3M, or Almost Famous: Part 2

3M: Menopause, MS and Metallica

Day 2 of our trip to Kansas City and hanging with my new best friends, Metallica. All our Bowie buddies had left the building and were on to the next stop on their itinerary. As I recall we didn’t do anything much that day prior to the show that night (CP if you’re reading this chime in anytime with your memories of this fun adventure!).

The relationship between Menopause and MS is a contentious one. Menopause initally calls the shots with a prickly heat or an out and out hot flash and that pisses MS off. MS in turn shows Menopause who’s boss by refusing to balance, walk straight or have strong muscles. This bratty behavior back and forth has gone on with me for years ~ I think I had my first hot flash back in 2002 and I’m STILL having them. Geez, can’t we all just get along? Apparently not, as was proven that night.

As was befitting ‘Friends Of The Band’, RT had procured amazing seats for us very far down and close to the stage. Our ‘almost famous’ status followed us as RT winked at CP from the stage and the people around us, who were winners of radio contest seats, looked at her like they wanted her to call them “Love”.

Seven years ago I was still mainly symptom free of MS. I avoided heat which caused everything to wobble a bit and I did have to sit more often than stand. Then there were always those pesky stairs.

So we’re sitting way down front in this older arena. I mention the age as the stairs were very steep and there was no railing (no ADA retrofitting here yet). CP and her boyfriend were very helpful in getting me settled in my seat. Adding insult to injury to this whole thing, I tend to be claustrophobic in crowded places without a direct and easy access out.

Of course, since my MS has been exacerbated by the stairs and the claustrophobia, Menopause decides to join the party with a vengeance. The show starts with some super loud, hard driving ROCK ‘N ROLL. The fans are going nuts, screaming and yelling. I’m sweating like a hog with it’s hair on fire. I’m feeling claustrophobic and trapped because how on earth am I going to get back up those stairs? And then…from 10 feet away, big columns of flames start shooting out of the stage in this huge extravaganza of pyrotechnics. Oh boy.

That does it. I crawl up the stairs back to the concession level where I sit out the entire show on the hard concrete floor. CP comes up to check on me now and again and I assure her I can hear the show just fine from this level. I confess. At this point I hate anything that has to do with the Metallica. I could care less about David Bowie. All I can do is wish for it to be over so I can get the hell out of there and back to civilization. A soft pillow. A good book. Silence.

I’d never thought I was really cut out to be Almost Famous and this proved it for me. Don’t get me wrong ~ we had a blast. Our night went on from there and this time included even more members of this iconic band and some glimpses of the types of behavior I’d been anticipating. Overall the entire weekend was sensational, and certainly one of my fondest rock ‘n roll memories. CP and CMcF were the perfect companions for this capriciousness and I’ll always be grateful to them for including me.

Since then though, no more Metallica for me. I wish I could just as easily turn off the other 2 Ms!

3M, or Almost Famous: Part 1

3M: Menopause, MS and Metallica

I had a friend stop by last night for dinner and for some reason I was chattering away like I’d been stranded on a desert island for a month. We were listening to music and I started reminiscing about my years in the audio industry and some of the more memorable experiences I’d had and thought I might as well write this one down lest I forget my trip to Kansas city back in 2004 (I think).

My friend and co-worker CP called me one day and asked me if I wanted to go to Kansas City to see Metallica with her and her then boyfriend (now husband). As you’ve no doubt gathered from past posts, my general response to any question like that is a resounding, Sure! The new bass player was a friend of CP’s boyfriend, and he thought it’d be fun if they came out to hang with the band, and bless CP’s heart, she thought to invite me along.

Now, my girls were about 17 and 19 at this time. Elizabeth was living at home, so when some of her classmates heard about this news they were duly impressed. “Dude! No way! That’s sick! You rock!” I was somewhat chagrined then to admit to them that I’d never even heard a Metallica song to my knowledge, and could someone lend me a CD?

It took me about 10 seconds into one song to affirm my hunch as to why I wasn’t a Metallica fan previously. This was no cause to cancel the trip however, I mean come on, this was one of the most famous heavy metal bands of all time. I was ready to p-a-r-t-y! Or at the very least, be in for a rock and roll adventure.

The first thing we do is check into our hotel which is the local Marriott downtown. The band is staying at the ritzier Fairmont Hotel a few blocks away. CP starts looking in the local paper for what one can do in KC on a Monday night, and says ~ oh boy! David Bowie is in town, and playing the night before the Metallica show! Who knew! Armed with this seemingly trivial fact, we head over to the Fairmont to meet up with RT, the bass player.

We find a table in the lounge and order some drinks. We’re laughing and chatting and then CP says to me in a stage whisper through clenched teeth, “move the newspapers”. Huh? I look at her quizzically and then at the chair next to me that is piled with our newspapers (featuring the David Bowie info) as she repeats again, in the same stage whisper, “move the newspapers.” I do as I’m told and a rather lithe, nice man with curly hair proceeds to sit in the vacated chair.  I say hello and introduce myself. He looks a little surprised and introduces himself back as Kurt. “Hi Kurt” I say and then turn to see CP’s face.

