OU Still Sucks

Friday, October 11, 2002: The Barley House

What a crazy night. In fact, you could say that the Diamondbag show at the Barley on October 11th had more subplots than an episode of Days Of Our Lives. And almost as many hot chicks! Although really, Days of Our Lives has gone downhill ever since that Marlena possession shit. I mean, c'mon-gimme a break. They need to bring back Patch & Kayla and the original Roman, and get rid of all this teenybopper Dawson's Creek crap. But I digress . . .

So what made this particular Diamondbag show even more memorable than usual? Let me list the ways!

  1. First of all, it's very rare when a band member becomes engaged right before a show, but that's exactly what happened. Yes, Jay finally got off his ass and asked the lovely Angela to be his wife. And no, he didn't do it from the stage-that would have been too cheesy even for Diamondbag. They had a nice dinner before the gig, and Jay popped the question. And for some unknown reason, Angela said yes. That leaves me as the only non-married, non-engaged member of Diamondbag. And it's going to stay that way for a while, because we all know that our audience would dwindle to nothing if yours truly, the ULTIMATE NEIL SEX MACHINE, were to go off the market.

  2. This show was our first gig in quite a while, and it marked the triumphant return to the stage of Mr. Michael Landino after his major back surgery. Ask him to see the scars sometime-Freddy Krueger would be proud. And we are all proud of Mike, because the man played his ass off even though he can barely bend his back. Welcome back Mike-we missed you. (Insert "Six Million Dollar Man" noise here.)

  3. Of course, this show was planned to coincide with the craziness that is Texas-OU weekend. Those who know me are aware that I am a Longhorn football freak; in fact, I will not miss a game for anything. I broke that pledge two years ago to be best man in my friend John's wedding, and he is already divorced. There are lessons to be learned here, my friends. First, get married in June. It doesn't conflict with football season, and your wife will think you're being traditional and romantic. Second, don't marry a Sooner like John did BECAUSE OU SUCKS. But more about that in a bit.

  4. The entire band had not played together in almost two months (mostly due to Mike's surgery), although it's not like a lack of practice time is a new concept to us. We seem to practice about as often as Jennifer Lopez remarries (i.e. every 2-3 months or so). We did manage to get together the week before the Barley show to run through a few tunes, and we were pleasantly surprised to see that Mike could indeed still play the drums. For all we knew, his arms were going to fall off like the Black Knight in Holy Grail or something. But his arms and legs worked just fine, and there was much rejoicing. (yeah!) Unfortunately, Eric couldn't join us as he was off making the world safe for pizza lovers everywhere. Were we rusty for the show at Barley? You bet. Did we care? Well actually, it's a little embarrassing not to play well. No one likes to look bad, and I must admit that I was quite concerned that our lack of rehearsal time, combined with Mike's inactivity and Jay's loopy post-proposal stupor, would combine to make this particular Barley show a sub-par effort. But then I had 2 shots of Jagermeister, and I didn't give a fuck anymore.

Since it was Texas-OU weekend, we knew the place was going to be packed. I arrived about 7:30 to watch the Stars beat up on the not-so-Mighty Ducks, and already the place was pretty jammed. To tell you the truth, I was incredibly anxious. Remember the feeling you had on Christmas Eve when you were a little kid? You know, that "I'm so excited that I'm going to throw up" feeling? Well, that's how I feel the night before the Texas-OU game. Add our first gig in two months on top of that, and you could say that I was feeling just a little bit whacko. But nervous energy usually makes for a good show, and I wanted this one to be special. After all, all of my Longhorn friends were in town for the game, and many of them had never seen us play live before.

To help ease the strain on Mike's back, we decided to play three shorter sets instead of two long ones. He had to be extra careful because No Commitment was scheduled to play at a wedding the next night, and that was a gig he obviously could not afford to miss. The band has pledged to do everything we can to help Mike out, so of course that means that we get to play roadie and haul all of his stuff around. Don't think that Mike isn't loving it, either. He's gonna milk this for at least two or three years, I think. But we are happy to help and even happier that he's healthy again!

About 9:00, Jay and Angela arrived. I was one of the few who knew what Jay had planned for the night-it was amazing how nervous he was all week. It wasn't like she was going to say no, right? Of course she said yes, and the party had officially begun. We went on about 10:30 to the opening fanfare from "The Eyes of Texas," and the place went nuts. Unfortunately, that was the highlight of the first four or five songs as it took us a while to shake off the rust. "Cracklin' Rosie" (as always) got the crowd singing along, and we were off and running from there.

