There are so few perfect nights in life that I'm thrilled to be able to count this one.
It's the day before Valentine's Day and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are only 4 songs deep in the setlist. It's the first time I've ever heard them live. I know that their sets don't run long now that Kiedis is getting older and has to save his voice for each show. But ever since Flea and Josh started off with an E minor jam that turned into "Can't Stop" I knew this was gonna be one for my own personal record books.
She's standing next to me. Enjoying the show, having a great time. There's that awkward intangible vibe between friends and maybe something more than friends. But music wins the day, and I hear Flea hit that first bass note.
"Oh man," I tell her. "They never play this one! This is a treat!"
"I don't think I know this," she says.
"It's a rare one. I love this song!"
The irony isn't lost on me. Something in the back of my mind tells me this won't work, so I sieze the moment to lock this one perfect memory in time before it becomes a lost prophecy. I slip my hand around her waist as we both groove to the song.
What she doesn't know, but unfortunately I do know, is that the song is about knowing when love is lost. When it's time to walk away. It's about a guy who put too much effort into a girl he cared deeply for. She didn't reciprocate. And he realized that sometimes in life you have to throw in the towel and move on.
What I don't know is that she is happily dating someone. That they will be married just over a year from now. That she says she is a friend but will eventually stop talking to me while she moves forward with the people that are important in her life.
I enjoy the 5 minutes of live music. A moment in time that can't be recreated. One of my favorite bands playing a song that has personal meaning to me, while a person I care about who doesn't feel the same way is in my arms. Every second that passes is one more second closer to this perfect moment ending forever. That makes it extra precious. Although I know this will have a bittersweet ending, I hang on to that moment. The music, the feeling of her smiling next to me, and all of life's problems forgotten for a few brief minutes.
The only thing that could make this night better would be if the band played our favorite song. And as it turns out, the penultimate song just so happens to be the one. As soon as I hear the first arpeggio: A, E, A...my face lights up and we look at each other.
I got a bad disease...but from my brain is where I bleed
She says, "You thought they weren't going to play it?"
And yeah, I kind of thought they weren't going to. But they did.
And when Soul to Squeeze is over, I think back to two hours ago when I took a picture of us in front of the Wells Fargo Center. Because for my first RCHP show I figured there's no better way to capture the moment than a picture of us
Standing in line to see the show tonight
And there's a light on, heavy glow
By The Way, I tried to say
I'd be there...waiting for
As fate would have it, the last song of the set just so happens to be By The Way. I know it as soon as I hear the first F/C/D minor chords. This evening couldn't have been any more perfect if I'd scripted it myself.
But after we leave the show that one rare cut is nagging at the back of my head. The song that she hadn't heard. The song I know is about love lost, giving up, and moving on.
Hey...oh yeah...how long?
I guess I oughta walk away
Hey...oh yeah...so long...
What you gonna do today?