I decided that it would be fun to take a trip to New Orleans to see my friend John and to catch a Meat Beat show. This kind of plan seemed to hatch itself every once in a while when I was in college, but I'd be hard-pressed to find a concert that I'd be willing to drive 5 hours to get to these days. In a way, that's a little sad because it's a tangible affect of losing that connection with music and with specific experiences that seems to have come with getting older. My ability to really be a "fan" of bands started diminishing early as I started playing my own music and sometimes playing shows with bands I had once idolized. When I had shared a bill with Nitzer Ebb, it was a little harder to have a poster of them on my wall and think of them as some untouchable musical gods. I had seen Meat Beat a number of times already, but New Orleans was calling and I was ready to go.
One of the most interesting moments of this trip came when we got to the part of town where she show was happening and I realized that we were parked right outside of Emeril Lagasse's restaurant! After I moved out of the dorm for my Junior year of college, I started working about 30 hours a week on top of going to class. I would usually get home from Pizza Hut and wind down by flicking on the TV and watching the Food Network until the wee hours of the morning. It wasn't called TV Food Network then, and it was really an unpolished, kind of amateurish-looking affair, but I would watch almost anything they put on. I spent hours and hours watching David Rosengarten talk about wine and cheese and all the kinds of snooty stuff I had no interest in. I loved the Two Hot Tamales. "How to Boil Water" was my favorite show as I loved watching the really cute and straight-laced chef fend off the goofy comedian who was ostensibly trying to learn to cook on camera. Emeril was never my favorite, but like I said, I would basically watch anything they threw on.
So when I saw Emeril's restaurant, I got a little excited. As we passed by looking for a parking spot, I swear that I saw him through the window and then I really freaked out! I was having a geeky fanboy moment for a tv chef that cooked food that I had almost no interest in as I was on the way to see one of my favorite bands--was this a turning point? Years later, I'm happy to say that my love for Meat Beat has continued and that the thought of running into Emeril is kind of annoying. Maybe that's what happens when something gets TOO big--I just can't follow along anymore.
The Meat Beat show was good, but it was one of the only gigs that I ever walked out of before it was over. The band was in full swing and they were playing songs that I loved, but the bass was so loud and the venue so cramped that I started getting nauseous. I don't think it was the dreaded brown note, bass weapon kind of reaction, but I definitely wasn't enjoying it. I remember popping back in and out of the show until it was over and then we went back to John's dorm.