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Jason Toews and fifi (the band)

Driven to Tears

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The Police, Seattle, September 1, 1983

(With additional commentary by Eric Creery)

JASON – I must begin by stating that festival seating is some sort of sadistic, farcical ritual; I can see that now. But in my youth, dude… festival seating offered the tantalizing promise of prime front-and-center concert viewing real estate. I’m talking close enough to see the sweat soaking through Rick Wakeman’s cape. Close enough to hear Dave Davies tell his brother Ray to “shove off, you f***king sod!” Close enough – if you were very, very lucky – to receive a perfunctory nod of acknowledgment from Phil Collins. Of course, since all of the speakers are aimed out at the AUDIENCE (e.g. several hundred feet behind you), the sound at the front is invariably shitty, but THAT IS NOT THE POINT. The point, my friend, is to be close enough to grab the bottom third of Alex Lifeson’s handwritten set list off the stage before the security guys beat the crap out of you. With festival seating, all of this could be yours, in return for a seemingly reasonable sacrifice of sleep, health, and personal safety.

In 1983, Eric and I were dedicated concertgoers, often getting in line 12 or more hours before the show, braving the dangers of inclement weather, tyrannical security personnel, and aggressive street musicians. When we heard that the Police (fresh off the release of their monumental multi-million selling multi-faceted musical masterpiece “Synchronicity”) would be performing at the Tacoma Dome, we knew that drastic measures would be required if we were to bask in the healing glow of Sting’s love. As Eric so eloquently put it at the time, “Dude, we are going to the WALL if it KILLS us.” Despite the warnings of classmates that the Police were, and I quote, “the worst live band ever, bar none” we forged ahead with our plan to line up at the Tacoma Dome at least 30 hours before the show…

polictix

ERIC – I cannot possibly explain all of my actions as a youth… Perhaps the most inexplicable was when Jason and I, to show our disdain for people who slept overnight to be the first in line for a concert, thought it only natural to spend the night outside the Tacoma Dome for the Police on their Synchronicity Tour. You know – irony?

JASON – First of all, there was no WAY that our parents would have let us stand in line outside the Tacoma Dome for 30 hours. Absolutely no way.

ERIC – Jason and I reassured my Dad that we were going to stay with Jason’s cousin Erik who lived right near the Tacoma Dome. This was a lie. For one thing, Erik lived several miles from “THE DOME.” We also lied to Jason’s cousin’s Mom that my Dad KNEW we were going to camp on the crime-ridden streets of downtown Tacoma (the third-largest city in the state). All lies. So the whole thing hinged on my Dad and Jason’s cousin’s Mom not ever speaking to one another. It went off like clockwork: My Dad drove us to Tacoma, dropped us off in front of Jason’s cousin’s house, and we were home free! We waved as he drove away. As soon as his car turned the corner, we ran to the nearest bus stop, carrying our 30 hours’ worth of food, cassette tapes, and sleeping bags.

JASON’S DIARY, AUGUST 31, 2PM – We arrive at THE DOME! ROCK AND ROLL!

JASON’S DIARY, AUGUST 31, 3PM – We bolt.

ERIC – One hour after taking our places in line, we felt a wave of hunger; the kind of hunger that comes when you’ve been living on cheese ‘n’ crackers and red vines for the better part of the day. We stripped off our jackets, donned our new official Synchronicity tour sleeveless “muscle” shirts, and left all of our belongings in the care of our new best friends, a couple of guys from… Duvall or somewhere. I think one of them was named Larry. Anyway, as we left, we noticed that some of our “line neighbors” were constructing plastic lean-tos, the type that would normally be used to protect the inhabitants from rain. We snickered. “Those dorks. Why, in September, would anyone be worrying about rain in the beautiful Pacific Northwest?” We walked to that haven of the hungry in Tacoma, Dairy Dell. Yes, Dairy Dell – for over 20 years Tacoma’s ideal location for a birthday or a bar mitzvah! We ordered our double bacon cheese burgers, fries, onion rings, large “chocolate-flavored shake drinks,” and deep-fried hot apple pie with “cautiously hot” filling. As we started eating, we noticed that a few clouds had appeared in the sky.

