a shot. Guess that boombaladdy was good for something.

In my pre-show fervor, I neglected to safely secure my ticket (due to my loose track pants). Contrary to my previous luck, I was able to find another $20 ticket just before the Allmans hit the stage. I did, however, miss the opener moe.

I met up with my friends on the lawn and went on to enjoy a lovely summer evening getting down to some sweet southern soul.

I was still pretty twisted on the ride home.

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