Dispatches from Stu: The Hold Steady, autographs, Adrian Peterson, the Internet and a cacti-pocked hellscape

Posted on August 5th, 2008 – 12:12 PM
By Michael Rand

i-prefer-yanni.JPGWe don’t really know what to say except to reiterate that we enjoy Stu’s excellence. Stu, you have the floor:

ON THIS INTERNET THING FINALLY PAYING OFF, SHEER EUPHORIA AND ASKING FOR AUTOGRAPHS

Pictured: Stu’s daughter Piper, 4, finding out that Dad is talking about the Hold Steady yet again.

With Michael “RandBall” Rand now being the toast of the internet for his interview with Erin Andrews, it stands to reason that I, RandBall’s Stu, would benefit from my association with this web concern. I had to go all the way to Tucson, Ariz., for it to happen, but it by God did.

I was visiting my brother Tim, who lives in Tempe, home to Arizona State University and an average August temperature of OHMYGODIAMGOINGTODIE. The motivation for visiting this cacti-pocked hellscape was the Hold Steady, playing Saturday night at Tucson’s Rialto Theatre. Plenty of virtual ink has been spilled here about this band, their old band, their love of the Minnesota Twins, etc., so I’ll keep the concert review short: sheer euphoria. I’ve maybe seen one or two better shows in my life, and even then, I can’t remember being so overwhelmingly giddy. Drew Magary wrote a fantastic piece for Deadspin last year about another “one of us” musician and his being completely caught up in the moment and totally [redacted] into it. That’s exactly what I felt Saturday night. It’s exactly what I felt when Adrian Peterson turned into Superman, Green Lantern and Thor combined at Soldier Field last year. It’s exactly what Piper feels when there’s a Wonder Pets marathon on. Whoever’s in charge of doling these moments out, more like this, please.

Tim and I attended the show with a group of his friends. One of them, Trevor, is a LeSeuer Le Sueur native, and mentioned that he was an avid reader of sports blogs and liked the work I did on RandBall (my brother had revealed my secret identity). After the show, as the rest of stood outside the venue catching our breath, Trevor emerged from the front door with a flyer for the show that he’d “appropriated” from the lobby wall. “Here you go,” he said. Apparently it was a gift for the Luc Longley Hunt Down. Thanks, fella.

We went across the street to our hotel, which is also where the band was staying. Of course, since they’re not the Rolling Stones, they hung out in the kind of awesome lobby bar with the rest of the rabble. We shook hands with Franz and admired his mustache, expedited guitar god Tad’s Jagermeister purchase and speculated about Favre, and tried not to bother Craig too much.

However, I did have a flyer for the show in my hand, and the guy who writes the lyrics for the band that just blew my mind was sitting 15 feet from me in his BC Law t-shirt. I was conflicted on the question of getting him to sign it, because I’m 37, and asking someone for his or her autograph at my age just seems goofy. I don’t bring my glove to the Metrodome, I don’t have a Facebook page and I don’t ask people I’ve never met to sign things because I think they’re awesome. Fortunately, my brother had no such concerns, and he led me over to Craig’s table, apologized for bothering him, and asked if he’d sign the flyer. He graciously assented, made some small talk about the Twins and Liriano, and we were on our way.

To sum up: I have a suitable-for-framing poster of my favorite band with “Stay Positive!” scrawled on it by the lead singer. All thanks to the Internet.

Topics for further discussion:
· Do you still ask for autographs and bring your glove to the park, or have you put away those childish things?
· Concert notes: they played “Chillout Tent” (which went right into “Hornets! Hornets!” which was AWESOME), “Lord, I’m Discouraged” will make them a pile of money if there is any justice in this world, and they closed with “How A Resurrection Really Feels.”
· Arizona RandBallers past and present: why are all the central air units mounted on the roof of a house, rather than on the ground like in Minnesota? No one could tell me.
· Share your most recent moment of sheer euphoria that’s suitable for a family newspaper.

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