It’s been about 24 hours since I attended Henry Rollins’ gig last night and with Iggy’s “Raw Power” as my soundtrack I feel the need to spill my brain guts on here.
Last night was not Rollins’ first time in Moscow. A renowned world traveler who’s visited over 90 counties, he has previously been to Russia with his band, as well as his spoken word show, not to mention taking the famous TranSiberian Express across Russia. Though the previous times he had attempted his spoken word show in Moscow it was, to quote modern hip young folks, “an epic fail.” Luckily for the audience, Henry opted against having a translator and this gig went much smoother for everyone.
Henry told many stories over the course of his 3 hours on stage. The best ones I believe were his stories about meeting David Bowie at a festival and the many times he got to hang out with Lemmy from Motorhead. Considering that these musicians recently passed away, it made sense that they were the core plotlines of the night. The grief he felt at the loss of his idols really resonated with me. Bowie’s death hit me quite hard but I know friends of mine for whom it was truly devastating. Because of the recent celebrity deaths, many people have contributed their 2 cents on the matter. I hate how people say celebrities aren’t worth grieving over since we didn’t actually know them personally. All of my idols have validated my own life and experiences and have made me feel less alone in a world where I’ve always felt like a weird and an outsider. It is exactly because of this connection that I understand how much Rollins loved and respected Bowie and Lemmy. I have been extremely lucky in my life to meet one of my idols, Amanda Palmer, several times. I have other idols who I’d most likely never meet, but their music has nonetheless shaped me as a person. Like Rollins, music has always been my safe haven and escape from the crap of reality and often the only thing to keep me going where life feels bleak. If any of them die, I would suffer greatly from their passing. It was during these very stories that I wished that I could hug Henry in solidarity of being a proud passionate fan.
The other story which really stuck out in my mind was when Rollins traveled to Antarctica during the penguin mating season. What makes Henry such a great story teller is his acute attention to detail. I could imagine exactly what it must have been like to try to lie in a sleeping bag on a glacier surrounded by humping penguins while listening to Iggy Pop. I do hope that Iggy himself enjoys this story.
The elitist music jerk side of me did come out when Rollins mentioned some of the bands he has seen at their peak as well as shared the stage. Among the Moscow crowd I seemed to the be only one to know who The Cramps and Type O Negative were. Unlike young Rollins, I don’t think I would have kept myself quite so composed upon seeing a nearly nude Lux Interior. 😛
Overall, I’m quite surprised at myself for just how much I enjoyed seeing Henry Rollins. Most of my favourite comedians and “motivators” are quite cynical and I enjoy their stance of intellectual superiority. But Henry is so unabashingly optimistic. His enthusiasm is infectious! truly enjoys meeting new people and experiencing the full spectrum of colours that life has to offer. Finally, his life story of starting out working in an ice cream shop to becoming an international superstar is truly inspirational. While we may not get as unique opportunities as Rollins, we shouldn’t forget to be fearless, tell our anxieties and demons to fuck off and jump in.
Sadly he was not able to meet fans after his show as he was lacking sleep, but in my heart I know he loves all his fans and I’m sure we’ll meet again someday. Thank you Henry for restoring my faith in humanity.
snagged myself a poster and sticker
short video clip I took with my phone