First I would like to thank everyone that entered the contest. The macaroni bust and the interpretive dance of his life were particularly impressive; however, a short man wearing a renaissance costume delivered a telegram to my door informing me that I was the ultimate winner. Next year Moist Rub has vowed to remember to include the clause that prevents employees of Leper Pop Publishing and its subsidiaries from entering.
Knowing that Moist Rub is a guitar hero and a Beth Hart fan, I suggested that we go to the upcoming Jeff Beck show at the Chicago Theater. I can appreciate the work of the guitar hero like Jeff Beck, but never thought I could sit through an entire concert of it.
My brother and I used to say that drowning in beer was like heaven, eh? Now he's not here, and I got two soakers... This isn't heaven, this sucks!
However, this time Jeff wised up and decided to invite Leper Pop idol Beth Hart along to sing with his band. So I carefully navigated the Ticketmaster website and found some crappy tickets for way too much money. I gave up hope and figured our date would be the usual night of Cuban food and flamenco dancing. I donned my hand crafted Spanish dance shoes, but then I thought about “it.” Yes, “it” – the dumbass eBay commercials. I fired up my Paypal account and found a plethora of tickets to the show available, and purchased a pair on the main floor at about 30% off from a guy that probably couldn’t find anyone to go to the show with him. I know that because he offered to buy one ticket back if I would be his friend. I had a good laugh at his expense while preparing for my date with Moist Rub.
I carefully flossed my teeth and agonized over whether to wear the black, white or green Chuck Taylors. I decided that the white ones would convey a clean look in conjunction with my jeans and t-shirt. Sure it was after Labor day, but I’m a rebel. Well, not quite. I remembered the show was on a work day. But my rebellion rose from within again, and I decided to flaunt office dress code and wear jeans to work that day. Imagine, it wasn’t even Casual Friday. I paired the Levis with my blue denim shirt, giving me that prisoner in a minimum security prison look.
We decided to meet for a romantic dinner at Potbelly Sandwich Works since it was across the street from the theater, and hey, who doesn’t like sandwiches? I searched the joint for Moist, but didn’t see him and went back outside to get some fresh urban air and wait for his arrival. Several seconds later he walked up and I greeted him warmly with a “hey” and a head nod. We had the normal awkward small talk about the menu, ordered up, paid, and the only two seats were at a counter type table over looking a couple booths in front of us. We stared at the two chicks eating sandwiches in the booth directly in front of us, but even with the most imaginative effort it was not erotic in any way. I don’t know about Moist, but I did make up my own clever backstory for them involving nudity, a copy machine and the demise of their dictatorial boss. Eventually, the dinner evolved into a brief business meeting, which consisted of my unaudited and flawed financial report and his unfinished marketing plan. We then agreed to no longer talk business for the rest of the evening and begin the trek across the street to the theater.
Using the Intellivision skills honed in college, we navigated through the mass of burned out, smoking ex-stoners out front of the theater and through the mass of oblivious people in the lobby who appeared to have been hired exclusively to stand around and get in the way of anyone that might have wanted to walk anywhere that evening. After taking our seats, my first observation was, based on the demographics of the rest of the audience, that we must be old. This was further confirmed after Moist Rub hoped out loud that everyone would remain seated so we wouldn’t have to stand all night. Finally, I considered applying for Social Security after the woman in the row in front of us, instead of sharing a toke from a joint, was offering up some delightful lemon lime gum before the show. I don’t remember what the guys behind us were talking about, but I seem to think it had something to do with Dockers, and I could feel any last remaining shred of cool being sucked from my body just by being there. We gave up hope that the empty seats adjacent to us would be filled by nubile college chicks and sat sullenly contemplating the bitch slap of reality that had just occurred.
Tom Marker, another old guy that’s been on WXRT radio since I can remember, came out not to introduce the band, but merely to announce that the show would start soon. That was about as useful as me telling you that I was planning to eat dinner tonight, but since old Tom probably had nothing better to do that evening we were sympathetic to his plight.
Finally, the unmistakable silhouette of Mr. Jeff Beck appeared from the shadows. It was either him or Nigel Tufnel, but I didn’t see Spinal Tap listed on the bill that evening. He then launched into a pretty cool song that I didn’t know, but with some cool guitar parts. Then he played another pretty cool song that I didn’t know, but with some cool guitar parts. Then he played another pretty cool song that I didn’t know, but with cool guitar parts. Then he played another pretty cool song that I didn’t know, but with some cool guitar parts. Then he started another one, and Beth came out to sing. Beth exuded cool, so much so that I felt a little of it return to my body just from being in her presence. She seemed to fit in well with the band, but it just wasn’t right. It was like watching Marty Casey on Rock Star. Yeah, he was doing well, but it just wasn’t quite right watching him do those songs with the house band. It’s just more right watching him play his songs with the Lovehammers. Or is it just Lovehammers? I never quite figured that out. But I digress.
Beth also sang on the next song, a bluesy number that I actually recognized, and then waved goodbye and went backstage to struggle with her personal demons. Jeff stayed with us and played another 5 or 6 tunes that I didn’t know, but with some cool guitar parts. He invited Beth back out for a couple generic rockers. She sounded a little better this time around, and I tried to support her knowing that the tour would at least look good on her curriculum vitae when all was said and done. I can’t really remember what happened next, mostly because I was fixated on destroying the keyboard player’s equipment in the same manner that Belushi smashed that acoustic guitar in Animal House. It was that annoying, but I guess it’s all part of Beck’s M.O. so it wasn’t going anywhere. Oh, yeah, there was Beatles cover that I actually enjoyed quite a bit. He finished the evening with a solo cover of Katherine McPhee’s Over The Rainbow. Again, it was impressive but at least Katherine was interesting to look at.
I know this hasn’t sounded like a glowing review, but I it was an extremely impressive display of guitar skills. But it just wasn’t fun. It was like sex with a way hot chick that sucks in bed. Beck just uses one damn guitar and doesn’t rely on a bunch of effects – it’s just him and his fingers and all the technique he’s developed and perfected over the years and I’m glad I got to see it firsthand, but I was just waiting for him to do something wicked or more to my liking with all that talent. And it never happened for me. I thought that maybe I was just a moron, and I might be, but I was happy to see that Moist didn’t find it overly exciting either. We walked morosely to the exit, dodging worshippers vying for Jeff Beck memorial shrouds. I bid Moist adieu with a “later” and closing head nod, and he walked toward the parking garage and I toward the train station. He was a gentleman and offered me a ride to the station, but I wanted to avoid that awkward moment when we would have arrived and not knowing what to do or say before getting out. Instead I made a lame excuse about having to stop at the office to make some photocopies of my ass. He seemed to buy it and I made it back safely to blog again another day.
If you want to read a real review of the show (or at least the Oakland show, but it sounds the same), check it out here.