Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Two days of Sundays

I've recently started writing about some of my concert experiences that were most memorable for me, and it looks like this might turn out to be a series of many parts.  Although I had planned to write about something else, I've had a request to detail the events of February 19 and 20, 1993.  A crew of my buddies and I saw The SUNDAYS on consecutive nights and went on a pretty memorable road trip to make it all happen. 

We were all in school at Guilford College, all radio station geeks and all really into The Sundays (I never cared for that whole all-caps thing they had).  When we saw that they were coming to the Cat's Cradle on February 19, it was a no-brainer.  They were among our favorite bands.  It was a Friday.  We were college kids.  On that night, I think it was Tim, Christian, Reid and myself.

I think I was the only one of our lot who was into Luna, who was opening for the Sundays on that tour.  I was really familiar with their first record Lunapark, and of course their single from that record "Slash Your Tires".   Sadly, I did not know at that time that Luna frontman Dean Wareham had come out of Galaxie 500.  Nonetheless, I was into this show from start to finish.  Even though I was into both bands, the obvious highlight of the show wasn't those four dudes.  It was The Sundays.  More specifically, it was the privilege of seeing a goddess named Harriet Wheeler lead that band.

Luna played a great opening set, and I was especially impressed by their cover of the Beat Happening song "Indian Summer".  That was the last song of their set, and I think that the twenty minutes or so between their breakdown and when The Sundays finally took the stage felt like an eternity.  While we were all there certainly because we loved the music, every dude in the room was really excited about seeing Harriet.

And she was stunning.  As hot as twelve suns.  I remember at some point very early in the show -- maybe in the break between the first two songs -- somebody in the crowd shouted out:

         "Harriet, you're the spawn of Aphrodite!"

which is undeniably a hilarious thing to shout out at a concert.  She wore monitors in her ears and didn't even notice, but guitarist David Gavurin sure did.  He dropped his pick, chuckled a little bit and then they got back into the next song.

The set was absolutely incredible.  As stunningly beautiful as Harriet was, her band was equally amazing on stage.  Years later, I talked to other people who were at that show and they confessed to getting teary-eyed.  This show remains one of my all-time favorites.  I was unbelievably happy during and after the show.  It was also the precursor for a really amazing road trip and another show the next night. 

After the show, my lot decided that we wanted to hang around and meet the band.  Most bands, after a show, will hang around in the broom closet they call a "dressing room" at the Cradle, or in the hallway or whatever,  making themselves somewhat available to the audience.  The Sundays, however, went straight out the back door (which is now the front door (EDIT: April 2012 -- it's now exclusively the load-in/out door) and onto their bus.  My friends and I were told by their tour manager, who was this big lummox named Scott, that they weren't allowing anybody on the bus and that they weren't meeting any fans.  It's a mystery why I can still remember that guy's name after 18 years.  Slightly dejected, but still riding the high from the show, we headed back to school.

Sometime that night, somebody came up with what turned out to be one of the most brilliant ideas ever.  I have to assume that it was Reid who came up with it.  Reid has an uncle who was living in Norfolk Virginia, working for one of the big concert promotion companies.  Norfolk was the next stop on The Sundays' tour.  Not knowing for sure if any of the pieces would fit together, Reid called his uncle who said that yes, his company was promoting that show.  Yes, he could get us into the show.  And on top of that, he could get us backstage.  We hadn't even asked for that, but there it was!   We rallied our troops early in the morning and packed two cars full of guys for a trip to Norfolk.  I feel like I'm forgetting a major participant, but I  remember for sure that it was Reid, Christian, Alex, Tim and myself.  I'm sure that there was one more person or we wouldn't have taken two cars, but I can't remember that detail.  And yet I can remember Scott's name.    

After a fun-filled road trip, we got to Reid's uncle's house sometime in the early afternoon.  We played some basketball and drank some beer (none of us were of legal drinking age) and relaxed a bit.  The whole crew of us went out to dinner on Reid's uncle's dime, and he didn't know any of us from Adam.  We spent the night in his house, and all he knew about us was that we were friends of his nephew.  And of course we got guestlisted and backstage passes.  All for nothing.  It was amazing enough that it was happening, and even better that Reid's uncle did it all out of the kindness of his heart.

