I turned 40 on February 25th. I’d been anticipating the day for a couple of months. Not necessarily dreading it, just waiting for it to occur so I could be done with it.
On February 23rd, Sunday, my girlfriend and I drove to Las Vegas (a drive I’d never done before), checked into the Hard Rock Hotel and picked up our VIP line passes for the Pixies.
I’ve seen the Pixies several times before, even back in the 90s before they broke up (I am 40 after all). This time, Paz Lenchantin was playing bass for them. She was really wonderful. I saw them with Kim Shattuck of the Muffs back in September. She was great too. Maybe they’d had more road time with Paz, maybe it was because the venue was much larger, but they really clicked at the Hard Rock that night.
With those VIP line passes, we got right up against the barricade, a position I wouldn’t ordinarily put myself in. But what were we gonna do? Stand back 15 feet and wait for the crowd to fill in around us? Best Coast opened. They were better than I expected but nothing that blew me away. Before they started, we’d turned around and checked out the half empty venue. When they finished, we turned around and the whole 4000 person capacity room was full.
About 7 songs or so into the Pixies set, when they hit “The Sad Punk,” the crowd just started heaving into us. There was a sort of mosh pit beside us featuring the girl at every show who thinks she’s there to lead the crowd in a sing/dance-along. With her flailing into us on the left and the crowd shoving us into the barricade, we lasted 2 more songs and punched our way out the side of the crowd.
Standing at the back of the room gave us a totally different view of the show. It was huge and amazing. During “Where is my Mind?” we saw dozens of phones go up to video the song. I guess that’s the reaction for that song. At midnight, we grabbed dinner under Tom Jones’s jacket and went to our room.
The next day, we headed back to Orange County stopping at Calico Ghost Town along the way. It’s a few miles off the freeway. So we were initially thinking it was going to be a weird haunted place. But it’s basically a national park. There are ruins of the original town and around them new log cabins where they sell dream catchers and geodes. There’s a Starbucks there. We loved it.
Thursday, the 27th, I drove down to Carlsbad and played David Dewese’s music night at Relm Wine Bar & Bistro. I hadn’t played a show in some months and I took the chance on playing the majority of my set on my Spanish guitar and singing mostly sad songs. Only one superhero song and nothing really goofy. It felt good. I’m going to do that again.
Saturday, my friends and I celebrated my birthday at The Iron Press — one of my favorite restaurants in Costa Mesa. It was great. Waffle sandwiches, beer, tater tots, and friends. My friends mean everything to me. It was a big deal to turn 40 in California. Having them around made it really special.
We finished the keg. 160 beers.
Three days later, I quit my job.