Marilyn Manson freak-out so completely that when his ear-pieces weren’t working he self-destructed in a scream that could have done nothing but destroy those bleeding ear-drums further;
An electrocution of The Deftones’ Chino Moreno at the end of their Warped Tour set;
The Smashing Pumpkins, somehow, twice;
A grizzled old roadie snort a beer, on stage, during a break from the sonic-bludgeoning that is Pantera;
Ani DiFranco get an encore opening for a SHIT Bob Dylan on my 21st birthday;
A quixotic pairing of Jane’s Addiction & the Red Hot Chili Peppers when Dave Navarro added some Black Sabbath-ness to the end-riffs of "Give It Away";
A backup-dancer magnificently sprain his ankle on the very first beat of the Beastie Boys’ Lollapalooza set;
A kid whose life I saved from the most atrocious, and unexpected, mosh-pit I’ve ever been in take a swing at me once he came out of whatever stupor he was in – this, during a Neil Young show;
Oasis, as an opener for Young, get pelted by plastic-bottles...and I even got a hearty "nice shot" from Liam Gallagher for hitting him with a piece of gum after he called the debris on with a severely-British, "let’s have it, then";
A four-hour Godspeed You! Black Emperor show that tested even the most blissed-out reveler’s endurance.
But that’s not the best of it...oh, no. Prepare to delete me from your Blogrolls, as I depart on a description-laden run-down of The Best Concert Experiences of All Time – not my Greatest Experiences, but THE Greatest Experiences because, as you must know at this point, I am as objective as a vulture with a tapeworm.
Saturday August 22 1998 @ Molson Park
I have seen Pearl Jam nine times – NINE. One short of double-digits. Probably six more time than was necessary but for my uncontrollable compulsion to see the Eddie Vedder Express every time they roll through Toronto...or within walking distance of my place in Hammertown...or, once, in Detroit.
This was the best of the bunch, however, during a beautiful sunny day on the rolling hills of Molson Park; my shaven and un-suntan-lotioned head burned so badly that I pulled a piece of skin off it that was as thick as a bread-slice...and you’re welcome for that visual.
I managed to get to the front by the time "Animal" started, and was, I thought, completely exhausted...but no, there were dozens of actually exhausted teenagers who desperately needed to be pulled from the pit, so, begrudgingly, I lifted kid after kid up to the security-dudes until my chest and shoulder muscles clenched in a sort of pre-rigor mortis. By the time I was freed from the teeming pit, I only had enough energy to throw-up a couple of devil-horns at Vedder from the lip of the stage before being chased away, back to the comfort of my posse.
On my way back to my friends, I caught a few wild gestures from Vedder that seemed to shoot green light over the masses during "Given to Fly", and the night felt complete even though they were just beginning with the rock and/or roll.
Nine Inch Nails w/A Perfect Circle
Friday April 28 2000 @ Maple Leaf Gardens
They blew my 18-year-old mind in 1994 with a pre-Antichrist Superstar Marilyn Manson & The Jim Rose Circus; they opened for and KILLED David Bowie in 1995; they came and did a "little" show in 2005, followed by a "big" show later in the year w/Queens of the Stone Age in an Air Canada Centre that had lost its liquor-license...but this show in 2000 was the best.
Front-row, second-deck, facing the stage head-on, GIANT cups of beer and more than enough room to hang our feet over the balcony; it was like watching that live NIN DVD, but actually LIVE...and made sweeter by the fact that I hadn’t yet seen Tool, and this was my first crack at seeing Maynard James Keenan belt it out – and though A Perfect Circle is like Tool-lite, that doesn’t mean that "Judith" didn’t kick my ass leading into the Main Event.
Because it, like, totally did...Best Show EVER.
RadioheadFriday August 3 2001 @ Molson Park
Like the above-mentioned Godspeed, Radiohead’s FOUR encores required such stamina that we were on our way to the car when we heard the last one begin. I didn’t mind; I was fully satiated.
I was transfixed during "Exit Music" and "Talk Show Host", and absolutely surprised by the humour that the supposedly-glum Brits displayed, as the pin-hole camera attached to Thom Yorke’s keyboard kept him goofily, sleepy-eye-staring into us like an adult making googily-faces at a child...and though I’m making it sound patronizing, it was a nice juxtaposition to "Pyramid Song".
Thursday September 18 2001 @ Air Canada Centre
At this point, I had seen Keenan sing for A Perfect Circle twice, and then saw a one-hour, irritated version of their show when they agreed to close a festival without any knowledge of the time-factor, noise-restriction laws at Molson Park, keeping their set-list to the radio-hits and crowd-pleasers...
