an early anniversary night out

Last night, as an early anniversary celebration (we'll be married 13 years this Monday), my wife and I went to see the Pixies play the State Theatre in Minneapolis. It was an excellent show. Very loud! Paz Lenchantin, who replaced Kim Deal on bass and backing vocals, was great. Joey Santiago played masterfully, his solo on 'Vamos' was incredibly cool. David Lovering was solid on drums and had a funny moment when trying to get the band to end the song 'La La Love You', for which he sings lead. And Mr. Black Francis' vocals were amazing. That man sure can scream.

After the show, which ended with us satisfied, but wanting more, Amy and I popped into O'Donovan's Irish Pub, which is located right across the street from the legendary Minneapolis nightclub First Avenue & 7th St Entry. We enjoyed a traditional black & tan and watched the zombies taking part in the annual Zombie Pub Crawl.

Minneapolis' legendary nightclub
We then decided to check out First Avenue. I hadn't been in our old hang out in a couple of years and Amy hadn't been there in over 11 years. We didn't realize that the club no longer has dance nights with a DJ in the main room, which in the old days was what they did on Saturday nights. Last night the Afghan Whigs were playing. If we wanted to go in (and we did want to go in) the ticket price at the door was $35 a piece!

We asked the nice young bouncer who was checking IDs outside the entrance about what happened to the dance nights in the main room. He explained that they stopped doing DJ nights in there a while back, but they did open up a room in what used to be the VIP lounge for DJ music and the cover was only five bucks.

Being that the cover was so reasonable, Amy and I decided to check it out . But when we got in there the DJ was spinning soulless, empty House Music and I was beginning to think we had wasted 10 bucks, when, fortunately, we both needed to go to the restroom. We noticed that this dance lounge had no facilities. At least, not that we could find.

However, there was another nice young bouncer at the door that headed into the main room. He sat at a cash register at the door and we assumed he was taking the five dollars from folks coming into the dance lounge and, probably, getting the rest of the $35 dollars from those wishing to head into the main room to see the Afghan Whigs.

We approached him and Amy asked about restrooms. He told us that to use the restrooms we would have to go into the main room and use the two in there. He told us where they were situated right outside the dance lounge. We knew where they were, being old veterans of First Avenue ourselves. In fact, I later thought to myself, in classic old man fashion, that that bouncer, who was in his 20s, hadn't even been born when I first started hanging out at the legendary nightclub 30 years ago.

Amy asked him, "So, what's to stop us from just staying in the main room?"

He replied, in a rather sheepish fashion, "Well, you're not supposed to."

His reaction was such that we got the distinct impression that we could do just that. Just go ahead and stay in the main room if we wanted. He didn't seem too bothered at the notion. What was he going to do? Wait for us to leave the restrooms and escort us back to the dance lounge?

So, we took our bathroom breaks and stayed in the main room and watched the Afghan Whigs play. (For some reason, both Amy and I, not knowing the band's material, had thought they were more folksy or alt country like Wilco, but they were a pretty rockin' band.) We saved $60 because of the indifference of one bouncer to an apparent loophole in the entry policy. Lucky us.

We noted the changes to First Avenue's interior. They had done some structural refitting of a couple of the bar areas and they had moved an entire stairwell. But most striking of all, was the change Amy noticed. They had cleaned the ceiling! That ceiling had been caked in a thick coating of dust for years, but now it was entirely cleaned.

One thing that hadn't changed was Pete. Pete is one of the long time employees of First Avenue. He tends the main bar on the upper level of the main room and he's done so since I had been going to First Avenue. And we're pretty sure he still remembered us.

What a great night. Happy anniversary, Honey Bunny.

Now it's time for me to pick up our son from my parents' house.

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