Friday, November 7, 2003: Lakewood Bar & Grill
Sometimes, I have no idea what I'm going to write about in these journals after a show. If the gig is a good one, there's often not much to say-after all, no one wants to read some slop about how kick-ass we are. Of course, when a show sucks, I have a virtual cornucopia of material to talk about, as everyone likes to read about how crappy we are. It's just the way the world is. Well, I am pleased to report that even though last Friday's show at the LBG was by all accounts a very good one, I still have plenty of things to tell you about. Of course, I have to start with the true shocker of the evening . . .
That's right, I am of course referencing the long-awaited return of the infamous Plaid Pants Man.
He came into our lives oh-so-briefly last March, and then he was gone as quickly as he appeared. When we posted photos of Plaid Pants Man and his staggeringly magnificent drunkenness on our website after that LBG gig, I received correspondence from people around the world who all wanted to know more about this amazing man.
"Who is he?" they asked.
"Where does he come from?" they inquired.
"Where exactly does one find a pair of pants like that?" they wondered.
The questions remained unanswered. But last Friday, something amazing happened. Diamondbag had just finished its first set of the night. It was a good set, filled with many Neil Diamond songs that were played with relative proficiency. After a short break, No Commitment took the stage, and I took a seat at the LBG bar to soothe my aching throat with some much-needed medicine (a.k.a. Tuaca). After a few moments, a large group of people came in, looked around, and seemed to be arguing with the doorman. Upon closer inspection, I saw them . . .
It could only mean one thing. Steph was sitting next to me, and saw the same thing I did. Our eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. But just as quickly, our hopes were dashed when Plaid Pants Man and his party went back outside. Were they leaving? How could this be?
A moment later, the doorman reappeared and said some people outside wanted to talk to me. I leapt from my chair and was soon escorted outside, where I found Plaid Pants Man and his party looking quite distressed. You see, they had driven down all the way from Norman, Oklahoma to see us, and were quite upset to discover that we had already played and were done for the night.
DISCLAIMER: it is indeed ironic to this Texas Longhorn that Plaid Pants Man would hail from Norman, home of my much-hated rivals OU. Still, in a way it fills me with optimism. After all, if Plaid Pants Man comes from Norman, can it really be that bad of a place? Perhaps we should ask Dennis Franchione and his Fightin' Texas Aggies.
Once I assured Plaid Pants Man and his party that we would indeed be playing another set later in the evening, they happily announced that they would return later in the night for their Neil fix. I went back inside, guaranteed everyone that Plaid Pants Man would indeed be back, and watched the rest of No Commitment's set. When did they start playing Coldplay songs, anyways? I was confused. But in a good way.
While we anxiously await the return of Plaid Pants Man, let me tell you about some of the other fun things that happened at the show. First of all, the place was pretty crowded, which is a good thing since we were playing only for what we made at the door. Thanks to everyone who shelled out the $5, especially you many first-timers. It was great to be back at the LBG after almost a four-month dry spell, and it was especially exciting to see Chelsey and Bri working behind the bar in their cute little hats. It was even more exciting to see them dancing on top of the bar during "Sweet Caroline." Damn I love the LBG.
In the first set, I dedicated the rarely-played "Play Me" to newlyweds Jay and Angela. We've probably only played that song four or five times in our history, but I wanted to play a pretty love song for two special people. We also returned to the rockin' version of "Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon," before which I made it crystal clear that the song was dedicated to abso-fucking-lutely no one. For the second set, we had a few surprises in store. In a shocking move, we actually practiced before this gig, although of course we didn't bother to work on any actual Neil Diamond songs. Instead, we worked on a note-for-note cover of the Rush classic "Spirit of Radio." Why, you ask? Because we like to believe in the freedom of music, that's why. Of course, I attempted to sing it like Neil, which is fine and dandy in the car but virtually impossible when you're playing it full-volume in a bar. And that's fine, as no one was listening to me anyways-this song was all about the guys nailing a song that we have all been listening to since 1980, and nail it they did. After the lunacy of "Spirit of Radio," we did something that a few months ago I would have even considered more implausible: I sang a duet on "You Don't Bring me Flowers" with Tiffiny, my girlfriend from a few years back. We didn't even rehearse-I just gave her a copy of the song and she promised to learn it. And five days later, we did it without so much as a single run-through. And let me tell ya, she did a fantastic job. It's been nice having Tiffiny hang out with us again, and we're all glad she's back in the D-bag clique. She can sing Barbara/Willie's part anytime!
After "Flowers" and a couple other tunes I can barely remember, I went over and sat with Plaid Pants Man and his group. I'm still boggled that they drove down from Oklahoma to see us, and I was happy to dedicate "Shilo" by request to Liza. She adamantly wanted more Neil, but I kept trying to explain to her that the rest of the night belonged to No Commitment. Besides, my voice was trashed. My month-long cold was still lingering, and 20-plus Neil songs had left me with barely a whisper left. But since we all know I can never say no to a cute girl, we obliged with a final "Sweet Caroline" near the end of No Commitment's set. I stayed on stage and sorta sang on the evening's last tune-"All You Need Is Love." Love may indeed be all you need, but some quality time with Plaid Pants Man doesn't hurt either.
For those who are curious, yes-I now know Plaid Pants man's real name. But I will never disclose it. And that goes both ways-his friends all know my name now, but they insisted on calling me "Neil." And I'm OK with that. Let's just hope we don't have to wait eight more months for another visit from THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND.
And now that I'm done paying homage to the weirdly-dressed dancing guy, let me thank the many of you who joined us for a fun night of craziness at LBG. We hope to do it again soon. After all, now that football season is nearing an end, Diamondbag sightings may be almost as frequent as Simon's drunken binges. We hope that you'll be right there with us, as it takes a nation of millions to hold Simon back.
Set Two: NO COMMITMENT
And the rest is a blur. Hope you had as much fun as I did!