Tuesday night Jeff and I ventured down to Landsdown Street. I could see each individual raindrop as they cascaded down through the glow escaping from Fenway Park. A 6-0 deficit by the third inning had many a patron escaping too. After a street-vendor Italian sausage found and hit the gastronomical spot, we headed to Avalon to see the Drive-By Truckers. From the opening sonic blast to the last chord struck, they were phenomenal. Jeff described it as “the show of the year.” The year… That year. During the show I crowd watched like I’ve done at the 200-plus shows I’ve seen over the past 33 years. On this night as I scanned the mass of 20 and 30-somethings, I thought, “I’m almost 48 years old. How much longer will I be doing this?” I hope forever.
The top three worst years of my life were 1972, 1995 and 2005. In the two most recent downturns, music kept me afloat and live music lifted me up. In both years, Jeff was the guy tossing me the shiny musical life preservers. First there was the cutting sound of a chainsaw in 1995 that bore Tar Hut Records, followed by 4 nights at the “alt-country” altar that October. A couple years later Jeff wrote some angry shit about hating everyone on an AOL music message board. It was just before Christmas. I responded to that post with a play on “It’s a Wonderful Life” and what my life might have been like if Jeff hadn’t been there. I wish I still had that, but it’s lost somewhere out in the digital darkness. Fortunately, my friend Jeff isn’t.