This is what I mean.
You drive five, or possibly six, minutes from your home. When you pull up on Amherst Street, only feet from the Sportsmen's Tavern, that quintessential Buffalo thing awaits: the perfect parking spot. You take it.
You go to the door of the Sportsmen's, and one of the wonderful Hall family members waves you in. The place is full, but magically, there are two bar stools right in front of the stage. You order a beer. It's cheap and cold. Your friends arrive. Geoff takes the other stool. Donn is in the balcony. Anna and Cheryl show up eventually.
A few minutes later, one of the great rock songwriters of all time takes the stage. No, Marshall Crenshaw is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but that has nothing to do with his talent or output. It has to do with the craven nature of American pop music, perhaps a larger subject than we have time for right now.
His back-up band is the Bottle Rockets and they are sounding fantastic on this night -- crisp and soulful alike. The set is tight, full of Crenshaw's best tunes: "Marianne," "Someday, Someway," "There She Goes," and many more. He even covers Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression" with considerable verve. We're waiting for "Cynical Girl," and it arrives, making the show perfect.
All is right with the world, until you go out to your car again (carrying a beautiful flower arrangement but that, too, is a story for another day). And, oh, no! Aaargh! Damn! Stuck under a windshield wiper is one of those hideous and omnipresent blazing-orange envelopes -- a City of Buffalo parking ticket.
But wait. When you open it, no ticket lurks inside, just a handwritten note from the ticked-off homeowner whose driveway you may have intruded upon.
Understood. It won't happen again.
And here is "Cynical Girl" by Marshall Crenshaw at the Sportsmen's Tavern on August 15, 2012, a very Buffalo night:
(This video is dedicated to Keith McShea)