Mark Eitzel at the Mercury: The rest of the story

Jun 02, 2016 1 Comment by

Back in February, I witnessed a bizarre accident during a Mark Eitzel show at the Mercury Lounge that I wrote about here. Eventually, the central figure involved—a photographer named Mike, who collapsed and hit his head badly while Eitzel was playing—read what I’d posted and got in touch with me, to 1) let me know that he was okay and 2) correct some errors in my original reporting, which I have since fixed. Overall, he found my description of the incident “florid.” Fair enough. I offered him the opportunity to tell it his way, and following a series of email exchanges, here is most of what he wrote, with his permission, and a few comments from me in brackets.

“The truth, to put it shortly, is that that was just the end of a very long day. I had run all the way to Mercury from the LGBT Center on 13th and 7th Ave, where I had just finished a volunteer shift (after having been at my day job all day); I was exhausted; I hadn’t eaten since noon; I hadn’t been sleeping well for a long time (I think it’s an age thing?); the room, as I recall, was freakishly warm. So, choose any day of the week and there will be one thing wrong, maybe two, maybe three. That night, EVERYTHING was wrong.

“But, the hard part of the day was over (or so I thought), I was at a show that I had been looking forward to, I was with a good friend (more on that later), I thought everything was going to be fine. I had a beer. Probably not the smartest thing given the completely empty stomach, and because I’m a complete lightweight anyway, but again it was ONE, SINGLE beer. I may not have even finished it.

“So I’m enjoying the show, taking lots of photos, as this is something that I enjoy doing at shows, and always have done unless specifically asked not to by either the artist or the venue beforehand. Mark asked me to put away my camera, and I did so, quickly, without question. He tried making a joke of it, saying something like he can’t sing when he’s self-conscious about how he looks, but…well, you said so yourself, Mark has good nights, and he has bad nights. This was definitely not a good night. But, I didn’t feel like he was singling me out (someone in the crowd yelled out that he looked great, and that they loved his necktie, to which he responded by ripping it off and throwing it on the ground), nor did I think (or did not notice) that he was ‘throwing fierce glares’ at me afterwards. It was…just Mark, having a bad night.

“My embarrassment was triggered mainly in my knowing that I had interrupted ‘Patriot’s Heart,’ a personal favorite of mine, and knowing that I had deprived myself (and the audience) the opportunity to hear it tonight (he said something about how now he didn’t feel like playing it, and immediately started paging through his iPad for another song). I was feeling pretty bad about that, and this combined with all the other crappiness of the day triggered a mini-anxiety attack which, if you’ve never had one before, I can assure you does all kinds of wonderful things to your blood pressure, circulation and breathing. I started feeling terribly lightheaded, dizzy, nauseous…it was a feeling I’d had before in the past a few times, and I knew that I’d be fine in a few minutes if I just closed my eyes and ‘rode it out.’ Obviously, that was not what happened that night.

“Okay, the rest are just details. As far as I know (and have been told), I just went straight down and hit my head on the steps to the stage. [I was on the other side of the room at the time and heard but did not see his fall; the people I spoke to afterward told me his head had bounced between the staircase and a small wooden beam connecting the stage to the ceiling, but thinking back on it now, that seems unlikely.] There were actually two women, one who called 911 (I didn’t know who she was and never got a chance to thank her) and the other, my friend, who was kneeling, talking to me, making sure I was okay (and she continued doing so during the ambulance ride and the entire next five hours in the emergency room). [I conflated these two women in my original post.] The gash was on the back of my head (near my right ear), not my forehead [as I’d originally reported], though there was blood everywhere so the mistake is understandable. Fun fact: I still haven’t been able to bring myself to look at the photos that I took that night, and probably never will.

“More fun facts: that was my first MRI, ambulance rides are VERY expensive (and insurance compensates for little/none of it), and hospitals use staples instead of stitches for scalp injuries.

“Anyway, that’s probably more than you needed to know. If I ever need a pull quote for a bio for anything, may I say that I was responsible for ‘the most unsettling sequence of events…in 30 years of concertgoing’? I might prefer that to ‘mousy-looking.’ :)”

Thanks, Mike. I’m glad you’re all right, sorry about my choice of adjective, and yes, you may.

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One Response to “Mark Eitzel at the Mercury: The rest of the story”

  1. Tim Mungenast says:

    Well done, Mac… well, I wasn’t there, but this article really does seem to be a fair and professional effort to set the record straight, and it’s written in your usual high-quality prose.

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