I had a lot to learn about DJ “concerts” when I went to this show. I didn’t know whether he’d have a band or a series of samplers or what, but I thought Fatboy Slim would be performing songs from his albums one way or another. So it was a little bit of a surprise to find out we’d paid $25 to watch a DJ spin records, with only a small number of those records being his own. I’ve since embraced the DJ culture and quite enjoy going to DJ sets by folks like Fatboy Slim, Groove Armada, 2ManyDJs, Diplo, etc., but it was all new to me on this night.
I also had a bit to learn about San Francisco when I went to this show. It was my second time in the city and I was there with a friend for a little vacation. When we got to The Warfield and found out the doors hadn’t opened yet and there was a line to get in, we decided to find a nearby bar and have a drink or two. So we walked a few blocks and popped into a place called Grady’s that had a beer-and-shot special for $3.
What we didn’t realize was that we’d crossed into the South of Market — or Soma — area, which was not exactly a tourist destination in 1999.
As we walked into Grady’s, a man who was on his way out stagger-veered in my direction, stopped and shook my hand as if he knew me. We sat at the bar and ordered the beer/shot special from the bartender, an old guy who was missing some teeth and part of a finger. Next to us was a Bukowski-type character drinking whiskey, mumbling and scribbling notes non-stop in some kind of journal.
Knowing that I should know better, I couldn’t resist reaching into the bowl of Doritos sitting on the bar. I ate one chip, which had a surprisingly soggy consistency and a surprisingly hot taste to it. I decided not to eat any more of them. A few minutes later a guy walked up and grabbed a couple chips for himself. “Hey, who poured beer in the Doritos?” shouted the man, who — unlike me — had apparently realized the chips were soggy before he put them in his mouth. “It’s tobasco sauce!” the bartender shouted back. The man paused, looked at the bowl, said “That’ll work!” scooped up a couple handfuls of chips and walked away.
A few minutes after that, the Dorito-eater got into a fight with another patron. The bartender shouted “Take it outside!” at the men, who complied and went outside to fight on the sidewalk. The bartender and other patrons went outside to watch.
The fight didn’t last long. Everyone came back in the bar. The two men who’d fought were talking to each other in a reasonably civil manner. I don’t think it was the first time they’d sparred, nor the last.