Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Sex, drugs, rock and roll
Their songs give us what we want
Illusion of youth

The long awaited day had arrived! Got up at the normal time, drove Rachel into school and then off to the airport. An uneventful flight, at the end of which we dropped down through the clouds to be swooping over Milwaukee. No rain or snow as they were predicting, but it was very cold and windy. Took the 80 line bus to within 3 blocks of the hotel. I ditched my bag, having a few hours to kill before the concert. I made a point of first going to the Bradley Center and finding an easy route back to the hotel, only 4 blocks away. Sounds easy, but ha, ha, ha....

I spent the bulk of my available time at the the Milwaukee School of Engineering's Grohmann Museum to see their "Men at Work" exhibit, three floors of paintings depicting scenes of heavy industry, mining and other work related subjects. I had never seen anything like it. The art works were very well done, but of a subject that was somewhat depressing. Most art I like depicts something that is beautiful or inspiring, but this exhibit depicted scenes that were dark and gritty. For example, they had a small collection of paintings showing autobahn bridges in the art of the Third Reich. Afterwards I walked the 10 or more blocks to the shore of Lake Michigan, blue gray water white capped by the cold wind.

Drifts through the high clouds
Carried on his passions wings
The dream is calling

Graze rolling cloud tops
Descend through their soft whiteness
Fasten your seat belts

Ride through Milwaukee
A graveyard amidst small box homes
Rows of Polish names

Fuming gray and black
Orange punctuates the grime
Tired people toiling

Dinner and then back to the room to gather my stuff for the concert. The golden drink was transferred to the .5 liter container. Walked to within a block of the Bradley Center, to light up a cigar and watch the many concert goers arrive on foot. I followed them in and made my way through security, first getting the bottle through the door and then onto the floor. I decided that I'd prefer the comfort of having my designated seat rather than fear being ejected later on for being where I should not be. Bought my large cup of Sierra Mist, which soon had a distinctly golden color.
And then they were there! The concert really began with Van Halen's arrival on stage, the moment everyone was waiting for. One hit song after another, all of them sounding so familiar considering my winter of parties on the pass. On my feet the whole time moving to the music. The more I drained my drink, the stronger it tasted of tequila as I emptied the canteen into it. The band sounded the best in the three concerts I attended, David's voice sounding strong and steady, almost rejuvenated, unlike the earlier concerts where he appeared to be straining and unable to hit certain notes. Eddie looked tanned and fit, the month and a half off apparently doing him good. You can tell both of them were having fun on stage, the old team working it together. It was heaven all over again.

Then it was over. Sometime just before the encore my memory of events ceases. Like the other concerts, Van Halen lifts me up to the stars and when it comes to the end, I plunge back to earth, deflated and somewhat depressed. I don't really know how I got out of the Bradley Center, but I "awoke" in the cold night air, finding myself wandering the streets, with a pocket full of glitter and paper flutter that erupts out on the audience at the concert's end. I didn't know where I was. I don't know for how long or how far I wandered, looking for familiar sounding streets. I'm guessing I was going in circles. What did the guy in the apartment building lobby think of this speech slurring stranger who asked for directions? Why did the woman sitting in her car start screaming when I tapped on the window, wanting to know where Wisconsin Street was? I had a couple opportunities to ask the police for directions but I knew how that would end. Thoughts of sleeping outside began to enter my head because I was so tired. I eventually found my way back to familiar territory and the hotel. What relief.

Slept in until 10 AM, then got up and went out for breakfast. Took the bus back to the airport where I caught my 2:10 flight back to Denver. I was feeling zoned the whole morning, wondering what the hell happened last night. Since I lost a small part of the concert, that means I've got to go see another one from beginning to end. Ha, ha, ha.....

Long weeks waiting
Day of anticipation
Gone in two short hours

They come out swinging
Guitars loud hard hitting sound
Cheering crowd knocked out

High on the music
Satisfies the addiction
Wants to overdose

Shoots through the ozone
Tequila fueled rocket climbs
Lost in the black hole

Memories are dim
Burned in his subconsciousness
Source of the craving

Prophets have departed
Wanders the urban desert
Seeks his Messiah

Here's the review from two concerts ago, which is very complete and includes a bunch of pictures.

Here's the Milwaukee concert review

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