I am awed, once more.
It was my birthday on March 26th and it was one of the big ones. A decade milestone. My daughter Sekani bought me a ticket to see Niel Young at The Point sometime in June. I thought how cool she is and thought no more about it really.
Time passed and I was very pleased with myself. The websites were looking really good and I had mastered Flash and video. I had become a web hosting company.
I got a text message from Majella, my ex, saying Niel Young was on Sunday. Oh. Well I didn’t think I’d go, make up some excuse. I had seen Niel Young in 2001 ~ it was Ok but I couldn’t see much, it was a hassle getting to Dublin and even more of a hassle getting home afterwards. I would make some excuse.
Sekani came round the next day. “You going to see Niel Young on Sunday, Dad?” “Sure darling”, I shouldn’t be so lazy!!! I guess I could do it…….
Sunday came. It was 10.30 am. Mick, who was staying with me, asked if I was going to the concert. Shit! Yes. Went on to Kearns Buses website, there was a bus but I phoned them to make sure.It was at 2.30pm. It was 11.30am now. So I had a shower and got changed. Found a nice sweater made by….. The Point! Seemed like an omen. Went to the shop and got a salad. Had €70 so Ok.
Dermot came round to pick up his laptop that I had upgraded. Mick and Dermot talked about the Kilkenny v. Galway hurling match played in Tullamore, yesterday. The both said I would be too hot on a sweaty bus (no a/c on Irish buses) and I should dress down. Nah. Dermot left, it was 1.30pm. Mick told me to play some Niel Young but I couldn’t really find anything, they were all a bit played out. But I put on “Hey, hey, my,my” rock and roll will never die.
2.10 ~ left home, went to the bank and got out an extra €40. Waited for the bus. Hey! saw a poster in a shop window. It was Father’s Day! Cool.The bus came and I paid my €13 return. Found a seat. Directed the a/c stream to my face. Reclined the seat and fell asleep.
4.15 ~ we were in Dublin. Turned off the a/c as I was a bit chilly. Pulled up at O’Connell Bridge and before getting off double checked with the driver about the 10.25pm bus back from ???? Brewer St. Girl gave me their pamphlet. The bus driver said “You don’t know where that is, do you?” I told him I would get a cab.
Had a fag and soaked up the vibe, watching the traffic and the people. It was sunny and warm and summer. Feeling good, looking good. Needed a pee so turned round and there was a pub, a big one. Re-leaved my self and ordered a pint of Guinness. Watched the screen behind the bar and spotted a widget I could use. The pint came and I went and sat down near a big screen and watched some highlights of the Kilkenny match.
Fancied a smoke so found the smoking area. Usually I am a bit shy, but that was the old me! I was confident, self assured, OK kind of a guy now. Cool I was! I sat down next to a lady and commented how the view of an alley was a bit depressing. We chatted. She was from Coventry, on holiday and off to visit some relatives in Westmeath tomorrow. She finished her cigarette, wished me a nice day.
I had a sip of beer, rolled another fag.
“is this chair free?” He was about thirty with a foreign accent. He was a kiwi and I commented how I had just watched Lord of the Rings and how beautiful New Zealand was. He said Ireland was beautiful and rainy just like NZ. He was single and a welder, working on a gas pipeline. We chatted, potted life stories. One of his basic philosophy’s in life: Help the youngsters starting out, 3 out of 5 make it. “Well we are all in this life together…..”
I finished my pint and walked out into the sunshine. Looking around, smiling, enjoying the afternoon. Went and sat on a memorial watching the comings and goings of O’Connell bridge. Got a family guy to take a photo. (Beware Des Bishop’s knackers and Dubs). Took a few pics, the street, the Liffey, humming the Foggy Dew. Went for a stroll, took more pics ~ The Post Office with it’s bullet holes. I found myself next to a statue of James Joyce and got a streetcleaner to take a pic. I sent it to Mick.
6.10pm ~ found a taxi. “The Point please” Chatted about the economy 425,000 unemployed. Depressing. So he asked me who I was going to see? He said great! And did I know his birthday was the same as Niel Young’s?
6.25pm doors open in ten minutes. So, no longer the Point eh? It was The O2. It was June 21st 2009, Father’s day. With Neil Young. We were let in and I looked around. Got myself a pint. Hmmm.. could see the stage a bit and the underside of stairs. Hmmm. Checked out there was a smoking area. Finished my pint and walked up the stairs to the arena seats. WOW! WOW! WOW!
Welcome to the 21st Century.
Calmed down a little bit and went for a fag. Guy came over and sat down next to me and in a thick Belfast accent said “take a swig o this” passing me a half bottle of whiskey. I took a good swig and let out a yell! We introduced our selves, “Colin” and a fan. Ha, we were at the 2001 concert together. “Fancy a smoke?” Colin asked. I declined. Then after a few minutes, wtf, gimme some. So comfortably high now. “Keep on rockin in the free world Colin”
8.15pm ~ I had found my seat. Block L 55 155. Right at the back, right in the middle. Perfect. Centre : The Stage, lhs : big video screen for close ups, rhs: the same.
8.35pm, the lights go out, 12,000 people start cheering. Single spotlight on the mike, close up video screens flicker on, there he is : Niel Young 1945 ~ Now. Looking a bit old perhaps but… He says “Hi…Welcome…Thanks for coming” We all roar back. The middle aged civil servant next to me cheers. Niel starts to sing….hey hey….my, my…rock and roll will never die. I wipe away the emotion flowing down my cheeks. I sing along.(Oh The Sound Quality ~ Dolby Best!) He finishes and the crowd erupts. He plays Cinnamon Girl. Full on Rock guitar. I rock, I play air guitar, I know the riffs. He climaxes five times with the drummer. The crowd goes wild.
He goes to the mike and says he is having a good time. He turns on the front spot lights and illuminates US! All of us, full house us. 12,000 of us. We scream Yeah! House lights off. he puts on his harmonica and walks over to the piano. He plays……he sings….he plays the harmonica as only he can. He has totally got us. In fact there is no ‘us’ it’s ‘We’. He plays some more songs, he plays the organ, the electric slide hawaiian guitar is featured. He stops and goes to the mike…
“I’ve got a friend in the audience. This is for you. Happy Father’s Day” and he plays My Favourite Song ~ Harvest Moon. I cry and sing. It can’t get any better. Lord let me die now…..
9.45pm I checked the time. I would have to go soon. It’s ok, boy have I had a good time. One more song, then the bus.
Down By The River. I shot my baby….dead……ooohhhh…shot her dead….
But it was new! It was old! It was classic. It was Neil Young. At the chorus it was we singing, sometimes you could barely hear Neil. ………
10.05pm Gotta go. Moved out into the still-light night and hailed a cab.. “??????? Brewer St please.” I’ve got to get my bus home. He asked if I was sure busses go from there? I handed him the leaflet the girl had given me. He pulled over to put on his glasses. Oh Ok, it must be a private bus. I gave him a €3 tip he wished me a happy life.
10.22pm I remembered the street from seeing Avril Lavigne at the old Point with Sekani. I was in the right place. Cathal Brugha St
10.30pm Got on the bus with two others. Re lived the concert as we motored through the total darkness of the countryside.
11.47pm Arrived back in Tullamore. I thanked the driver for the excellent service. I was the only one getting off.
Midnight. Put on the kettle for a cup of coffee. Had a fag. A tear or two rolled down my cheek. Sorry, getting old I guess. I am 60. I am only just starting to peak.