Friday, June 8, 2012

[Views of Cincinnati] Soul to Squeeze Sunrise

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I've loved the Red Hot Chili Peppers since I was a kid. Like many people, I "discovered" them when the singles "Scar Tissue" and "Otherside" were incredibly popular on the mid 90's radio. I really got hooked when I bought "By the Way" and "Californication" in 2002. Eventually I amassed the band's entire discography and have loved every song for its own reasons, but my favorite has and always will be "Soul to Squeeze."

I finally got to see them for the first time in January of 2007. Wednesday night was the first time they were in Cincinnati since then. Lance Delune and I had a plan to go to the show, but time was of the essence.

Since his days of urban exploring, Lance had since moved to Chicago. We bought our tickets in February and waited for the days to pass when we'd be seeing the Chili Peppers at US Bank Arena.  Lance was flying in from Chicago. I left my apartment at 5:00 with plenty of time to get to the airport. I had told him that his flight would be cutting it close and that we'd be really pushing it to get to the concert on time. I jokingly told him: "This is Cincinnati, there's no trains to the airport and the [Brent Spence] bridge will probably be blocked." The joke was on me though, as a semi dropped a bunch of steel and had backed Brent Spence traffic all the way south to 275. We needed an alternate route.

I sat at the airport viewing area and saw his plane land. I looped around to pick him up at 6:15 PM. We had an hour and fifteen minutes until the concert started and still needed to make a stop in Clifton. We took old Dixie Highway through Ft. Mitchell. I was cruising down a hill "somewhat slightly" over the speed limit. "Hey, look!" said Lance. I thought he was pointing out the view of the skyline. No, he was pointing out the cop I just flew by who then turned on his lights. "Fuck!" I exclaimed. Not only were we already pushing time, but now this would delay us and I was going to end up with a speeding ticket. The cop pulled out and turned the opposite direction. Bullet dodged.

We navigated back roads through Covington and then over the Clay Wade Bailey bridge, bypassing the mess on the Brent Spence. I never really drive over the Clay and had never before appreciated the view from it. We got to Clifton, ran into a Gold Star Chili and grabbed some quick Coney's. Scarfing down chili cheese dogs in the car, we met Lance's sister in law at her work and grabbed the extra tickets that we planned to sell to friends for beer money.

We devoured our food, flew to downtown and parked. Hustling from 6th and Sycamore, we made it to the arena just as the opening band started. Everything had gone perfectly, "Harold and Kumar" style as Lance explained. We sipped some beers and anxiously awaited the Chili Peppers to come on. The lights dimmed, the band walked out and started jamming before they broke into "Monarchy of Roses," and the entire set came alive with the crowd going wild.

The entire show was incredible. By far the best concert I've ever been to. The Chili Peppers music has meant so much to me for so long. They encored with my favorite song, "Soul to Squeeze," while wearing Cincinnati Reds uniforms. It couldn't have ended better until they broke into "Give it Away" after Flea declared: "Pete Rose is the greatest fucking baseball player of all time," or something to that affect.

Lance and I then went to Neon's to play some bocce and visit old friends like Dr. Venkman. A few beers down then to Camp Washington Chili for some "real" dinner. By real dinner, I mean more cheese coneys. Then we went back to my apartment. I tried to stay awake by watching NYPD Blue, but after an hour of sleep, Lance woke me up at 4:30 in the morning. I threw on some shoes and we got in the car to take him back to the airport. I dropped him off just as the sun was coming up, he was heading back to Chicago where he had to work that morning. I drove to Covington and went back to the Clay Wade Bailey bridge that we had passed not even 12 hours ago. I set up the camera and made the photograph seen above.

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