When I first stepped off of the plane, I was greeted by the smell of stale mildewed carpet from a fraternity basement along with a gaggle of fat, derp-faced mouth breathers that you would only expect if you have ever seen any show that even mentions Chicago. Sometimes stereotypes aren't only right, they're necessary. A $60 cab ride later, I'm hunkered down at a local bar with a hell of a bartender that immediately understood what drink roulette was. Goose Island was her local brew favorite so we went through each and every one until Savant joins to partake. Now the bartender was not bad looking. Chicago hot at worst, hot hot at best. We will go hot hot. At the stroke of penis-o'clock, it's time to move elsewhere and meander our way to the local pizza place to dig into a pie. Not a let down at all and after some food and a few more....and more.....and more drinks, the night moves onto another local bar where we partake in Christ knows what. Making friends, enemies and stories along the way we work our way back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.
Early in the morning the sun rises. Just an FYI. It happens everywhere, but it happens in Chicago as well. Idiot.
ITS KISS DAY! ITS KISS DAY!!! Waking up 34% giddy from excitement and 66% hungover, the morning moves to Navy Pier to work through the bullshit part of the day before faces are melted. A bloody mary starts things off quite well and the fact that you can carry drinks with you just add on to the gloriousness of this city. A quick stroll and a Cheezeborger-nofries-chips at the Billy Goat lead into a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry. Get your learn on fuckers. That's what you need to know. Being someone with ADD, this was the perfect place to spend a few hours. Looking at skeleton dong, playing with fire and listening to the softest of whispers from a distant lover from across the room as if they were right behind me prepared me like nothing more for the evening. A quick stop by the 7-11 to get the pre-concert ingredients for a Bourbon Meyer and we are ready to roll. Although he will not read this, Finan is a bad motherfucker. Driver to and fro for this concert with his awesome girlfriend means that you are a solid dude in my book. Package that with a dude I would like to share some drinks with and hell, I may give you a hange if the highway isn't too lighted up. You know, because I'm classy. I don't want a trucker to see what I'm doing.
Stroll into the concert with beers in hand passing row by row....."excuse me"......"excuse me"........"excuse me".......until there isn't anyone else to say "excuse me" to. Because we are on the front fucking row. Motley Crue takes the stage in a fireworks display of naked whores and hard rocking, drunken, long-dicked motherfuckers that you would hope to the holy mother of Christ you get to be like one day. I will not. Not by a long shot. Being someone that was born in the early 80's, I didn't get much into Motley Crue or KISS in the beginning. I know their songs and enjoy "Wild Side" here and there. No bullshit that when I was on standby on the way home, I downloaded the shit out of both bands. No ballads. High powered, full throttle rocking for an hour put us in a place where we were never ready for this night to end. Chest pounding, adrenaline pumping, beer flowing. I could not get this sort of high trying to snort my way out of Lindsey Lohan's house....and believe me I've tried. And that was the opening act.
A quick piss and a beer later, we are back in the seats staring at a black curtain with a crowd full of investment bankers with faces painted which I am more than OK with. This place is somewhere that you can escape your day to day and live the life of who you want to be and not who society says you should be. Show your tattoos. Paint your face. Get drunk and sing your FUCKING ASS OFF!!!! ITS KISS!!!!! You wanted the best, you got the best! A barrage of fireworks, smoke, drums and explosions segue the band's decent from the rafters as they blast "Shout it out Loud" into our ear holes as if they are punishing us for just now partying with them. Piercing our eardrums with such ferocity that I would feel bad if I didn't see them any possible time I had a chance. If you can party through a show with KISS and see another band without thinking that you are cheating on Gene Simmons, then I congratulate you. You are a better man than I. Playing their normal set list of songs is exactly what you want them to do and it is exactly what they do. Running through the songs that made them the best band on this fucking planet is what they do best and they played the hell out of it. Shitty seats? No problem. They will come to you via a platform placed at the very last row of the covered seats so they can zip line out there and pelvic thrust you as close to your face as possible. In a barrage of fireworks, blood, confetti, alcohol, codpieces, loud bangs and explosions the night was done as we walked our way to the closest bar to wait for a ride home. Of course as we entered into the bar of 20-somethings playing Nickleback the only logical thing to do was play every KISS song they had and even pay extra for it to play before their dick-sucking music. And we did. For the next hour or so, beers were consumed and a jukebox was rocked with music it may have never heard before. We exited heads held high feeling that we had accomplished greatness that night. And you are goddamn right that we did.
