Shannon’s Super Sexy Blog. Music. Travel. Randomness. And a Lot of Wine.

A Handful of Feathers

It’s Tuesday morning and I am sitting at the dining room table at my friends Marcia and David’s house in Pasadena trying to figure out how to sum up three things – what Radiohead means to me, the Radiohead show on Sunday night, and the Radiohead show last night.  It’s hard because out of all the things in the world – excepting my family and my friends of course – I love Radiohead the best.  This band has been such a monumental part of my life and all their records means something to me.  And some of their songs?  Lets see… they make me happy, make me sad, make me feel when I’ve got no feelings.  Changed my life.  Saved my life. 


If music is my religion then Radiohead is my god.  If going to a show is going to going to church then going to a Radiohead show is going to see the Pope.  I absolutely adore them, love them, would take bullets for them all.  You get the idea.


So, this last week of August 2008 Radiohead is playing four shows down here in Southern California.  I’ve just been to two shows at the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday and Monday, tomorrow is San Diego, and Thursday is Santa Barbara. I’ve taken the week off work.  It’s my Radiohead staycation.


I’m not the only person who loves Radiohead.  They have a massive number of equally enthralled fans and sell out giant venues wherever they go and getting tickets is not so easy – getting great seats is even harder, unless you are rich.  For this tour, I have great seats and that is because I worked with someone just like me (Elizabeth, another Radiohead uber-freak) to get them by staying up all night hitting refresh on our computers to get some of Radiohead’s allotment of tickets.  This all happened back in April.  We waited for months to find out where our seats would be for the Hollywood Bowl and I was pretty excited to find out we had decent seats for Sunday and even better, pool circle – two rows back from the stage – on Monday.


Was in totally and insanely awesome?  Yes.  Was it perfect?  No.  Could it have been perfect?  Yes.


I’ve come to the realization that going to any show is a crapshoot.  No matter where you sit, in the front of the venue or the nosebleed section, the most important thing is the people who are sitting around you.  All it takes is one bimbo who can’t keep her mouth shut or one drunk asshole to mar or even completely ruin a show.  The only way to avoid this is to be in the front row with NO ONE in front of you.  That is why I like to go to clubs and why I get there early enough to get on the rail, if the band is important to me.  Will I try to get to the rail in the San Diego pit?  I’ll try, but it won’t be easy.  There are a lot of twenty year olds who can run a lot faster than me.  Anyway.


In the L.A. Times review of Sunday’s show Ann Powers writes “(Radiohead’s) 25-song set enraptured its acolytes while exposing the contradictory desires this band stimulates: for live music as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and for rock as ritual, providing dependable release.”  Once-in-a-lifetime and rock as ritual pretty much sums it up for me. 


So, Sunday I drove up here and picked up Elizabeth at Union Station and spent a couple of hours with Marcia and David who dropped us off at the Hollywood Bowl (are they awesome or what?) We got there pretty early to check out the merch and it was HOT up there.  We each bought a shirt and then I bought an insanely overpriced single serving bottle of Champagne that was so gross I could not drink it.  Why do I do these things?  I poured it out and went back to Patina Marketplace which is, as rip-off places go, the granddaddy of rip-off.  Buying my bottle of Coppola Pinot Noir for $45.00 (don’t laugh at my insane money spendage for a $15 bottle of wine, there were worse, also more expensive alternatives) I was standing next to Rosanna Arquette, who said “maybe I’ll get a sandwich.”  Then at the table where they pour your wine into a plastic cup, Danny Masterson was standing next to me.  Celebrities get ripped off at Patina too!  It’s not just for the little people, there.


On that first night Elizabeth and I had seats in the second row right over where everyone walks in for the garden boxes, so we had a clear view of quite a few celebrities walking in, which was kind of cool.  I am not really a celebrity junkie or anything but to see that many at one time was kind of crazy.  We could see Rosanna Arquette and her sister Patricia in their garden box and they seem as normal as can be.  Some random TV star walked by (I have no idea who he was) and the girl in the seat in front of us was screeching “OH MY GOD.  THAT IS (insert what’s his names name here).”  THAT guy, every time he walked by, looked up to see if the girl would screech again, and even looked back forlornly when she was too engrossed in conversation to notice him again.  I don’t think he was after her – I think he was just happy to be noticed. 


We hung out through the opening act and Radiohead came on at dusk.  It really was a fantastic show and I was just so happy to be there.  We weren’t super close but we weren’t in the nosebleeds, either, and the crowd around us started out OK.  For sure, the girl next to me was awesome and into it so much that she didn’t even bug me when she sang some.  The sound and the lights were fantastic.  Unfortunately, the people in front of us talked a great deal and that was kind of a major bummer.  I still don’t understand why you’d want to pay $75 a ticket (or more) and then carry on a conversation the entire time.  Why?  It is just… such a waste.  I seriously wanted to pour a glass of wine on their heads (yes, they were sitting.  Sitting and talking.)


