Do you know, my parents went to see Elvis at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1975, and he was totally drunk and slurring, and also bloated and fat. He couldn't remember the words to his songs so he kept pulling out a piece of paper from his pocket and reading them out, but getting the timing wrong and stumbling. And then in the middle of one song, he kind of suddenly stopped and grunted and said "uh.... I split mah pants," and then he shuffled off stage BACKWARDS to hide the fact that his Generous Elvis Flesh was hanging out the back of his white spandex pantsuit. And, oh my god, even though it was Elvis and he's the King of Rock and Roll, doesn't this sound like THE WORST CONCERT EVER?
Susie and I didn't actually believe that it happened, but then we did some research, and look! This person was also at the concert in Pontiac, Michigan and saw Elvis split his pants! Hello, Pat Stacey, wherever you are! Perhaps you know my parents! Maybe you shared a doobie in the bathroom together, or whatever it is people did at Elvis concerts in the 70s.
So this reminded me of the time I went to see Bon Jovi playing live at Wembley Arena, which was in the summer of 1995. Please do some math now and realize that BON JOVI WAS NO LONGER COOL IN 1995. I didn't go and see the Bad Medicine-era Jon, with the long hair and the bad attitude and the rocking tunes. I didn't fall in love with the "Blaze of Glory" Jon, or the one who sang "Living on a Prayer." Oh no, I discovered Bon Jovi AFTER they were an acceptable band to like, and so I went to see Feathered Haicrut Jon singing "Bed of Roses" and "Always," and I will bet you whatever money you have on you right now that I could still sing all those songs to you and tell you the meaning behind each lyric. Oh, I was so in love with that Jon. I made a special book in which I wrote down all the words to all the songs, and I practiced mouthing the words every night. The day I finally got to see him in concert, I was 15 and I'd had my first run-in with fake tan the night before BECAUSE I THOUGHT A SUBTLE CARIBBEAN GLOW MIGHT MAKE HIM NOTICE ME. Yes. Together with the Sun-In. We went with my friend Caroline's godfather who was just adult enough to be responsible and just young enough not to be an embarassment to us (because obviously going to a Bon Jovi concert WASN'T EMBARASSING AT ALL) and then we (purposefully) lost him within the first ten minutes. Don't feel bad for him, he had our sandwiches. He sat with our other friend Celia and ate them during Ugly Kid Joe.
So it was a hot day and thousands and thousands of us were packed into a stadium and then, guess what? You will never guess what. I fainted! I know! How Beatles Concert Circa 1967 of me!
But actually, and here is a confession, I didn't really faint---I was totally faking.
But it was neccessary! Because what happened when you fainted was that the crowd lifted you up and passed you overhead---past ALL THOSE people who'd got there earlier than you in order to get that little bit closer to the Feathered Ones---and deposited you in the St. John's Ambulance Tent. You lay there for a little while and then when you were better, they sent you off into this VIP enclosure that was THISCLOSE to Jon and the band and yes, it was awful and deceitful for us to decide to do this, but ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR, AND THIS WAS LOVE, DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?
So a plan was hatched and first I "fainted" and then Caroline "fainted," and after we'd stayed in the St. John's Ambulance Tent for a few minutes, we were sent on our way with a coveted orange VIP wrist band and we found ourselves, like, three feet away from Richie Sambora. And to this day I feel really awful about wasting the time of the kind people in the St. John's Ambulance Tent, but you know what? I sort of think they knew we were faking. I couldn't keep my eyes closed properly because I was constantly wary about people trying to cop a feel while they lifted my body over the crowd, because this was one of the Dangerous Things I'd heard happened at rock concerts. Plus, Caroline maintains to this day that Jon Bon Jovi gave her a thumbs up and winked at her, so the lying was totally worth it.
But even though that was great, here is where the best moment of my life happened, four years later, on a stage in West London, when Bush was still famous---um, the band, not the president, and if I have to explain this to you, perhaps we will never in our lives meet for coffee---and Gavin Rossdale was still super-hawt and unmarried and had not yet revealed himself to have an illegitimate lovechild named Daisy or a penchant for Seedy Aging Rock Star Hair. I had long since got over Jon Bon Jovi, somewhere around the time that I realized I would never be able to move to New Jersey with him---not, you know, because he was a famous rock star with a wife and three kids, but because, hello, NEW JERSEY. And so I was in love with Gavin Rossdale instead, and the night I saw him in concert at Shepherds Bush was the night I became That Girl You Hate. You know, the one I mean---the one you always used to shout swear words at when you saw her climb on stage with the band in music videos. Yes, her. Except without the white leotard top, because those girls are always wearing white leotard tops, aren't they? And I would NEVER wear a white leotard top. Especially not to a concert, what with all that sweating. And the increased risk of spilled beer.
So anyway, what happened was this: my friend Kate and I arrived late, because we were cool like that (or actually maybe because there was a Tube strike---you know, whichever) and we managed to push our way to the front of the stage. I seem to remember that I might have been wearing this crown of dried flowers that I'd found on the street and thought looked cool on my head, but I'm desperately trying to edit that part out of my memory because I refuse to believe I could have embarassed myself so completely (who did I think I was? Jesus?) Regardless, towards the end of the concert, my love interest himself, Gavin "The Delicious" Rossdale did that thing rock stars do where they bend down towards the front of the stage and put their hand out so you can grab it. And I grabbed it and I was ecstatic, but THEN he came down right into the bit between the stage and the crowd and he started TUGGING ON MY HAND, and in my head I was saying GAVIN ROSSDALE IS TUGGING ON MY HAND, and it was all in caps, just like that, and then he said to one of the very large bouncers who was standing there blocking my view, "I want this girl on stage!"
And then Gavin Rossdale pulled me up on stage, where I stood very forlornly all by myself for a minute in front of thousands of people (dear God, PLEASE let me not have been wearing that crown of dried flowers and I swear I will change the kitty litter tomorrow even though it's Sean's turn) sort of smiling and maybe (please, no) vaguely singing until he came on stage a minute later with three or four other girls. And then we all rocked out with Gavin Rossdale and I kept exchanging glances with the girl standing on the other side of him, like CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING? but, you know, very theatrical glances with lots of OH MY GOD gestures and probably some hand-wringing, and we thought that BECAUSE WE WERE DOING THIS BEHIND GAVIN ROSSDALE'S BACK, it was okay and no-one would know we were freaking out. Never mind that we were on stage in front of thousands of people, of course.
But then came the best part, because this girl and I, we somehow managed to communicate silently with our eyes that it would be a GREAT IDEA to grab Gavin Rossdale's bottom. I mean, doesn't that sound like a great idea? To grab the bottom of a rock star while you're standing next to him on a stage? THAT'S MY IDEA OF A PARTY. So it was decided (again, silently, with our eyes) that she would grab one cheek and I would grab the other. You know, like a double scoop effect. So the plan was set. We counted one, two, three, and then I grabbed a handful of Gavin Rossdale's bottom, AS WE HAD PLANNED. And this other girl, damn her to hell wherever she is, did not. SHE DID NOT HOLD UP HER END OF THE BARGAIN! And this is how I came to grab Gavin Rossdale's ass on stage in front of thousands of people (right cheek, if you're interested.) With Gwen Stefani apparently watching from backstage. I'm willing to bet I'm still on her shit list. Hopefully pregnancy will mellow her.
So that was my brush (er, squeeze) with fame. Aren't you proud to know me now? I think the only way it could have been any better is if Gavin Rossdale had split his pants. And if it had been my fault because I grabbed his bottom.