It is probably a bit self-important of me even to recognize that this week marks my 100th Thursday column for Seattle Weekly. It is sort of par for the course that I can't really think of what to write this week--writer's block, I suppose. Or is it that I am putting too much pressure on myself and therefore can't feel a flow?
Watch a slideshow of fans at Justin Bieber's show at Everett's Comcast Arena. Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. He writes about what music is circulating through his space every Monday.
At any rate, here are four things I have learned thus far from my writings, and from you readers:
1. Writing is a journey into honesty, more so than the spoken word. Once you make a written statement, you must follow it up with supporting text. For me, at least, this has helped me to clarify some things in my life currently AND in the past.
2. I have been really lucky with the quality of this column's readership. You lot are, for the most part, much more smarterer than me, and have challenged me with witty and thought-provoking comments. I love the back-and-forth. Intellectual discourse for me is for sure a major spice in life.
3. Heck, when I started this column two years ago, I never would have thought that it would last this long. I have found in writing a new passion. I probably would never have had the "chops" to get a gig at some old-school newspaper back then. The Weekly has allowed me to learn as I go. I guess blogging IS the new op/ed.
4. Now that the Internet is the "newspaper" of this generation, I believe we have a responsibility to be as truthful and fact-based as we can. Putting bullshit stories or op/eds out there is passé and rather dumb at this point, and gets old. Does this make sense? Let's step it up!
OK. So enough of all that! Let's move on to a topic I wrote about a couple of weeks ago--Justin Bieber! The concert was Tuesday night here in Everett (just outside Seattle), and I took four screaming tweeners. Awesome.Actually, for those of you who may scoff at the idea of a pop teen idol (and I am usually at the top of that list), Justin Bieber is actually . . . the real deal. I have been to more than a few of these teenage arena concerts. I won't name names, but for the most part they are lip-synch affairs. As a musician, it bums me out. When I go to a concert, I don't want to listen to tape, and I don't think my kids do either. At that point, you feel like you were just brought to the arena to buy a T-shirt and pay a bunch of dough for parking and bottled water.
Justin Bieber is a whole other animal. Firstly, he writes his own songs. Also, he plays guitar live, and his band is pretty damn slammin'. There was no lip-synching, either. I would go as far as to say that if you like old Jackson 5, then you may be an eventual recipient of Bieber Fever yourself. I'm just sayin' . . . If nothing else, it was a good time that harkened back to '70s pop.
My daughters, Grace and Mae, brought two friends, and because of my ties with the touring personnel, I was the parent chosen to take them all. It is quite possible that I was the only male in that whole crowd of 8,588 people (a record for Everett's Comcast Arena). I was a dude alone in a sea of estrogenic zeal. It kind of freaked me the fuck out. There were moms drinking Mike's Hard Lemonade and dancing and waving their hands at 16-year-old Justin, almost knocking over their own kids to be seen (I guess?). Pretty funny (and odd) moments for sure. Cougar much?
I have seen--and may I say, even been a part of--some pretty rabid audiences, but there really is nothing that quite compares to thousands of screaming and crying girls. The noise level between songs is the loudest and most hysterical thing I have ever been a witness to . . . and I have PLAYED shows in front of 100,000-plus drunken rock fans who LIVE for rock and roll.
I was chided quite a bit this week by friends and family who knew that I was going to the Bieber show. One of my friends went as far as to say that I had finally sold my soul to the devil for going. This show wasn't about me being a "rock guy," it was about me simply being a dad.
But finally the opportunity came Tuesday for my girls to actually meet JB. When my friend who works on the tour came to us before the show and waved us through to a backstage room, it became apparent that it was time for us to meet "the dude."
My girls played it cool and didn't freak out. I was proud of that. Afterward, however, they were floating on clouds. Bieber wanted his photo taken with me too, and for that I won tons of points with my girls. Grace asked me today if I had talked to JB today yet. She thinks that because we did a photo together that maybe we will be friends now. Heck, now that I think of it, maybe Slash and I can finally announce the new singer of Velvet Revolver--Justin Bieber!