JASON’S DIARY, AUGUST 31, 4PM – We were just finishing our burgers when it started raining! We wolfed down our food, and ran back to THE DOME. Unfortunately, as cool as our fellow fans seemed to be when we left, none were cool enough to have brought our belongings under their shelter until we could get back. In their defense, they only promised to “watch” our stuff, and that’s what they did. They watched our stuff get SOAKED in the torrential downpour that developed over the past ten minutes or so. Crap.

ERIC – So there we were, 60-some-odd miles from home, standing in the Tacoma Dome parking lot, the rainwater gently caressing our shivering skin… needless to say, our coats were lying open on the ground and our sweatshirts were inside-out. The good news was: It was 4PM. And that meant that the hard-rockin’ Police were less than 30 hours away!

JASON’S DIARY, AUGUST 31, 4:30PM – I’ve been trying to console myself with the thought that the hard-rockin’ Police are less than 30 hours away… But actually, the Fixx are less than 30 hours away. Then after them, the Thompson Twins are playing. So it could be a solid 33 hours or so before we actually hear the Police perform any actual music. But we’ve got an excellent line position, it’s not really as cold as you’d think, given the rain, and thank God we brought the tape deck so we can crank the tunes!

ERIC – In preparation for our trip, Jason had made about 10 cassette tapes containing some of our favorite albums. I mean, there was a Stray Cats album in there, but that’s definitely not one of my “favorites.” Jason brought that one. I said, “How about ‘Houses of the Holy’ or ‘The Soft Parade'” and Jason was like, “But I already filled up the last tape with ‘Built for Speed’.” For disposability, he made these on the lowest-grade tapes available: pre-recorded pharmaceutical sales seminar tapes his Dad had fished out of the garbage, which we cleverly made recordable by placing masking tape over the security slots.

JASON’S DIARY, AUGUST 31, 6PM – I’m starting to think that our cloth sleeping bags will not be adequate protection from the rain, but in any case, our posse (Jim, his girlfriend Janet, and another friend Pamela) will be arriving in the morning, and we can probably nap in their car while they take our place in line for a while. All we need to do is keep warm until then. Plus, they’re bringing us food, so that’ll be sweet. “SYNCHRONICITY! SYNCHRONICITY! WITH ONE BREATH, WITH ONE FLOW, YOU WILL KNOW – SYNCHRONICITY!” The Police ROCK!

ERIC – In retrospect, it’s clear that we were not truly aware of what we were facing that day – 16 years’ experience is apparently not enough for the teenage mind to put together such complex weather patterns as, “When it rains, it gets cold.” So we stood in the rain, talking about how miserable we were, and how we would never forget this, and how the rain feels like it’s going to let up any minute now, and how we couldn’t wait to see the Police, and how the rain wasn’t actually letting up after all, and how it was only, like, 6PM, and how it was, in fact, getting colder… and also how brilliant we were, because we were only here to be IRONIC. I mean, nobody around us realized that this whole experience was nothing but an elaborate piece of satirical performance art staged by Jason and me, mocking their obsessive fandom! Unlike the neurotic freaks around us, WE HAD A LIFE. We didn’t have to be there!

…Only now we did, because we had nowhere else to go. Jason’s cousins had apparently gone out for the evening, and we found ourselves faced with the following options:

  1. Spend a life-threatening night amongst the thugs, whores, bootleggers, drug pushers and jaywalkers on the freezing rain-soaked-and-oil-befouled streets of the 3rd largest city in the state, during the worst winter storm in 20 years, without food, shelter, or even a long-sleeved shirt, for God’s sake, or…
  2. Call our parents and tell them we had lied. The choice was clear. I popped in “Fragile” by Yes, tucked my bare arms inside my sleeveless shirt, and clenched my teeth to stop the chattering.

