Me with Andy, Tony and Gopal of Bella Morte moments after the show (photo by Angel Miranda)
At the Infusion Center at UVA, about a week after the show. (photo by Gwenn)
So the big show on August 3 with my friends went well... very well! It was unbelievable how many people showed up- close to 400. There was such a great energy, it was by far the best show I’ve ever played or have been involved with.
The venue was very surprised by the turnout, too- we are all local (Synthetic Division, Lauren Hoffman and Bella Morte), but had quite a few in attendance who traveled great distances for the show. One couple drove from Massachusetts to Virginia. So many friends and strangers, from far and wide, made the night an unforgettable one. Included were my good friends from AIDS Services Group, who were kindly on hand to give out free condoms at the Synthetic Division merch table.
I got choked up a couple of times during the night- once on stage. The third song of our set, “Borrowed Time”, is about the notion of not knowing how long you have left... I wrote it about ten years ago, and as it started I thought about friends I’ve lost... and how lucky I was to be standing on that stage. There have been a lot of times in my life where things could have gone the other way.
The next time was during Bella Morte’s set. I scrambled up close to the stage and stood on the right side with my shoulder resting against the wall. This was Gopal’s first show in seven years with the band he helped found. As I watched him play, a memory came back of one of the first times I saw them play in the basement of Tokyo Rose. I went there sick, by myself, in my pajama bottoms... and leaned against the right-side wall. When that memory hit, tears just started to flow, and I let them.
Another unforgettable moment- the last song in my set was “Close To Me”, a cover of the Cure’s song. My goddaughter, who is almost 5, loves my version. Whenever the original comes on and Robert Smith starts singing, she asks. “Who’s that? Where’s Shawn???” It’s too cute. She was in attendance at the show, and I dedicated the song to her- which I kind of botched. After we were done, I heard that when the Cure song started my goddaughter- who was wearing protective headphones- tore off her headphones and listened to the whole song without them.
There are so many moments that were great, but those are just a few and I have to get to the aftermath at some point, so....
About five days before the show I bumped my side. It’s embarrassing, as many hemophilia-related injuries can be... I was out to eat with friends, there were five of us, and I got to the booth first and slid in... I didn’t see that there was a steel beam coming down from the wall into the booth and I slid right into it. It hurt like hell, but only momentarily. I knew it would leave a mark, and the next day a small bruise appeared.
After a couple of days I forgot about it.
A few days later was the day of the show, which includes hauling equipment out of your house, into the car, and into the venue. Then the show itself- which I hopped around onstage for and even engaged in a pratfall where I gingerly fell to the ground before leaping to my feet just in time for the last chorus. Later that night, when my goddaughter was ready to go, I helped carry her to the car...
Anyway, the day after the show my side was killing me. And that little bruise? Now it was huge. I ended up treating it with clotting factor at home- which I quickly ran out of. Then when I went into the hemo clinic to show my hematologist, she kind of freaked out over it. It’s been quite the adventure, not only treating this wound but also trying to get the mail order pharmacy to actually send me more clotting factor. So, this week I have more treatments lined up...
Which begs the question: was it worth it?
Abso-fucking-lutely. A little reality check after an unreal night seems cosmically appropriate, and I’m okay with that... the only thing I’d change is how the injury started. Sliding into a booth is pretty damn lame.
The night before our big show, Josh and I pose with Lauren before taking in some Yacht Rock
The view from the Infusion Center. I turned my bleed into a skyscape.