During Tool’s show at the ACC, the spindly, aerobic strangelings from their "Schism" video climbed up ropes to the ceiling and hung upside-down for so long that my friend Peaker became so distracted as to their health that he was dizzy by the time the intermission rolled around.
Say what you will about showmanship, by the way...there is nothing better, somehow, than watching Keenan rock back and forth, singing as though possessed while staring at a wall with his back to the audience; it works, and I don’t question it.
Tenacious DThursday January 24 2002 @ Kool Haus
They were hilarious, they made with the rock, and they turned "Fuck Her Gently" into an epic love story told in climactic harmony...so you can fuck off with that derisive eye-rolling.
Beck w/The Flaming Lips
Sunday October 20 2002 @ Massey Hall
Beck? Whatever; but the Flaming Lips, and Wayne Coyne in particular, created the most joyous, euphoric musical-atmosphere that I’ve ever seen; "Do You Realize??" was absolutely gorgeous, and even though "technical-difficulties" (pronounced "dif-FIC-ulties") cut their set short, they played backing band to Beck, and subsequently made him rock a lot harder than he had any right to.
The Flaming Lips kicked my ass with a confetti-filled balloon, a singing-puppet, and grown men and women in furry animal costumes...it was beautiful.
Fantomas w/The Locust
Friday April 15 2005 @ The Phoenix
One solitary Canadian date, and Fantomas opts for a version of "Blame Canada" from the South Park movie, complete with a whispered chorus of "USA, USA" to further agitate us Canucks.
This is why I admit to Mike Patton man-love.
Fantomas operates as if a symphony-orchestra conductor had a killer three-piece band, access to a keyboard with the programming-capabilities of a pre-psychopathic HAL, and could alternately squeal like a pig with a cattle-prod in his rectum and sing like a Spanish Lionel Richie.
The Locust and their shrill, confusing-but-wildly-entertaining music are but a perfect opener for the beast that is Fantomas, but there is nothing like Fantomas itself.
An unfortunate side-note: I came home to find the girlfriend not around, so I settled in to watch Shaun of the Dead; the 3am phone-call from the police detailing her horrific car-accident, in which she flipped multiple-times while breaking a bone in her neck and dislocating her left-elbow so badly that it will never fully straighten, came, for those of you who know the movie, when Shaun realized what was going to happen to his mum...not cool.
The White Stripes
Friday September 16 2005 @ Molson Amphitheatre
This was the meat of a Pearl Jam-sandwich, a Tuesday-Friday-Monday-deal that left Jack White’s completely unhinged performance the perfect counterpoint to Mr. Vedder’s less-manic stage-presence.
I had always heard the disbelief from show-goers at the seeming-impossibility of a two-person band so thoroughly kicking said show-goers’ ass; I now understand. Jack White sticks with you, well after you’ve sung along with his high-pitched shrieks, after you’ve looked at the girlfriend who decided at the last second to come along and found that she, though not necessarily a fan, was surprisingly enjoying herself as much a you...
If it were math, it wouldn’t work; however it does work, so fuck math...and the calculator it rode in on.
Twilight SingersSaturday May 27 2006 @ Lee’s Palace
I talked about this show earlier, in an almost-embarrassing fashion, but it’s too late to stop this roller-coaster of good-slash-bad* writing now...
*As if to prove my point.
Gnarls Barkley w/ Peeping Tom
Wednesday August 9 2006 @ Kool Haus
This show was the impetus of the best thing I’ve ever written...excepting, of course, my unpublished story of the filthy man whose nutsack gets so dirty that it develops rational, though malicious, thought and drags him around, one nut at a time...but this digression is the very definition of something being "neither here nor there".
If not for Gnarls Barkley, I would never have seen Gnarls Barkley; they picked Mike Patton’s Peeping Tom as their opener, and I bought tickets, as always, to see Patton.
And Peeping Tom delivered, even giving human-beatbox Rahzel some solo-action before they commenced for a penultimate rendition of one of the Five Greatest Songs Ever Recorded, "We’re Not Alone".
So, my ass hurts a bit now, having just been kicked in it and all, and then Gnarls Barkley collectively take the stage and leaves bootprints on my underwear...it was fucking ridiculous how good this show was.
This is the kind of post that my brother would call "ostentagious". If it’s any consolation, my back hurts from wheeling this monstrosity up to the Blogger head-offices; I had to get a special permit just on length alone, something I’m no stranger to, wink wink, nod nod...
HAMMERTOWN (AP) – With equal parts revulsion and bewilderment, the city of Hammertown was left scratching its collective head Thursday after a public tirade by a disillusioned local man left parts of the downtown core looking like a war zone.
