by Zoë Chinander-McFaul and Eli Kan
Maybe it was fate which led us to that concert. Maybe it was just the bus. Maybe it was the several shots of vodka we downed before bundling up, and, let’s face it, seizing the day. Whatever the driving force was that night, we ended up making it to Amsterdam Bar and Hall to see Tommy Cash, and thank God we did!
After all, it was 2/22/22, and the night was destined to be special. That morning, however, it seemed like everything aligned perfectly… for a National Shite Day.
First, there was the issue of the tickets. They simply weren’t loading. After many frantic emails between us and Nicole from Ticketmaster, they suddenly materialized. An hour before the show. At that point we didn’t even want to go.
When we bought the tickets in July, our love for Tommy was like a felsic flow of magma… unstoppable, pyroclastic even. Overtime, through the trials and tribulations of the winter months, this love began to dim. The light of our love for Tommy would never go out, of course, but the constant snowfall had taken a toll, and the once-vivid dream of attending a concert had dwindled into a misguided desire of months past.
Secondly, there was a bit of a giant blizzard going on and frankly we were sick of it. All we wanted was to get Shamrock shakes and curl up on the couch for an evening of Pretty Little Liars. The concert venue felt impossibly far away in the midst of the falling snow and we prepared ourselves to call the whole thing off. But alas, our die-hard Tommy friends arrived at our doorstep, clad in the Tommy-est of attire and two golden smiles (and a bottle of vodka), and we simply had to go. And blessed be, it was lit.
Though prepared to claw our way to the stage, we kept our elbows to ourselves that night, as there appeared to be twenty people in the crowd, while forty more ate onion rings in the booths at the perimeter of the venue. As we buzzed about before the show started, we found ourselves surrounded by the peculiarest of characters. The shining jewel among them was The Biggest Tommy Cash Fan in All of Minnesota (aka Jose, his status proven by a Spotify screenshot which designated him in the top 0% of Tommy’s listeners).
In fact, Jose seemed to know every word of every Tommy song. All night long, we heard his hoarse voice crying out beside us, the one constant throughout the night, but Tommy never acknowledged him. We even tried shouting messages of love to Tommy in Russian, one of the many languages he speaks, but he stoically ignored us as well, like we were lost and lowly ships in the night, beholden to his shining lighthouse. He gave us a bottle of water, though.
Tommy started the show with X-RAY off of his 2018 album ¥€$, much to the delight of his fans, who erupted in joyous screeches as the song began. Overwhelmed by his charisma and cult-leader-like stage presence, the crowd thrashed along to his music with reckless abandon. Our coveted spaces at the edge of the stage spared us some of the physical carnage of the mosh pit, though left us battered and bruised nonetheless.
He ended up playing every song we loved (including the effervescent xXXi_wud_nvrstøp_ÜXXx remix) and a few we didn’t (*ahem* Zuccenberg), but although Tommy was cute in his little Balenciaga outfit, albeit lacking the brazen femininity we had come to expect, the real star of the show was his DJ Danny Zuckerman. Shirtless and hairless and clad in what seemed to be the Tripp version of JNCO jeans, he writhed about on stage in the classic slav squat, standing up to thrust indiscriminately at Tommy or any of the lucky crowd nearest to him.
Alas, nothing gold can stay and the show ended almost as swiftly as it started. As we retrieved our winter jackets from the crusty bar tables we had hidden them behind and bundled up for the bus ride home, our eyes landed on the merch table. 75 dollars for an orange sweater! Like receiving a blow to the head, we were left reeling but still in good spirits, happy at our decision to witness Tommy in the flesh.
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