The dinner that we had, by the way, included freshly caught raw oysters.  That was the first time, and it remains the only time that I've ever eaten raw oysters.  Spotting my trepidation, Reid's uncle informed me that I haven't lived until I've eaten raw oysters.  I ate quite a few, and I did like them, but I have never eaten them again.

The show was a place called The Boathouse in Norfolk.  I think it might have shut down a few years ago.  I might be making this bit up, but something in my memory tells me that the club had a chain link fence right down the middle to separate the over- and under-21 folks.  I'm making that up, right?

The show was identical to the show the night before.  Amazing.  The set list might have even been exactly the same.  It didn't matter.   It was phenomenal.

After being pointed in the direction of the backstage area, we were told to wait for a little bit before going in.  A girl who couldn't have been more than 15 years old spotted our backstage passes and handed one of our lot a package and said that we had to deliver it to Dean Wareham.

This is where it gets weird.  

The "package" was a hand-written letter on loose-leaf notebook paper that was, for some reason, wrapped around a carrot and held together with a piece of string.  This was a really strange thing, but we decided to oblige.  Once we got in the room, we found Dean, explained the situation and handed him the package.  He opened the letter and started reading.  It was, I think, two pages, but Dean didn't even read ten percent of it.  It opened with "I listen to your music every night while I'm in bed.  Your songs come to me while I'm sleeping", at which point the carrot became a really nasty thing.   He dropped the carrot and didn't say anything else.

Although we were all radio geeks and we would later conduct dozens of interviews with bands, none of us had at that point.  We didn't know what we were supposed to do in the backstage area.  We didn't even know if other people would be there.  It turned out, there were a couple of girls who had traveled from England to follow the Sundays for at least the first bit of their North American tour.  There was a 12-year old boy who had won the ticket/backstage pass on a radio station contest.  He was learning to play the drums because he loved the Sundays.  His mother embarrassed him a little bit, but after a while, he was okay.

We didn't want to hassle the band, but we definitely wanted to meet them, so we were just hanging out by ourselves waiting for a good moment.  At some point, before any of us were ready, David Gavurin walked up to me and commented on the t-shirt I was wearing.  "Throwing Muses?!  Fucking brilliant!"   Right away, we were friends.  After that ice was broken, we all hung out for a couple of hours until the band called it a night.

At some point during the night, one of us asked David about the "Spawn of Aphrodite" incident, and this became a little joke for the rest of the night. 

I had the cd booklet of Blind signed by the band, and if you enlarge the photo on the right, you can see that David Gavurin signed it to: "David.  Spawn of Aphrodite" and from: "David (Venus)".  The other signatures are "Paul (Penus)" -- that's his misspelling, not mine, "Harriet (Anus) haha" and the simple "Patrick".

I took a bunch of pictures of the band, but none of me with the band.  We were actually told expressly that they would not allow any pictures to be taken of a fan alone with Harriet.  That was fair enough, and I respected that, but I took it too far by forgetting to get one of me with the whole band.  Or any of the guys with the whole band.

Up to then, that was probably the coolest thing that had ever happened to me.  I was floating on air for a couple of weeks, and I would often search for an excuse to tell and re-tell the story.  It's been a really long time since I've told it.  

Monday, March 07, 2011

The time I showed up a little early for Mogwai

I've mentioned before that I used to go to a lot of concerts and that I used to make a point to show up very early. This is about one of the times that I showed up crazily early. I guess I was pretty excited about going to see Mogwai.  Too excited.

I'm not able to pinpoint the exact date of the show, but I know that it was a Thursday. By my best recollection, it was the spring of 2000. I used to keep old Cat's Cradle schedules for this precise reason. I used to say that there would be a day, maybe eleven years down the road when I would need to know the exact date of a show I went to and who was opening and who played the nights before and after. Unfortunately, those schedules are long gone now, but I can say with about 91% certainty that it was spring 2000.

I had just gotten into Mogwai and got really pumped up about going to see them play. Maybe it's because I was going to a lot of shows back then (and had more opportunity to have my mind blown). Maybe I was more impressionable. Maybe the late nineties really were a "golden age" of indie rock and of live performance. I don't know, but it seems like a lot of the best shows I've ever been to came from a five- or six- year window just after I got out of college. I was hoping that this show was going to be one to add to that list.