Shiftless layabout Ryan Lawson, 30, managed to stop traffic and both horrify and delight a burgeoning crowd with a verbal assault that, according to witness Fabio Braun, "was like being kicked directly in the crack of my ass by a lightning-bolt."
Lawson managed to take over the intersection of Main and Locke during his tantrum, stomping, kicking and screaming traffic off the road, forcing one SUV in particular to veer onto the sidewalk and into a dilapidated eatery as if it was "propelled by the ferocity of his blinding rage", according to grad-student Katie-Sue Lewis, 27.
"It was like watching Criss Angel, or something," said Lewis, noting that she didn’t have first-hand knowledge of what prompted the tirade, but that it was "spectacular" nonetheless.
Steel-worker Bob Brundleson witnessed what he believes to be the impetus of the meltdown: a convenience-store door being closed on Lawson’s hand by a careless patron.
"That’s when the windows of [the convenience-store] blew out onto the sidewalk," said Brundleson.
"I still don’t know how he managed that."
Onlookers found Lawson bellowing from the under-carriage of an enflamed, over-turned Honda Civic, making various profane references to a "Me-First society" and an overall "nauseating" lack of compassion.
"I remember him yelling something about civility, and then the ground underneath him opening up and shooting raw sewage into the air," said Garko Evaneshavic, a local fast-food empresario.
The sewage completely engulfed a mini-van in which the McArthurs, a family of four on vacation, were eating cheeseburgers and, according to witnesses, heckling Lawson.
Despite that, the gesture "kind of defeat[ed] his own argument, if you ask me," said Evaneshavic.
At one point, a mulleted-man carrying a box of donuts walked by the scene, yelled out "relax", and seemingly spontaneously-combusted.
"It was like someone had set-off a stick of dynamite in a strawberry Pop-Tart," according to Simon Wetherwanks, CEO of Shut That Mouth baby-care equipment.
"[Lawson] looked at him funny, and he exploded."
By the time authorities reached the intersection, the tirade itself was not evident, though the damage to the city, estimated to be in the millions of dollars, was.
Psychoanalyst Susan Pewter attempted to offer the disturbed man some advice, and came away from the encounter with some first-degree burns on her arms, seemingly from the "torrent of abject fury that was emanating off him like he was his own sun."
"I told him that he needed to find his own happy-place, and he responded that what he needed was for people to see others as the same, and not as physical impediments to be avoided."
"That’s actually a pretty reasoned argument from someone who just laid waste to a busy-intersection on anger alone," continued Pewter, applying an aloe-cream to her burns.
This reporter found Lawson sitting on a curb and staring into the distance.
"I’m going to save my explanations for 'Larry King Live'", said Lawson with a smile before he evaporated into a mist of disgust.
Larry King could not be reached for comment as of press-time.
Like when you wake up and your jaw is sore because you were dreaming about pounding on dipshits with fists the size of honeydew-melons, or when your shoulders tense-up because that ignoramus with the dog-whistle voice is caterwauling about the glacier of ice in her fountain-Root Beer, or when you feel like a balloon filled with thick, though viscous, liquid rage and you’re just looking for someone with a pin so you can unleash all your congealed fury, covering them with a mass of anger so thoroughly that they immediately atomize...
Maybe it’s brainsickness; maybe, and I believe this to be the case, it’s the glue. Or, at least the glue smell.
Now, I haven’t used any sort of glue since I went about attaching supposedly-sticky, sparkly stars to a birthday card in the third grade, so it’s not like I was painting indoors with no ventilation or something; I have done no work to the car, save for littering the back-seat with cardboard coffee-cups. But, there it is – The Smell.
I’m a class-A hypochondriac; if I see someone with a cast on their lower-leg, my ankle starts to hurt, which, along with some other obvious faults, makes me a complete pain in the ass. However, strange smells set my imagination ablaze with all the horrific possibilities of what they could entail...and more so if nobody else smells it.
Oh, the fun I’ve had asking complete strangers if the smell of orange-rinds is cause for alarm, or whether or not smelling pickles is a harbinger of Parkinson’s disease:
"You mean picking up a pickle and smelling it?"
"No! When the smell of 'pickle' is in the air!"
Either way, a chemical smell, or odour that is "chemical-y", evidently riles me up like an underfed...omigod.
I just threw up.
In the middle of "composing" that last analogy, I just got up, went to the kitchen sink, and hurled forth the bile from my empty stomach.
What the fuck?
Um...I’ll be right back.
All right. So, as far as I can tell, there’s something going on with my car’s air-conditioner; I jacked that thing on, and the putrid glue-like smell shot into my skin like an acupuncturist’s needles.
