This past weekend was full of such fun, but such struggle for me, too. After a whirlwind of a week at work office manager-ing, there was a dance night in downtown San Jose: Madonna Vs. Blondie, that a bunch of friends were meeting up for. I was so excited for it! After work I went home to rest and unwind before getting ready to dance the night away. I just kind of spaced out completely for two hours as I was fucking braindead! I did finally get myself together and changed and made it to the club before anyone else. It was more new wave music than just strictly Madonna and Blondie, but it was great music over all. When I first arrived though it was like a bad junior high dance flashback with everyone clinging to the walls and the deserted dance floor looked haunted! Ha-ha! I grabbed a cider at the bar and people watched until my friends arrived. Once they played the first Madonna song folks started to flood the dance floor. Once my friends arrived we spent the next three hours solid on the dance floor and I could barely walk the next day! So fun, though!
I literally spent Saturday just resting and recuperating from the previous night’s fun time. Everything was stiff and sore and I definitely over did it but no regrets! I had a blast and got to see my favorite people and hear awesome music all at once! Can’t beat that! I wish I had thought to take pics, but I also know that was the furthest thing from my mind at the time. I was so looking forward to that night for so long, ya know? But in the end I has to just sit at the bar until everyone was ready to leave. I felt really down for bit about it, too. But I know better and eventually snapped out of it. Aging bodies, injured bodies, require different things and can’t just keep going all night like the old days.
Sunday I had a ticket to see Beth Ditto at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, a favorite venue of mine! Only my anxiety was running mega high (for me) all day and because of this I didn’t think I would end up going. My bff Michaela text me encouraging things, even called the box office about ADA seating in an attempt to alleviate some of those anxious thoughts, too. In the end it didn’t matter, my anxiety was in charge and it was up to me to either just sit with it or push through. I did a bit of both, actually, but did manage to push through and mostly have a good time. I sort of talked myself through it as I would a loved one. “You can just get ready, you don’t have to actually leave the house. You can just look cute and take selfies, no one will be the wiser!” I told myself as I got out of the shower and started to get my eye makeup going. Then it was, “Maybe you won’t find parking and that’s okay, you tried, that’s enough, you can just go home.” as I was driving up there. Once I got there and ended up finding pretty darn great parking, I told myself, “You’re a grown up, no one is making you be here or stay, you can go home whenever you like and that is perfectly okay.” And so I went in!
Once inside I hit up the merchandise tables hoping for a 3x in a certain pink tee, but they had already sold out, as I gotten there just after the opening act started, so they had been open for over an hour already. I will get that shirt online, no worries. The merch lady was deeply sorry and insisted that Beth always has 3x in all her merch, and I know this to be true, but it’s also rare to get a not white or black t-shirt in a 3x ever, so that is why I’ll grab mine online for sure. After that I headed straight up this very long marble staircase (it’s a very old building) to the balcony area. If it’s a general admission show, and it was, anyone can sit up there. As I had partially torn my achilles tendon the week before, I needed to sit for this show, and really all shows going forward, no choice in the matter. There was also a bar up there, so I grabbed my vodka-cran and grabbed a nice aisle seat pretty close to the stage, but up above. I stayed in that spot the entire night, except when a couple wanted to get passed me to sit further down my row. I was worried a bit that if I got up for another drink I could lose my choice of seat and having the aisle meant I could stretch my poor Achilles nicely without bothering anyone. I also didn’t want to have to deal with the bathroom situation in such an old building that usually houses punk and electronica shows. Ha-ha! All in all it worked out great!
Honestly, this was my fourth concert flying solo, but my first as a single person. I had also never had anxiety that bad and pushed through for such a public outing. So while I enjoyed myself over all, it was really fucking hard and weird to be in the moment and get into the right state of mind. Luckily it was a Beth (motherfucking) Ditto show and she keeps it 100% real, always! She came out in shining silver sequins and just lit up the entire place with her effervescence! My love for and of her knows no bounds, obviously, as I did all I could to get there and see her. I bought my ticket months ago when I was out of work because I needed something to look forward to. I should have been excited, but anxiety was such a killjoy that entire day and night. I did enjoy the show, she is an incredible vocalist, and I couldn’t believe the show wasn’t sold out. She was very funny and candid, gave the band a hard time, even got some rimshots for her cornier jokes. She had an issue with something in her eye but she was so cute and funny about it and just kept talking and singing, like the pro that she is. This was a Beth Ditto show, not a Gossip show. That was apparent, as I’d seen Gossip play years ago when their album “Music for Men” came out, at this same venue. Different vibes, but honestly, her voice was better than ever! After her “last song” she came back out for the encore in a red lame` dress (with pockets!) and did her big solo single, “Fire” as well as some Gossip songs that she threw in some other sort of mashup-y things into; such fun!
I will say that going down that marble staircase was much more difficult (and honestly a bit scary) than going up, but I managed alright and took my time. Luckily I just missed the crowd when I hit the exit and saw everyone flooding in behind me. Whew! I’m super glad I went to the show, but I cannot believe I had to push myself so hard to do it! I do not think I will make an attempt to go to a show alone again unless it’s The Cure or Portishead or some other amazing and legendary concert that I have not yet seen and would be rare to catch on tour. Like last year I had to see TOOL and it was amazing!
I used to work in music, both as a promoter of new artists for an industry magazine (HITS), as well as manager of a music store for several years. I have been to hundreds of shows. I would get tickets from labels all of the time or just happen to get on “the list” or whatever. I feel like I have seen and done it all and honestly it is rarely worth the trouble anymore, not to mention the cost. My ticket for this show was $25 + whatever absurd service fees they tacked on, and I found great and free parking. I really do like the Regency Ballroom though, both for it’s size, as it’s not too big and still feels mostly intimate, but more so it’s accessible seating for me. I was comfortable and didn’t feel squished, though I know others wouldn’t feel accommodated at all and I’m certain that there must be an elevator in the building as the ADA seating is limited on the floor with more up in the balcony, too. I considered leaving early a couple of times due to the anxious feels, but I’m glad I powered through and got to see what was a really special show.
Beth Ditto is a personal hero of mine. I have read her autobiography (and even shipped it to a friend on the east coast when I was done, Hi Charlie!), have followed her career for many years (and through many of my own careers – Ha!), bought a crystal barrette from Fat Fancy (Portland, Oregon) that she once owned, followed her fashion lines and endeavors, and truly find much inspiration in how she has handled it all. To see someone close to my size (though for sure I’m bigger than she) look so confident and present is such a gift! Her vocal abilities never cease to amaze me, and believe me when I say that she is a big reason why I wanted to start singing again at all. Her realness, her whatever we’re fucking doing this thing – ness, is something missing from our western, over-curated experiences. I did see phones and lots of videos and selfies being taken, but most folks were really there in the moment, too. That is a rare thing these days. Even at a punk show last year I was distracted and irritated with phones surrounding my eye-line to the stage that I really struggled to even see let alone pay attention or enjoy the show. I hope the rest of her tour is just as amazing! I wish her the very best, as she has given me so much over the years!
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