I was looking forward to this show for months. I don't think I can possibly iterate the amount of anticipation I was feeling. So when Thursday rolled around, I did my normal routine of leaving town crazily early to ensure that I was the FIRST person in after they opened the doors. To this day, I still don't know why I thought it was so important to me to do that, but that was how I used to roll.

I arrived to the Cat's Cradle and they hadn't yet opened the door, so I stood around in the parking lot waiting. And waiting. As the minutes passed, other people started to show up in the parking lot and they didn't look like they were Mogwai fans. They were straight-up Rasta. Whatever, I thought. I guessed that Mogwai's appeal wasn't just to pasty white kids, and I didn't think much of it. Their numbers started to grow and I thought that it was strange that these guys were queueing up for Mogwai, but still didn't think a whole lot of it. Then some other Rasta fellows started to load some gear into the club. I thought that this was a really strange bill, with a reggae band opening for a post-rock band, but it wasn't my place to judge.

I'm not into reggae at all. For maybe about two weeks when I was in the eleventh grade, I thought that I was, but it didn't stick. Over the years, my tolerance threshold for reggae has gotten lower, and it wasn't really all that high back then, but I would have put up with 30 minutes or so from an opening act.

Then another reggae group started to load in their gear and I started to think that something was wrong. Too embarrassed to ask anyone, I casually strolled over to the front window of the club, whistling that tune that you whistle when you're trying to look like you're casually minding your own business. I pretended to be curious about the upcoming shows, but really I was making sure that I hadn't botched the date of the show. I didn't see a main calendar, so I just glanced over the placards. Oh look! Guided by Voices! I'll have to go to that. The Wedding Present? Count me in! Stereolab? Wouldn't miss it! And there was the poster for the Mogwai show. The show was on a Thursday, and there I was on Thursday.

A week early.

I was a little embarrassed and actually angry. Angry at myself for being a complete imbecile. Angry at the situation. Angry that I didn't like reggae.   A normal person would have shaken it off, gone to get some dinner and found some way to make the best of an undeniably funny situation. I could have called a friend or two and met them for drinks. I could have gone on my own for drinks. I could have found something -- anything -- to do in Chapel Hill. Instead, I stomped back to my car and drove straight to Greensboro.

I came back for the show on the correct date,  but with the wind already taken out of my sails.  After I had committed an error that led to anitclimax, I couldn't rebuild the anticipation.  I was already defeated, so I didn't get charged up.  Maybe it was my blasé attitude going into it, but  I can't say that I remember anything about the show. Except that I bought a cd copy of Ten Rapid from the merch desk.  It's fair to say that although I didn't have a lousy time, I didn't have my socks knocked off.  And now I remember my first (and only) Mogwai show not because of anything they did on stage but because of my own miscue.

To this day, whether it's a concert or a hockey game or an airplane trip or a play or what have you, I always check the tickets twice just before I leave the house. Once to make sure I've got them and once to make sure I've got the time and date right. And then I check them again. And then, later, I check them again.  And just before I enter the venue, I check them again. 

Saturday, March 05, 2011

From Montreal, (or Alabama, or Wherever) with Love: Part II -- 03.08.2003

I recently told a story to a new circle of friends about my first exposure to Godspeed You! Black Emperor, how I came to love that band and how this eventually led to a bizarre trip to Athens, Georgia.  I've been urged by them to retell the story in greater detail, so it gives me the perfect excuse to be more active on this page.
The first part of the story, which I wrote here a couple of days ago, deals with the details of the very first time I ever heard GY!BE, which was when I blindly went to see them perform on my 28th birthday.

The second part of the story involves an internet romance, an epic ice storm, a massive power outage and my second and only other time seeing them perform.  Again, it isn't the concert, but rather the events surrounding it that make the story worth telling.   The date of the show was March 8, 2003, but there's quite a bit of backstory that has to be told, so I have to go back about a year.

In the spring of 2002, I decided to give internet dating a try, and I had a couple of first dates this way, but nothing special.  Sometime in the summer of that year, a girl named Jessica initiated contact with me through the dating service.  She was from Alabama, and I didn't think anything other than a friendship would come out of that.  Over the next several weeks, we exchanged a lot of emails and phone calls, and it was pretty cool.  Again, I didn't really think that anything was going on, but she suggested that we meet in person.  She pointed out that it was, after all, a dating site that brought us together and we should treat it as such.  We knew that we had very similar taste in music, and the best way would be to get together for a concert experience.