Yesterday we slept in a little and kept the day pretty simple.  Elizabeth went to a movie in Hollywood and I was to meet her at the Bowl at around 5 for a picnic before the show.   I had two extra tickets, one for San Diego and one for Santa Barbara, that I wanted to sell and ended up selling them to a woman named Joan who actually drove to Pasadena and gave me a ride to the Bowl.  (When you have an extra Santa Barbara pit ticket, people will do pretty much anything for you.)  But it was kind of funny because we were both talking so much about Radiohead that heading up the 134 we bypassed Hollywood totally and ended up in fucking SYLMAR.  We are talking close to Magic Mountain here.  But Joan kind of drove like a maniac (I was praying a little… please oh please do not let me die today because I have Pool Circle tickets…. Please oh please…) and she got me to Hollywood only 15 minutes late.  Which is pretty crazy – believe me.  She’s coming to today’s show and I have a sneaking feeling we will be hanging out with her at some point.


Elizabeth and I ate in the picnic area near the Bowl – it’s SO cool how you can have these outdoor picnics with wine right off Highland Blvd. – and then headed inside.  I bought my second bottle of overpriced Pinot, and we went to our seats which were AMAZING.  Pool circle ROCKS.  We were just a couple of rows back from the stage but on the far right.  I was sure that there was no way anyone could mess this up.


There was a couple behind us and the guy had also got up in the wee hours of April 9 to score W.A.S.T.E. (fan) tickets and a couple in front of us that came all the way from North Carolina.  We were all so excited!  To be THAT CLOSE – awesome.  And Radiohead played what will probably come to be known as the best set list from the entire 2008 tour.  For the first few songs, I was totally and completely enraptured. 


But sadly things deteriorated and it was pretty messed up.  Though the band was putting on the best show ever, it was really hard to concentrate because there was this really obnoxious couple just across the aisle from me.  The guy was really short and kept standing on the bases of his folding chair and the one in front of him to give himself more height, and also took constant pictures and videos with his phone held up high so that added another foot.  Not so bad for me, but I felt really bad for the guy behind me – he had to watch the show through this asshole’s camera.  And the girl kept talking.  I tuned it out as best I could, but my occasional look back at the fan behind me stressed me out because he looked SO bummed.  Security came over and told the dude to stop standing on the chair, but he kept on.


Finally, all the pent up frustration and anger in the guy behind me blew and he KICKED the short obnoxious guy in the leg.  Now, while I don’t condone violence and especially at a Radiohead show, I knew were he was coming from – after MONTHS of waiting and then having these fantastic seats, only to have the experience ruined by a little dude with a white golf visor, a cell phone camera, and a constantly jabbering girlfriend… it totally sucked.  I wanted to kick him too. 


The little guy starts hollering “someone kicked my leg!” and got up in the kicker’s face – it was almost brawl time.  I shot a look at the security guy and he came over and made the little guy go back to his seat but it sucked.  I mean, how do you get into a show when all this shit is going on?  I looked back at the guy behind me and said “be happy you aren’t up there – please don’t let this fool bother you” and pointed up at section T, 15,500 people seperating us and them.  But it was too late for him, and then it was too late for me.


The couple in front of us started shooting pictures of THEMSELVES with Radiohead playing in the background, as if the band was the Eiffel Tower or something.  If that wasn’t insane enough, Short Guy’s girlfriend decided SHE wanted to have her picture taken with Radiohead in the background, and asked the girl behind the fan behind me if she would take it.  Are you keeping up with this?  Radiohead is on the stage, playing awesomely, and this bitch is yelling “hey, can you take my picture?  Do YOU want ME to take YOUR picture?”  Me and the guy behind me were seething… it was pretty awful.  So finally I tapped the girl and said “we are trying to watch the show” and she gave me a nasty look, FLIPPED ME OFF and went back to her seat which was all of five feet from me.  Then she started flailing about (or dancing, if you could call it that) but was so drunk that she kept falling back on her seat.  Bet the girl behind her loved that. 


After I asked the girl to let us watch the show she had to turn to me at least a dozen times to tell me she didn’t want to be in my way.  LOOK BITCH, SHUT THE FUCK UP.  THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU.  I ignored her, which caused her to look over at me even more.  I know there are a lot of cool people in L.A. but this was one of those “pay attention to ME situations” that I am sure anyone who has ever been to a show in L.A. knows about.


So, what could have been really perfect was kind of messed up – still, when I could let it all go, it was amazing.  Being that close to the band and REALLY close to Jonny Greenwood who I absolutely adore – that was awesome.  Planet Telex!  Mi dio.  I’ve waited years to hear that song live.


After the show, I talked with the guy behind me and he and his girlfriend are going to Santa Barbara too, so they have a chance for a better experience.  I hope they do.  I am half way through this experience and so far it has been great even with the L.A. asshole crowd.  Two more shows – one in the pit where I can move if I’m near a talking dick, and one where our seats are front row over the pit where at least any talkers will be behind me.  I have a feeling that it will be awesome.


I’ll post some of Elizabeth’s awesome photos later.


One Response to “A Handful of Feathers”

  1. Brad'll Do It Says:

    Sorry that second show crowd was so obnoxious. The crowd isn’t the show, the band is, but some folks think that the audience wants to see THEM! So, I have a couple of suggestions for what to say to such folk:

    “Excuse me, this is a religious experience for me. You wouldn’t act this way in church, would you?”


    “Excuse me, hasn’t your therapist dealt with your lousy childhood/ self image/ narcissistic personality yet? Is THAT why you need to act out in front of thousands?”

    Just a thought….

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