FYI...the longest post I have ever written...its just flowing out. apologies
When I was 14 years old I bought a CD called "Gentlemen" by The Afghan Whigs. I had only bought the CD because one night I was half asleep and opened my eyes long enough while flipping channels to get a glimpse of Greg Dulli in a leather coat singing his soul out on MTV's 120 mins. I was so taken by that glimpse that I flipped back to the video and wrote down the song info when the video was over. I purchased it the next day.
I was in a real gruge place back then so that CD stayed in shrink wrap for about 8 months before I first listened to it. I specifically remember thinking "ok, I'll give this one a shot, even though it looks pussy as hell" as I unwrapped it and began to read the inner notes. In any case I listened from track 1 to 12 in awe. I listened again and again that night, 5 times in all. I was taken. It was the most amazing thing I had ever heard. It was as if they were singing to me. ( I know, 14 year old girl alert) But in any case I coulndn't believe that all this time it had been siting next to my stero in shrink wrap, just waiting till I gave it a shot.
I took all my allowance and some savings the next day and headed to the mall to purchase anything Afghan Whigs I could get my hands on. All I could find was an EP from 1988 and a previous full release called "Congregation". I then combed CD stores every weekend looking for rare and unreleased tracks, etc.
So for the next two years The Whigs were solidified as my favorite band. I cried, laughed, and dubbed their music for anyone and everyone that could listen, I attempted to convince all my friends that had never heard of them (all) to give them a shot to no avail. It was the dog days of Ace Of Base, no one would listen.
So I went undergound. The rest of high school I followed the band through their music, and had a lofty dream of maybe one day seeing them play live. It was something that haunted me, I know I had to see them, the music meant so much to me.
College days were rough freshman year. I hated my first roommate, (a muppet) and secretly missed the security of home. I now had the internet at my fingertips, and one day found out about a mailing list called "congregation", run by avid Whigs fans. I signed up and couldn't believe the 40 or so emails daily that were sent to me by people who loved the band as much as I did. I worked 2 jobs and went to school to save up for the band's first live show in 2 years to be held Thanksgivng day, 1997. I had to tell my mom I wasn't coming home for Thanksgiving. My first year of college and I was skipping out on the fam to fly to the Big Easy for a rock concert. Oh yeah, and also meeting up with 40 or so internet fans that I had never met, oh yeah and sharing hotel rooms and booking itineraries with people that could have been ax murderers.
But I went. I flew alone, 18 years old and traveling without my parents for the first time. I was scared to death, but somehow managed to get a cab to the hotel and meet up with several other "Congos". The concert that evening was slated to start at 10pm. 15 of us went out for dinner and drinks, and assembled outside of the "Howlin Wolf" around 9:45pm.
I got in line with my friend from DC, Jackie, and we groaned when we saw how many people were ahead of us. After about 5 mins I overhear a bouncer telling some people that they have to be 21 to enter the club. This had been no where printed prior to that moment. Realizing that I had no ID and was 18 years old, I began to freak out. After the airfare and the hotel room, abandoning my family on Thanksgiving, I was going to get shut out for not being 21. I was going to die.
A split second later a previously locked door swings open and there stands a bouncer. He looks at me and Jackie and goes, "you can come in first, skip the line". We look at him and get out our tickets. Jackie who is 10 years older than me, goes first. The bouncer looks at her and says, "ID?". I collapse.
She hands him her ID and he waves her in. Then the bouncer takes my ticket and says to me "No ID necessary hon, and winks."
In amazement I entered the club. Its 10 by this time and the opening band is about to start. We take our positions (stage left all the way in the front) and get ready to enjoy the show.
In any case the show went about 5 hours long. I remember it being 2:30 am and the Whigs doing a third encore. I remember my feet about to explode. I remember getting invited backstage by the band and sharing a pint of Jack Daniels. I remember thinking that this was the most amazing night of my life. I remember the next day realizing that it had been.
So the years went by and I kept in touch with most of the friends I had made that weekend. We would randomly email, or attempt to meet up, or just hang out when Greg or The Whigs came to town. It was a warm community feeling with them. You could not see someone for 4 years and pick up right where you left off. We would meet up in Chicago, Atlanta, Philly, NOLA, and LA. We would bum rides and crash at apartments and pitch in for beers. It was a no brainer when they were in town, we would all hang for the show.
Which brings me to my point. (finnaly)
On October 16th, Greg Dulli's new music project "The Twilight Singers", are coming to Irving Plaza in NYC. I was IM'ing with a fellow congo alum yesterday who I originally met 5 years ago and is now married with a lovely son and another on the way. We realzed that we both may not go to the show because of work/family obligations. We realized we were "too old to rock". It was sad. I was sad. But its true. So my point? Dunno. I just want everyone to know that when its your time, make sure you rock the hell out of every minute.