We finally decided that Jessica was going to drive up here in early December and we would hang out for a week, during which we would go to an Aimee Mann concert in Durham on December 4.  This was not, incidentally, the first time in my life that I'd convinced a young woman who I'd never met in person to travel a great distance to spend a week with me.  But that's another story.   

She arrived here on Tuesday the 3rd and was going to stay until the 11th.  Being the gentleman that I sometimes am, I offered her my bedroom while I slept on the couch.  For the first night anyway.  I had to work the next day, and she slept for most of the day.  We were supposed to go to the Aimee Mann show, but a snow and ice storm moved in pretty quickly and made travel impossible.  If I remember correctly, the interstate highways were shut down due to significant icing.  About three inches of snow fell and was topped by almost an inch of ice.  We didn't go to the show, and as it turned out, they didn't offer refunds.  We ended up getting a ride from my place to my friend Kari's, where we all played board games, ate dinner and had drinks until the wee hours.

Overnight Wednesday, as the accumulated ice caused tree limbs and power lines to fall, over a million North Carolnians lost power.  I was one of the hardest hit.  Although I have a gas furnace, it needs electricity to pump the heat, and that wasn't happening.  My water, but not my stove, is gas-powered, so we were able to have hot showers and that's about it.  The road conditions improved rapidly, and we were able to get around on Thursday, but my electricity wouldn't be restored for ten days.  That's what I mean when I say that I was one of the hardest hit.  It reminded me of Hurricane Hugo in September of 1989, when my family was without electricity for 14 days.  There's a big difference, though in being without power when it's 60 degrees outside and when it's 15 degrees.

On Thursday, we stayed at another friend's place so we could be warm, but we decided that we needed some ...um..  privacy, so we moved out in the morning.  Every hotel room in town was booked, so we had no choice but to go back to my place.  I had to go to work, and I'm not sure what Jessica did during the day, but we went to a Hurricanes game (a 2-0 shutout loss at the hands of Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers) that night, then came back to my icy apartment.

Saturday, by my memory, was a warmer day and again, the conditions improved.  This gave false hope that power would be restored, but it wasn't.  We went to a movie that afternoon.  She was an artist and wanted to see the Frida Kahlo biopic, so that was it.  After that, a bunch of driving around.  As luck had it, Matt Pond, PA was playing a in-store show here in Greensboro, so we went to that, then out for a few drinks, then back to my arctic apartment.

In the morning, Jessica feigned some family emergency and said that she had to cut her visit four days short.  I knew that the real reason was that it was just too damned cold in my icebox, but there's nothing I could do about that.  I felt awful that this was supposed to be a week of romance and good times, but the ice storm and the power outage weren't things that I could do anything about.  I sort of assumed that we would never see each other again.  We got along fairly well and there were some minor sparks, but with all the other factors, it was kind of a disaster.

We continued our telephone and email relationship and at some point, there was some talk of her moving here to go to graduate school in Greensboro.  Once she started talking about that, I started to think about our "relationship" as something a little more serious.

And now, we're finally to "the story".  Jessica and I planned to have another "date" at a neutral site.  We decided to go to see GY!BE play at the 40 Watt club in Athens, Georgia.  This meant a five-hour drive for me and about a two-hour drive for her.  Not knowing the town of Athens at all, I bought the tickets to the show and booked a hotel room at a brand-name hotel that was pretty close to the club.  As it turned out, the hotel was about two blocks away from the club and was probably the worst hotel in the national chain.  It was the kind of "hotel" where people live.  The kind of place where you have to check on your car about once every 15 minutes.  The type of place where the pizza guy won't deliver after the sun goes down.  I couldn't have known this when I booked the room.  I simply trusted the name brand, even if the brand wasn't top-tier.  I knew not to expect something like the Westin, but I was expecting it to be better than the crack motel that it was.

The show was on Saturday March 8, 2003, and we decided to get to Athens a day early.  She arrived a little before I did, and was sleeping when I got there.  I think it was spring break for UGA, because there weren't many kids out and about on that Friday night, but we bounced around from one bar to the next, finally ending up in some shady below-street bar where a bad local band was playing badly. 

Saturday afternoon, we walked around a lot and found it to be a cool little town.  One bizarre moment occurred when we were out at lunch and a girl approached me and named the place where I worked in Greensboro.  I had never seen the girl before, or at least I didn't recognize her, but she obviously knew me.  It made me feel really weird.

