Dancing With Death
It was an evening of epic proportions, an amazing show from an amazing vantage point, feeling like I was connected to one of my (our!) favorite bands ever, mourning with them over the loss of someone they loved more than words can describe, and at the end of the night, one of my adolescent heroes threw me a drumstick.
The next day, I reflected heavily upon the experience, listened to DMB all day long and asked myself why I was still buzzing so much? It occurred to me that the entire experience, from the freeway through the show, and home again, took me on a rollercoaster-riding confrontation of my emotions as they pertain to the topic of death.
At the very top of the show, warming up into their first song, a veritable warm-up jam leading into Seek Up, Dave turned around to drummer and fellow surviving DMB founder Carter Beauford, glaring at him, pulling him into the show, and telling him with his eyes, “I need you,” to which Carter responded, percussively, “I am with you.” Their unspoken resolve, an outpouring of macabre subtext, pulled me in immediately and launched me into the journey of a life celebrated. I was watching from the back corner of the stage, and in our small section, slightly obstructed, but as front row of behind-the-scenes as it comes, we saw what the rest of the capacity crowd in Staples Center could not…the eyes of two bandmates who hurt more than words can express.
There’s delusion in feeling that you’re a part of the band’s experience, but when I screamed “we’re with you!” to the band, I meant it, and they heard me…I felt like they poured their hearts out last night, summoned every bit of energy they had to pay tribute to a fallen brother and after nearly crying on the drive in and again while tailgating, I was more than willing to go for the ride. I believe last night was kindred, an uncanny set of circumstances that cannot be replicated, but needed to be acknowledged instead of ignored, and I milked the experience for every sentimental moment I could, taking with me one of the most beautiful, melancholy, and life-enriching experiences a fan could ever stand to gain.