09.23.02 – Atlanta & Boston

I never wrote about that final Mayer/Guster show in Atlanta. We knew there would be some sort of on-stage hazing expected of us, but we weren’t sure how far to take it… all we knew was we wanted to involve nudity and we wanted to involve chicken buckets, but we didn’t want to interrupt John’s flow too much. But then their band came out during Happier and set up a card table on stage and played blackjack through the whole song. They even had some “waitress” come out and serve them drinks. Chris, their stage manager, was putting golf balls right in front of me and I kept thinking “man, he hasn’t made one putt yet” and “man, we’re gonna have to RUIN you’re body is a wonderland tonight.” And so we did. The diaper idea was really stolen from the Barenaked Ladies, who did it to us a few times during Either Way in 2000. We’d requested big, family-size, identity-obscuring chicken buckets but I think we got the mashed potato buckets that barely fit over our heads. I think people knew it was us.

Saturday in Boston was the radio festival show with John and Avril Lavigne and David Gray and Pink and Def Leppard. We played a twenty minute set, which was strange. Ryan wore his Def Leppard shirt, and wanted me to point out where his mom had written his name on the neck when he took it to camp. Avril thanked the radio station and her record label graciously, then played her last song and threw the microphone down on the ground all angry and shit. Pink, who could sing a lot better than I expected, announced she was about to play “her favorite song in the world” and then launched into a big anthemic rendition of that Four Non Blondes song “What’s Going On,” which also happens to be my least favorite song in the whole world.

Then everyone watched from the side of the stage while Def Leppard tore the house down. We sang along loudly and put our pinkies, our index fingers, and our thumbs in the air. You should have heard “F-F-F-Foolin’!” I was still riding high from having met their drummer, Rick “Thundergod” Allen, hours earlier. Rick uses his left foot to play a triggered snare drum and is one of the most creative drummers I’ve ever seen. A true God of Thunder. In his presence I was merely a Thunderservant.

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