Me and The Samples

I believe it was my third or fourth time seeing The Sampes.  I was attending the concert with Keely, Ericka and their roommate April.

We arrived at Toad’s Place about an hour before showtime.  We had a few drinks, looked around, checked out the display tables, basically we did nothing. 

It wasn’t long before we realized we hadn’t eaten any dinner.  Samples shows usually lasted 2 hours plus, and to go that long without dinner meant one of 2 things: We’d either end up really drunk or just really tired and cranky….or both I guess.

For some reason, since I was the one guy in the group, it was decided that I would leave Toad’s place and see if there was someplace close we could all grab a bite to eat.  I was somewhat against the whole idea.  I thought if we left the bar, went to a restaurant, sat down, ate, we’d miss the beginning of the show.  But none the less, I’d do the honorable thing and try and go find food for the women folk.

Sean_bio As soon as I stepped out onto the New Haven street I saw none other than Samples lead singer Sean Kelly.  Without hesitation I blurted out, “Hey Sean, can you play Nature?‘ ”  I said this for 2 reasons.  One, it was one of my favorite Samples songs and I’ve never heard them play it live.  And 2, it’s also one of Bub’s favorite songs, and he bumped into Sean outside a show and asked the same question: “Sean, will you play Nature!” Sean’s response to Bub, “Sorry, Nature’s dead man”  I always found that rather funny and I was eager to see if he’d say it to me.  No such luck.  Instead, Mr Kelly smiled politely, and said “Sure, we can do that for you” and with that he disappeared onto his tour bus which was parked right in front of Toad’s Place.

I continued on my mission to find us food.  Lucky for me about 3 doors down from Toads was a small little pizza joint with a sign on the window that said “Slices To Go” Perfect!  I went inside and ordered 4 slices.  This would solve all our problems.  It would save time, we wouldn’t risk missing any of the show and it would fill us up nicely. Little did I know this was about to cause much more problems than it would ever solve.

I carried the slices back down the street to the bar.  There staring me in the face was a sign on the door that I’d never noticed before: “Absolutely No Outside Food Or Beverage May Be Brought Inside” Shit.  I was a little frustrated.  However I figured I’d just sit outside and eat my Pizza and eventually one of the girls would come out and we’d eat.  And that’s exactly what I did.  It took me about 3 minutes to whoof down my slice.  But nobody came outside.  These were the days when cell phones weren’t owned by every living, breathing ,human being.  Only a select few had phones, we did not!

I considered just leaving the Pizzas outside and going inside to get the girls.  But I knew better than that.  If I left the 3 slices outside while I walked inside they might get eaten.  Or worse, spit on, or have a cigarette died out on them. But seriously, who was I kidding, even if nothing at all happened, Keely and Ericka would NEVER eat a pizza slice that had been left out in the streets of New Haven unattended. I wasn’t ballsy or drunk enough to ask some stranger to hold 3 slices for me.  No, I was lost, desperate, and getting frustrated because the clock was ticking.  You know what they say, Desperate times – Desperate measures!!

For some reason, I had the bright idea to “sneak” the pizza slices into Toad’s Place under my shirt.  The inside was dark and crowded, so I figured the girls could just eat the pizza slices and no one would be the wiser.  I tried for roughly 5 minutes to fit all 3 slices under my shirt without making it obvious that I was concealing something and more importantly without making a mess.  The more I tried, the more obvious it looked as though I was hiding something.  Finally, after many twists, turns, tucking, and un-tucking, I thought I’d done it.  I momentarily thought, if I get caught I’m getting kicked out of this show.  But I was determined NOT to get noticed.  Just as I was about to reach the doorway I felt a very sharp pain on my stomach.  Dammit! The cheese was burning me.  I couldn’t help but say, “ahhhhh”  This odd little display got the doorman’s attention.  We made eye contact.  ABORT MISSION!!  Fuck this!

Now I was pissed.  I had 3 slices of pizza in my hands, my stomach just got burnt, the show was about to start and the fucking girls weren’t coming outside.  In my frustration, I simply sat on the stoop next to Toads…and ate all 3 slices of Pizza.  At least I’d be full.  At least I’d have a good time!

I casually walked back inside.  I found the girls.  “What’d you find?” Keely asked.  “There’s nothing around here” I said matter of factly.  Keely looked at me strangely.  “Ah, don’t worry about it, we’ll just drink” Ericka said.  Keely and April simply shrugged their shoulders.  Before there could be any more discussion on the matter, I distracted them from their hunger pains by telling my story of meeting Sean Kelly and how he said he’d play “nature” for me.

Sure enough, The Samples opened the concert with Nature.  I’m sure it was already a planned part of the setlist, but it made me feel important. As far as I was concerned Sean added the song in at the last second because I said so!   For the next 2 hours we danced and sang along to a great show.  Then during the encore, everything changed…and took a turn for the worse.

Seanfirst_x2 The Samples have a simple stage set up.  It’s basically just 4 guys in a band, jamming.  Except for the video screen that’s put up behind the stage.  Through out the show, the video screen plays images of the band through the years.  Pictures and movies of them on tour, on the Tonight Show, partying with friends and family, and basically just having a good time.  But!… But!… During one of the last songs of the night, “Did You Ever Look So Nice”, they show images from that evenings show.

Members of the band have cameras with them, they take footage of the crowd before the show, and then the road crew takes video of fans during the show, finally, as The Samples perform, the tech guys edit all the footage together and play it for the audience during the bands last few songs of the night.

I felt like I had eaten a brick.  If I was drunk before, I was instantly sober now.  If I was having the best time of my life before, I was suddenly having the worst.  There up on screen was my whole “Pizza adventure” There I was, as plane as day, trying to stuff pizzas under my shirt, then trying to sneak them in the bar, and finally, there I was in front of 250 people stuffing my big fat face with 3 slices of pizza.

Someone on the Samples tour bus had filmed the whole fucking episode. I first glanced to my left and right.  Some people were laughing, some didn’t notice, which I guess was good.  But Keely, Ericka, and April, who were in front of me dancing when the song started, weren’t dancing any more.  They stood perfectly still, watching the screen, probably not believing what they were looking at.

Ericka spoke first: “There’s nothing around here huh?” Then Keely looked at me, obviously embarrassed to be standing next to me: “You’re and Ass”  They both turned back toward the music and continued dancing.  It was only April’s words that were somewhat comforting, “You’re on TV, that’s pretty cool.”  And then she continued her dancing.

We walked out of the show 20 minutes later.  As we spilled onto the cold New Haven streets, I kept thinking how stupid I must of looked up there, stuffing my face.  But the girls weren’t talking about it.  Instead they were recapping how good a show it was.  Cool I thought, No big deal. That was until someone bumped into me.  Some hippie dude.  We made eye contact.  He looked at me for a second and then spoke: “Hey, how was that pizza!” His group of friends began laughing.  I think I heard one of the girls in the group say “hey, that’s mean”  I glanced at Ericka, she rolled her eyes.  I glanced at Keely.  She had only one thing to say, and she’d said it before: “You’re and Ass!”

That’s true.  I was an ass.  A big selfish ass.  But at least I wasn’t hungry.

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