Right before the second set began, a big group of my Longhorn friends arrived (including many family members of Longhorn football players). Obviously, that got me pretty fired up that they had chosen to spend their Friday night with us. I was especially happy to see Tyrone, Cory Redding's Dad. For you football-illiterate folks out there, Cory is an All-American defensive end for Texas and a sure-fire top NFL draft pick next April. He's also one hell of a nice kid, and his parents are wonderful people. I was also thrilled that Robert & Katy Agnor (visit www.hornfans.com for all your Longhorn needs!) made it out; in fact, after the game the next day, Robert told me our show was the highlight of his weekend.As happy as I was to see all of my friends, Katy told me before the game on Saturday that Major Applewhite himself was going to come until his girlfriend made him go back to the hotel so that he would be coherent for his appearance on ESPN's College Gameday the next morning. Dammit, that would have been sweet. Apparently, "The Major" (insert Brent Musburger voice here) is a big Neil fan. I always knew there was something special about him!

Anyway, the second set was great. The groove we had found in the first set continued, and the whole place was rockin'. By this time, you couldn't even move through the crowd to get to the bar, much less get a beer. So I have to extend extra-special thanks to all of our friends who came to see us and put up with that mess-you guys rock. The second set ended with "It's the End of the World As We Know It," with some slight lyrical improvisations. Unfortunately, Saturday did not turn out to be "the end of the Sooners as we know it," but hey, I gave it a shot. But the best was yet to come!

The third set began with a few tunes from Jon & Jay, followed by our now-traditional blistering of "The Real Me" featuring the one and only Simon Martin on the bass. We never play the song the same way twice, probably because no one in the band quite knows the arrangement. But that simply gives it more energy-- thanks Simon! Following our visit to Who-ville, it was time to bring out our Willie. Now unfortunately, Willie must have had a few too many tokes on one of his whacky cigarettes, as the lyrics to "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" seemed to vanish from his memory. But I doubt anyone noticed or cared because they were roaring with approval anyway. Willie, of course, is a die-hard Texas Longhorn fan, so it made perfect sense that our next tune would of course be "The Eyes of Texas" Willie-style. Now folks, I'm not one to embellish, so when I tell you that the place went ape-shit, you better believe it. People were standing on tables and singing along at the top of their lungs-it was beautiful. And even though we lost the game the next day, that was a Texas-OU moment I will never forget. Thanks to Willie for a great job, and thanks to all of the Longhorns who joined in. The rest of the night is a bit of a hazy blur, as is tradition for a late-night Diamondbag set (too many shots, ya know). Sure we were drunk, but so was the crowd-and that's when it gets REALLY crazy. You know the place is having fun when the stage becomes filled with dancing girls during "Song Sung Blue"-I would like the ladies to know that they can come up and groove with me anytime, although you do run the risk of being pummeled by Amanda and her six-inch Texas belt buckle. Of course we closed the evening with "The Eyes" one more time, and everyone chanted "Texas Fight" as they left the bar. Hook em Horns, baby.

All in all, it was a very special night. Be sure to check out all of the photos on the Gallery page while you're here-there are some great shots. Congratulations again to Jay & Angela, and thanks to all of you for coming out to support us. We hope to see you at Dada on October 25th, and at the Lakewood Bar and Grill on November 8th. And I don't care what the scoreboard says-you and I both know that OU STILL sucks.

Set One
Kentucky Woman
Solitary Man
Walk On Water
If You Know What I Mean
I Am . . . I Said
Cracklin' Rosie
Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon
Rock Me Gently
Sweet Caroline

Set Two
Superstitious (Jon)
Jambalaya (Jon)
Forever In Blue Jeans
Cherry Cherry
I'm a Believer
Love On the Rocks
Holly Holy
It's the End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Set Three
Couldn't Stand the Weather (Jon)
I Saw Her Standing There (Jon)
La Bamba (Jay)
The Real Me (thanks Simon!)
You Don't Bring Me Flowers
The Eyes of Texas
Longfellow Serenade
Song Sung Blue
Great Balls of Fire (Jon)
Cracklin' Rosie
Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
Sweet Caroline
The Eyes of Texas

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