A few weeks ago, my fellow Hamilton-obsessed friend told me about Daveed Diggs’ band, Clipping, coming to The Earl on November 2. Tickets were $12. I immediately bought two online. It was on a Wednesday night. I would have to go to work the next day, but I figured what the hell? It was Daveed! I’d missed him in Hamilton. He hadn’t left the show yet on July 6, when The Middle Child and I saw it, but he was not performing that day. THIS, I decided, THIS, was my chance to see Daveed Diggs. JC has taken Mini Me to many concerts-often waiting behind the venue with other fans for an autograph or a photo. I figured we could just do the same thing for moi…
There were three bands playing on November 2, and the order in which they were going to play got changed around a time or two. When I found out that Clipping was not going on until 11:00 pm, yes, I said, PM, I thought I might have to pass on Daveed. I sat in my chair at work and thought about how late 11:00 PM was, and how tired I was going to be the next day, and how early I like to go to bed. Who, exactly, was I trying to kid, here? I was never gonna make it. I realized that I had not left the house to go to an event that started that late since, well, perhaps…1994?! Here was the quandary: either I man up and stay up and maybe meet Daveed Diggs, OR I wuss out and be my normal, boring self and stay at home and go to bed by 10:00. Which would it be? It wasn’t that hard of a decision-for someone who flew to NYC and slept on the damn sidewalk for 2.5 days to see Hamilton?! Of course I manned the hell up. I could not, for the life of me, figure out what to wear to The Earl. I had never been there before. JC said not to wear any good shoes-it was like a fraternity house. Oh Lort! He said I should expect tattoos and nose rings and such. Tattoos? I said to him. I have five of those! I’d fit right in! I finally settled on this cute little black dress that I bought at J.Crew in Chicago. I know you are already laughing. I paired it with my leopard print cardigan. It is still hot here in Atlanta, but I wore my flat, tall, black biker boots that zip up the back. My purse has a studded strap, so I thought with that and the couple of tattoos that would be visible, I might sort of fit in-maybe. (No. Nada. Nein. Never. Not even a little bit)The Shankman’s picked us up about 8:30. I was already yawning. When we walked into The Earl, I gasped. As in for my life. JC told me it was an all smoking place-one of the few left here. I had told myself I could handle it. No asthmatic can handle it. In fact, only heavy smokers could truly handle that. Thank God I remembered my inhaler. The front part of The Earl is a restaurant and bar, and we were going to eat first, so we were seated at a booth. We seemed to be the only table having to use the iPhone flashlight to read the menu. Lauren was sitting across from me and Scott, across from JC. About 5 minutes into it, Daveed walks out into the bar. OMG. We were dying. Just me and Lauren, of course. Scott and JC were trying to talk to us and we were totally not even paying them any attention. We decided that we would not bother Daveed while he was so obviously trying to order food. I did get JC to snap a pic of him from the back. LOL. (He is standing at the bar and has on red Chuck Taylor’s) Youth Code was playing before Clipping. We decided to go in and see what they were all about. That lasted about 3 minutes. I could feel my heart beating outside of my body. We went back into the restaurant part of The Earl to wait for Clipping. The last game of the World Series was on in the bar, so that was enough entertainment for us old people. Finally, 11:00 rolled around, and it was time! I am 46 years old. My brother was a devout listener of RunDMC and Eazy-E, Boyz-N-The-Hood, NWA, all the old school Rap–or what I consider old school Rap. I saw Straight Outta Compton and it made me cry. I like to think that I know what Rap is. I knew that Clipping was Rap; HOWEVER, and this is a great, big, GIANT, however: I did not bother to check it out beforehand. Nope. Did not even listen to a single song. Not a one. So, there we all are, and there is a huge screen with nothing but static playing on it on the stage, and Daveed Diggs comes out and everyone starts screaming, and he says, “Yo! ATL, What the fuck is UP?!” and I thought to myself, this is SO not Hamilton! Right after I had that thought, I felt incredibly guilty for having it. I know Daveed Diggs does not want to be identified as “that guy from Hamilton” for the rest of his life. He was not at The Earl to perform selections from Hamilton. I knew it wasn’t going to be Hamilton. I don’t know exactly what I expected, since I never bothered to check it out before we got there!!! The show starts, and it is Rap, but it is a very eclectic style of Rap-almost as if he is rapping, well, clippings of news reels? During the first song, I did not know if I could make it for an hour. By the third song, I was developing an ear for it. By the time we got to Shooter, I was in love. Daveed would say “Shooter” into the mic and we would whisper it back to him: shooter… Just imagine me, in my little J.Crew dress, with my left hand up in the air, moving to this:
Cause he got guns and that shit gon’ bang>Yeah, the shooter brought guns and the shit go bang, hands up>Got guns in this bitch, go bang>Motherfucker better run when this shit go
This my favorite Clipping song. It is awesome. At one point, I had to go to the restroom, but I really did not want to, for fear that I might miss something. I heard a bunch of screaming, DAMN IT. I knew it! When I came out, Daveed had taken his shirt off!! Look, people, for women my age, that is hot entertainment. At one point, he came down into the audience and I was one person away and I thought to myself that I could reach out and touch him. Of course, I did not do it, as that would have been completely inappropriate. He had his shirt on again by then anyway. When he was out in the audience, people kept taking pictures of him with their flashes on! I could not believe it! They were practically blinding the poor man. The girl standing next to me did it three or four times. I really wanted to reach over and knock her phone out of her hand. I think it would have been really easy to do because she looked pretty drunk. Her big doofus husband or boyfriend had broken in front of me and was blocking my view. I took the high road and decided that they were going to feel shitty enough the next morning.
These guys are what I call intellectual rappers. Clipping is made up of William Hutson (Rale), Jonathan Snipes (Captain Ahab) , and Daveed Diggs. If the information I found online is correct, Hutson and Snipes both attended UCLA and Diggs went to Brown. Snipes is a stage sound designer. Hutson has a PhD in Theater and Performance Studies. Daveed Diggs has recently been on “Black-ish”, in addition to his Tony winning year long run as Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette in Hamilton. Clipping’s songs are about real life, but in a way that I have never heard lyrics written before. It’s artsy and beautiful. I know you are looking at the refrain I wrote out for you above and thinking to yourself, “yeah, right, I don’t see anything artsy and beautiful about that”. I gave you that particular section so that you could imagine me in my little outfit, at that particular show. There is a difference! How about this:
Got a towel on his face, mophead>Gettin’ money in the desert, hot bread>Wish he had a way home, bread crumbs>Drink himself into a coma, red rum>Soldier’s eyes playin’ tricks, sandwich>Need to get more info, bandwith>Bunch of signs there to read, pamphlets>But that was not to be, Hamlet…..
Same song. I’m telling you, I really think Clipping is great. When it was over, JC and Scott went back into the bar of The Earl to catch some more of the ball game, since it was into extra innings. Lauren and I waited to see if Daveed was going to come out to greet his stalker fans. We were trying to play it cool-you know-as if we look like we hang out regularly at The Earl. After about 10 minutes, right when we were going to call it a night, he walked out! A line immediately formed and he was giving autographs and taking pictures. Scott and JC came back in with our Clipping LP’s we had bought earlier. I had Sharpie’s in my purse. I know to always come prepared to a show. Hell, I had tried to bring both of our Hamiltome’s, but changed my mind at the last minute. Those things are huge. Plus, The Middle Child said, “Mom, do you really want to be the creepy lady with the Hamilton tattoo and two Hamiltome’s in her purse?” The answer was HELL NO, I DID NOT. When it was my turn, I had my phone ready. I showed Daveed the picture of The Baby, dressed as him for Halloween. He cracked up and asked me if I had to make all of that. I got to tell him about me and The Middle Child going to NYC and sleeping on the sidewalk. He could not believe it. Then, after we had our photo made, I showed him my pièce de résistance….my tattoo. He emphatically exclaimed that I was: hardcore! We both laughed and I thanked him and told him how wonderful he was and is and then our little group walked back into the bar of The Earl, where we watched the ball game for another 15 minutes. On the way to the car, Lauren and I happened to glance to our right and there was Daveed and the band-loading their van. We stood there, watching them load music equipment …until JC and Scott brought us back to reality with their arm waving and yelling at us to come on-they were several hundred feet ahead of us. At the same time, we heard cheering coming from both sides of the street. The Cubs had just won the Series. We went into the closest open bar to watch the excitement on screen. We got home about 1:15am. I bolted upright when my alarm went off at 5:00am, petrified I would be late to work-knowing everyone would know where I had been, as it was chronicled on Facebook. I made it through the work day, counting the minutes until I could go home. I still felt as though I was breathing in the smoky air of The Earl. I have been sober for 14 years, so I was not hungover from drinking–only from lack of sleep and an over rush of adrenaline, which will still put a hurtin’ on me. Several times, throughout the day, I had asked myself the question: was it worth it? The answer then, and now, remains the same: HELL YES! and I would do it again! I will always remember what I was doing the night the Chicago Cubs won the World Series after 108 years: I had just met Daveed Diggs, but was actually standing in an alley watching him load his van- just like a stalker. Go figure.