The weather in Pittsburgh took a turn for the worse late Friday afternoon and it was starting to look like we weren’t going to be able to make the Goblin show. The fact that I was dismissed from work around 4:00 because it was starting to SLEET was a pretty good indication that the roads might not be OK. (I could even hear the ice pelting my office window.)
I took the trolley home and it didn’t seem too bad. But Henry the Weatherman was all, “LET’S JUST WAIT AND SEE OK IT’S SUPPOSED TO GET WORSE.” That is definitely not what I was trying to hear, you guys.
Finally around 5:30 I started to cry so he huffily stuffed his blue collar feet into his boots and left to pick up his mom so that she could babysit for us. It took them a really long time to come back so I admittedly felt pangs of guilt, like maybe the roads really were super terrible and they had skidded off into a ditch and were being devoured by wolves. Because that happens a LOT in Pittsburgh. But they made it back and I was all, “HOORAY LET’S GO NOW OK BYE CHOOCH!”
And we experienced approximately zero problems getting to Homestead, so take that, Pittsburgh metereologists.
“Yeah, but it’s supposed to snow really hard tonight, so it will probably be a mess by the time we leave,” Henry warned wisely. God, he always has to be so negative.
We had about 45 minutes to kill before the doors officially opened, and since we had never been to this particular venue for a show before, we basically roamed around with question marks over our heads. When we’re lost, we’re obviously lost. But then a staff member informed us that we could go to “the bar,” which was basically a cold, cafeteria-esque room with a bunch of bottles of Barefoot wine and some guy slinging slices of pizza out of a box.
As usual, I wasn’t paying attention and failed to notice that there was a wine list taped to the counter in front of my face, and thought my only choice of wine was merlot, which is not my favorite wine at all, but that’s OK. I was too excited to be a bitch about it. (For once.)
Henry bought a slice of pizza and a plate of weird, frozen mini cheesecake thingies for me. Definitely the most interesting food I’ve ever eaten at a concert. But then, I don’t usually eat at concerts so there’s that.
We had fun sitting there and guessing who was going to go home and murder someone after the show. But mostly everyone there was pretty chill. And old! For once, Henry was at a show for his own demographic! I think I was the youngest person there. One of the youngest, anyway, which was a nice change.
We made our way back to the music hall entrance around 7:30 and lingered around the merch table where I chanted, “Can I please get a poster? Can I please get a poster? Buy me something. Buy me something,” until Henry walked away and hid in the mens room. Of course I’m going to gravitate toward a $30 poster and not a $5 patch.
Henry was mad that his genuine smile in this picture got so much attention on Facebook, so he tried to force-frown for this one. Look at him, wearing a non-Faygo t-shirt!
The Carnegie Music Hall is super beautiful! When I ordered our tickets last October, I chose two seats in the balcony because I fucking love balconies.
And then I proceeded to spend two months panicking that the seats were going to suck.
They did not, in fact, suck. Well, view-wise, anyway. My friend Sandy had warned me earlier that day at work that the seats are really uncomfortable and that we should bring something to sit on. Of course, I ignored her sage advice and almost immediately upon sitting, I found myself wishing that my ass actually had MORE padding.
I texted Sandy immediately to verify that her assessment of the seats was painfully accurate. “We saw Kevin Smith there last year and I thought I was going to be paralyzed,” she swore. Luckily, the opening band—Zombi—took the stage precisely at 8 so we were slightly distracted from our tailbones’ misery…for a few minutes, anyway.
Henry and I saw Zombi back in 2004 when they opened for Q and Not U at the World (better known to most Pittsburghers as Rosebud). They’re actually from Pittsburgh, so it was really cool to see that they snagged the opening spot for the second leg of Goblin’s North American tour.
Zombi is just two guys, one on synthesizers and bass, and one on drums. I don’t remember very much from when I saw them nine years ago, but I was definitely on board Friday night. Their music is very atmospheric and spacey, with just enough eeriness to leave you feeling unsettled. It made me think of the music I tried to play on my shitty Casio keyboard when I was in elementary and REALLY INTO recording myself telling horror stories that I made up on the fly. (They were as great as you probably imagine them to be, with lots of abrupt cries of anguish when I would fuck up for the millionth time and have to rewind and re-record.) They also did the score for the horror movie Murder, Set, Pieces, so that automatically makes them cool in my book. Not that my book matters for much, but you know.