Well, no wonder I felt like killing nuns and eating babies; impending physical illness will make anyone a little cranky.
I’d be sad if I was dead tomorrow. -Trent Reznor
It’s funny how many people will tell you that they’re happy just so they don’t jinx their chances of winning the lottery; it’s sad how many of those same people are relying on the lottery for their retirement.
I’m not going to pretend that I’m not a lucky fuck – my girlfriend’s an accountant, so my headspace is mostly free of the rattling nuts and bolts of reality that come from taking life seriously. If left to myself, I would be lying under some wet cardboard in a park...but I’d still be seeing what kind of shapes the clouds were making. I mean, I wouldn’t be dead.
This is my point: yes, I have some pretty severe delusions of grandeur punching at my frontal lobes, but these phantoms of expected wealth don’t include an inheritance, or finding a box of money, or marrying rich – I justassume that I’ll eventually be rich. However, just like I spend my days assuming that others will use their turn-signals, or hold the elevator, or pick up their dogs’ shit, it doesn’t ruin my life when they don’t.
I’m not relying on anything to MAKE me happy; I’m good.
Hell, according to this fifteen-year-old report, maybe you’re better off NOT being "good"; glee is, apparently, a psychological problem that goes by the moniker Major Affective Disorder, Pleasant Type.
(Any chance it’s coincidental that MAD is the acronym for this affliction?)
Happiness is "statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system".
So, like, don’t worry about it; being happy means you’re fucked in the head anyway.
Look like me. Step 2:Drive to the mall and park as far away from the sporting-goods store as is humanly possible...maybe even in an adjacent parking lot across four lanes of heavy, humourless traffic.
Step 3:Buy an aluminum softball bat; watch with glee as the clerk only ties an itsy-bitsy bag around the handle as proof of purchase; offer thanks.
Step 4:Stroll through mall as people of all ages dive behind escalators, potted-plants, and benches to avoid you.
Step 5: Once outside, walk with purpose towards your car, clutching the bat with both hands – not overly aggressive, mind you; make it look as though you could be either admiring said bat’s aesthetic qualities OR rushing off to beat-in the headlights of that luxury-sedan parked across three spaces; be polite and wave to the stopping cars – remember, they are only letting you pass because you look like a fucking lunatic, so be nice.
So there I am, contemplating life, mortality, and the pursuit of happiness whilst smoking & pacing around a desolate cul de sac, listening to the lonely wind as it seethed through a particularly shoddy piece of latticework, wondering if I was missing out on some carnival or bar mitzvah on this beautiful, sunny day, when I noticed a small, volleyball-sized beach-ball the colour of stepped-on cotton-candy and weathered aluminum bounding towards me.
The muddy-looking ball skipped slowly past me and came to rest at the curb, swaying with the wind even though its inertia had been halted by the tongs of an unapologetic sewer-grate; this grate/curb alliance had conspired to rob this ball of its freedom, and it was entirely up to me, or possibly a ferocious gust of wind, to free this poor, inanimate object from their nefarious clutches.
Benevolently, I gave the ball a good head-start down a sloping walkway, instilling in it no small amount of gusto with a jaunty little sidespin toss, and when I turned around, a deer stood staring at me from no further than fifteen-feet away – just a deer, standing stock-still in the middle of this dead-end road.
I stared at the deer, and it stared at me; I glanced sideways, and it looked down the walkway; I looked down the walkway, then at the deer, and I began to wonder as to the nature of the thrown-ball now off on its new journey: could it have been the deer’s ball? Is that look she’s shooting into me not the calm, soothing gaze we expect from gorgeous animals, but rather the horrified shock of seeing something you love thrown down an alley like nothing more than a semi-inflated bowling-ball?
Was the deer here for vengeance?
Then, as if it tried to answer in the most cryptic way possible, the sky opened up and it started to rain through the sun.
I watched the deer look into the rain, apparently as surprised as I was at this peculiar turn of events, and then it looked at me and cocked its head to the side; realizing I was standing almost exactly between the deer and the walkway, I slowly began my move out of the way, and the deer took a skeptical step forward. I was smiling like a two-year-old eating chocolate at this point, and I gave the deer a nod, put on my best down-south accent, and said, "Git!". Once I had moved far enough away to appeal to her bravery, she gave me one last look and bolted down the walkway.
And though I drove around for a while looking for some small piece of evidence that she did, in fact, catch up to her ball, I’m content with the somewhat spurious theory that she took her ball and went home, breathlessly telling her family about me and her adventures in the big city.
