Thursday, May 13, 2021

I Threw a Brick Through a Window - U2

Hollywood has always been seedy, like a pretty girl with dirty underwear. Bukowski said it "was a sickness: this great interest in a medium that relentlessly and consistently failed, time after time after time, to produce anything at all. People became so used to seeing shit on film that they no longer realized it was shit." And by the 80s, any glamour associated with a Hollywood past was inaccessible; Musso and Frank's and the Egyptian sat behind a bulwark of drug-addled homelessness. 

November 28, 1981: the Hollywood Palladium, a venue that had seen the likes of Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey, was dirty and rank. We were on the list: U2 with Romeo Void. October was more subdued than Boy and it showed in the solemnity of the audience. Bono didn’t surf the crowd, he floated above it like Arthur in the days of the Knights. Just 12 songs in the set: Gloria, "Another Time, Another Place," "I Threw a Brick Through a Window." We met Kathy and Kyra, like guests at one of Gatsby’s parties, way too high. "We wanted to see them in San Francisco tomorrow night." "We’ll go." Backstage we watched from the wings "A Day Without Me," "Rejoice," "The Cry," "Send in the [f-in!] Clowns," crazy. Made out with Kathy in the Ladies Room on a ripped settee, missed "Stories for Boys" and "I Will Follow;" came back to "Twilight" and "Out of Control," no encore.

At the afterparty we talked to The Edge, Robbie'd talk to anyone, but I closed the deal by gushing on his way-rad harmonics (it was the 80s), that distinguished U2 sound. He said he'd put us on the list in Frisco. We bought a case of Mickey's Big Mouth, stole two-hundred dollars from a jar on a counter at Kathy's house, sneaking around in the dark. She was a good girl (otherwise). She left a note. "Going to San Fran with some boys we met." Straight line, I5 at 2am to San Fran, not one of us should have been behind the wheel. A case of Mickey's, a pitch black sky, a million stars, driving with the lights off. Motel room. Slept it off. TV on. Natalie Wood died, story on the news. Kathy sat straight up in bed: "My favorite actress just died." She cried. I hadn't met her 24 hours ago, but we'd slept in the same bed, and now there was substance; hell yeah, dumb luck, Natalie Wood just had to die mysteriously. "I'm sorry." I kissed her on the forehead.

Peter Aliotos for French Dip, cable car roundabout, touristy shit, up to Market, the Warfield. Same set. Back stage, Bono handed Kathy his bomber jacket during "Rejoice." Robbie said, "Keep it, Kathy." "I can’t, it's Bono's." Three song encore, brilliant: "Fire," "11 O'Clock Tick Tock," "The Ocean." 

Drove home on 101 through the onion fields, plowed under for the winter, but the smell was pungent, an odor you could taste. Stopped at Pea Soup Andersen's in Solvang. It's what you did when you went to Solvang. We sat at a booth. Next to us they sat a woman with a handicapped son in an electric chair. We were eating our soup and the woman in the next booth was spooning unsuccessful green spoonfuls of pea soup into the boy's mouth and it would froth and drip into a bib with a pocket and spray across the tabletop. "I can't watch this," Kathy said. She couldn't eat. I didn't know what to think of her. Was she disgusted; was she sorrowful? A lot rested on her reaction.

"Did you see the frustration on that woman's face? She tries so hard, so futilely. No reward." She got into the car and slipped the U2 cassette into the player, "11 O'Clock Tick Tock," and she sang in a little voice like a pixie's. She knew all the words.

"I love U2," she said, but I misunderstood her.

I said, "I love you, too, Kathy."