Last week I had two friends in town from Cali. My LA ladies— Diana and Sheila. As typical whenever anyone comes to visit, there’s the MUST!-list I carry with me. I tend to make it a quest to show my guests a good time and maybe even have them leave, loving New York as much as I do.
Though it doesn’t say much about my hostessing abilities, it is pretty amusing that it wasn’t me, but rather, one of my guests who was responsible for our most prize-worthy night during this recent trip.
The day the girls arrived, one of Sheila’s best friends happened to be arriving too, for the opening night of American Idiot on Broadway, the show set to punk-pop-rock trio Green Day’s 2004 album of the same title. This best friend— we’ll call him J— is one of the band. So… the week goes by, our days and nights filled with…the typical— $2 shots, margaritas and baskets of chips, waiting in line— at TKTS and Grimaldi’s (btw, totally worth it!), Topshop, Shake Shack, all of it…and Sheila has a random thought: ‘Hey I wonder what J is doing tonight. I haven’t heard from him all week.’
Cut to an hour later and we’re in line at the door of Bowery Electric giving our names to the guy with the list— the list for the secret show Green Day was playing as their other band, Foxboro Hot Tubs.
We get in and go downstairs to find the show space, that was, as one might assume, uber-packed. We’re squirming through the crowd to get drinks at the bar, and find ourselves bumping up against cast members from the Broadway show (cool), and rubbing shoulders with Joan Jett. Yes, really, Joan Jett. (Even cooler). Then, after the opening band finishes up— the opening band of which no member was more than 14 years old and Billie Joe’s kid was playing drums— the girls and I head down the stairs, of course, to be closer to the stage.
I should’ve known, because I have done this before (ok yes, when I was in high school, but still!). But it didn’t register until the music started. We…were…in the mosh pit. In the 15 years since I was last a part of the lower-level mayhem, I had forgotten just how it goes. Ah, but it all comes back very quickly.
It started off slow, as everyone was getting acclimated—like an ocean of bodies, swaying…somewhat peacefully. But soon enough, the jumping started. *And inevitably there was a 6’-3”, 300-lb man in front of me that didn’t seem to notice that everyone around him was half his size or that ‘jumping around’ might not have been the wisest idea. Thankfully he did not attempt crowd-rolling.
But crowd-rolling there was. And on the ground beneath, there I was, hands in the air, doing my part to hold up a sweaty body that sailed above, wincing every time a boot came anywhere near my face. As Billie Joe did some stage-diving of his own, memories came back to me of my first concert and thus my first mosh pit—Pearl Jam circa 1992 at The Edge in Orlando, when tickets were five dollars. The mosh pit is fun. But it’s intense. And for someone who stands 5’-3” and in high school weighed 115 pounds, there might be a slight element of danger. Did my mother have any idea? Bless her for having even let me go!
At the end of our night, the girls and I made it out alive, drenched in sweat, but standing, unbroken. It sounds ridiculous that I’m making such a big deal of this, I know. We might be part of the over-30 population segment but we’re not old. I’m the first one to say that. But these days, hanging out in the mosh pit is not the norm for us. And standing there that night there was part of me that wondered, ‘Can I still do this?’ or maybe it was more like ‘Should I do this?’
Well we did, and it was fun.
The next morning, the girls and I were recounting the night and were jokingly patting ourselves on the back for surviving. And I couldn’t help it, but all I kept thinking of was that movie from years back with Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn. (Yeah, that one!) I looked at Diana and said, “That was really fun. But I still can’t believe we did it. Really. I mean…I feel like we’re the Banger Sisters.”
“Uh, no,” she said back. She thought for a second and then continued, “Ok, well I guess kind of.”