I was 15 years old, spread out on my bed watching the small TV set that sat on my bedside table. MTV was on. This, of course, was back when MTV actually still played music. Sometime during a commercial break, an ad came on for a Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers tour. I immediately ran into the living room to announce to my mom what I wanted for my 16th birthday – tickets to that show! I remember this moment with more clarity than I remember what I had for lunch yesterday.
At the time I was a big fan of Foo Fighters (and I still am), but just a casual fan of the Chili Peppers. I knew their radio hits, and that was it. To prepare for the show, which was still a couple of months away, I borrowed my friend’s Californication CD and recorded it onto a cassette tape (I suddenly feel like I’m aging myself by saying that….) Suddenly, I couldn’t get enough Red Hot Chili Peppers in my life.
By the time the concert came, I was a rabid fan of the Chili Peppers. My bedroom was decorated in their paraphernalia. I even had real dried red hot chili peppers hanging from the ceiling. My seats at the concert were nose-bleed… if memory serves me correct I was around 5 rows from the very top. Needless to say I couldn’t see shit. But I could hear it, and I could feel it. I just remember thinking to myself, “My God, that thumping in my belly is coming from Flea!” I was in a new world. My step-dad, who took me, said he kept looking at me and I was just smiling the whole time from ear to ear, and I don’t doubt it.
Luckily, their Californication tour was a big one! Five or six months later, they played another show within a 3 hours radius of me. When you live in small-town Kentucky that’s how you have to go to concerts, anything within 3 hours is game. Knoxville, Louisville, Lexington, Cincinnati, Columbus if the band warrants it…It didn’t’ matter to me, I was 16 and had a chance to see my Chili Peppers again! That time, I actually got seats where I could SEE them. I don’t do drugs, never have and never will, but I can say with certainty that on that night I was high on the Red Hot Chili Peppers!
Fast forward to when I was around 23 or so, nervously sitting in a tattoo shop getting the Chili Pepper’s asterisk logo tattooed onto my body for all of time. I think I’ve painted the picture of how big a fan I am of these guys.
Last night when they came on stage I cried.
The view from my far-off seat
I’m in the middle of a huge almost sold-out arena and a rock concert is blaring in front of me, and I’m crying. I haven’t seen them live since that second show from the Californication tour when I was 16. When they ran on stage last night I just kept thinking, that’s them! They are really there, and I am really here. These crazy men that I’ve formed some sort of insane emotional bond to are in front of me. Life has changed so dramatically from that afternoon when I was 15 years old and saw that tour commercial on MTV (I’m now 28 for anyone who’s counting).
I tried to explain it to my husband last night, why I cried when they first hit the stage. I don’t know if I ever explained it to him in a way that made sense, and I don’t know if I could explain it to you either. I mean, I love some bands out there, Muse for one that I’m almost as rabid about as I am the peppers…but there is just something about the chili peppers that means so much to me.
They define what I was as a 15 and 16-year-old – a weird shy quiet little girl from the coal country of Kentucky. They were with me when I was 19 and living with a stranger in the dorm rooms. They held my hand as I nervously asked a strange man to stab needles into my flesh until their symbol was a part of me. They gave me a nod of approval when I made my decision to transfer colleges to study film. They hugged me when my granny died. I wanted them to be there with me at my wedding, but the church wasn’t a fan of secular music…but it’s OK, they were there in spirit! They make me smile when I’m happy, they make me feel better when I’m sad. I don’t know if everyone out there has that ONE band. THE band. THE ONE that no matter what just sits on a level in your heart above all the others. If you do, I trust you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, you’re my husband…an old curmudgeon! (I love you Woo! :D)
They were perfect last night. My seats were crappy (and I ordered them on a radio pre-sell!) But it didn’t matter. They were there in front of me, and that thump that I felt in my belly was coming from Flea. That is all that matters.
My best friend, 8-year-old sister Becca and I tried to stalk the band when the show was over. I saw Anthony’s bus drive by. People pointed at one and said it was Chad, but I didn’t see him. Josh’s bus went by as well, but I didn’t see him either. There was one bus left and we kept hope that Flea was in there…and that he’d come out and at least wave to the 7 people that were insane enough to be standing outside an arena at 1 in the morning for a chance to just glance him, but there was no such luck. Oh well, we tried and it was fun to dream!
Here’s hoping it’s not another 12 years before I get to see them again.