Sunday, August 15, 1999: It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This.
I know, dorky subject but hey, it actually fits for once.
Well, I guess I should start at the beginning, where I've been for the past few months...
And that was a given. I start college tomorrow and I'm beyond excited, for anyone wondering my schedule looks something like this:
I used to have a Speech class but that was cancelled. I love my schedule and can't wait to get started...
So that's the first thing that has kept me busy, I've been spending weeks getting registered and doing orientation and what-not. I've also been spending a lot of time chasing after a job I've wanted since I was 16.
I finally got it.
So now I'm not only a college student but I am an employed college student. Which is completely new to me, considering the fact that I've never had a job. I also run two websites, one for a band (I'll post a link later) and one for a musical. Both of those have and will keep me busy.
But that's not why I'm writing this letter, all lives get busy so mine isn't really that special.
I saw REM.
It was amazing, it was astounding, Michael Stipe dances like a cat high on catnip... I still haven't come the conclusion that it was real.
Let's start with the setlist for the show, with some notes (Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, August 11):
Lotus--One of my favorite songs off "Up". This song energized portions of the audience, including me and had us up and dancing.
What's the Frequency, Kenneth?
So Fast, So Numb
Stand--Ohmigod, they played "Stand" is all I have been saying to myself for days. Michael hates to play this song (as do Peter and Mike, I'm sure) and only played it at one other concert during the tour in Slovania or someplace. Michael intro'ed it with, "You are the only people on both coasts who will be hearing this song". It was great, everyone eventually stood up (it took some people a while to realize that "Stand" means stand...) and danced along. Before I left for the trip I searched frantically for my "Green" album because I had to hear this song... I still can't find the album but at least I heard the song.
How the West Was Won and Where It Got Us
Daysleeper--For some reason I almost cried during "Daysleeper"... another one of my favorite "Up" songs.
The Apologist--Michael sang this song about three times too fast, which was interesting. And the lighting during this song was superb (the lighting during the whole show was great) and every "I'm sorry" was punctuated by a light pulse that rocked me to the core.
The One I Love--Michael kept running across the stage frantically waving his arms and it was quite funny. All of the couples in the audience hugged or kissed or did other "couple" things during this song which was amusing. I danced.
Great Beyond--This one was written for the Milos Foreman movie "Man On The Moon" about Andy Kaufman and it's *beautiful*. Michael intro'ed it by giving us a short astronomy lesson (he had the lighting guy turn off all of the lights) which was fun.
Losing My Religion--People finally got up and danced when they heard the famous single. Before this only hard-core fans were up and dancing (except during "Stand" and possibly "The One I Love").
Find the River
At My Most Beautiful--One of my favorite REM songs, it was very meloncholy and sad but still poignant.
Pop Song 89--This was the song full of erotic dancing from Mr. Stipe. I couldn't stop myself from getting up and dancing along and I was the *only* person in my Loge section dancing. At first I felt like a freak (quiet in the peanut gallery) but then I got pulled into the song and failed to notice that I was dancing pretty much alone.
Man On The Moon--I felt like tearing up when I saw the "Man On The Moon" neon lights turn on signaling the end of the show. But this was a fantastic rendition of the song. Michael threw in some extra "COOOOOL"'s (like he did during "Storytellers") and I loved it.
Then came the Encore, Michael came out alone with a guitar and proceeded to play Hope which was achingly beautiful, though a bit simple because he's not an amazingly accomplished guitarist. Then the rest of the band joined him for Why Not Smile, Crush With Eyeliner (which was really really good), Tongue (intro: "This song has tits", that got everyone laughing), So. Central Rain (another fantastic song) and then It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine). ITEOTWAWKI(AIFF) went on *forever* and Michael sang it two times too fast which made it nearly *impossible* to sing along but got us all riled up trying. Michael kept singing and singing, except on the "Leonard Bernstein" line which he shut up for and let the audience scream and then after a few hundred renditions of the chorus he would shout "How do you feel?" and of course a racous "Fine" was shot back at him, that went on about seven or eight times.
Then it was over. Just like that, the first concert of my life and it was gone. I honestly feel like crying as I write this just because it was such an experience for me--REM is my favorite band and I've never seen a concert before so being able to see them live was a dream come true for me.
I can't imagine a better way to kick-off my college years... I know this letter is long but let's do a quick recount of my year for those who missed it.
1. I spent last summer seeing shows and meeting fantastic people. Lots of "Phantom of the Opera" in San Fran, an AIDS benefit with Brian Boitano and POTO people and two weeks in Costa Mesa seeing RENT.
2. Seeing TLS for the first time and meeting Steve, then on that day also seeing Romeo and Juliet and meeting NPH for the first time.
3. Starting the Bobsite which ultimately turned into a friendship with Bob.
4. Being asked to be the spokesperson for "Kids 4 Kids"--Going to LA for the opening of TLS, among many many other things.
5. Making new friends as a result of my LA trips: Kim and Ronda, my surrogate parents, Aunt Michael, Steve and Jimmy, Dickie, Bob and some of the TLS crewmembers (everyone else I knew beforehand from RENT).
6. I got my first "real" kiss on New Years day... also during a LA trip.
7. My birthday in LA with Kim, Ronda and Mindy. We went to a Pre-Grammy fete and I got to go on some insanely fun rides (yes, there were celebs there but I was more interested in the rides).
8. Being able to see "Rocky Horror" so many times and having Donnie sign my coveted "Tommy" CD.
9. Meeting Spike.
and finally: Seeing REM live.
Of course I could also count the health problems but that wouldn't be fun, would it? But I took the good with the bad and had one of the best, and most memorable, years of my life. I wrote a story a while back called "First" and this was my year of "First's"... I did a lot of growing up this year, I came to terms with my disease and with who I am... and I met some great people along the way.
It doesn't get much better than this.
Love you more than I can put into words,