It was a tough call, posting this, as I’m torn between giving this trash-heap of a site even a meager-link from my terrific blog, and seeing my name (sans reciprocal link) in a list that includes Kurt Vonnegut, Al Franken & Charles Darwin as "persons that should be considered a one way ticket to Hell with no hope of redemption".
As always, egomania wins out.
The first time I did a Burning Joints post it was meant to be a one-off, an excuse to tell some old stories and revel in my own softball-playing acumen – a proficiency that has me leading the league in triples, which isextra-impressive considering that nobody keeps stats...this triple-lead I just know intuitively.
But I digress.
I must have looked away for a second, because when I turned back, Ms. White Liar had started a "Composition Challenge" and flown the coop to Australia; I was left as a "contributor" who didn’t contribute, and an earthquake of shame rocked my very foundation down to its hyperbolic roots.
And so, here I sit...dazed, befuddled, crying, rocking back-and-forth in the shattered glass of unwritten anecdotes, pawing at the torn pictures of myself smiling during happier times on some long-forgotten roller-coaster at some two-bit, half-assed fair, wailing into the ether at the myriad gods who let this happen, whoallowed me to forego my responsibilities for the vague promise of solipsistic-contentment, tearing at my clothes in the small hope that the documentation of dynamic-sounding physical activity will allow me to further compromise the original intent of this post, stalling like a seven-year-old Honda with liquefied marshmallows for engine-coolant, shaking my fist at the spectres of Talent and Promise like a supervillain in the throes of being "foiled again", wishing like a ten-year-old on his birthday that I could come up with similes that didn’t immediately conjure up student-written three-act plays from tenth-grade, scaring myself with both the resultant hiccups of excessive fist-shaking & simile-making and the insane hiccup-remedies that are far more terrifying than the unpleasantness of silly, little hiccups...
If I’m looking at The Quirk Quotient as the impetus of this madness, which I am, and I look up "quirk" in the dictionary, which I did, and I see the words "subterfuge" & "evasion" as explanations, which I do, then this is a perfectly acceptable contribution.
If I hadn’t, didn’t, or don’t, then this is, perhaps, a complete pile of shit.
As they say in horse-racing and hermaphroditic circumcisions, it’s "too close to call".
[I am standing in line to buy cigarettes at my un-air-conditioned neighbourhood convenience store; there is a middle-aged man wearing his moustache and aviators as though either one of them will conceal the fact that he’s fifty-something; Moustache is talking to the female Clerk, and I have been watching him do so for TEN MINUTES]
Moustache:[perusing the impulse-items]
...Aaaaand...I think I’ll take one of these...
["one of these" is a meat-stick]
...And...well, I’d better get some gum too, right?
[chuckles and winks at Clerk; pores over the gum-choices like he’s determining whether or not to bet the deed to his house in blackjack]
Me: You’re not serious.
[looks quickly over his shoulder at me, but then resumes his gum-search]
Hey, this "berry-blast"...does it really explode in your mouth?
I believe so.
Moustache: [picks up a pack and looks it over]
I’m going to strangle you.
Me:I am going to choke you unconscious. Moustache:[looks at gum, but turns back to me again]
Are you threatening me?
In my country, "choke you unconscious" means "to hug".
[begins to turn back to the Clerk but stops and looks at me]
What country are you from?
[looks at me for a few seconds, and then, spinning back to the Clerk...]
Oh! I need milk!
My wife’ll kill me if I don’t bring home some milk.
[keeps looking at the Clerk, who is sighing in every way but verbally]
[Moustache nods toward the fridge containing the milk at the back of the store – apparently, he wants the lone Clerk to go fetch milk for him]
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?
[angrily turning towards me]
Who ARE you?
This is a set-up or something, right? Some grinning, white-haired talk-show host is going to come out from behind an aisle and tell me I’m on Candid-Camera or something...
[I look around for a camera; one look at the Clerk tells me that there will be no TV-time for RyGuy]
[I look at Moustache]
Well, then, go get your GODDAMNED milk your GODDAMNED self and STOP WASTING EVERYONE'S FUCKING TIME!
[Moustache stares at me, speechlessly frowning; I mimic the milk-nod he gave the Clerk]
Moustache:[turns back to the Clerk]
What do I owe you?
[The Clerk tallies up his purchases, and as he’s reaching for his wallet, he looks at me, and I theatrically blow him a kiss; his jowls clench, and his face turns crimson. He gathers up his stuff, and glares at me as he steps away from the counter]
Whoo, it’s pretty bright in here!
[looking at the florescent lights, then at Moustache]
Good call with the shades.
[Moustache’s face is now purple; he leaves without further incident]