Alanis with Matchbox Twenty, or Recapturing My Lost Youth

Last night I went to the Alanis/Matchbox concert. The show was really good and I was eager to see both of them as it was my first time at one of their shows. Alanis came out and did a lot of her big hits, mostly culling songs from her first album. She sang a few new songs and gave us a snippet of her cover of “My Humps,” complete with hot pink feather boa and feckless suitors chasing her. Highlight of her set: during “Ironic,” she altered the lyrics to be “It’s like meeting the man of my dreams…and then meeting his beautiful husband.” Of course, she’s Canadian, where men can have husbands, so that makes sense.

Matchbox’s set was also really, really strong. Rob Thomas is great live, rivaling in energy level the great Kelly Clarkson (don’t laugh; I’m serious!). They, too, covered their best songs from the past 10 years, but I’ll admit that I left before they finished because—don’t laugh—it was really cold.

Outdoor concerts in Arizona are never a good idea. It’s either too hot or too cold once the sun goes down (or both, depending on the time of year) and I foolishly didn’t bring a warmer jacket. It got a little more bearable once the other 15,000 fans arrived and started breathing and sharing body heat, but eventually even that was enough.

Let’s just say it wasn’t heterosexuality’s best night, either. In front of us were about 8 straight guys hanging out together, ranging in age from 35 to 55. They downed beer after beer and then one of them, after trying to pick up two 23-year-old blond girls, started singing along to “You Oughta Know,” shockingly enough, and then every single Matchbox song that they played, the entire time keeping one arm raised over his head, two fingers pointing out like the barrel of a gun, waving it back and forth like cowboy. Moments after this big show, he crawled over the row of seats behind him, nearly made it, and then wiped out. The entire line of people from that point toward the aisle bent like a field of wildflowers in his wake.

A father there with his wife and two kids—let’s say he was about 45—walked in front of me to get to the aisle and I noticed, unfortunately, that his jeans were hanging a little low…and he wasn’t wearing underwear. There was crack. There was full-on crack action. Am I wrong, or should underwear be mandatory when you are out in public with your children? Otherwise you end up out in pubic when you’re out in public.

During the Alanis set, the three empty seats in front of us became occupied by a threesome of one man and two women. They, too, had explored the bar’s many charms before joining the show, and I was annoyed to have the gentleman’s head right between me and Alanis. No matter where I moved, he anticipated my shift and continued to block me. While we engaged our battle of wits, one of the women drunkenly talked to him through the entire set. LOUDLY. But not loud enough that I could make out what she was saying; just loudly enough to detract from the show. Then they got up and left again, but returned during the Matchbox set, when it became clear that Loud Drunk Girl and Drunk Guy were dating. And having a fight. And, eventually, during this long conversation, breaking up. She walked off and he let her go. The woman on the other side of her moved to follow her, but then just took her seat instead. Ah, friendship!

In between sets, Cricket Wireless had this running message board on the big screens. You could text in a message and it would scroll across. People were putting up marriage proposals and acceptances (I guess that’s what you call the sanctity of marriage, right?), information about what they had for dinner, and one message even said, “My dad is a cripple.” I messaged “I’m here, I’m queer, and I’m sitting next to you,” but it never appeared. Beau texted “Arden Jensen is hot!!!” and it scrolled. I texted “I’m here, I’m queer, and I’m really cold,” but it never appeared. Beau texted “Beau loves Charlie,” but it didn’t appear, despite the fact that nearly every heterosexual pairing in the audience of “blank loves blank” appeared.

Despite it all, though, it was a good show.

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