Jessica and I had both heard that the guys in GY!BE didn't like giving interviews and didn't like photography at their shows.  I think when I bought the tickets, the website said something about "no photography", but we sort of assumed that this meant "no professional photography".   Jessica, being a  photographer, had a pretty nice camera and tried to take it into the club with her.  She got it through the door, but there were signs posted all over the place indicating that the band was quite serious about not allowing photography.  She was asked to leave, or at least to get rid of the camera.  Since our hotel was just around the corner, we took the camera back and got back to the club in plenty of time for the show.

My memory isn't perfect, but I think that it was Black Dice who opened for GY!BE.  I didn't care for them then, and I haven't warmed up to them since then.  I didn't let it ruin our night, though.

While the show in Chapel Hill on my 28th birthday was sparsely attended, this one was packed.  We weren't able to get very close to the stage, and it was tough to get drinks, but we didn't let that ruin our night, either.  I was really jealous of Jessica, because she was getting to see them for the first time.  You don't get that thrill twice.  They were still really amazing the second time, but there's still something special about the first time.  And in my case, my first time seeing them was my first time hearing them, so it was even more amazing to me.  Again, according to setlist.fm, they played a six-song set and a one-song encore.  Included in this was two of the "new" songs from Yanqui U.X.O., which wouldn't be released until the autumn of that year.

I don't remember any weird goings-on on after the show on Saturday night, but I do remember a whole lot of awkwardness in the morning on Sunday.  I couldn't wait to get on the road and get back home.  I think both of us reached a point where it was just over between us.   

I never saw Jessica (or GY!BE) again.  For that matter, I never talked to her again.  A couple of weeks later, I found myself reunited with an old girlfriend and I had a good thing going there for a while until I managed to fuck that up a year later.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

From Montreal, (or Alabama, or Wherever) with Love: Part I -- 10.03.1999

We all have a handful of events in our lives that stand out in our memories.  Of course there's the big stuff like weddings and births and deaths in our families.  September 11.  I'm not talking about those.  I'm talking about littler things.  Like the way we remember where we were and what we were doing the fist time we heard a certain record, or a certain band.  The first time we laid eyes on a person who would later become our spouse.  The person who introduced us to our favorite author and which book it was that they lent us.  That kind of thing.

This is about one of those moments.  This is about the first time I laid ears on Montréal post-rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor.  October 3, 1999.  Although I definitely would have heard about them eventually, this is about how I came upon them on my own, by chance, and how they would eventually become one of my favorite bands.  In part II, this is also about a crazy adventure involving an internet date, a huge ice storm, a shady motel and a road trip to see GYBE play.  Act one of this story isn't quite as cinematic, though. 

Back in the late 1990s,  I used to go to a lot of concerts regardless of the night of the week.  If there was a band that I was even remotely interested in, I would drive from Greensboro to Chapel Hill to see them, often getting there hours before the doors opened.  I'd be there at sound check, then I'd go mull around the town for a few hours before returning to the club to be the first one to secure a spot at the front of the stage.

I made an acquaintance who did the same thing as I did for the same shows. Dozens of shows, we'd both be there in the front row.  We'd both be there trying to snag the set list off the monitors after the show.  We never really became friends, but eventually, we started to trade stories about bands we'd seen.  Somehow, this guy convinced me to do something he'd been doing for years.  He told me that he always went to a show on his birthday, and that he often went, on his birthday, to see bands that he'd never heard of.  Sometimes it worked out well, but most times, he said, it didn't.  Still, it was a tradition that he'd been keeping for several years, and he urged me to try. 

It was 1999, and there was a show on my birthday at the Cat's Cradle.  It was a band I'd never heard of, but I was willing to give it a shot.  Just for something to do.  At the time, I knew absolutely nothing about Godspeed You! Black Emperor (GY!BE)  (or, as they were known back then, GYBE!) other than that they were not a reggae band.  I took a shot in the dark and bought a ticket.  Back in those days, you had to buy hard tickets to things, or phone in an order and get on the list.  So I picked up a hard ticket one time when I was in Chapel Hill for something else.  In those days, we didn't have the kinds of resources available to us that we have now, so it was a little more difficult to check out a band.  I didn't even own a computer back then.

