Susan Schutt wrote on Aug 22, 2008:
Where: Nashville, TN, USA
When: May 16, 2008
A headache has taken over my skull, but that’s nothing to even be concerned about. My mind was melted down, poured out of my ears, and left at the Wildhorse Saloon. I walked into the darkness of midnight in downtown Nashville, deaf to my own voice, hoarse from both singing and screaming, and numb in my legs from dancing and jumping in place for five hours. Tears formed in my eyes and I couldn’t stop them. I cried. Maybe it was because I was tired, rather exhausted, that I hadn’t slept but four hours in the past 48 and had spent almost all 24 of that day moving, walking, doing something, or that I had only eaten a mere 200 calories at noon that were without a doubt long since passed through my system… but I didn’t care… I did not even care…
And I’ll tell you why.
The reason I ignored my health and even my safety, I suppose, blindly rushing myself through a forming mosh pit, was that, by the time the fifth or sixth song rolled around, I found myself less than two feet from the Hives and, at one point, I was less than three inches from Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist and Nicholas Arson both… Catch that. LESS than THREE INCHES from them both…. Almost at the same time.
The Swedish accent was obvious as Holwin’ Pelle addressed the audience. “We feel very, very welcomed, Nashville. Thank you very much. You’re much too kind. No, actually, you’re not too kind. You should be kind, ‘cause we are kind. We play music and that music is pretty fantastic, I must say, and that tonight is a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very good Hives concert, don’t you?” The audience roars as he finishes showering us with a continued series of compliments before sliding right into “No Pun Intended.” The Hives have never played Nashville, never, not once in over a decade of the bands existence. This was their first show in Nashville, and I was in the audience. I was part of Hives history.
And I’m so thankful that I was.
Howlin’ Pelle grabbed my wrist. I touched his hair, leg, arm, microphone cord (I was two centimeters away from touching the microphone itself), shoe, fingers… We held hands. He smiled at me. He made eye contact with me. I was so close to HPA that I could feel his breath on my face… He howled and spit on my face, I think… and I was overjoyed.
He… grabbed… my wrist… and I grabbed his… I managed to touch his hand several times throughout the night, my hand jetting into the air as soon as he rooster strutted, after doing the splits in the air or throwing his microphone, towards me, the girl who had fought through the crowd to be right on the stage, to touch the wood of the stage.
To touch the Hives. To TOUCH the HIVES.
Pelle’s hair is soft… It’s as soft as it looks in any publicity photo of his. His body is slender, very tall and thin yet still muscular from the high-energy show he gives all his audiences. His arm is soft… his grip is firm… his eyes are a very pale and clear blue… His teeth are perfect and white…
Nicholaus Arson raised an eyebrow at the screaming me, my hand reaching out anxiously at him, a huge smile permanently in place. I hadn‘t gotten close enough to him yet and I was so excited. Here, my favorite Hive, a foot from me. He looked me dead in the eyes, smiled at me, kissed his hand, and grabbed mine, holding it for a full five seconds before waving goodbye to the audience at the end of the set. After three minutes of the audience chanting for them to return to the stage once more, the band returned member by member (in this order: Chris Dangerous, Dr. Matt Destruction, Vigilante Carlstroem, Nicholaus Arson, and finally Howlin‘ Pelle). After the encore songs had ended, Arson shook his head like a dog on my arm and looked me in the eyes several times. I touched his hair, his hand, his leg, his guitar, and got my arm covered in his sweat.
Let me highlight the most important part… He KISSED his hand and then grabbed MY HAND out of a sea of hands… Mine. My hand. Me. He was smiling at ME. He grabbed MY hand.
I touched the dripping wet curly light-brown hair as he shook his head on my arm… I saw his eyes, almost identical to his younger brother Pelle’s, three feet from mine, roll back into his head as he shredded his guitar like a man possessed… I saw them look into mine more than once… and he smiled. He smiled without teeth as he licked his fingers and started on another amazing riff.
I touched his guitar… I touched his hand as he was playing… I don’t even remember the song… I just remember touching him, making that connection that I knew was once in a lifetime and was a miracle at that.
Chris Dangerous… I was so close to touching his hand, too. I tried so hard to get him to walk the extra two feet to my eagerly extended hand at the close of the set. He looked me in the eye with his serious, dedicated Hive stare and waved before leaving the stage with the rest of the band. I’m not upset. I’m not unhappy. The fact that he looked at me was more than enough.
Pelle AND Nicholaus… held… my… hand…
I didn’t ever think about what was happening around me, the girl grabbing my arm or the guy’s body against my shoulder as we jumped to the rocking awesomeness that is the Hives, because Pelle Almqvist was standing on the stage I was touching. He was towering over me in his pressed black trousers, matching black shirt unbuttoned at the collarbone with the sleeves rolled to his elbows, his uniform blazer and tie long since thrown aside, sweat glistening on his pale forehead. He was letting his pale brown hair sway (I was so close I noticed faint, yes faint, blond highlights nestled naturally), my fingers combing through it. He was grabbing my wrist and smiling at me while he howled into his microphone, my hand touching the cord. He was dropping to his knees before me in the extended howl, in the intense moment of the song, as I grabbed his arm, feeling his arm hair, light and soft, the fabric of his shirt (very nice, probably expensive). He was wrapping his fingers with mine, once… twice… three times… and he breathed on me. Holwin’ Pelle’s breath… BREATH… was on my face. Maybe even his spit, but I was smiling. I was happy. I was overjoyed.
I left the joint feeling as though I’d just run myself through a light shower, dripping with a combination of my own sweat and that of Nicholaus Arson, the sweat from his glorious dancing, mixed with a bottle of water he’d poured over his head mid-show. But I didn’t care. I didn’t care that my jeans were rubbing together, that ever inch of my shirt was stuck to my torso, that I obviously smelled like sweat, the salty-weird smell that sweat is.
I didn’t care.
I’d been that close to the Hives… I’d made that connection. And that is the single most significant event to happen to me in my short time on this earth. I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget being that close to those beautiful Swedes. I’ll never forget the touch of their skin on mine. I’ll never forget the way they looked at me.
I’ll never forget this happiness.
It happened…. This is 100% true, and, even as I write this, I’m in a surreal place. Not only did I get to see one of my all-time favorite bands live… and so close at that… I touched them. I got as close to them as humanly possible without being on the stage throwing myself at them, and our touch wasn’t just “Hey, I’m waving my hand out here and you might get to touch my fingertip.” It was real. It was “I’m going to hold your hand. He’s going to grab your wrist. I’m going to shake my hair all over your arm.”
I don’t even know how to tell you in words how monumental this night was to me. I can’t even begin to think of what to say to convey how important it was that I got to do this.
Yeah, I’m overwhelming happy… Today was a beautiful day. And though I might get really sick (Jura All Sick… The Hives are Medicine) or die from exhaustion mixed with a very angry and very empty stomach, I think it was worth it… I would’ve given all the money I have to my name just to touch those foreign hands. I never would’ve expected what they did, their dedication to and love for their fans, to happen.
Nulla Salus Sine The Hives.