NYC: A Grand Victory Indeed
It’s like a fucking shot of adrenaline to the heart, crossing the bridge and those buildings come close into view.
We’re out here on a turn and burn weekend, five hour red-eye flights, eight hours of driving and three-make that two!—quick shows.
Back to work by Tuesday morning.
When we left the tarmac in Long beach it was a scary 90 degrees–this at 9:30 pm people!!
I mean, yeah, we like the warm weather out here, but don’t ya think we should start getting concerned when our local ground temperature feels like a microwaved burrito at dusk in mid March?
The winter coats we hold in the crook of our arms at check-in feel like jokes, and we all eye the dumpster to possibly unload these bulky things.
But as we land on the east coast we learn Winter still has a home.
We walk along the frozen terminal sidewalk with the red-eye Zombie gaze, for somehow we lost 3 hours of our lives in the middle of the night.
Not bad though , as it gives us a chance to wear those stylish scarves that Anthony is always raving about!
Even with the canceled Boston gig the day is not a total loss, not with the bars and pubs in Cambridge all quivering on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.
Soon the storied cobblestones will be awash with green vomit, so why not get a jump start on things?
Gotta love this town!
We’re up and out early-ish on Saturday, and the lucky sunshine we enjoyed on Friday has given up to a cold gray sleet.
Ah well, we know at the end of the journey we’ll be enjoying the warmth and fine humor of family and friends, so we push on and make it to the state capitol safe and dry.
We pick up ex-Californian Johnny at the Amtrak and make it out to Voorheesville and the Guinness-stocked fridge of Barb and Larry!
We regretfully say our goodbyes after foamy Stouts and corned beef sandwiches, the cold winds just a vapid threat outside of this warm family kitchen.
We squeeze back into scarves and overcoats like grouchy children bundling up for the cold walk to school, each of us eyeing the couch with a silent farewell to the fading chance of nappytime.
On the ride through the countryside we peer out foggy windows at alien sights: Snowdrifts and startled does, the yellow-lit farmhouses breaking long stretches of such beautiful, rare, darkness.
It’s into the Lowbeat club in the heart of Albany for another Saturday night gig in America now.
The place is all warmth and beery comfort to these old Californian bones, and we are soon amidst familiar friendly faces from past visits…..
A rare treat tonight, it happens that Capitle, who we actually played with in Albany our first time out–1982?!-is on the bill with us once again!
We do the thing once again, and then more yucks with the crew!
Sunday is the cold twin of Saturday, but we’ve come to enjoy this weather.
We are hearing of record temps back home and dire predictions of Cali running out of water by year’s end.
These things mean nothing to us as we are just too excited at the unique prospect of wearing gloves—Gloves, people–gloves!
A quick drive back crisscrossing the slutty Hudson, and it’s not long until those iconic buildings of Manhattan come into view.
Ah Jesus, it’s grand to be back in this place.
We find an honest to God parking spot on 7th, and spill into the streets like the tourists we are!
We stop to pet every rat, pester the panhandlers for selfies until they run away screaming.
We’ve made good time, so it’s Lower East Side and the usual haunts for us!
With each photo of a sweating round of beers, after every tavern check in on Facebook, we get the usual responses:
Ah Jeez, here we go again…!
Keep it together Boys!
Can I get a refund for my presale please?
Hah–but no worries, we pull together for a classy burger at Alder and then there’s plenty of time to freshen up for the night to come.
The Grand Victory, it’s quiet from the outside on this night as we pull up.
The streets are empty on a goddamned cold Sunday night and we wonder, just for a moment, hand upon frozen door handle–if no one has showed.
The door opens and we may as well be back at CBGB’s, that first Winter of 1982!
Faces from back then, some hair lost, some hard earned wrinkles gained, but the same damned smiles we’ve known for decades!
Jimmy Gestapo hugs it up and we talk of the Mad Marquis, that fateful rental car we used to power-push parked cars down the snowy streets in front of Jack Rabid’s place.
This three decades ago, he just a kid of 16.
Davey Gunner there too, we drink a toast to Doug Holland and he recalls floating in my Mom’s sparkling pool in Cerritos, the Summer Kraut was on tour in California while we boiled in Astoria.
Huge, serious looking men come over with 3 shots of Bourbon per fist, reminding us of gigs we played when they were skinny street punks at A7.
Women, former girls, catch our eye and shake their heads slowly, just a wisp of a smile.
We shout hellos and goodbyes over the punk rock DJ who keeps the crowd dancing long after the bands have loaded out.
It’s fucking great.
Tomorrow there’ll be an all too early check out time, an hour drive to JFK in rush hour, the squinty scrutiny of van rental return.
The date rape antics of the TSA, the overpriced drinks at the airport bar, and, finally, a seat.
On that jet traveling West, racing now with the Sun and gaining another 3 hours of precious youth, we’ll have a moment motionless.
And that’s when you can let the weekend catch up to you, and you smile the whole way home.