05.01.06 – How Awesome It Was…

I’ve been experiencing a little road journal writer’s block lately, waiting for something extraordinary to happen rather than just getting in the game and making something out of nothing. But a very inspirational email just came in from a student at Tufts, our alma mater, where we played the annual Spring Fling Concert on Saturday…

From: “Meghan b”
Sent: Monday, May 01, 2006 1:49 AM

GUSTER! i’m ashamed of you. returning to tufts and not writing a road journal about how awesome it was?
i’d have thought better of a thundergod.

So I think I’ll write a road journal about how awesome it was to return to Tufts. I think it will be an awesome road journal and I think I’ll call it “How Awesome It Was”…

HOW AWESOME IT WAS … by Thundergod!

It’s tough to decide which was more awesome, the awesome left shoe that someone threw at us during “Come Downstairs & Say Hello” or the awesome half-full can of Miller High Life that landed at the base of the percussion kit between songs and started oozing beer at my feet. Joe was impressed with the specially-engineered hard plastic torpedo that exploded into his mic stand during “Happier” and spewed powder all over his guitar pedals. Someone put a lot of work into that thing. As the newest member of Guster and the only one of us that isn’t a Tufts alumni, Joe had to be convinced after the show that Tufts was actually a smart school. I think that may have been the most wasted crowd we’ve ever played to.

I should qualify this a little bit. When I was a Tufts student and the Violent Femmes / Lemonheads / Digable Planets played Spring Fling I wanted to throw my shoe at Evan Dando but I was too drunk to figure out how to take it off. And I love the Lemonheads — it’s just the tradition at Tufts to get hammered and ignore the band at this event every year. Plus our set on Saturday was laced with feedback, like the whole time. I would have thrown my shoe at our soundguy except that I needed it to play a kick drum standing up. I probably should have thrown that rogue left stage-shoe at him. And there was an energetic minority out there of kids who liked our band, and we appreciate you, though your shoe-heaving fellow academics always seem to make the road journal headlines.

Ryan, who talks into the microphone the most, let the crowd know that the band they were ignoring on the side stage between main stage acts (The Hold Steady) put out one of the best records of the year last year. Adam, who usually only speaks into the microphone to deliver his rehearsed spew about the Campus Consciousness Pavilion, decided to skip the routine at Tufts, probably so his wife didn’t get puked on. I don’t ever talk into the microphone, but if my mics were louder, you’d have heard me yelling “you guys are the best crowd we’ve ever played to!” between just about every song.

come to think of it, i might have devised a special powder-producing plastic projectile myself if i’d known joe was going to wear that hat with those glasses on stage…

The thing is we really wanted to stay and hang out at Tufts (anyway). I think Spring Fling is a really fun event for everyone except the bands, and we just wanted to be out there on the President’s Lawn, drinking frisbees full of beer, rather than trying to entertain people who were drinking frisbees full of beer… but we had an evening show at Amherst College, which is a good 115 miles away, and we had to hightail it out of there after our set just to make it there by 7pm, when doors were supposed to open up. So here’s the kicker:

We’re rolling down Packard Avenue in the bus trying to get off campus and there’s a cop car parked in the middle of the street. We pull up behind it and wait. That complete douchebag head Tufts robo-cop is leaning against the driver’s window of the cop car, talking to the driver. This is the same skinhead dipshit that made Adam walk back to Olin Hall to get his laminate as we were walking on stage (like with in-ear monitors in our ears and student activities people vouching that he’s in the band and everything). So prick cop dickhead keeps talking to the other cop, fully aware that we’re waiting for them to pull over and let us through. Douchebag cop laughs at something the other driver says, then gives us the “one minute” index finger, and continues with his conversation.

And Taz, our driver, God bless him, whose personal mission it was to get us to Amherst in time for our next show, just laid into the horn. It was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard. Deep, bassy, sustained, and so shockingly loud, even Blackalicious heard it on stage. Just long enough that the cop moved his car and glared at us, but not long enough that they stopped us and searched the bus for drugs. You’re my goddam hero, Taz.

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