After about 3 hours, we started to regret the fact that we hadn’t made higher-quality tapes. And also that we hadn’t brought a higher-quality tape player, instead of the water-damaged mono GE piece of shit which we were huddling around. We strained to hear the chorus of “Heart of the Sunrise” over the howling tape hiss and pretended not to notice the bizarre fluctuations in tape speed.

JASON’S DIARY, AUGUST 31, 8PM – There are maybe 50 people in line, all wearing winter coats, sitting on nice collapsible chairs, holding umbrellas… I’m starting to feel ever-so-slightly foolish sitting on the pavement in my t-shirt. It’s REALLY cold. We pooled our resources, and figured we had at least enough for a cheeseburger and an order of fries… probably the small size. As we walked past the BoilerMakers Union Building, it slowly dawned on me that this might be the worst day of my life. That, and also that the Thompson Twins would kick out the jams in only about… 24 hours! Or so! We hope!

ERIC – Don’t be fooled by the unimpressive appearance and small size of the BoilerMakers Union building – they have a lot of old money, and that’s power, my friend.

Anyway, as we spent a good hour or so enjoying our Kiddie Burger and an order of Kuddly Fries, we were fully aware that, sooner or later, we would have to go back out in that rain. I never realized how much water actually fell in a typical North Pacific storm before. I honestly believed it would let up at some point. It did not.

JASON’S DIARY, AUGUST 31, 10PM – The tape deck is using up batteries faster than we anticipated. Maybe that’s because we’re playing such RADICAL music! “She’s sexy and seventeen! My little rock ‘n’ roll dream!” That song is awesome.

ERIC – By 11PM, the wind was blowing at gale-force, monsoon-type speeds, unusual for August. To distract ourselves from the weather, we listened to “Moving Pictures.” For approximately the 18th time.

JASON’S DIARY, AUGUST 31, 11:30PM – Raining quite hard now… wishing we had brought a tarp. Or an umbrella, at least. Or gloves, or a hat, or waterproof clothing of any kind. Tape deck has shorted out. Not that it matters, since we’re out of batteries, and, to be honest, after about 30 times, “Tom Sawyer” doesn’t seem like such a cool song anymore. The cloth sleeping bags (what were we THINKING??) have congealed into a sodden red and green mass on the pavement of the Tacoma Dome parking lot. Eric just coughed, and my nose has been running for the last hour or so. I really need to blow my nose, but my usual supply of Kleenex has disintegrated via re-use and rain damage.

ERIC – At least he had that denim jacket. Granted, it had no sleeves either, like some sort of muscle-jacket I guess, but at least it was more than a thin, cotton muscle-shirt. I mean, I don’t want to sound resentful or anything, but this was his stupid idea, after all. Why did he get to have the extra protection of a…coat? And don’t tell me it was just a denim muscle-jacket because I don’t care! It’s the principle of the matter; don’t you see? The PRINCIPLE.

JASON’S DIARY, SEPTEMBER 1, MIDNIGHT – There is this group of guys sitting near us (who all had the foresight to wear winter coats, damn them), slouched down in their collapsible lawn chairs, passing around a joint. One of them was pontificating on the relative merits of various rock guitarists. “Dude,” he proclaimed, took a deep toke, then continued with that holding-in-the-smoke-as-long-as-I-can-without-passing-out voice, “They used to say that Eric Clapton was fuckin’ God, man.” His compatriots nodded their agreement, and he continued: “But the reason they said that, man, is the dude could fuckin’ play, yaknowwhatimsayin?” They did. “Now Jimmy Page, you got a whole different class of being what a guitarist IS, yaknowhatimsayin? And that’s because he had his own fuckin’ style, yaknowwhatimsayin?” The conversation continued in this vein for some time.

JASON’S DIARY, SEPTEMBER 1, 1AM – Only… Jesus, 19 MORE HOURS? You have got to be kidding me. Teeth are chattering uncontrollably. No stores of any kind are open nearby, so there’s nowhere to go where we can dry off or warm up even for a minute… Even the Porta-Potties are starting to look kinda inviting…

ERIC – Somewhere around this time, I suggested that we try and sleep inside one of the portable toilets set up outside THE DOME.

