June 5th, 2002. San Francisco, CA. How come no one calls it Frisco anymore? At the time I’m living a mere two miles from the famed Fillmore Auditorium. It’s a historic venue that more than lives up to its hype. You get a Granny Smith apple upon arrival and a keepsake free poster upon exiting. I arrived on the scene too late to experience the Winterland, but was a regular at the Warfield, American Music Hall, Bottom of the Hill, Slims and Bimbo’s 365, but I digress.
Entertaining at the Fillmore that night was The White Stripes. They were just beginning to scale the musical heights on the strength of their White Blood Cells record. Keep in mind this is pre You Tube or mature musical internet so it was pretty much radio and word on the street at that point. But they were gaining traction and within a year would be sitting on top of the world. My ticket cost $26.55. Do you realize that’s $35.10 in today’s money? Think about that.
Detroit locals Brendan Benson & The Well Fed Boys and Whirlwind Heat open. Jack and Meg stroll onstage in their red and white ensembles and proceed into ‘Dead Leaves & The Dirty Ground’. At that juncture, they didn’t have any qualified big ‘hits’, but the music was authentic and true. Aside from their own goods, they performed a multitude of covers ranging from artists as diverse as Burt Bacharach, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Robert Johnson, The Gun Club and Blind Willie McTell. 25 songs in total which is more than your Geary Blvd money’s worth.
But wait. There’s more.
The downstairs of the Fillmore is standing room. You’re standing in a room. But, there are these small dividers over to stage right that separate the bar area from the floor area. I decided that after standing in line for over an hour just to get in, that perhaps I’d sit on one of the dividers; which is still fairly close to the action. Plus you’re seated. Sort of. So I’m sitting there and there’s another lone wolf doing the same thing I’m doing. A girl. I don’t say anything to her and she doesn’t say anything to me. Which is how it’s supposed to be between boys and girls. Let the music do the talking.
About 45 minutes into the gig, the band launches into ‘You’re Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl)’ from a then two year old record. Enough of the crowd was familiar with it, but there was a certain guy that was very familiar with it. And it seemed he wanted to get very familiar with the lone wolf girl that was sitting on the divider next to me. The guy was standing about five feet in front of us and he begins to lip synch the song as it’s been played live. To the girl. A live lip synch serenade of sorts. A pretty ballsy move, but I gave him bonus points for even thinking about doing it, much less actually executing the move. The guy is making the girl squirm though, and not in the good way.
The song ends and the guy turns around. I lean over to the lone wolf girl and say, ‘Hey, your boyfriend is pretty cool.’ You know, trying to add some levity into the room. Well, the girl was having none of it and none of my levity. Before storming off she stated, ‘He’s not my boyfriend!’ Emphasis on not.
Have any funny/wacky concert tales to tell? I know you do. Chime in and share with the rest of us.