Friday, 4:03 PM
Someone has taken the newspaper funnies from the breakroom. I suspect it could be found sitting on a toilet tank in the mens room. I cannot go get it, nor am I sure that I would really want to now. I look through the Weekend section instead, not that I ever find anything I want to do in there. Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, is going to be in Durham on Saturday night, but I have no idea what his act would be. Also, The Lemonheads will be in Carrboro, performing the entirety of their 1992 break-out album It's a Shame About Ray. I file this item in my memory. Josh had told me many time how much he loves this album.
Friday, 8:37 PM
We are on our way to Winston-Salem so Josh can play a benefit for burn victims. I mention the thing about The Lemonheads, and he responds enthusiastically. I also mention the Dog Whisperer, and he doesn't realize that I'm joking.
Saturday 10:50 AM
I ask whether we need to buy tickets in advance. He says yes.
Saturday 11:34 PM
I buy tickets.
Sunday 9:20 PM
We leave for Carrboro. We have timed it so that we will miss the two opening bands.
Sunday 9:53 PM
We arrive and magically find a close parking space. We have missed the first opening band, but the second hasn't showed up yet. We go around to the new side entrance and find that they've taken down the wall separating the club from the bar area. It's now just a great big room. We get beers and find positions in the middle of the room. There are people here, but not so many that we won't be able to see.
Sunday 10:18 PM
A man in a hoodie comes onstage with a guitar. The crowd cheers. This is Evan Dando.
I don't know any of The Lemonheads's songs. In fact, all I know is from a Kimya Dawson lyric about the kind of binge drinking she used to do before she got clean: "Evan Dando never planned on telling you the truth." From this, I decide that Dando, if that is his real name, cannot be trusted. His appearance now doesn't help. The hood is up on his sweatshirt, making him look like a recluse. Whether he is one of those crazy geniuses, I don't know, though I could hazard a guess on the crazy part.
Evan says that he is going to entertain us for a bit. The second band got lost, but they are on their way. He doesn't want us to miss them, so he's going to play so we won't leave. Considering that it's him we are all here to see, it seems doubtful that anyone would go. But maybe he just wanted to play. In any case, we are thrilled at this spontaneous performance, this secret show. He plays a couple songs, and then just starts taking requests from fans who probably know his whole catalog.
Once, during a show, Josh's brother broke a guitar string. While he fixed it, Josh and the drummer made up a song on the spot and just played. They've been playing together for so long that they can compose as they go in front of an audience. Once the broken string was replaced, the guitar came screaming in during the middle of this brand new song, as if they'd planned it that way. They finished it, and someone from the crowd yelled out, "That's rock and ROLLLLL!"
This lone guitarist on the stage in front of a reverent crowd, this was rock and roll.
Sunday 10:34 PM
Evan leaves the stage and the second opening band starts setting up. I don't care about the second band, no matter what Evan Dando says, and besides, I am hungry. We walk outside and across the parking lot to a taco truck. We order two burritos, one steak (asada) and one lamb (borrego), $10. They are ready in minutes and are delicious, simple peasant food, our favorite kind. Meat, rice, lettuce, cilantro. We finish eating them in the car, because it is the first cold weekend of the fall.
Sunday 11:01 PM
We walk back inside just as the second band is thanking the crowd and saying goodnight.
Sunday 11:13 PM
The Lemonheads, all three of them, take the stage. They play It's a Shame About Ray, though they skip track 4 ("Rudderless") and have to go back. Evan seems scattered. The bassist is not amused.
It's a good show, but there is no encore. Well, we can't complain. We did get a secret show. Josh buys a t-shirt. He is happy.
Sunday 12:30 AM
We walk outside. Behind us, a man complains that the taco truck has left.
Sunday 12:31 AM
We stand next to the car while Josh smokes a cigarette. Maybe twenty feet away is Evan Dando. He is talking to the lead singer of the second band. Every minute or so, another fan comes up and asks him to sign something or have their picture taken with him. A couple just say "Great show!" and walk on. Evan is being friendly and cool about it. I ask Josh if he wants to go say hello, and he hedges, feeling shy. So we continue to stand there awkwardly at the outskirts. It's silly for him to be bashful. Hasn't he stood around after shows and talked to fans before? I encourage him to just go shake the man's hand, saying he might regret it if he does nothing.
He decides not to, and we drive home. He says that Evan seems too fragile to approach. Whatever.
Sunday 1:11 AM
We pull into the driveway, and he says I was right about regretting it. But it's okay. Lemonheads. Secret show. Burritos. It was a good night.