This plan failed for several reasons. First, one of us would always have to stay in line. Second, it wasn’t actually any warmer inside the Honey Buckets, and the smell inside made Jason hyperventilate after about a minute and a half. So we kinda set that idea aside for review.

JASON’S DIARY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2:30AM – There are these two cute girls standing in line near us, and they have a frigging TENT! Why did we not think of this? In any case, our luck appears to be changing, since the girls have invited us to share their tent for a while… SCORE!

JASON’S DIARY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2:35AM – Unfortunately, after luring us in, the girls gathered their purses and left. “Thanks for saving our spot, guys. We’re gonna drive to the store, but we’ll be back in about 15 minutes.” I thought she might be hinting at, you know, things that might happen when they got back, and I leeringly winked at her. She looked aghast. “Um, when we get back, you guys will need to get out. Seriously.” I could hear them laughing about something as they walked away from the tent, but the howling wind prevented me from catching the details.

ERIC – About fifteen minutes after they left, the girls returned, with their (previously unmentioned) boyfriends in tow. We were jostled awake and brusquely evicted. Feverish and shivering on the wet pavement, wincing from earache and raw throats, we again considered calling our parents to rescue us, and again decided it would be better to die frozen on the asphalt.

It was 3:22 in the morning. The horizontal sheets of rain from the Aleutian storm front had temporarily subsided to a heavy-handed drizzle. I looked out over the freeway. I wanted to just walk out into it and end it all, when I saw the lighted “TACOM OME” sign by the freeway change its advertisement. Instead of announcing the triumphant return of Gary Puckett (with Special Guest Gordon Lightfoot) in a couple weeks, it gave a providential message, a message of hope. A message of personal redemption:

“THE POLICE, SEPT. 1 7:30 OLD UT”

Cheers erupted in the line. Somehow, seeing that the last tickets had been bought the morning of the show vindicated our decision to sit through the first storm of the nine-month Puget Sound Winter. Knowing that no one could get up that morning and say, “Hey, I’m going to get tickets to see the Police tonight!” proved that it was a wise move to get in line early for this show. We all could revel in the knowledge that we were a select few. The cheers continued as the next wall of arctic rain slammed into us.

But then the reader board kept scrolling, and we saw that ” OLD UT” was actually part of the next event on the calendar, an announcement for the world-famous “Tacoma COLD CUTS And International Cheeses Festival”. This had a kind of sobering effect on our enthusiasm, and the cheering stopped, except for one guy who was apparently really psyched about the cold cut show.

JASON’S DIARY, SEPTEMBER 1, 4AM – Only 16 more hours until the first of two opening acts is scheduled to take the stage, although it’ll probably start late, so who really knows when we’ll… oh sweet Jesus…

ERIC – Addled by delirium, we actually attempted to sneak into THE DOME by posing as roadies and walking confidently in alongside the semi trucks carrying all of the stage rigging. When that seemingly airtight plan inexplicably failed, we huddled in a porta-crap until the nosebleeds set in, then returned to our places in line.

Some time later, I realized that I could no longer remember what group we came to see, what city we were in, or how long we had been in line. None of that information, in fact, seemed relevant anymore. We giggled dementedly, leered at passersby with bloodshot, glassy eyes, and occasionally screamed “ROCK AND ROLL!” in hoarse yelps, after which we collapsed in belabored coughing fits. “ONLY 14 MORE HOURS!! ROCK AND ROOOOOOLLLLLL! PO-LEESE! PO-LEESE!” etc.

JASON’S DIARY, SEPTEMBER 1, 5AM – Eric has returned from what I had assumed would be a fruitless search for a box or a dumpster we could use as shelter. As he approached, I detected a mysterious smile on his face. “Dude!” he exclaimed. “I found it!” That was great, I asked him, but how was the love of Jesus going to help us now?

ERIC – I could see the cold had hindered Jason’s thought processes, so I clarified. “No, Jason, I found shelter! It’s over in the North parking lot—you know, the one that is never used except to store extra seats and stuff? Over there!”

JASON – Shelter? Eric found shelter? I could not believe my swollen, purple ears. He found shelter! No more begging people to take us with them to their motel room, or desperately trying to hook up with any females who owned a tarp. We had shelter! We will never have to tell our parents a thing! They will never know! “What is it?” I asked him, anxiously. Eric looked at me with pride, and said, “Honey Buckets!”

ERIC – It took a moment to pull Jason off me and to dislodge his hands from my throat. After that I could finish my sales pitch. “No, they’re on a trailer. They’re unused! We could each take one and get out of the rain and wind.” So off we went, moving as quickly as we could for being nearly frozen solid at this time. We each grabbed a Honey Bucket, turned the knob to “OCCUPIED” and sort of slept, sort of convulsed, for a couple hours.

JASON’S DIARY, SEPTEMBER 1, 9AM – We’re now squatting on the asphalt in our sopping wet jeans and t-shirts, next to the wreckage of our sleeping bags and tape deck, heads pounding, trying to remember why so many of our cassette tapes are unspooled on the sidewalk. Also, one of us apparently lost our temper with the tapedeck, but I don’t think that was me. In fact, I’m sure it wasn’t me. Anyway, things are looking up: We’re very near the absolute front of the line. The sun is starting to peek through the clouds. And our good friends will be here anytime now with food and a warm car!

JASON’S DIARY, SEPTEMBER 1, 10AM – Anytime now…

ERIC – Around noon, it started to sink in that our friends might not show up at all. Meanwhile, the “line dynamic” had subtly shifted. We could no longer leave to eat, or to use the toilet, or anything. I’ve forgotten a lot of what happened, but I do remember that we were very, very hungry. We held onto a slim hope that our friends would eventually arrive and bring something nourishing to eat. By this time – 8 hours or so before the concert – there were several hundred folks in line.

JASON’S DIARY, SEPTEMBER 1, 1PM – The security guards have divided up the line into small sections and handed out color-coded line passes. German Shepherds patrol the perimeter, keeping us inside the cordoned area, and trained snipers track our every move from fortified guard towers. Okay, I made that part up. But the rest is true. We have just been told to disperse, and not return until 4PM, which is something that we did not expect. We have no choice but to throw our sleeping bags and our treasured tape deck in a nearby dumpster. We cannot locate the cassettes we had earlier. Our posse has still not arrived. Perhaps they were in a horrible accident? I can’t imagine anything else that would cause them to be this late… They will certainly be here soon, so we have decided to loiter near the Tacoma Dome, in defiance of the security guard’s direct orders.

ERIC – Around 4PM, just as the line was re-forming, our friends arrived. Apparently there was some sort of misunderstanding on the definition of “food,” however, as the only consumable items they brought were 2 cases of Cragmont pop. As Pamela explained, “We thought you might be thirsty.” I had hoped to take a nap in the car but, well, there WAS no car, because they chose to bring Jim’s Toyota pickup. And what little room the pickup afforded was occupied by Pamela, who decided SHE needed a nap. Jim and his girlfriend Janet had been in a fight, and Jim was feeling especially full of testosterone. “So,” he demanded gruffly, “where are the places you saved us in the line?” My throat feeling quite raw, I responded by simply pointing to the extreme end of the line, curling out of sight around the other side of THE DOME. Jim was furious. “You’ve been here for TWO DAYS, and that’s the best you fags could do?” he barked imperiously. Had the tapedeck been within arms’ reach, instead of in the dumpster, I might have beat him about the head with it. “No, Jim, that’s not the best we could do,” Jason replied wearily. “Eric and I have places saved right THERE.” Jason pointed to the front of the line and continued, “If you dumbasses had shown up FIVE HOURS AGO, you could have been there with us.” While Jim was still ranting, we shambled off to the Dairy Dell for a cheese steak sandwich. We hoped Jim wouldn’t notice that the toll change was missing from his ashtray.

