Angie and I parked the car in Boston to find it smoking and leaking coolant. Our night seemed off to a bumpy start, but we jumped on the T (God, I love public transportation) and headed down to the Roxy for The Roots concert. Next, we stood in the wrong line for a half hour to collect our guest list passes and thought we had missed my beloved Floetry. I was bummed.
The club was packed. Angie pointed out balcony and decided if it wasn’t VIP (or was), we should get up there. We grabbed a couple beers, $6 Bud Lights in a plastic bottle. We scouted out the locations, and we settled in behind a couple Hispanic girls at a spot that looked right over the stage. I befriended one by discussing just where that weed smoke might be coming from.
“Mmm, girl if you find it you come tell me,” she said, swinging her hips. “They betta be sharin!”
“I know, right?” I said, acting like I cared.
Angie pulled on my sleeve.
“Look over there, where that sign says the Roots,” she said, pointing at a black curtain pulled back just enough to see through. “I think that’s them, right there!”
With our free tickets, we had stumbled upon a place with the best view AND right next to backstage. Holy crap, we agreed, we were looking at The Roots only a few yards and a VIP rope away. Things were looking up.
Needless to say, The Roots were outta control when they took the stage. They haven’t become one of the most legendary hip-hop groups for nothing. And wouldn’t you know, they took a break and out came Floetry! Life, my friends, was good!
During their break, the band went up and hung out on the outside of their curtain, right in our plain view. We were baffled. There they were, drinking bottles of water and actually watching the other artists performing. The girl that sings their backup vocals was right next to me, talking to a couple people. I decided I had to meet her.
I strode right up to her and told her I thought she was amazing, the whole band was amazing, her EARRINGS WERE AMAZING! God, I said, you guys are just so friggin cool! She grinned and shook my hand and said it was nice to meet me. She introduced me to her cousins who were there for the show. I walked back over to Angie with the decision that The Roots were my new favorite people. Who knew it would get even more interesting from there? Well, I did, but we’re getting to that.
So, when I was finished gushing about how beautiful and well-accessorized the Roots girl was, I turned my attention to the band members hanging over the railing right next to me. I looked at the drummer, ?uestlove, probably the most recognizable of the group because of his fro. (Note: I didn’t know his name at the time, or anyone's in the band for that matter. I have since learned everything there is to know about The Roots.) I’m looking at ?uestlove, mumbling something about how OMG, they are just standing right there like they aren’t famous, and he nods his big old fro and waves at me, not a hint of a smile but why would a badass drummer need to smile? My jaw drops, and I shriek and hope nobody can hear.
I wave back, then I look directly down at my beer to contemplate how to react
when someone famous waves at you unprovoked.
Wow, I think. This is pretty friggin great. I met the girl with the huge earrings and the drummer waved to me. I start sending Ian frantic text messages so he knows everything he was missing. I look at the people around me, paying particular attention to the Asians standing behind me with big Asian grins and dancing to the music. I think they’re probably stoned, and I talk to Angie about how much I love Asians in general.
When I get the nerve to look back over at the band, I caught the eye of the guitarist, aka Captain Kirk. He was looking at me. I try to smile, but after three beers and two famous people I’m not too confident in my muscle contractions. He keeps looking, then he and ?uestlove turn and start whispering.
I start to think they are talking about me, then I mentally smack myself in the forehead and think, shut up you dumb fuck. They are The Roots. They’re not talking about you. But still, I’m secretly thinking it, as much as you can keep a secret from your own self.
They took the stage again, rallying for another amazing hour. The crowd had thinned out when Floetry came on, because I think people thought the Roots wouldn’t come back out. So we had a good size space of the balcony to ourselves and we danced. I couldn’t help but think that Captain Kirk was looking at me, but I tried to fight it. But it was like that time that we first went to see Felix Brown. I knew from probably the third song that something was eventually gonna go down, and when Kwesi took my coat and tossed it to the back of the stage I knew where he was going later. It was kind of like that, only they couldn’t reach my coat at a real concert and this was THE ROOTS!
The show ended, and I slowly finished my beer so Angie wouldn’t try to get me to leave.
As the band left the stage, Kirk the guitar maniac came up the stairs and walked
directly over to us.
“Hi,” he said, and stuck out his hand. “I’m Kirk.”
I shook it, acting like I knew he was Kirk, and introduced myself. Ditto to Angie.
He asked if we enjoyed the show, had we seen them before, et cetera. I don’t think either me or Angie remembers much of the conversation because we were waiting for the chance to scream.
“You know what?” Kirk said. “I want to introduce you to my bass player. Can you hang out here for one minute?”
Sure, we said, trying to act cool. We could wait. He walked off backstage, and me and Angie turned and looked at each other blankly for about 7 or 8 seconds.
“AAAAHHHH!” we screamed, startling the stoned Asians. “AAAAH! He just came over here and introduced himself to US!”
A minute or two later, Kirk came back with Hub, the bass player. Kirk made Angie’s night, looking down at her pink Barbie t-shirt. She had originally felt underdressed in jeans and flip flops, but her Barbie tee pulled her through yet another night like a champ.
“Can you tell me your name again? I keep wanting to call you Barbie,” he said, probably not realizing that being called Barbie by a member of the Roots was the best possible scenario she could imagine for that night. Meanwhile, I was trying to explain to Hub how I think they are the coolest, least pretentious band I have ever seen. He was rubbing my arm.
“I mean, I just think it’s so great that you guys just come out here and meet people after the show,” I said, rambling like I do when I am excited. He put his arm around me.
“Well, how else are we supposed to meet the cute girls?”
I internally shrieked again. Hub tells me how he’s gotta get on a tour bus again at 4 a.m., they’re going to Cleveland. Yea, it’s fun touring but sometimes he wishes he could get more sleep. OK, so maybe Hub (on the right) is the kind of guy that would hit on me anyway. He’s certainly not the hottest in the band. He’s a big, black, sorta mean looking dude. But very sweet, and famous, and hitting on me. They say something like they’ll be right back. Angie shrieks, “he thinks you’re cute!” I just open my mouth but by this point I’m too overwhelmed to shriek. I just shake my head, bewildered.
Kirk comes back to say goodbye, giving me a kiss on the cheek and Angie a kiss on the cheek AND a hug (hubba hubba, Kirk is kinda hot). At some point, Kirk tells me he likes my braids. I figure maybe that’s why this is all happening, Angie's Barbie tee and my big hoop earrings and a couple little braids here and there, very Julia Stiles in Save the Last Dance. Good accessory call, I think. Meanwhile, some girl had butted in with Hub, and Angie and I just stood there waiting, smiling like we were not freaking out, and sent frantic text messages but tried to appear nonchalant about it. Hub came back.
“You are just so cute,” he said. “My boy came over and told me I had to come over here and meet you cuz he knew I’d like you.”
I thought, “What! That shit’s crazy!” And then I said, "What! That shit's crazy!"
I was still dumbfounded by this whole affair.
“Nah,” he said, squeezing my arm. “You’re so cute! It’s not crazy.”
He went backstage, and me and Angie left.
At this point, I told Angie that I knew all along this was going to happen, but who could actually say that out loud? She understood.
I know that might seem like an anti-climactic ending, just going home. You all were probably thinking I went backstage and gave him something to remember, but God, that quickie shit is so two years ago for me. We just left, with the knowledge that very famous men picked us out of a huge crowd to say hello, and that we can feel pretty good about that.