Boston, MA – “H.O.B.” – The House Of Blues – September 9, 1999

I’ve become a paranoid flosser. I think it’s because, when I made an appointment with my dentist in Boulder for cleaning next month, the receptionist asked how long it had been since I’d last seen a dentist. When I told her she replied, “5 years!?!?” I winced and responded, “Wow, sorry, is that a long time?” She must’ve thought I was being facetious as she didn’t deign to respond to my frank and honest question.

How often am I supposed to see a doctor?!?! My parents always arranged such things when I was a kid and ever since I left for boarding school at 13, I’ve only ever seen the medical community in the case of an emergency. Are you supposed to go yearly? Monthly? On your birthday? Honestly, how would I know? I could hear the receptionist’s angry fingers typing over the phone line. “Do you floss regularly?” she asked. “Yeah,” I lied. “‘Cus if you don’t,” she warned, “THE DENTIST WILL KNOW.” She was obviously used to patients, like me, telling flossing fibs. But she scared me enough that ever since then, I’ve been carrying a roll of floss everywhere I go. Anxiously I floss at least 5 times a day just so that the dentist won’t bust me.

Flossing on the Ferry in my favorite Purple T-shirt (which I lost while on Nantucket!!!)

I floss anywhere and everywhere —in the van, in museums, on ferry boat rides. So it’s no surprise that I happened to be flossing when we pulled up to the H.O.B. (House of Blues) in Boston. The thread was still hanging haphazardly from the left side of my cheek as I stepped out of the van into the bright windy afternoon and examined the sign with my name painted on it. It was beautiful and it waved at me in the wind above the specials sign which offered tonight’s special: “Chicken in a cone.”

Sal at House of Blues next to Chicken on a Cone sign

It was 9/9/99 and wasn’t the world supposed to end today or something like that?

Load-in was a bitch. Hefting “Fat Amy” (Brian’s drum case) up the narrow blue, chipped, and warped back stairwell was backbreaking and heartbreaking when we remembered we’d need to take it out again at the end of the night.

The dressing room was like a glorious gypsy caravan. Green velvet couches plumed like pea pods from layered plush Moroccan rugs. Multiple multi-colored candles left drip marks on glass holders that looked like piles of fainting ladies. George Rodrigue’s blue dog paintings stared longingly from the walls. There were points of interest on every horizontal surface—sequined pillows, a voodoo doll, a belly dancer lamp, a rhinestone-covered skull.

The boys had a crush on our merch girl, Daniella, and fought over who got to go down and exchange the too-large H.O.B shirt Kenny’d bought for his wife. As we waited for our show, I did vocal warm-ups and picked apart an order of tortellini. Every few minutes, I was surprised by another old friend popping up to the dressing room to say “hi.” aI started getting excited to play knowing it was going to be a sold-out show with so many familiar faces in the audience. Thank you, God! And The Boston Globe who’d penned us “The hot ticket to have in Boston.”

It was a joyous, energizing, and monumental show. I didn’t know how much I needed big crowd energy to replenish my flagging spirit after so many under-attended gigs. I knelt off to stage left and sold freshly signed CDs to a bouquet of faces that offered kind words, delicate eyes, shaking hands, and generous hugs. I felt very loved. Thank you all for coming.

We drove Boston’s cobbled streets to my mom’s pad which she’d allowed us to stay in under the strict understanding we leave it in the condition we found it. But as we neared her apartment, I realized I’d lost my music journal (which besides housing all the songs I’ve written this year, also contained directions on how to turn off the alarm system in the house). Delucchi, hearing the panic in my voice, tucked Moby up on a curb on a dark, West Cedar street and we frantically searched for my zebra-striped book. Rats stole between gutters. The moon pointed sub-optimal light through Moby’s tinted windows. I tore all the clothes out of my over-stuffed bag and onto the urine-stinted streets of Beacon Hill but could find my book nowhere. I ended up having to call my poor mom at 3:00 a.m. for the alarm code, which I hated doing because she has insomnia. But of course, she was a heavenly angel on the phone even though she had to go downstairs to her computer for the information I needed and probably wouldn’t get back to sleep before morning. Oh, bless her heart.

P.S. Chris D. ended up finding my journal later, buried in my knitting bag. Oh, Sally!

Reader interactions

4 Replies to “Boston, MA – “H.O.B.” – The House Of Blues – September 9, 1999”

  1. Hi Sally,

    I had a similar issue with the dentist where, due to an incident that caused extreme denta-phobia, I didn’t see the dentist for a long time.

    When I finally went in he said, “Well, you’re lucky your teeth are fine because it’s been 7 years since you were last here!” Then he said – “Well, when will I be seeing you again?” I said, “Another 7 years, maybe 8!”

    Haha – touché! Why go any more often?

    (I did get over dental phobia eventually and I now go regularly…..)

    1. Ha! That cracks me up Cindy. I’m glad you’re going more often now. Teeth are great to hold onto.

  2. I was at this show Sally and you were fantastic and very sweet as I gushed while you signed my CD! Great pants by the way. I had my first apartment in West Cedar Street – man I miss my Beacon Hill days. xo

    1. How amazing that you were there Meg. I wonder where those hot pants slithered off to.

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