JASON’S DIARY, SEPTEMBER 1, 4PM – We have eaten. The sun came out. Our clothes are (mostly) dry. We have divested ourselves of all baggage. Most importantly, we are safely ensconced in the first demarcated line holding area! We carefully, slowly, edge toward the front of the group, striking up false conversations, pretending to look for a friend, etc., until we are only a few spots shy of the absolute front. We’ve made arrangements to meet our friends at the pickup truck after the show. Now things begin to get very exciting. Anxiety increases, the line crushes more tightly each minute as the moment of truth approaches. Both Eric and I are quite unwell, but we are no longer wet and cold, so things seem much, much better.

ERIC – About 6PM, the doors were opened. Slowly, slowly, the heavily armed security personnel led us into THE DOME. “Take it easy now… that’s it… everybody’s doing fine… let’s keep it slow and easy… I don’t wanna see anybody running, don’t wanna see any broken arms or legs tonight…” I’m sure this insistent droning was supposed to lull us into a state of relaxed cooperation, but it had the opposite effect on at least one person, who broke into a frenzied sprint for THE WALL! Of course, once one guy runs, everybody runs, and our hard-won line position supremacy was threatened!

Seeing a possible advantage, Jason vaulted over a railing to the floor of THE DOME. Apparently, he did not realize that an eight-foot drop awaited him on the other side. Okay, maybe not eight feet, but anyway, he sprained his ankle. At this point, however, nothing short of a severed spinal column would have kept us from THE WALL and we both staggered onward, blinking back the tears of pain… everything seemed to be going in slow motion… For the moment, it seemed that all the discomfort, hunger, cold, illness, and injury had been worth it, as we found ourselves front and center at THE WALL!

Somehow, the security guards got us to sit on the floor with our backs to THE WALL, and we watched THE DOME fill up, as the tech crew tested the mikes and drums and stuff. We both felt a little feverish and even mildly disoriented, Jason’s ankle was throbbing, my throat was raw and my ears were ringing, the Dairy Dell food was rumbling ominously in our bellies… but none of that mattered. WE HAD MADE IT! Now, we only had to wait, sitting on the concrete floor, for 2 or 3 more hours until the show was scheduled to begin.

JASON’S DIARY, SEPTEMBER 1, 7:30PM – Some genius thought something was happening on stage, so he screamed and stood up. Predictably, mass hysteria ensued. Immediately, everyone sitting on the floor stood up, began shrieking like crazed hyenas, and applied their full weight to the person in front of them. Being at the absolute front, pinned against the retaining wall, we felt the combined weight of, oh, 20,000 people. We are struggling to breathe, and the crowd is now moving in waves – forward, back, left, right… People are crying and getting pulled over THE WALL by the security guards. Eric and I are feeling a little weak, sweating buckets and gripping THE WALL with every ounce of strength we have left. I don’t think I’ll be able to write any more until after the show…

ERIC – I’m not positive, but I think it was around that time that Jason started to cry. Around 8:30PM, the Thompson Twins triumphantly took the stage. Unfortunately, the audience wanted THE POLICE. I only remember one thing about this part of the show: Allanah whatsername was playing her xylophone near the front of the stage, and some jerk tossed a banana peel up onto the keys. Without skipping a beat, she picked up the peel with one of her sticks (or mallets or whatever they are when you’re playing a xylophone) and deftly flicked it back at the guy who threw it. That was pretty cool.

JASON – It couldn’t have been more than 15 minutes into the show when a bunch of guys who were older and stronger than us, and also drunk, formed a human chain and started inching their way along THE WALL. Inexorably advancing, they forcibly peeled off anyone unfortunate enough to be in their way, e.g. me and Eric. It was bad enough being pressed against THE WALL – now we were adrift in the crowd and being assaulted from every direction. I’m not sure if it was because my head was so congested or what, but the sound up there was lousy. We couldn’t SEE anything, because the jocks who now had our places at the front were taller than us, plus they were mindlessly waving their arms around, jumping up and down, lifting their hot girlfriends up on their shoulders, etc. Finally, we conceded defeat and got hauled over THE WALL… it’s all a blur. In any case, we ended up at the VERY BACK of THE DOME.