She rather urgently pulls me aside and tells me that it’s KIRK as in Kirk Hammett one of THE most famous guitarist on the entire planet. And I’ve just called him Kurt. I feel awful ~ what a rube! I mumble an apology and take my seat, internally resolving to pay more attention and make no more faux pas’ that will further embarrass my friends.

The conversation turns to David Bowie again ~ one of the guys had seen him in the gym that morning. The gym!? Are you kidding me? These guys are supposed to be legendary rock stars ~ WHOO HOO!! Wait, the gym?

Well I had had a certain special friendship with the guitarist for Bowie’s band at that time that had ended rather abruptly about 2 years before (that’s a whole other story…) but CP and I decided that it was rather serendipitous that we were in Kansas City at the same time (what were the odds?), that I should let bygones be bygones etc., so I tracked down his number and gave him a call.

He was pleasantly surprised to hear from me and also thought it rather serendipitous that we were both in Kansas City at the same time (what were the odds?) and asked if we’d like to come by and see the Bowie show that next night. Yes! We would indeed! He promised us a couple of tickets (for CP and me ~ we reasoned that if Metallica couldn’t figure out how to get in on their own, then shame on their rock star asses!).

So with this new wrinkle ironed out, we head out to dinner. Yee haw! Now it’s going to be time to really see how the big boys play. I’m trying to decide how to politely decline the shots of tequila and lines of cocaine and stick to my wine, when the waiter comes to the table. One beer. Two wines. One carrot juice. Two sparkling waters. One Pepsi. That’s it. And the wine and the beer were me, CP and her boyfriend. WTF?

We proceed to have a very easy going conversation around the table about yoga, stock tips, stretching techniques, failing eyesight, organic gardening and so on. Just a bunch of semi middle aged professionals having dinner. Sheese. Some story to take to the folks back home.

The next day CP and I head over to the corporate offices of the big publishing firm we work for, located in KC. We breeze in and tell everyone how beat we are from being up all night partying DOWN with Metallica and and our plans to head to see Bowie that night (“those kooky Californians”….we had a reputation to uphold). La de da, indeed.

When it’s time to head over to the show which is way, way, way outside of town, we collectively take a cab ~ me, CP, her man, the bass player, the super famous guitar player, and the band’s head of security. We all get to the venue and us girls were on the list (“step right this way”) with like, Row 5 seats, and the Metallica guys were true to their rock star roots and got in no problem.

We stood around together (for some reason CP and I didn’t actually sit down in our seats) until the show was over. Then my new friend KIRK tells me that he’s never met any of the guys in Bowie’s band and would I please introduce him to my friend the lead guitar player? I agree and we wait outside for the musicians to shower and get organized and come outside.

So here I am in Kansas City in a parking lot “backstage” area, meeting up with an old flame I haven’t seen in 2 years and doing introductions between these two rock gods like I’m Artie Puffkin from Spinal Tap. I found some pretty ironic humor in that. My old friend asks if I’d like to join him and the rest of the Bowie band for dinner, and I say breezily “oh thanks, I’d love to, but I’m with the Metallica guys tonight”. Since when is my dance card being balanced between David Bowie and Metallica!!?!?!

So off they all go, and we head out into the parking lot to find a cab. Uh oh. Everyone from the show has left an hour ago, we’re out pretty much in the middle of nowhere and there isn’t a cab in sight. As we’re standing around formulating a plan, this big, white, very slick tour bus glides up to us and stops. The door magically and silently opens and a man steps out and says, “would you like to ride with Mr. Bowie back to the hotel?”.

Um, would we like to ride with Mr. Bowie back to the hotel? Hell yes, we’d like that! We board the bus and Mr. B welcomes CP and me and calls us “Love” (swoon), and then all the musician boys sit together and talk shop for the 20 minutes back to the hotel. When we arrive back DB again says something that involves calling us “Love” (swoon) and we all head inside. CP and I excuse ourselves to use the ladies room and tell the rest of the gang we’ll meet them upstairs.

You can picture us together: “David Bowie called us Love! We rode on his tour bus! He called us Love!”. We were definitely having a major Tiger Beat moment, but I mean really, how often do you get ride around KC with David Bowie? Even a pair of old jaded music industry gals like us were pretty impressed.

We breath deeply and slowly and then saunter casually upstairs to the lounge. After all, we can’t seem like a pair of jacked up groupies when we’re hanging with the coolest heavy metal band on the planet. So imagine our surprise when we sit down at the table and all these super famous, ultra cool guys are all saying, “We met David Bowie! We got a ride in his tour bus! We met David Bowie!”

Just goes to show that everyone has someone they look up to and admire, but I’m betting he didn’t call them”Love” (swoon).