I never thought I would be a Guest Host. So in November when I saw that BFD had yet to select a host for the Nov. 12 show in San Francisco I figured "why not?" and so I wrote in. Two obstacles stood in my way: one was that I did not live in SF (I am a resident of Sacramento, which is about an hour and a half away for those of you who might not know this) and the second was that it was only a week or so away from the gig! The horror! So when I got the OK from Scott that I was indeed "The Man", a surge of both glee and fear gripped me. It wasn't pretty, and I am glad you were not there to see it.
On the Saturday before the show I drove to the city with my Uncle Tom (whom I must say a thank you to publicly for his help) and plastered flyers all over San Francisco, Berkeley, and anywhere else I could in the Bay Area. Attempts at alerting the media proved futile, but fuck those losers all the same. Anyway, I tried all that one could try when you have a week to promote a show.
The day of the show I drove to the city, spent a good 45 minutes trying to find somewhere to park (an omen of things to come!) and walked into the club. Low and behold, there I found the legendary Scott Chatfield, who told me that The Bus was a few blocks away, unable to legally park by the club yet. My job; wait out front until after 6:30 for The Bus and make sure no one parks where the bus indeed needed to be. I did so, nervous in my anticipation. While waiting I met two very nice guys, Christian Heilman and Antal Adriaanse who sort of adopted me that evening (as I had come alone) and I thank them for this. Soon, THEY arrived, and mild chaos ensued. Unloading of stuff, introductions, my debilitating shyness overcoming me. No sign of Mike yet. Cami shows Christian, Tal and I the bus, which is very cool. Damn...forgot my camera. Walk back to the car amongst the porno shops and creepy people. Walk back, still no Mike. I sit and have a beer with Christian and Tal, and then in walks Mike. He and I had spoke over the phone on two occasions in hopes of doing a TV collaboration, but it just didn't happen. However, once introduced we basically continued our conversation where it left off several months before and I felt totally comfortable.
We were invited to go with the band to dinner at a Chinese place near by and a nice time was had by all. Later, Christian and I walked up to the famous City Lights bookstore and then went back to the club, digging the night and trying to avoid getting hit by traffic.
A long time was spent sitting through the opening bands, the first of which was OK but the second bugged me (except for their female cello player who was really good) and soon...THE MOMENT. "Chad Williams to the mic please..." Time to introduce the band.
Those of you who have done this might have done this same thing. In my head was a nice little intro that mentioned important things like this was indeed the last night of the tour and other things like that. But what came out was "well, I don't want to stand up here for very long so let me introduce to you the best band you'll probably ever hear in your life, Mike Keneally and Beer for Dolphins!" I guess it wasn't all-bad, but as a fan I wanted to say so much more. Oh well. Tal thought it was good, and what else do you need?
The show, to me, was holy. I stood there mouth agape in rapture as I watched these musicians whip out these amazing compositions. Even though the show was not considered that good by many in the band, it didn't matter to me. After what seemed like such a long time of waiting, here was my beloved MK and BFD right in front of me. A part of me wondered if this is what it was like to see Frank Zappa perform, whom sadly I never did get to see. But then I thought...no, this is a 100% BFD vibe, and I enjoyed every moment.
Show over, loading finished for the most part (there was little I could do, these guys had it DOWN!) I was able to talk with Mike for a few minutes. It is easy to put someone like him on a very high pedestal, as he is the kind of musician who makes other musicians cringe with envy! But you totally forget all of that talking to him and everyone else in the group as well. After saying good night to all, I drove home a very happy guy.
It was my pleasure to be a Guest Host and I would without question do it again if the opportunity arrived. Thank you to everyone whom I met and to BFD for a very memorable night.
--Chad E. Williams
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