I stand almost ankle-deep in mud, surrounded by screaming people. Their jackets have spikes on them and their heads are half-shaved.

It’s hard to breathe. Smoke is everywhere, high over the heads of the people screaming. It smells like mostly cigarettes, maybe a third weed. I don’t know why, but I enjoy the smell of both. They smell strong and harsh and sharp. I think smoke is beautiful. Maybe even more beautiful than fire.

People are shoving one another, trying to push forward, not caring about the others in the crowd. Screaming, smoking, shoving. I’m surrounded by denim, mud, leather jackets, smoke, and sound. There are no other things.

There’s another cloud in the air. Vapor from dry ice is pouring onto the stage.

The lights go on.

Frank Black stares out at the screaming fans. I stare silently at him. I look around at the other band members, silently judging the new bassist. Kim Deal was perfect, after all.

They pause with their arms hovering slightly above their instruments. The crowd falls silent. All we have to live for is this antici

…pation. The first chord comes down like a hammer, and David Lovering breaks into a beat.

I’ve been waiting for this moment for years. ♦