Sure, I could have gone to the BBs record store (RIP) and previewed a copy of F♯ A♯ ∞, but I think there was something in me that wanted it to remain a mystery.  I wanted, for the thrill of it, to go in there completely blind.  It's a high risk-high reward proposition, but I was willing to go for it.

It turned out that my friends Steve and Amy were getting married to each other two days before that show, at the beautiful Grove Park Inn in Asheville NC.  Their wedding was on Friday night, and my birthday (and the GYBE show) was on Sunday.  It was perfect.  The wedding was beautiful, and I got to hang out with a bunch of my friends all together in one place for the first time since we all graduated college five years earlier.

If I'm honest, I don't remember much about Saturday.  I remember the lot of us (probably about 15 in all) going to some hippie breakfast place to eat some granola and whole grain pancakes.  In those days, it was impossible to find a piece of bacon or sausage links in Asheville,so I'm sure I also "enjoyed" some tofu or some shit like that.  I remember that there was some smelly hippie playing folk music on his acoustic guitar.  I guess it was "open mic morning" or something.  At some point, he asked if there were any requests from the "crowd", and my friend Doug, without missing a beat, uttered "How about the sound of silence?".  He wasn't requesting the Simon&Garfunkle song.  He wanted actual silence.  We all did, since we were a bit hung over.  That's what I remember about Saturday.  This isn't about Saturday, though.  This is about Sunday.

On Sunday morning, we all went our different ways.  In a pretty extreme fashion.  Most of us just went home.  The aforementioned Doug drove our friend Hans to International Falls, Minnesota.   This is technically quite a bit north of the actual headwaters of the Mississippi River, but this is the spot that Hans and other folks choose as the launching point for a kayak voyage on the mighty river.  Hans wanted to become the next person to kayak the entire length of the Mississippi River solo.   For the record, he didn't make it.   He switched to a bicycle somewhere near Winona Minnesota and planned to make the rest of the trip on two wheels.   For the record, that didn't work, either.

I hopped into my 1989 Honda Accord and drove back home for a few hours.  I think I did anyway. I think that I left Asheville in the mid-morning and went home for a few hours before going to Chapel Hill that night.  There's some slight possibility that I went straight from Asheville to Chapel Hill, but I'm pretty sure that I made a pit stop at the house first.  

As I said, I didn't know the first thing about GYBE, but I made sure to get there early.  I don't recall who was the opening act, and it really isn't important.  When Godspeed hit the stage with their film projectors and their eight (or so) band members, I was definitely intrigued.  It didn't take long for that sense of intrigue to turn into awe.  This is one of only a few concerts in my life when I have been absolutely gobsmacked.  This is a brilliant turn of speech that we don't use in the United States, but it means, essentially, "blown away".

My memory isn't perfect, and it was my very first exposure to the band, so I can't depend on my memory here.  According to setlist.fm, they opened with "Broken Windows, Locks of Love, part III", which is only one part of the first song from the first disc of Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennae to Heaven.  That record hadn't been released yet, so almost everyone in the crowd was hearing it for the first time.  However, I can safely say that I was absolutely and completely gobsmacked within the first minute, and I knew that I'd made an excellent choice to come see this band.  By the end of the nine minute song sequence, I could barely even breathe.  There have been maybe three concert experiences that put me into this state of mind and functionality.  It was, simply put, amazing.

When the show ended, some 90 minutes (or so) later, I was in a daze.  Again, I can only remember two other shows that have left me in a daze.  I've been impressed, even amazed by a bunch of live shows, but only a precious few have taken my breath away.  I marched over to the merch table and bought a cd of  F♯ A♯ ∞, and listened to that on the drive home.  And then probably about three times in a row that night.  I became a huge fan, immediately. Unlike dozens of bands over the years, this wasn't a "flavour of the moment".  They remain, to this day, a favorite band of mine.

I wouldn't learn until much later that the band valued its privacy the way that those hippies in Asheville value their patchouli.  It didn't matter to me on this night, but it would come into play the next time I saw them perform, three and a half years later. 

Part II of this will detail a crazy road trip to Athens, GA in March of 2003, where I saw Godspeed for the second time.  I haven't seen them since, and I can't imagine that I would be able to spin a fictional tale crazier than the one that actually happened.  Hopefully, I'll get it up and running on Thursday.