Last year I didn't even know this concert was happening. In late December 2021, River texted me a screenshot of an Instagram ad for the Brooklyn show of Hot Chip's latest tour. They knew they're my favorite band, but that's about all they know about them.
I bought 2 tickets hoping that we could go together, which was strange because I was not practicing hope very much in December of 2021. But May 10 was a long time away. Maybe covid could be more under control by then. At least we'd know for sure by then whether River's chemo was working.
I looked up their opening act Hard Feelings, a collab between Amy Douglas and Joe Goddard, and kind of fell in love with that music too. I ordered the album, a get well gift for River, who wanted to expand their record collection again.
Instead, two days later I tested positive for covid and then missed about the last month of River's life. (Happy birthday to me.)
If I'm being honest, I didn't even notice May sneaking up on me. Of course I still went.
The show was stupendous. Some combination of face-meltingly gorgeous and bittersweet. An audience member asked their friend if they were "ready to viciously get down", and I was.
I've never heard Boy From School played so… yearningly? mournfully? It was something. The final all-hands-on-deck song was Beastie Boys's Sabotage.
As the title says, I waited a long-ass time for this, and I deserved to be here.
Here's the way it should have happened.
River would have accompanied me to the venue.
They'd have given me a light ribbing for insisting on arriving so early, as I always do.
We'd have enjoyed the opening acts, and River would have been screamed and hollared in support, despite being muffled by their mask, to make up for the rest of the early crowd's low energy.
Then Hot Chip would have taken the stage, and we'd dance and cheer and soak through our shirts and masks with sweat, though River would take it easy (they'd still be recovering from cancer, after all). River might even end the night feeling like they knew me a little bit better than before.
I'm going to imagine that it happened that way for just a little while longer.