Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I Heart 6/21

To paraphrase the legendary philosopher Chico Esquela, "June 21st been berry, berry good to me."

On the day of the Summer Solstice -- the longest day of the year -- the Yank'ums put on an impressive hitting display to pull off a most improbable comeback. After falling behind 7-1 early, later 10-2, and finally 11-7 with only six outs to go, the Yanks took extended batting practice, pounding 12 hits and scoring 13 runs in the 8th inning to steal a game from the loss column.

It's always nice to see back-to-back-to-back jacks by Sheffield, A-Rod and Slipples Matsui. It's always pleasant on the ojos to see the Yanks put up a 13-spot in one inning, something they already did once to the Rays earlier this year. But it's even better to see Bernie Williams come up huge with a bases-clearing triple following an intentional walk to Easy Out Giambi [ed. note: at time of writing, Giambi was an easier out than the black kid in a suburban school's spelling bee].

And it's the tops to see Tiger (Tiger Woods, y'all) hangin' in the stands with King of Queens Kevin James. What the deuce is that all about? Though the mismatched celebpair actually stayed until the end to witness the 17-run turnaround, which is cool of them.

But last night's craisins-like win pales in comparison to June 21st, 2004. I've lived in Manhattan for almost four years and I've resided in New York for 22 of my 26 years on Earth...and the greatest thing I ever witnessed in this city happened here on that date.

Following my attendance at two great shows in Coney Island's Keyspan Park and another, somewhat overrated show in Saratoga Springs the next night, the popular rock band Phish announced they'd be playing a quasi-impromptu performance on the marquee of Broadway's Ed Sullivan Theater for a Letterman taping.

The Boys had just called it quits forever less than a month earlier. And while there were still 10 shows on the docket (I'd get to see them three more times in August) this was our honest goodbye. Coventry would be the last show they ever played, but this has always been my lasting image of the band.

Truthfully, I thought the band's mass e-mail about the last-minute show was a joke. So wait, let me get this straight: My favorite band, the guys I've spent literally thousands of dollars on to entertain me in more than a quarter of the states of this union and the nation's capital, the guys who I'd probably follow to the ends of the Earth, the guys who just announced they'll never play again after August, the Phish from Vermont is playing right down the street from the office immediately after my leaving work, and they're playing atop the marquee of the Ed Sullivan? Seriously? Oh, okay, I guess I'll go to that. I can't think of anything better to do.

On some days, after work I'll come home throw on a Phish disc or tape, listen to a few songs until the television treats me to a nice sporting event or primetime show. Sounds like I'm really cool, I know. Instead of that, I got to see the real thing in one of the more surreal moments of my life. A crowd of anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 people (who knows for sure?) packed Broadway between 53rd and 54th Streets to see Phish record a song for David Letterman's show...and what a treat it turned out to be.

They played Scents and Subtle Sounds twice for Letterman's cameras, probably the first show in their epic history they played the same song two time in a row. But then they started gettin' into the mix...the Boys played short yet crisp, clean versions of five favorites, an awesome little set for however many lucky fans were lucky enough to luckily attend. Years from now, 10,000 people will say they were there.

They hurried through 2001, then Trey hit the first chord of Wilson. The entire crowd chanted "Wilson," and, no joke, it echoed all the way down Broadway. All the way down Fuckin' Broadway! Could it have been cooler? Not a chance (there's a link for the audio down below -- make sure you hear that). The quickest Wilson ever then gave way to Chalkdust Torture, always a Letterman favorite. And just when you thought they'd walk off the stage, the band cranked into Tweezer, followed awesomely by Tweezer Reprise.

There's just something about walking out of work in dress pants and a button-down shirt, with my workbag slung over my shoulder, and participating in some good ol' white-boy-hippie dancing on Broadway with a thousand other like-minded folks.

My buddy Lukas and I just kept looking at each other in amazement, then looking at the guy in the building next door to the Sullivan who couldn't get his window open to gaze at the wonderment of the day's antics, then back at each other when the band kicked into song after song. Despite the overwhelming visual and audio evidence below, I'm still not entirely sure I didn't dream this.

I don't know how the day could have gone better. And the same goes for last night's beisbol proceedings, in a different way. So the last two June 21sts have been fantastic. And after both days, in the Solstice Afterglow, you know what, I get to wake up, and it's my birthday -- all of a sudden everyone's nice to me.

I just wish Mama Winslow were here...she'd scrunch up all nice and whisperyell, "Way to go, Ace-Carl."

Slack Song of the Day: Obviously, the full audio recording of the Letterman show takes the honors. Make sure you hear that Wilson, it'll knock those socks right off yo' feet. I get chills every time I hear it. For real, yo.

Slack Videos of the Day: Check out my good friend Russ Kahn's great photolog site for a couple of AVI videos of the Scents and Subtle Sounds recordings from up on the marquee.

Slack Pictures of the Day: We're a fully operational multimedia machine today. You know it.

Enjoy, and may God bless the Phish from Vermont.

(The three pictures are courtesy of Russ Kahn, Adam Foley and Dean McCann / Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting. Many thanks.)


At 11:21 AM, Blogger RC said...

Happy Birthday ACE!!!!!!!!!!!

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Sox1918 said...

rc beat me to it, but ditto on the bday wishes.

let's pile it on the cowboy some love.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

No no, no need for that. Thanks, though, much appreciated. Seriously, for all those who e-mailed or called or posted a comment, I thank you very much.

At 12:21 PM, Blogger poophopanonymous22 said...

and u smell like one toooooooooooooooooooooooooo

greetings, salutations, and a happy bday, from your favorite heckler, qlrm will be jumping out of a bday cake in his bday suit for u later, hopefully he has showered since vegas, otherwise, u may wanna stay a 5 foot dildo's length away

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Gypsy Rose said...

Happy Birfday! I hope you have lots of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll today... or at least a healthy combo of two out of the three. Although, some combos might be better than others. Hmmm. Now I'm confused. Anway, where was I? Oh yeah. Happy Birfday. And drugs are bad m'kay?

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Thanks poophop, and thanks for your off-color comments, which just reminded me of some sickening times.

And thanks know what today is, right? Happy anniversary to you in your quest for freedom from tyranny.

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous HANDSTAND said...

You couldn't possibly be talking about the 6/19 show as "somewhat overrated" could you?

Oh yeah, happy barfday...

At 3:11 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

That's the one, Handstand...and yes, I stand by my statement. When people are calling that the "best post-hiatus show," it's overrated.

Sick Reba to open, but the first set is average. That second set is very good, including the best Piper ever.

Did I have a great time? Of course. Are there some serious highlights? Of course. But it's just simply overrated, it's not nearly as perfect as people make it out to be. In fact, I think both Brooklyns were better.

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Gypsy Rose said...

You mean the one year anniversary of the day that set of the absolute weirdest 12 months of my entire life? Nah. It's still just your smurfday. Have a happy happy.

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