2009 was one hell of a year for me. It was as if on that fateful new years eve exactly one year ago I pulled "The Tower" and "Death" cards from the tarot deck & saw my future laid out before me. I lost some old friends and I gained some new ones. I lost some weight, I gained some weight. I stuck to my resolution and managed to make it to at LEAST one concert a month and consistently wrote reviews for them on this humble little blog.
I also had experiences I never even dreamed were possible, some were personal, some public, often, it was a mix of the two. This isn't a tell-all forum, but it is a place where I like to share my experiences & personal responses, for sure. The point and purpose of this blog was to attempt to improve my creative non-fiction writing abilities while doing and talking about something I love- music. I am not a music genius, nor am I an expert and GOD KNOWS I am too enthusiastic and positive to be a critic but that wasn't ever the idea. I wanted to communicate a true fan's point of view on the concert experience. In this, I think I succeeded.
I opened myself up to some amazing experiences, this blog being the reason behind it. It made me really think about the music I am drawn to, and the artists behind that sound. It made me gain a little confidence as a writer, and it even got me thinking about art again, something I used to do religiously that I have lost touch with in the last few years. The experiences I encountered were what make 2009 stand out from the rest of the years I've spend here on Planet Earth. They were experiences I never DREAMED could ever happen to me, let alone in sequential order!
I guess it all started in Spring, with the first time I ever saw Patrick Wolf in concert. It was a very special and intimate acoustic performance at the Le Poussin Rouge in NYC. I was right behind the grand piano as that beautiful man belted out the lines and played the notes of "Augustine" and I openly wept. Within hours of this life altering performance, I learned that there was an open call to Patrick Wolf fans to be an extra in his new music video for Hard Times. I figured there was no shot in hell that I would get in- but a motto I adopted at the beginning of 2009 was "you can't win the lotto if you don't buy a ticket". Well, I won the lotto. I was one of the lucky 30 some-odd people that got to go to the video shoot, and I spent the day experiencing what goes into the making of a music video as well as having a few choice moments with Mr. Wolf!
Something else that happened to me I actually never wrote about in this blog. I could TRY to get into an explanation of this, but, it would be impossible to make you understand unless you had some sort of similar experience. After 16 years of devout fandom, obsession, and unrequited love, an opportunity arose that I never dreamed possible...
I hugged Trent Reznor.
There was a charity to try to raise funds for Eric DeLaCruz a young man in desperate need of a heart transplant and was in denial of it because of the demonic bureaucracy of our health care system. Trent Reznor, and Nine Inch Nails decided to try to raise funds for him by offering a very rare opportunity. For $300, you got to go to a meet and greet with the band, get an autograph and picture, and watch an intimate special "sound check" performance. There was a second tier, for $1000, which included all of the above but would also provide dinner, as well as an opportunity to watch Nine Inch Nails perform backstage. I had no choice but to opt for the $300 tier. Well, the 3rd miracle of the year happened. I met a nice young Aussie while waiting on line who was flying solo for the show and opted for the 1G ticket...and he had a spare, and he gave it to me.
After that, I experienced everything in a altered dream state sort of way. The meet and greet happened first. I actually made the man himself sign a giant purple fuzzy heart shaped pillow! Then, the photo happened. The whole NIN wave goodbye crew was there- Robin Finck, Justin Meldal-Johnson, Ilan Rubin, and of course, Trent Reznor. I worked up the audacity to gently thrust Trent into the center of the shot between me and the awesome Aussie who gave me the spare. It was right after that infamous shot that the most riveting 10 seconds of my LIFE occurred. I turned to Trent and asked if I could come in for a hug. His response?
If only you could see my face as I type this. If only you could feel what I STILL feel the second before, during, and immediately after. Still radiating from the glow of the hug, we eventually commenced to the sound check. It was one of the most awes-inspiring and amazing things I ever got to witness. Only one thing tops it, and that was being backstage to watch nin perform its last live performance on Long Island, and then, to hear the Becoming & I Do Not Want This- and witness Robin Finck smash a guitar-like, 10 feet from me- I - I - there are no words. I got to see Nine Inch Nails 2 more times after those 2 NIN|JA shows, but really, that day was the perfect parting gift for nearly two decades of fandom.
A few weeks later, I got to see Patrick Wolf perform a more “proper” show here in NYC. Again, the universe was on my side. I ended up front row, center, directly below Patrick. He was as always quite the show man- but the most wonderfully illuminating moment for me, was, when he looked down, recognized me, acknowledged me, and even spoke to me and my fellow video buddy through the microphone. The magic of Patrick Wolf continues to this very day.
The summer of ‘09 was legendary. It was a summer brimming with positive energy, hell, I even got to see a Beatle in concert! It was the first summer I ever really loved and enjoyed. The friends were plentiful, the shows memorable, the nights exciting, and the beach, perfect. I have so much to be thankful for. Autumn ‘09 was just as good. It gave me the Renaissance Faire, Rasputina, a trip to London, which included the greatest Patrick Wolf performance I’ve ever had the opportunity to see, and let us not forget Paris... As if I could ever forget Paris (more details on THAT excursion to come).
By writing all this down, it feels like I’m hammering a nail in a coffin, but the finality of these adventures are something I am still in denial of. These experiences forever changed the face of my year, of my life- their reverberations still shuddering inside of me everyday.
2009, you were phenomenal. Sure, you had your ups and downs, but your Ups were exceptional, while the Downs were manageable.
Let’s see how 2010 will top you. I have faith that it will.