Early in the morning the sun rises. Just an FYI. It happens everywhere, but it happens in Chicago as well. Idiot. Jesus, how many times do I have to say this?
No big plans outside of the Buckeye game for Saturday so we make it to the elevator with little on the schedule when we hear a couple of older ladies talking about going to the Bruce Springsteen show Saturday night.
"He was only here Friday right?" - Savant
"He is playing Friday and Saturday at Wrigley actually." - some old F.
Savant and I look at each other contemplating the same thing. As I get onto StubHub, I realize that we could rock out with The Boss for much less than we anticipated. Click. Buy. Print. Let's get this day started.
We make our way to a Buckeye bar for the game where we rub elbows with a few thousand locals who suddenly we have everything in common with. Throughout the first half, we power through hangovers and get to the point where we are ready to party when we stumble upon a tight shirt wearing gentleman at the front of the bar selling t-shirts. We quickly make friends and he makes a few bucks off of us along with a buckets of beer and some shots. Looking back, I would gladly pay three times as much as I did to make that connection than I did. Out of randomness, we also run into a friend of Savant's here. He is a bartender and was talking to us.
"I work at a bear bar"
Me - "Oh, I'm not leaving until late Sunday so I may watch the game there."
Him - "No sweetheart. Not a Bears bar, a BEAR bar. You would fit in good there."
This is also where possibly the game of fellate/fuck/anal came into play. Oh, you haven't played? Let me fill you in. Chicago is filled with a diverse group of women. Much better quality than was expected actually. Instead of looking onto the standard 1-10 scale, it escalated to what will be considered "fellate/fuck/anal" from here on. So basically, if a girl is hot then you would fellate her. If she is OK, you would fuck her. If she is a root, then you would give her anal. I know that you shouldn't start a sentence with "if" so fucking kill me.
Around the end of the third quarter, we realize that there is a raffle for a free LED TV and a couple of tickets to the Buckeyes/Huskers football game. As they go through the winners, the worst thing that happened on the trip happened......we didn't win a free fucking TV. Seriously. Looking back, I would gladly pay three times as much as I did to make that connection than I did. Seeing as how I haven't looked at my bank account since this trip, I can say that with confidence.* (*anything said in this article is subject to viewing of bank accounts and/or pictures that may surface)
Back to the hotel for what will go down as the worst nap in the history of naps ever. 30 minutes of heaven followed by a few hours of hell. Hungover and struggling to focus on the matter at hand, we leave the establishment in search of The Boss. The seats are good. Not perfect, but good. First level, just under the overhang and out of the rain that started pouring. Bruce put on a hell of a show. Nothing flashy. No explosions. Just Bruce. Playing all of his hits and a few new songs rocking the shit out of his fans. The crowd was for sure different than anything we saw the night before, but just as good all-in-all. Especially when you run into some random that you went to high school with that is sitting two rows behind you for no reason whatsoever. We left feeling satisfied in a way that I can only describe as the way you feel leaving a great steakhouse after getting the steak you weren't planning on getting and it being cooked the way you didn't expect. Walking out of the door taking a deep exhale while looking at the other person shaking your head as in a manner to say "damn, I cannot believe that just happened." That sums up the night.
Wrigleyville was the happening spot from there on where we decided to play around in a few Michigan bars before finally cabbing it home around the 3am range from what I recall. We return back to the hotel where Savant immediately passes out fully clothed (dammit!) while I go to remove my contacts and get my nighttime eyes on.
Early in the morning the sun rises. Just an FYI. It happens everywhere, but it happens in Chicago as well. I mean this is just ridiculous now. How do you not know this? It's fucking scienceish.