ERIC – I couldn’t believe it. Thirty hours ago we got in line, suffered through wind, rain, bullies, and overall bad luck, just to get front wall “seating” for two stinking songs by the Thompson Twins, and they weren’t even “Hold Me Now” or “Doctor, Doctor?” This was not acceptable! By the time I had reached the boiling point, the Thompson Twins had finished their set and the Fixx were hitting the stage. I got up. I breathed as deeply as possible given my bronchial congestion, stood up (relatively) straight, and turned towards the right flank of the crowd.

“Eric!” Jason called. “Where are you going?”

“DUDE! I’M GOING TO THE WALL!!”

And I made it. I actually made it. By the time I got there, the Fixx were kicking into their hits from their smash album, “Reach the Beach.” Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some fine songs on that album. They played “One Thing Leads to Another,” “Saved by Zero,” “Sign of Fire,” and from the earlier album, “Red Skies.” BUT, it would have been far more rewarding had I not heard “Reach the Freakin’ Beach” thirty-some-odd times the night before! Exhausted, and no longer interested in hearing the Fixx for more than five minutes or so, I stretched my hands out to the security guard in front of me, and let him pull me out of the raging sea of ravenous Fixx fans. (I wonder if any of those fans still follow the band around on tour?) I found my way through the stage understructure and to the back of THE DOME, where I found Jason waiting for me.

JASON – It was pretty much a full house, so the only place we could find to sit was high in the bleachers. The performers were a distant speck at the extreme opposite end of the hall. Eric was looking rough, and felt pretty confident that he had pneumonia. By this time, we were both just praying for the concert to be OVER, so we could go home and sleep it off, but the second opening act hadn’t even finished yet.

Finally, at 10:30PM, our hopes and dreams came to fruition: THE POLICE HIT THE STAGE!!

ERIC – Fifteen minutes later, we realized that our classmates had been right: The Police were, quite possibly, “the worst live band ever, bar none.” I silently prayed for a fire to break out or something, so the show could end early.

JASON – I was hoping that at least the sound might be better from the back of the hall. Sadly, that was not the case. I think if Sting could have turned his bass up just a skosh further, he would have achieved the perfect bass volume level for a Sting solo concert. As it was, I could still occasionally hear one of Stewart’s snare shots or some muffled feedback from Andy’s guitar.

ERIC – By 1AM, the show was over. We were eager to get in a quiet car and sleep all the way home, then get into a warm bed and sleep for 2 or 3 days. Our nightmare was coming to an end. When we got to the “car,” however, we remembered: There WAS no car. There was a Toyota pickup, with just enough room for 3 in the cab. Meaning that 2 of us would have to ride in the back, exposed to the elements. As if on cue, it began raining again, harder than ever. This is what I remember Jim saying: “There is no WAY I’m sitting in the back! YOU two can fucking sit in the back – you didn’t even save us places in line!”

“You guys had better have a good reason for calling me at 1:30AM to come pick you up in Tacoma,” mumbled Jason’s Dad over the phone, a half-hour later. We waited under a concrete walkway outside THE DOME, along with all the other derelicts who didn’t have a ride. About an hour after we called, Jason’s Dad arrived in his VW Bus. When we got in, we saw that he was just wearing a bathrobe over his underwear. Before we passed out, we managed to explain to Jason’s Dad what had happened, excluding, of course, the insignificant fact that we had been outside the entire night before. Later, we found out that Jason’s Dad went to Pamela’s house the next morning, and gave her the what-for, I suppose because she was the one who actually drove.

JASON – The next day, I didn’t wake up until about 4PM. I felt simply awful, knots in my stomach, ankle still throbbing. I staggered to the bathroom, brushed and showered, got dressed, and then looked at my calendar. Only then did I remember that I had tickets to a Supertramp concert that very night. And I needed my Dad to give me a ride down to the Seattle Center…

One Comment

  1. Hilarious. Simply hilarious. I could picture you and your buddies enduring the 30-plus hours in the elements…and shivering miserably right alongside ya’ll.

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