I appreciated that the stage lights changed color every time a new song started. That was probably extremely helpful for those not able to keep up.
Henry was honestly asleep in his awful wooden seat before the first song was over.
Zombi finished their set before 9:00PM and I was overjoyed to stand up. Henry and I had the last two seats in our row, so we mostly lingered in the small space next to our row for the entire duration of intermission. That’s not true; Henry went to buy contraband M&Ms at one point and smuggled them back in. I thought for sure he was going to come back with the fucking poster I wanted but he was clearly staying true to his cheap ass ways.
My lumbar was on fire from that seat. I literally put my back against the wall and slid all the way down into a crouch, like I was attempting to birth a child in the wild, and not caring about what it must have looked like to all of the middle-aged geeks in their various Dario Argento t-shirts. I’m certain that Elizabeth Bathory had furniture akin to those seats in her torture chamber. Totally barbaric.
Goblin came on right around 9:00 though and I mostly sat lurched forward the entire time in excitement, which simultaneously kept me nice and stretched, so that was nice!
Sometimes I get bored really easily when bands don’t sing, and I was honestly afraid that this would be the case that night. I didn’t know what to expect, and I’m kind of glad I went into this without ever YouTube’ing their live performances. From the moment they took the stage, it was motherfucking electric. They killed it on every song and it was pretty difficult to lose interest when there were so many talented musicians on that stage to ogle. And they brought this creepy (in a good way) interpretive dancer with them who totally made my skin crawl every time she came out. She really added that extra punch of Scary to the songs she performed on.
Goblin performing the “Suspiria” theme!! The dancer came out in full-blown Susie Banyon-mode and I almost peed my dumb pants. Goblin more than likely never would have been on my radar had it not been for my love of “Suspiria.” When Janna and I were walking to Gina and Elissa’s Christmas party on Saturday, I asked Janna if she remembered how obsessively I looked for a copy of that movie in high school (this was back when you had to get out the phone book and start calling around to video rental stores, you guys. Oh, the horror!) and how I made her and Lisa come over to watch it when I finally found a Blockbuster that carried it, and as if that wasn’t adequate, I also had one of them take my picture standing next to the TV after pausing it on the title screen. And Janna was like, “Um, yes. And fuck you for making me walk to a Christmas party in 18 degree weather when I’m a Jew with poor circulation.”
When I like something, I REALLY LIKE IT.
I really can’t describe how special this night was for me. All of it was great, I was 100% enrapt for each song and I loved that they incorporated film snippets on a screen at the back of the stage, but when Massimo Morante (who. from where I sat, looked exactly like Henry’s mom in a black wig) was handed a bouzouki*, I just knew it was time for “Suspiria” AND I WAS RIGHT, GODDAMMIT.
*(I originally thought this was a mandolin, but figured maybe for once in my life I could actually fact-check a thing before writing it.)
It was the most incredible feeling, to sit there and literally be enveloped in the notes of that song that has stuck with me for so many years. Goosebump City, is what I’m trying to say here.
The dancer came back during the “Zombi” theme and danced as a, wait for it, zombie. Duh. She was scaring me!
God, aging Italian prog rock musicians are just so fucking adorable! Especially when they can just barely speak English. It was a really special evening and I am so glad that the snow didn’t stop us from hearing this music that manages to be beautiful yet so spine-tingling all at once. And did I mention that our very own Henry Robbins APPLAUDED after every single song? Because he did. I couldn’t believe it. I thought he only applauded for Judas Priest!
The whole night was really incredible and we walked out of there knowing without a doubt that we had just witnessed something special. If you have never heard of Goblin before, I seriously urge you to turn off all of your lights and YouTube them. And then go buy their albums!
Here, let me help you with that:
Oh, and guess who got that poster?
I can’t wait to find a majestic frame for it!
The next morning, I made Henry’s mom listen to Goblin.
“This isn’t bad!” she exclaimed with what sounded like shock in her voice. “I could honestly listen to this!”
It was probably the most bonding moment I’ve ever had with her, until she started talking about her neighbor’s band.
“He plays that real hard rock stuff,” she spat. “You know, like that Rod Stewart stuff.” And then I ruined our bonding moment by laughing.