Rage and Rapture Tour

(Entry below is an excerpt from an entry handwritten on 7/29/17)

Last night was the Garbage and Blondie show in Red Bank, NJ for the Rage and Rapture tour at the Count Basie Theater. And I got there at 5pm for the meet and greet Push It Package, where I got to attend the three song sound check and got to take a photo with the band!

There wasn’t as much waiting around or standing around like at the show last summer in Starland. They had the same concierge this time, Emily, who had a short hair cut and her hair was dyed a bright blue. I was kind of hoping the meet and greet group of fans would be smaller, so I could ask more questions, but there were about 11 or 12 of us. Maybe more.

We went into sound check where I sat in the front row to hear them and watch them check the sound of Bleed Like Me and No Horses. And again I can’t remember the third song. I think I was just too excited. The band greeted us all very warmly as usual, and afterwards, we were led outside for the Q and A. During the sound check, one song didn’t go well and Shirley looked over at Duke and made a pouty face and said he looked sad. She also looked at each of us fans and I got so nervous when she looked at me, but somehow I was able to easily ask questions during the Q and A.

It was very humid outside but there was still a nice breeze now and then. We all waited anxiously for the band to come out. Glancing at the doors over and over, I saw Shirley’s bright red hair as she tried to open up the left door but it was locked, so she went to the other door and opened it and kind of rolled her eyes at herself. It was sweet and pretty funny.

I ended up seated directly in front of them which was great! It’s rare when you truly feel that you are in the right place at the right time in the universe. The band all sat in front of me and I was so happy. It’s always amazing and surreal to see them in person, as real people just talking to us. They asked if anyone had any questions, and Shirley said, ‘who came up with the best question?’ I raised my hand a little before she said that, so I said, ‘I don’t know if it’s the best question, but how did you decide on the lyric for the title of the book?’ (Their new autobiography is titled ‘This is the noise that keeps me awake,’ a lyric from their song, Push It.

Shirley said, ‘How did we decide on it?’ while looking at Duke. Duke said something about looking for ideas and trying to pull something from the lyrics and they thought that that lyric from Push It would be the perfect name for a band biography, for people who enjoy creating noise. Shirley mentioned that they had a working title for it at one point which was ‘Awesome something.’ I can’t remember, but they all giggled about it. I asked if they thought there would be more books, Shirley said that they have learned in their career to never say never, and Duke said that it was very optimistic for me to ask that and that he would be taking that in (and he gestured with his hands as if to take something upon him) which was cool.

I raised my fists and said ‘I believe in you guys!’ and Shirley also raised her fists and smiled, saying ‘yay!’ which was such a great moment for me. Other fans asked questions like what the band had been watching on TV on the road and what some of their surprising musical influences are. Shirley was wearing a long, black flannel dress with white stripes which buttoned up, and her hair was all down. She had eye shadow on and pinkish lipstick. She looked so beautiful as she always does.

She looks captivating because of her eye color, her confidence, her presence, her brilliance, and everything about her. I felt like I was in some interview show on tv, but it was actually in person and I could see the breeze blow her hair around. She was wearing black nail polish.

Other fans spoke about Blondie and Debbie Harry, and how Garbage had hooked up with them. Shirley spoke about Debbie Harry when another fan commented that she was 72 and still rocking. Shirley said that it was so inspiring to have someone like Debbie, an older woman out at the forefront doing something so impressive and incredible. And she said that she, herself, at 50, has the same insecurities as any woman. She said ‘I felt it when I was 30,’ and she looked at all of us and said that we are so much younger than they are and it’s great for us to see women like her and Debbie out at the forefront of society and doing shows like this together.

I said ‘it’s inspiring’ and I felt a deep admiration and appreciation for Shirley in that moment because she understood and sympathizes and relates to all women in that way and it was beautiful to see her say that she has the same insecurities as any woman. She continued, ‘Not to exclude any gents here, but it’s harder for women I think.’

I also asked where their favorite place to visit has been, of all the places they have seen in the world. Steve said, ‘there hasn’t been a bad one’ and Shirley said ‘why is it so hard for us to come up with answers?’ which I thought was funny and I think she actually apologized! I said ‘take your time.’ She mentioned several places, one I think was Iceland, and it’s so hard to remember the the others! Then she thought a moment and said ‘Colombia.’ I smiled and put my hand to my chest and said ‘my parents were born there.’ She said she had been afraid to go there but that she was amazed at how beautiful it was and how great the people were.

I said there are a lot of touristy parts now like Cartagena where my mom was born and that the people are very warm and welcoming. Shirley listened to me and nodded and then Butch said ‘that’s where we had the police escort.’ I looked surprised and he explained how the police had to escort them down a road of very erratic drivers. And the police escort would speed up and then stop suddenly and then have to speed up again. I agreed that there are some areas where they drive very recklessly. And I think they mentioned that the escort had just made a mistake, or the driver had taken them to the wrong place. I said ‘well, that’s an experience’ and Shirley said ‘Yea, it was an experience but the great privilege of being in a band is getting to see all kinds of places and all kinds of people and in every place there are loving, kind and beautiful people, and in every place there are also assholes, which is a given.’ And I nodded and agreed, saying that was very true.

