Skip to content

Pedro & Puck, Dusty, Billy, & Frank

dock of the condo

What’s the deal with San Francisco? Such an undeniably beautiful place yet it can get on top of you in a big hurry. Perhaps as Spinal Tap’s David St Hubbins remarked about the “authorities'” take on the mysterious death of his group’s drummer, it’s one of those things ‘best left unsolved.’ The place is an enigma to be certain; Tony Bennett left his heart there yet didn’t see fit to explain why he had to get out in the first place. Carmen McCrae sang about being drunk there – out of her mind, in fact – despite her total abstinence from alcohol. Perhaps it was best summed up in the words of a USC fraternity brother of mine (yes that’s ‘USC’ and ‘fraternity’, two factual points to be included in my biography no less puzzling than being blotto in the absence of drink.) We were sitting in a bar having come up for the Cal game and he looked outside to a passing cable car and remarked “Dude, this place is like one big Disneyland.” And as anyone who has ever been to Disneyland can attest, even the Happiest Place on Earth can wear a little thin at the edges after encountering your umpteenth obese visitor in mouse ears munching on a cheeseburger at the Tommorowland Plaza.

Anyway, I was there and now I’m back. Returning east, I did the only reasonable thing one looking to decompress can do –  I went to see ZZ Top at the Beacon Theater. ZZ Top are from Texas, as was my Uncle Marvin. Marvin visited San Francisco once in the late sixties after starting a family with my mom’s sister. When my dad drove him through Haight-Ashbury, then the free-love center of the universe, Marvin looked around and commented “Dick, these people are fucking insane.” I miss the guy. ZZ Top are much like Marvin was; you get what you expect with very little ambiguity. This held true for their show at the Beacon. They had the beards and wore the hats and the shades. They brought out the furry guitars. They did the simultaneous ‘turn to the left, turn to the right’ move and once, during ‘Sharp Dressed Man’, crossed their legs and touched their knees. And they played the shit out of every lick they’ve been playing the same way for forty years. Free-love my ass. After the show I found myself at 72nd and Broadway munching on a chili dog and noting that I was officially back in New York City, imperfectly perfect as it’s been for me since 2003.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *