i wrote something before about how i bought a vip ticket for the stranglers show in philly, because i love this band so fucking much and i was also really excited to meet jet black. i found out not too long before the show that jet was not on this leg of the tour, which probably shouldn't have surprised me, but it was still incredibly disappointing for me. so, i'm going to tell you something super nerdy that i did. i drew a picture of jet (just his face) and wrote him a little note around it, saying how i was really looking forward to meeting him, he's one of my favorite drummers, and playing along to stranglers albums has made me so much better. i thanked him for being "so fucking cool" and that sort of thing. i brought it with me so i could find a way to get it to him. i told you it was nerdy.
i bought my friend a ticket to the show as her birthday present, so i drove us to philly, got something to eat and then i had to ditch her in the restaurant to get to the venue in time. i got my ticket at the box office, then i got handed my vip lanyard, and then i had to stand in line and i must have looked crazy because i couldn't stand still and i kept looking around and fidgeting. it was annoying. i annoyed myself. but i was so excited! another friend was doing the vip thing with his wife so he let me stand with them and we laughed at how nervous i was. my hands were literally shaking. but i was glad to have someone there that i knew even though i was still freaking out. i watched everyone take their turn, and wished i could hear what they were saying so i could have some idea what to say to them because my mind was just blank. then my friend and his wife took their turn. i was next.
my heart was pounding and i felt like i might throw up, but i managed to walk to the table and say hello, and they all said hi to me. jj was standing, and he kept leaning forward to talk. it was nice. he asked me my name, and i said chloe, and he said "is that c-h-l-o-e, with an umlaut?" and i was like UHHH YES YOU ARE SMART. or something. i always say the dumbest things when people ask me about my name, i should probably work on that. so i handed them the one album i decided to bring along because it's so fucking good and also ideal for signing purposes, as you can see - black & white - and asked if they would sign it, and they said of course. dave was first, and he looked at me and said "do you have a pen?" luckily, i was carrying a sharpie on me. it kind of made me laugh that they had this vip event, and nothing to sign with. so he signed it next to his picture. then baz was next. he said "do you want me to sign it? since i'm not on this record." i knew this was going to happen. part of me really didn't want him to sign it, because no, he's not on the record, and i've always fancied myself a cornwell girl. but who fucking cares? the way he was looking at me, the way that he asked...this guy is as much a strangler as the others so what the fuck is my problem? no problem. i said "i don't want you to feel left out. you sign it too." so he drew a head on hugh's body and signed next to it. and i love it. absolutely fucking love it. jj signed his name, and then it was picture time. jj moved out so i could get on the bench between him and baz and he said "do you want to come sit with the bad boys?" YES. FOREVER. PLEASE. he probably says that to all the girls. but i felt special. as i moved in and sat down, i actually said out loud "i'm totally freaking out right now." then jj decided to personalize his signature and wrote "pour la belle chloë" and i just about melted onto the bench right there. he said something about how since he had asked my name, he should write it on there. which is really sweet.
the guy taking the pictures seemed kind of antsy so i smiled as best i could but i kind of felt like crying at the same time because they were so nice and my turn was almost over and i wanted to hang out with them for the rest of my life. anyway, so he took the picture while i tried to keep it all together.
i skipped a part. i handed them the record to sign and it got passed along and then i said "i have kind of weird request," and they all just looked at me inquisitively. everything was so adorable. i know i sound like a total fangirl but i warned you all about this. ok, so i pulled jet's note out of my bag and said "i wrote something to jet; would you be able to give this to him for me?" and they all said "yeah, yeah, absolutely, of course." they were so cool about it. then jj said to give it to some guy (tour manager? roadie? i don't know, but he was really nice to me as well) and he would make sure it got to jet. the guy asked if he could look at it, so i said yes. he did, and then said "i could scan this and email it to him tonight, if you would like that." FUCK YEAH. that would be amazing. he asked if i wanted the original back and i said no, i want him to have that too. and i told the dudes that i love jet's drumming so much and that i just really wanted him to know that, and i was sad i didn't get to meet him, and they said that he was sad to not be here. but he isn't well and couldn't make it. they got all serious and sad looking which made me nervous. it's such a bummer. but i guess the next best thing to meeting him is that he'll get my note. so after the picture i turned and shook baz's hand, and leaned over to shake dave's hand, and then jj's, and jj was so sweet. he has such an adorable face. i wanted to give hugs instead of handshakes but i felt like i would just be embarrassing myself. and there was still half the vip people to go, so i didn't want to be an asshole. i wrote down my email address on the back of the note in case jet wants to email me back; i said i wasn't sure if he was into that kind of thing but the dude said he's really cool with his fans. so yay. then i had to go back outside to wait.
my friend was out there so we reconvened and she listened to me babble on like a crazy person about how wonderful they are and how happy i was and whatever the hell else i was saying. then my boss and his lady friend showed up and stood in line with us and we all hung out together. i'm glad they were all so understanding, because i am pretty sure i was acting like a 15 year old girl who just met the beatles. minus the crying. you can imagine how obnoxious that would be right? yeah. i'm sorry. but it was a big deal.
so the opening band was called residuels? i think. they were really good but i'm not going to talk about them now because this is turning into a tolstoy novel.
you know what? here's the set list:
i know this is wrong at the end because they definitely didn't do "something better change." that was sad enough for me because i was really looking forward to that song (mostly, so i could hear jj shout "STICK MY FINGERS RIGHT UP YOUR NOSE" because it's like the greatest lyric ever written) but then i find out IT'S ON THE SET LIST AND THEY SKIPPED IT. ugh. my life is so hard. (sarcasm, guys.) after "no more heroes" they came back out for "tank" and "hanging around." then they left and came back and did "5 minutes" and "straighten out." so no "down in the sewer" either. SAD FACE.
but seriously, it's cool. it was one of the best shows i've ever seen. i was pretty close to the front, and before they started some guy said "aren't you a little young to like these guys?" NOPE. "what's 'too young' anyway?" he didn't know how to answer that. then it was "how long have you been listening to them?" SINCE I WAS 15, YA BITCH. i should have said that, but i didn't. maybe he was just being friendly and trying to make conversation but it felt like he was challenging me. usually the old punks are cool and happy that there are young people keeping the flame burning but sometimes you get the feeling they think they're better than you because they saw the band in the '70s. sorry i wasn't alive then, asshole, and thanks for rubbing it in because if i could do anything it would be to time travel and see all the bands i love back when they were starting out. uh, so anyway, he kept asking me things but luckily the lights went down and "waltzinblack" started playing. i had an empty plastic cup in my hand, and when that waltz started, i freaked out and crushed it in my hand. it was kind of funny. so, they came out on stage! and stated playing "toiler on the sea"! this other guy who was in front of me kept turning and looking at me as the set progressed and i was shamelessly singing my heart out and dancing, and at some point he motioned for me to stand in front of him. uh, are you sure? he nodded, so i grabbed the opportunity. it was between "skin deep" and "always the sun." 2 brilliant songs. the only bad part was that he is an avid air guitarist and his strumming hand kept hitting my ass, especially on "walk on by," which is the longest song they do. oh well. I WAS UP FRONT!
i'm not going to talk about each individual song and what they mean to me and why i like them, because i need to stop at some point. i could talk about this for the rest of my life if i thought anyone cared that much. but LOOK AT THAT SET LIST. those songs! they are so good! and i saw them playing those songs right in front of me! during "no more heroes," dave was playing one handed and draining his drink with the other hand and when his cup was empty, he threw it at baz, who then headbutted it. it was perfect. the entire show i kept freaking out. i know for a fact when "nice 'n' sleazy" started, i shouted "OH MY GOD" because i was so happy. and it was really fucking cool to hear them do "grip" and "peaches" because as i said in my hugh cornwell post, those were the first stranglers songs i ever heard. and to hear dave's keyboards and jj's bass right in front of me...it was almost too much. remember - teenage beatles fan sans the tears? that was me at the stranglers show. sigh.
i'm so happy right now. i don't know what to do. it's 3:30am and i don't want to sleep because then that means that the night is really over and i want this to last forever. i could keep writing but there's not much else to say. they are spectacular humans and i'm proud to call the stranglers my favorite band.
oh jj, you so cute.
dave greenfield. the one and only.
baz, you won me over tonight. thank you.
this is not jet black, but he does really well playing like him.
bass face ♥