Oh, sure, the ride initially went precisely as planned. When I was on my way home though, I noticed that there was far more traffic on the bike path than you’d normally see on Saturday morning, so I slowed down to ask someone what was going on. "Earth Day..." was the quick reply, "There’s going to be a concert at the Hatch."
The last time I rode through the Earth Day festivities, someone gave me a free water bottle. Ok, so that’s not exactly incentive to go, but since I didn’t have plans and the trip didn’t take me too far out of my way, I decided it couldn’t hurt to head down and have a look around. If nothing else, I could do some people watching.
So I went down and rode amongst the booths as the vendors were in the process of setting up. Pretty standard stuff. Here was a group handing out a booklet called The Vegetarian Starter Kit. Here a cluster of various organizations pushing various alternative energy sources. Fresh Samantha. The Country Hen. "The Juice Guys." Name a socially/environmentally-conscious provider of goods, services, or ideas, and they were there. National Geographic had set up an "Adventure Pavilion," complete with a twenty foot climbing wall. There was even a huge inflatable right whale… you know, for kids. Yep, all pretty standard fare.
Then I saw that Boston Bicycle had set up a bike valet. A free bike valet.
Well, that in and of itself wasn’t enough to get me to stop, but shortly after I passed that, I came across a display for the Virgin Megastore and discovered that the second band that was coming on was Garbage. I finally get to see Garbage in concert? That kicked my ass all over the place. Back to the bike valet, wind my way through the crowd and stake out a small plot of real estate next to a family that was using far more space than three people needed and a couple of guys who were clad in bowling shoes and downing pistachio nuts in profound quantities.
The show was... ok, though not for any lack on the performers’ part, really. I think the biggest problem was that a good portion of the crowd was there to see the more mundane stylings of Bonnie Raitt, so the energy level was not as high as it could have been. To make matters worse, 92.9 set up the stage so that the audience was cordoned off some thirty feet away from the performers. Shirley Manson adapted by becoming a bodyguard’s nightmare and rushing down the stage to wander into the front of the crowd. Still, it was enough of an issue that at one point she apologized, saying in her Scots burr, "You’ll have to forgive us… we’re not used to performing so early, and we’re not used to having the crowd so far away. So, we’re waving to you even though we can’t feel you."
In spite of the troubles, they managed to provide me with a couple of hair-on-end, transcendent moments that I only rarely get when seeing rock performances. Not quite like Björk, to be sure, but then her music seems to reach straight into me and grab my very soul and show it to me. This was more of a tickle. Sufficient, though, to remind me why I’ve always regarded them as artists and not just performers.
Oh, I picked up their latest disk and had the insert signed by the band. I rule.
After the show, I rode home, showered, and then fell asleep in front of a documentary on Ansel Adams. I dozed off just as someone was discussing Adams’ work as a form of worship. More threads intertwining.