Performer: Foo Fighters
Songwriters: Dave Grohl
Original Release: Foo Fighters
Definitive Version: None
After being together a year, I felt comfortable enough to ask Debbie if I could take a separate vacation. The reason was simple: I wanted to go to the National in St. Louis, and I knew she would have no fun—or desire—in going. What woman wants to surround themselves with ugly dudes with chili dog sauce dripping off their T-shirts (aside from me, of course)? She readily assented.
The National, back in the Nineties, was awesome. There really is no other way to describe it. It is—or was—baseball-card collecting nirvana. I skipped the 1994 National for several reasons—the most obvious being my newfound romance—but by 1995, everything had settled down, and it was time to go again.
Dave was totally on board. His wife’s family lived near St. Louis, and Dave went to Missouri, so he had friends who lived in St. Louis. It was an easy sell, even though he had a still-new family. But, given that restriction, he wouldn’t be able to join me until the weekend. That was fine with me, because that would give me two solid days of hitting the floor hard to work on my set lists.
Dave and I, as became our usual M.O., scammed press credentials to avoid paying the $15 admission fee each day. (We WERE members of the press, although I had no intention of writing anything for my paper.) It also gave us access to the press room and a few freebies, but really it was more about getting our feet in the door.
It’s funny now, but unlike other trips, I don’t really have a concrete narrative to deliver of the St. Louis National in 1995. It’s a chaotic collection of memories. For example, I definitely remember was calling Dave from the press room soon after I got there Wednesday night for the sneak preview. I used my calling card. (This still was at a time when cellphones were only for the wealthy, which I was not.)
The press room was in a cool location: It was on the corner of the second floor of the St. Louis convention center, and it had windows that looked out over the whole floor that wrapped around it like a big L. On one side were all the dealers, and on the other were the pro sports leagues and all the games that kids were playing, like kicking a field goal through the uprights or playing wiffleball on a well-layed-out diamond.
There was so much going on, it was hard to keep track of it all. I guess, in retrospect, I don’t remember much in order, because there was too much going on to pay attention to what happened when. Another example: I have no memory of the flight to or from there or how I got from the airport to the hotel downtown when I arrived. I can only assume I took public transportation, because this was before I decided that spending money on a rental car wasn’t a waste.
I suppose I’ll share a few more vignettes at a later point, because Dave and I ended doing quite a bit after he showed up—including a Cardinals game, going up the Arch, and finding the most excellent video-game arcade I’d seen in ages. I’ll just do what we do in newspapers: When we’re not bright enough to construct a narrative, we use bullets.
And with that, I’ll put a 30 on the day.