Sunday comes and a little time is killed walking the Chicago downtown and browsing for things that could make me move here. It does a pretty damn good job. Come 11 or so, Savant must depart for home and I stand at the corner of the avenue, bags packed with nowhere to go. I have a 430 flight and a little time to kill so I meet up with a few friends on the north side of town to watch football for opening weekend. We catch up and tell stories while making our way through the finest home brews that Chicago has to offer. 2pm comes around and I still have not even come close to leaving for the airport so I decide that the time has come to push back my flight. Although I want to move back to a flight later in the day, the Monday morning option sounds much better. I don't have to work anyways. I return to the table with the great news that I'm not leaving tonight and am faced with the challenge to try Chicago's signature drink of Malort's. Now if you have never had Malort's, you aren't missing out. It's awful. Beyond awful. If whiskey had a down syndrome baby with Ether and tequila was it's godparent, then when it pissed blood you would understand what this tastes like. And yes, I am getting some shipped to me. The slow burn of the devil's piss made me more and more apt to keep drinking. We move from bar to bar passing a man in a chicken costume, a $580 flight change and allegedly some Hispanic waitress that would only serve me alcohol.
Now the flight that would finally take me home to sobriety left at 1220pm on Monday, however, my friend left at 530am. Being a good friend I stayed out until 2am drinking and left the apartment at 3am to catch a train to the airport to go standby. We get to the train station where we find out that $4.50 is the amount it takes to get to the airport (please see second paragraph for taxi fare to the same destination). I have exactly $1 on me and her purse is dumped upside down to finally come up with $4.50-ish in change and such. I get on the train and ass-to-ass with some homeless guy for a seat while a Chinese business man is looking over my shoulder at anything I am doing on my phone. The airport was very friendly, but slow at this time of morning and I get on the 530am flight to Charlotte for my layover where they cannot guarantee me a flight to Dallas before 2pm. I take my chances.
Charlotte comes all too soon and my friend boards the plane at 9am leaving me to fend for myself until I either die or get on a flight. Luckily there are 4 flights to Dallas before mine......all of which I miss. I am on standby for each and every one and am passed up. I try to sleep. No luck. I try to drink. No luck. I try to masturbate. No luck.
Finally I am called to my 5th boarding group to Dallas where I have to check my bag and not carry it on since I am some fucktard that can't manage my own shit and need to have some Charlotte asshole carry for me to the tarmac. I oblige. Before we leave the tarmac, I am asleep. In blissful, needed sleep mind you. I couldn't be happier at this time until I wake up just in time to hear "you may now turn on your electronic devices". Yep. 16 minutes. Being someone that is 6'4" it's not easy for me to sleep on a plane. Mix that with the fact that I hate flying and we are on a shit boat to fuckass town. I am miserable for the next 1.5 hours. That is until the turbulence starts. The last 30 minutes before landing were probably the worst I have ever experienced in my life. The point to where the older lady next to me was rubbing my back while I dry-heaved into the barf bag that I had gripped so tightly the entire flight. Seriously, if you are reading this I owe you big time. If you aren't reading this, then I appreciate you having a conscience. I had to apologize to her for trying to throw up and the fact that I was about 36 hours from my last shower. Not to mention that my right sock was inside out. FML.
Landing in Dallas could not have been much more of a blessing for me at this time. I cattle-herd it with the rest of my traveling companions to the baggage carousel where I see bag by bag pass. Staring me down. Mocking me. Until I am standing with two woe some travelers looking for our personal belongings. An empty carousel spins in front of us while we patiently wait. That is when a small bag peeks it's head onto the conveyor belt. I see two sets of eyes bulge but they can fuck the fuck off. THIS IS MINE! I snatch my beloved bag up and make my way to the shuttle that takes me to my car. Seeing that I gave my last dollar to the train station employee, I give nothing to the poor guy wheeling my ass around and get into my car and make my way back to my own bed for a nice 6pm nap.
The following hours and days were filled with regrets and memories. Mostly thinking about how lucky I am to be able to live the life I did for a few days and how lucky I am to have people like this in my life. No matter how shitty I felt on Monday and Tuesday, I would do it all again if I was given the chance. Here's to you Chicago. A city to which I hold high on my pedestal of admirable cities and one which I will go to again and spend more time enjoying your blissfulness.
Thank you Savant. Thank you Chicago