Let me preface this by clarifying something: I’ve got great gams. It’s true. Everyone has something: hair that doesn’t go flat, perfectly long lashes, soulful eyes, curvy hips. But me, I’m a legs girl, so it’s strange that I don’t think about them all that often. In fact, until last night’s Iggy and the Stooges concert, I’d nearly forgotten about them entirely.
There were all kinds of legs present: corduroy-clad trustafarian ones, the shredded stocking covered skater punk kind, yuppie pairs hiding behind white, billowing fabric pants, the kind of pants that hotels steam for you if you pay enough for the room. All sorts of legs, you get the picture. But the commonality they all shared was that they operated on the buddy system. If you wanted to see Iggy, you sure as shit better have a matched set.
Rollerderby Heather didn’t.
The dilemma: one of my BFFs is currently in a wheel chair. Don’t get me wrong, she’s tough as nails, charming as a bourbon and punch cocktail with maraschino cherry garnish, and she will out rock you, but a recent botched ankle transplant has left her with only one operating stem. For a girl who’s done everything from founding Austin rollerderby to flippin’ bottles in biker bars, she knows better than anyone that temporary dependency is a bitch.
Oh, and she loves Iggy.
She did the smart thing and called several days ahead. She told one of Basel’s event coordinators about the chair, and Iggy, and her desire to watch Iggy ferret around the stage shirtless on Wednesday. The woman assured her repeatedly that the show was handicap accessible, they had made accommodations, and that she should definitely go. Navigating South Beach during Basel isn’t easy when you’re operating on all pistons, but when you’re on wheels, honey, all bets are off. We parked, pushed, walked, bolted across traffic – my boyfriend doing the wheeling and me slinging the crutches – and then we arrived.
There was a ramp further down, but that involved a whole bevy of other logistical difficulties, like figuring out how to get a wheelchair through a long stretch of loosely packed, hourglass-ready sand. Oh, and that massive stage that they built for the show – the one with the giant light system, mega speakers, catwalk, VIP backstage area and no access ramp and wheelchair area? It faced the ocean. We, in turn, faced the back of the stage.
I consulted with a security guard who directed me towards the makeshift handicap area: it was behind a fence (eye height in a chair) facing a projector screen showing the concert. There were no speakers. We could sorta hear the drums and a little lead guitar; we re-angled several times until she could see the projection and know what she was missing. “What song is this?” “I can’t tell.” “I’d love to hear Mike Watt on bass; he’s got his wide rockstar stance set firm. He looks like he means business.” “Let’s just assume he does.” This type of discourse continued throughout the entire set, then we stayed put until the crowd emptied so that she wouldn’t be trampled by a groundswell of drunk partiers who couldn’t (or didn’t) see her.
But rest assured, we have it on good authority that the show was amazing. Iggy and the Stooges absolutely killed it. Hell, he even played “I Wanna Be Your Dog” twice. TWICE. Everyone we talked to confirmed the story so take that as proof. And they should know: they all had legs, plural. -- Jamie Laughlin