Well here I am about 24 hours later. I saw the Specials. After 30 years of waiting, seeing a different version of the Specials, seeing a version of their label mates The Selecter, I finally got it together, got a ticket and I was there.
I was anxious of course. After I wrote here, I slowly got myself together. Phat Farm suit with a few errant threads, a seed hole in the pants, wear and tear on the crotch area took it out of being an office suit and is now the rock and roll suit.
Played tag with Miriam on the cellphone as I waited for the bus, finishing up a La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero 700. It had rained a bit and I brought my umbrella. There was no need since it never rained again last night. But still I didn’t want to arrive all soggy.
Texted Miriam as well as pseudonym as I was on the bus. Pleasantly uneventful sight. Couldn’t tell if I was being cruised by an Indian fellow or he was merely entranced by my thick and thin white over the calf socks.
I went all out with my Rude Boy look, but did not wear a pork pie hat. As I walked up 9th Avenue from the bus terminal I could spot a few other concert goers by the checkerboard patterns they were wearing. Miriam had an extra ticket and she was looking to sell it.
Pseudonym texted me that she was parking in a garage across the street from the venue, Terminal 5. I met up with Miriam and we drove around looking for a spot where we found one a few blocks away. I should have left the umbrella in the car but didn’t.
Pseudonym was inside already while Miriam scalped a scalper outside Terminal 5. He was about to make a sale, selling a ticket for $50.00 when Miriam undercut him and sold it for face value, $30.00.
We made it inside and got on line for some beer when Pseudonym showed up and told us it was less crowded at the back bar. It was a bit less crowded as Miriam bought us all a drink. Pseudonym was a trip to be around. “I got tickets to see PiL and Buzzcocks” she remarked. I was nonplussed.
I remarked at how warm it was inside with me wearing a suit & tie and all the bodies that were filling in which caused her to call me, ‘Saporito’. Yes, anyone who sweats, any mammal will get that name in her eyes.
Pseudonym wandered off saying that she was going to stand by a wall where she usually stands and Miriam and I got another round. We headed in the direction of the wall that Pseudonym was talking about when midway we found an excellent spot.
The DJ was playing some old school roots reggae and Miriam were grooving on it when all of a sudden the lights went down and the Special logo appeared onstage, causing a lot of whooping and hollering.
They opened with Do The Dog and immediately went into Dawning of a New Era. Screaming and dancing all around.
I looked around and felt I was a part of something. Some of us in the crowd probably bought the albums when they first came out years ago and now here we all were, singing along to every song, dancing as much as space would allow.
These were my 2 Tone brothers and sisters. Skinheads, rude boys, wool hat types, mods, rockers, punks, hippies and average folk (including Miriam, mother of 2) all getting along and having fun.
Once in a while a behemoth of a skinhead would surge through the crowd, trying to get to the stage and I would sweep Miriam out of the way, making sure she wouldn’t get trampled. No harm intended just a big guy followed by littler guys but barreling through.
Song after song came out. Terry Hall lead singer who’s recently gone on record about his battles with depression and he didn’t look like he was having a good time. He never did before though. At one point, during the song Nite Klub he sang his parts behind a pillar and eventually sitting on the steps behind the pillar.
Then he went off stage and when he came back, had an armful of bottled water which he handed out to the thirsty punters up front.
Every song was a singalong. My friend Andy who went the night before was absolutely spot on when he said the crowd went apeshit. They certainly did.
I did keep an eye out for Pseudonym but she went missing in action. I asked her earlier if she would give me a ride back to Hoboken, just 15 minutes out of her way but she was determined to get out of there as soon as possible, out of Manhattan and onto the George Washington Bridge to Hackensack.
Miriam was kind enough to drive me close to the Path train before she headed up to Westchester. I can only guess Pseudonym got out alright since she was nowhere to be seen nor did she try to contact me on the cellphone.
Didn’t matter though, Miriam and I had a great time, singing and dancing, no negativity around. Even walking the streets looking to get some water after the show was nice, looking at the other concert goers with the same blissful faces that we had.
3000 people singing along to songs they hold dear. Truly a wonderful evening. Special indeed. Miss ya Jerry!
I will definitely be there on Sunday August 22 at Summerstage when the Specials are scheduled to do a free show.
much better pics at Brooklyn Vegan: