I love the Goo Goo Dolls. I don’t remember when I started listening to them, but they were my favorite band for years. I’ve seen them live several times, though not since high school, and so when I saw that they were coming to Baltimore (and tickets were only $13. $13!) I had to go. I tried to convince my friends to join me, but they’re all lame/busy/not interested in 90’s nostalgia pop/rock, so instead I went solo. Part of me thought about wussing out when I realized how challenging it would be to get there by myself, but the better part of me that isn’t afraid of adventure stepped up and figured out the bus schedule.
I’ve ridden the bus a lot in Baltimore, and most of the time it’s totally fine and normal. Today however, I had a loose cannon driver, who when an old man couldn’t get on, and so stood in front of the bus (not a nice, or sane thing to do, but he wasn’t all there, so I guess it seemed like a good solution), continued to drive. The driver effectively drove the bus into this old man (albeit slowly, and not in a way that hurt him, but still)! People came over to intervene, and the driver got into a screaming match with one woman after she suggested he just let the old man on the bus, but that was what eventually resolved the situation. I was a little nervous sitting near the guy once he came on board, but he didn’t say anything, and seemed like a harmlessly crazy person.
I got to Preakness Field at 4:00, but the Goo Goo Dolls didn’t come on until after 7:00, so there was a lot of down time. The opening acts weren’t very interesting, but I liked getting to see all the people- it was an interesting mix of classy and redneck. There were lots of fancy hats, and lots of drunk people. I was purposely not drinking because I was alone, and I think that was the right call, because some people were pretty sloppy. I went up to the stage to stake out a good spot after the second act left, and the people there were intense. A very tall, very drunk girl offered to get me closer, and so I let her pull me through the crowd, but the people in front were die-hards, and made it very clear that they wouldn’t tolerate me pushing in front. I actually got part of a drink thrown on me (I wasn’t the target, and I made a point of being extra polite to everyone, but I still got wet) when someone else tried to push ahead, and there was an ugly confrontation between some college girls and a couple of grizzled middle aged women (maybe grizzled is the wrong word, but they were tough. I would’ve been scared- they looked like they’d punch someone, but the girls were too drunk to be easily intimidated). Even close the front I had an obstructed view- I was right behind an old woman in a straw hat (she refused to take it off at first, but then Johnny Rzeznik commented on it, so she threw it onstage, to my great relief), and two ten-foot tall men who kept raising their arms. The woman behind me held her camera over my head the whole show, so I had to crane my neck awkwardly, but it was worth it to be that close.
The Goos kicked off the show with Long Way Down (probably my favorite of their songs!), and then played a good mix of classics and new stuff. It was great. I was too wedged in to dance as much as I wanted, but I jumped around a bit, and had an absolute ball. I can go long stretches without listening to them, but they’re great- I love them. There wasn’t a lot of banter, but they move around a lot, and put on a good show. Robby Takac was especially great- I had forgotten that he performs barefoot, and he was clearly having a ton of fun, strutting around the stage, and headbanging to the music. I’ve always loved Johnny the best (because he’s so cute), but now that we’re all older I can appreciate Robby more (he’s also done more for the Buffalo art community than Johnny). I like them both though, and they both did a great job. It was a short show- only about an hour and fifteen minutes, but I had a blast, and more than got my $13 worth.
After the show ended I realized that while I don’t mind going to concerts by myself (it really doesn’t bother me at all), getting home by myself is another matter. I had taken a shuttle to the field, but they weren’t running anymore, and I didn’t know where to find the bus stop. I wandered in the general direction of the crowd, and somehow ended up in the stables. There were guards everywhere, but I did get to check out the horses a bit (which was nifty), before someone told me which way to go. I have a smartphone, so I shouldn’t ever be lost, but I was, and I was standing on a street corner, looking pathetic, when a police officer pulled up next to me and offered me a ride home. I had a moment of doubt (what if he just looked like a police officer, but wasn’t really? What if he was one of those police officers who in his spare time likes to dismember young women?), but I didn’t know where to go, and so I got in the car (spoilers: he didn’t kill me). He was actually very nice, and we chatted about nursing, and Alaska, and the friendly relationship between nurses and cops (apparently nurses don’t get tickets, which is good to know), and he delivered me safely to my door. He gave me a short lecture on not going out by myself at night, and then asked for my phone number. In retrospect, I should’ve just given it to him, but I didn’t. He was nice, and polite, and not un-handsome, and he had really helped me out, but I didn’t really want to go out with him. I know that’s a lame end to the story, but it’s the truth. I don’t like dates, and I really don’t like dates with strangers, so I thanked him, but declined. I think it’s still a good story- I got a ride home from a Baltimore cop! His billy club was right next to me on the seat!- but I know it would’ve been a better story if I had given him my number. Maybe in the next telling.