Ryan and the Technicolor Wardrobe
Short Stories and Essays

I’ve heard of crazy things that have happened at Radiohead concerts: people bawling their eyes out as the band has come on stage, people fainting the second Thom Yorke speaks, pretty much the run of the mill rock star stuff that started with The Beetles and Elvis and continues on today with… umm, The Jonas Brothers.

Of course, I’ve only heard about these accounts from friends or by watching them on TV, which means I haven’t really “experienced” the weirdness. I just kind of shrug my shoulders and accept the fact that they happen. Of course, there was a good chance I was going to experience something since I had tickets to see Radiohead at the Hollywood Bowl, (and as we all know, Hollywood brings out the weirdos anyways,) but there was an even better chance that this “experience” was going to come from someone standing right next to me.

My friend Jessica claims that there are certain songs that will make her “crygasm” if they are performed live. The list of songs intrigued me more than trying to figure out what a “crygasm” is, which is probably what makes me a weirdo. The list of songs weren’t the most obvious (Fake Plastic Trees, High and Dry, Motion Picture Soundtrack, etc) but made sense, I mean, for Radiohead they made sense (Thom Yorke is not Lou Barlow). They were all beautiful songs that had some sort of romantic mention in them (“Climing Up the Walls”, “Talk Show Host”, and “True Love Waits”), and she was on the fence if “Reckoner” might do it, since she hadn’t heard the song live previously.

So the day of the show was pretty hectic for me. I had to leave my parents’ house in San Diego and head to Fullerton for church (and I had to make sure I had the tickets with me). From there, I was supposed to meet up at Chris’ house after lunch but lunch took a bit longer than expected so Chris and Jessica came to me, which I find endearing, except for the fact that they are afraid to meet any of my friends from church for fear of being converted. From there, we headed up to LA, hit up some stores, had dinner and walked over to the Bowl. Susan would meet us just as Radiohead walked on stage – talk about impeccable timing.  This is where the anticipation started to mount, not just for Radiohead, but for the much hyped “crygasm”.

For the previous week, I had been sifting through the Radiohead set lists on the ateaseweb.com message boards to see what songs we were likely to see at our show. Both “Climbing Up the Walls” and “Talk Show Host” were showing up pretty consistently and “Reckoner” was showing up every night, so it seemed that whether Chris and I wanted to experience it or not, a “crygasm” was headed our way.

The show started with “15 Step” and we were on our way. The Bowl was packed but no one in our immediate area fainted or started immediately crying to my amazement/disappointment. So, now it was up to Jessica, who wasn’t feeling especially great (she had a cold, she wasn’t depressed or anything). I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see her crygasm with a cold, since I still hadn’t determined what a crygasm actually is. Would it induce vomiting? Is it contagious when the crygasmer is sick?

These thoughts were just a passing fancy, since it’s pretty hard to ignore the awesomeness that is Radiohead and if you find a way to distract yourself during “How to Disappear Completely”, you my friend, have no soul. The band was at the top of their game and everything in the night started to come together. The day was rushed and a little stressed, but none of it mattered anymore. We were experiencing something magical, and while Jessica never crygasmed during “Climing Up the Walls”, it was far from a disappointment. Besides, we have pit tickets for Sigur Ros next month, so maybe those Icelandic kids will get a crygasm out of her or at least cause someone in the pit to faint. One can only hope.

(Jessica didn’t crygasm at Sigur Ros, but a girl who was next to me in the pit fainted – mission accomplished.)

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