Another fan asked how they decide on which songs to practice during the sound check, which I thought was a great question. And they said they try to go with softer songs that are not too taxing on Shirley’s voice, and they usually try to end with the first song they will play during the show, which last night was No Horses. They said it sounded good to them, Duke then said ‘we should knock on wood’-and then knocked on the arm rest of the bench they were seated at. Shirley then did the same.

I asked if they have been doing any writing while on tour. Shirley said she had done a little bit that morning and then looked at Duke. He said ‘yea, it was good.’ Shirley went into a story where she had been asleep and suddenly had a dream, or woken up with a complete verse in her head. She had her eyes closed and said ‘Usually when that happens, I think to myself, Oh I’ll get up and write it down later, but this time I actually got up and wrote down the words.’ I couldn’t believe I was having an actual conversation with her, she was answering my question and seemed to be enjoying doing so! I was so happy at that moment, just looking at her and listening to the dream verse story and kind of relating to it in the way that poetry used to come to me in my sleep, and once even a song when I was really young.

One of them looked over at Emily and said, ‘should we take photos?’ after mentioning that the new video for their song, No Horses would be coming out next week.  We all got up one by one for photos and when it was my turn I said, ‘can I have hugs too?’ Steve hugged me kind of awkwardly. Then Shirley hugged me and gave me a tight squeeze, which I couldn’t believe! I was scared to hug her too tightly because I wasn’t sure if she’d be open to that but she hugged me tight for moment and I was so happy and thrilled!

I was so nervous that I didn’t even think of hugging Duke or Butch, which I wanted to do. We posed for the picture and I stood between Shirley and Duke. They are my two favorites in a way, and the picture was taken. I thought I blinked, but Emily checked and said the picture was perfect. I turned slightly to Shirley and she said ‘Thanks baby’ and I just smiled and was so embarrassed that I couldn’t even look her in the eyes. I sort of only saw her mouth when she said it and she smiled slightly but she said it was a lot of warmth and intimacy, and I was so surprised and stunned and happy. I think I said ‘thank you’ to them and walked off.

It all went by so fast but I still remember the hug Shirley gave me. And having this woman who has inspired me in so many countless ways, hugging me and being so close was just out of this world. It was a dream come true. It was perfect. I will never forget that moment. I loved it.

I later went to the merchandise table where I bought a shirt from Garbage that’s black and says ‘when I grow up, I’ll be feminist’ with the words ‘I’ll be feminist’ written around a photo of a woman’s uterus covered in flowers. All the proceeds of the sale of the shirt go to planned parenthood, which Emily had told us before the sound check. The older man at the merchandise table asked ‘have you grown up yet?’ after I asked for that shirt, and I replied, ‘No, not entirely.’

I went in to find my seat and waited, watched the opening band, Deap Valley and then waited impatiently for Garbage. They sounded incredible as always, perfect, and put on such a surreal and beautiful show. I am always in awe of Shirley’s voice when I hear it live and am in awe of the way she performs and moves on stage. I was so glad I had a second row seat. They sang Even though Our Love is Doomed, which Shirley said was a sad song. During the intro, she looked down and started playing with the red microphone strings. I love to see those little moments. She was in shadow but I could still see her because I was so close, and the spotlight was on Duke.

She introduced Empty by saying ‘this is the saddest song we have ever written.’ I got a video clip of that song, which I was really happy to get. I thought it was funny while introducing Even though our love is Doomed, Shirley said it was a slower one which was good because the fan was right by her mic and she said it would cool her down for a bit. She also apologized for singing a dark song because ‘some people get upset when you bring them down.’ Then she said the title of the song and gave a big, hearty laugh.

But the most amazing thing that happened was during Only Happy When it Rains. During the verse, ‘Pour your misery down’ – when Shirley held the mic to the crowd for us to sing that part, she looked right at me and as I sang ‘pour your misery down,’ she very clearly mouthed the words ‘bless you’ to me, which I couldn’t believe! We had a real moment of connection. I knew this because I had given Emily a card earlier to give to the band, she would leave our cards and gifts in their dressing room. And below is what I wrote in the card:

Dear Shirley, Duke, Butch, Steve,
Thank you for all of your artistry and music, which has been a great source of strength, happiness and inspiration to me. I am so grateful to you and I wish you every blessing from the universe. Attached are some of my reflections on when I bought your first album, its profound effect on me, as well as some impressions of past shows of yours that I had the pleasure of attending. May you always be blessed and happy, and continue to create beautiful, magical music. I love you all! Enjoy the rest of the tour!

With love always,
Karen Delasala
karen_socorro on instagram.

Since I used the word ‘bless’ several times in the hand written card, I knew that when she mouthed ‘bless you’ to me at the show, that it was meant for me. At first I couldn’t believe that it happened, but she did look me directly in the eyes and stressed the word ‘bless’ making sure that she mouthed it very clearly. It was surreal, beautiful, magical, a moment that touched my heart and my soul, and which I will always remember and treasure. It will never be diminished.

(Edited to add that I found a Youtube video online of this performance! And you can see when she says ‘bless you’ to me. I will try to find it and post it below. The moment is at 2 minutes, 51 seconds into the video)


August 5, 2017. Uncategorized.

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