Review 2005

Kat Herzog

To Drag The Past Out Into The Light: The Secrets Of Cellular Regeneration.

I don't know if it's science or fiction, but I once read that, every seven years, the human body completes a regenerative cycle. The fingertip that touched a lover's cheek on New Year's Eve 1996 is, on a basic cellular level, long gone. Today, you are comprised of completely different bits than you were on this day in 1998. It's a creepy and intriguing thought.

Anyway, it all started with concert tickets. I love the band and the band loves me for all the coins I've put in their pockets over the years. I'm admittedly a little irrational about the relationship, but is love every really sane? After a struggle against scalpers and ticketmaster.com and all sorts of ill fates, I bought my tickets. And then I had eight months to sit on the tickets. And I was scared to go to the concert.

Why the pathetic stumble? I saw them six times on the tour before their last tour, when I recklessly tripped from city to city, fire fully lit, unceasingly hungry for more. That year is a swirl of strange faces and instant friends, and foggy piers, desert skies, and icy subzero airport parking lots - and lots of cheap ramen noodles. In the years since, I've learned to balance a checkbook and actually pay my bills and research sensible vacuum cleaners.

The band didn't mean any less to me. It wasn't so much a fear that the band would suck; it was petrification at the thought that I wouldn't get it, wouldn't feel it, wouldn't love it the way I did before. That the hole left behind when I had to move past the butterflies, the pure joy, the adrenalin, the glow of that year was filled with seven years of more mundane cells: fiscal responsibility, corporate drone drudgery, and earplugs to prevent hearing loss. The eye that leaked a single perfect tear from the ninth row in 1998, and the thumb of the man who smeared that teardrop away, technically, cellularly, no longer exist.

"This is what church is like for the apostles," we'd say, drunk and delirious and glowing after the concerts - if the church was closed to me, I didn't want to know.

I wondered why I'd even bothered with the tickets. I pretended that I wasn't holding my breath for eight months.

There's this thing that happens toward the end of the song "One." After the baseline kicks in and the drums pick up and the subtle wah-chicka-wah guitar bits and the strings swell, You ask me to enter, but then you make me crawl, and I can't be holding on to what you've got, when all you've got is - and here is where it happens - hurt.

Before that word, all of the background chords and countermelodies build this tension, this subtle up-and-down-and-down-and-up movement that goes and goes and never breaks, and then on the last word, hurt, everything flies upwards and harmonically resolves, breaking and shimmering away with a shining cymbal crash. Together that chord and that word create a voice that realized the truth as it is spoken.

And that's how the show went: I learned the truth when I screamed it. The ten minutes before they went on stage seemed longer than the eight months of ticket-sitting. Opening chords. I exhaled, and screamed with everyone else, with joy, fire, love.

Lesson learned, and will be remembered seven years from now, and seven years after that and after that. Cells come and cells go. But before they're absorbed into oblivion, they share their secrets, ensuring that we're one, even if we're not the same.

Kat Herzog writes Geeky Sweet Nothings

For an introduction and list of contributors to Review 2005, follow this link.

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