save cbgb, pt 2

around 10:30pm tonight

Tonight was the big media event, Blondie and Jesse Malin and the Star Spangles and the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Mickey Leigh and the Rattlers and Jean Beauvoir singing Ramones songs and everyone was there, Lenny Kaye and Handsome Dick Manitoba and Sami Yaffa (who now plays in Jesse’s band) and the Waldos and Ivan Julian is wandering around outside and Ted Leo and Legs McNeil and Tommy Ramone and John Holstrom… and taking a leadership role is now none other than Mr. Steven Van Zant, aka Silvio, aka Sugar Miami Steve, aka Underground Garage maven extraordinaire. No Patti Smith, no rumored Wayne Kramer/HDM pairing, and no, Stevie did not play either (which I would have been way down to see; Billboard claimed he was going to, but the boyfriend asked, only to be told: “I’m a retired businessman. I don’t play any more.”)

I couldn’t get into the main event, but the sideshow in the Gallery wasn’t too bad either, and having all those people in the same immediate area has got to be good energy. Besides which, I think I’ve spent as much time sitting/standing outside CB’s as I have inside the place, so the fact that tonight was also like that just felt like business as usual. In many ways, tonight could have been any night at CB’s: scenesters and rock stars and bums from the shelter upstairs alternately panhandling or just getting in your face, the tourists who had never been there, the underage kids (or at least the ones with bad fake ID) standing outside hoping to catch a note or two.

I just decided to overlook the fact that I hadn’t spent a night doing that for about 10 years, if not longer. The important thing was: once I did. Once it meant everything. The first time I saw the awning on Bowery and pulled the front door open and walked into that room — it felt like visiting Jerusalem. That place was magic.

At some point I’m going to have to make my peace with this and say goodbye.

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