The Bowery Ballroom, Monday January 24th, 2000.
This was the first Catatonia concert for the millennium, in New York, where I happen to live. I asked my friend Michael to buy four tickets a while ago, so that we could all go to see the band I introduced them to, having lived in England for a while. So he does. Then a week before the concert he goes on holiday to the Carribbeans, decides to stay longer, and by the day of the concert the tickets are locked into his apartment. I couldn't miss my first Catatonia concert, and someone is bound to have a ticket for sale, so by 7.30 I am standing outside, together with another ten people or so that are hoping to get into the sold out concert. After two hours of witnessing people being ripped off by touts with fake tickets, in the below zero chill of Delancey Street, hassling every passer by, I finally find a beautiful girl who admits having a spare ticket. "I love you!", I shout, hug her, buy the ticket and run in. The place is tiny and within minutes Cerys comes out and starts shouting the first line of "International Velvet". Then "Game on", "I am the Mob", "Londinium", and everybody lights a cigarette to enjoy in full "Don't need the sunshine".
The place is so small that you can her voice out of the mike, but the crowd is mostly indifferent or curious. Only a handful of fans are in front of the stage singing and having a good time. I had to join them. When Mulder and Scully starts I jump and push and find myself on the third row, with the happy group. We sing along "Road Rage", "You've got a lot to answer for" and "Dazed, Beautiful and Bruised". Then after "Bulimic Beats", I couldn't help it, I had to shout that she should keep eating because she's gorgeous. "Thank you", she says. Then she Storms the Palace with Strange Glue and disappears, leaving me in a dreamy daze about the beauty of her belly and her voice. They played fabulously, and the only disappointment was not to be able to jump up and down with “Karaoke Queen”.
I pick up a plectrum and I'm amazed it has no Catatonia logo on it. Walking home in the freezing night, I thanked the girl who sold me the ticket and wondered how big they will be the next time they'll be in New York. Then I can say "I saw them at the Bowery Ballroom", but no thanks to Michael!
© Stefano Pasquini 2000