after the westerberg concert and the backstage debacle at The Riv (which i haven’t told you about yet), the westernerd crew headed back to the dorm for a hootenanny. Wolf, one of my travelling companions (along with Kelly and The Load) had brought a guitar, and there was booze. the booze, that is the important part. we arrived back at the dorm at some time that i can’t remember, it might have been 1 a.m., i’m not sure. we had lost part of the westernerd contingent, because the travelling companions and i had backstage passes to meet the band. things got a little screwed up and we decided to just meet back at the dorm.
we beat them there, after another delightful ride on the El (i am in love with the El) and i immediately set to drinking to cleanse my pallate of the backstage hissy fit. i did good, with the palate cleansing, because by the time the westernerd contingent arrived (Monkey, Geetar, and Mealticket), i was properly buzzed up again.
what ensued was a full-fledged hootenanny. we were singing, swinging, and getting merry like christmas, with wolf and geetar playing the, well, guitar, and the rest of us nerds trying to remember the words to all our favorite songs. it’s amazing how well you might think you know a song, until it’s your turn to sing. the booze was flowing, the guitar was strumming, feet were tapping and at 4 a.m., there was a sudden pounding on the door.
the room fell silent as i leaned back to open the door.
standing in the doorway was a small lady, white-haired lady dressed in her pajamas. she had her hotel key clasped in her hands and she stood looking into the dorm from the open door.
“do you know any Greensleeves?” she asked.
the request was met by silence.
“how about kumbaya?”
geetar, i think the guitar was in his hands at that point, launched into the old camp song. and the little white-haired lady started singing kumbaya from the doorway. we were still sitting in stunned silence.
after she finished we hooted and hollered a bit, and laughed mostly.
“can i go downstairs and get my beer?” she asked.
“hell yeah,” we responded.
as soon as the door shut, we burst into laughter.
“i thought for sure we were gonna be busted,” someone said.
“i thought she was going to ask if we knew any shut the fuck up,” geetar said.
but oh no, not kathy, that’s her name, she was all about the rock and the roll. she returned a few minutes later with a can of Budweiser and a plastic hotel cup. she settled into the chair and the hootenanny resumed until 6:30 in the morning, when i had to fake sleep to get her out of the dorm.
the hootenanny might have been my absolute favorite part of the weekend. it was a blast. we sang old westerberg and replacements songs, forgetting most of the words. Monkey even did an acoustic version of the Humpty Dance, that might go down in my history as one of the most memorable moments of my entire life. because really, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a skinny white boy with a sweatshirt that says “dance like you’ve got ass in your pants” drop bombs like a lyrical bandit.
but really, it was more than that. it was so much more than that.
westerberg is known for writing heartbreaking songs about misfits and should of beens. man, he’s the king of the should of beens himself. to be in a room with a bunch of people who get that music, who love that music so much is, well it’s really quite moving for a misfit dork who loves misfit dork music and being with other misfit dorks who love the music.