We chit-chatted with our neighbors in line. Stomping our feet to keep warm. Blowing hot air into our scarves then tucking our noses inside.
"Looks like they've got DirectTV on their tour bus."
"Is the line moving?" A glance at the red velvet rope.
"Don't think so."
The line up and down was on the wizened side of 30. Women with heads shaved at the sides wearing sensible shoes, men who had come to terms with their comfort in button-down flannel long-sleeved shirts in navy tones. But all of us with this wild, excited look in our eyes. We weren't our own ages; we were all the same age.
* * *
I recently found a piece of paper on which I'd written a list of videos I'd watched late one night on MTV when I was about 14 or 15. Somewhere in the middle, in felt-tipped blue pen, I'd written "Echo & The Bunnymen - The Echo!!!!" surrounded by stars and smileys before smileys had been turned sideways. That's not even one of their songs. I probably had a huge crush on the singer.
That dusky guy with hair in his eyes, singing in the shadows.
* * *
"I suppose you could fit a few dancing horses in here if you tried."
The place was tiny. Intimate enough that each person in the crowd went home with his or her own story, his or her own moment. The guy who yelled "brilliant!" when Mac asked "how's that?" The girl whose scream, according to Mac, was worse than feedback. The guy who punched the air at all the right times, unable to believe they were playing this one, that one, oh my god it's "Villiers Terrace" can you believe it?
Or even J, cheering the boys onto stage as they filed past us. "Go 'ead, Maccccc." (The extra "c"s are what it actually sounds like. For instance: "unhygeniccccc.")
Mac stopped, causing a comical ripple of band members bumping into each other, turned around, pointed, and said "You a scouser?" J nodded, eyes barely blinking, open and wide and smiling. Mac reached out his hand, feeling in the dark for J's extended in handshake.
That was a moment.
"Good to hear some Liverpool accents in the crowd," said Mac as he ascended to the stage. And then Will broke into "Rescue." And we danced staring at each other open-mouthed, gobsmaccccked.
Everyone in the room composing letters to his or her 16-year-old self. And one-by-one, as we shifted our bodies to shiver and say the words of every lie you've heard, they all began, as I knew they would: You are so welcome.
Echo & the Bunnymen @ Mercury Lounge, October 17, 2009(UPDATE: Ear Farm was there, and has a fantastic review with links to live video. Including "Rescue," during which Mac thanks J for being from Liverpool, and I spell "soliloquy" completely incorrectly.)