When I finally made it through the heavy traffic of San Francisco and onto Divisadero street by 5:30pm, I had hoped that by arriving two and a half hours early for my VIP ticket to the Dorothy concert that it would be suffice time to make it into the venue without hiccups. The evening seemed to start of right with some good karma when I found parking not even a hundred yards from my destination: The Independent. But by the timeframe I had made it to both doors of the venue, it was locked. My first thought: was the long awaited music event of the season canceled or had I just arrived too early? Well, neither actually.
I started to walk away with my back turned away from the front entrance in despair and confusion, when an associate of the music hall popped his head out and asked if he could help me; the tone of our conversation to follow was not at all friendly as one would expect from such a popular place in the city. I started to walk back towards him, with my Dorothy “Rock Is Dead” limited edition vinyl in hand - like the fan-girl I had become - only to find out I had missed the meet and greet photo opportunity with the musician roughly a half hour before I had knocked. But on top of that, I would not be given the immediate access that I paid for; to see the band do a sound check and a couple warm up songs before the event that started three hours later.
The guy at the door was not attentive for the issue as he didn’t even want to give my commemorative laminate VIP pass, exclusive hat or ticket of entry, until I pressed for it. After he had passed me the ticket from the brutal exchange, I walked back towards my car in subtle defeat. I then contemplated my next move: do I wait in my car (because my parking slot was in such a perfect location) or should I just leave and explore elsewhere until the concert started.
Counting my blessings, I waited it out for a long two plus additional hours until the doors planned opening time at 7:30pm. By the time the first hour rolled by, I had already contemplated going home a few times. But then I looked over at my newly wrapped record that I had been sitting on for awhile - just waiting for the opportune moment to get it signed by the vocalist - and decided I was that big of a fan to patiently wait it out and see if she would be able to give me my first ever autographed memorabilia.
Despite having to run between my spot in line to the box office for a name correction on my ticket (since the original guy at the door didn’t pay any mind to the type of music fan I was and gave me someone else’s ticket), I made a simple request to get the correct ticket. I only really do it for my ever growing collection of cutting edge musician memorabilia; a mixed batch of archives from those I have come to appreciate the most. If you hadn’t assumed otherwise by now, I’m that big of a Dorothy fan to save my stub. In addition, this was the first time show I would see her perform live at. So then, what of it?
I had finally made it into the venue (my first concert to attend as solo actually), only to have met some other really big Dorothy fans at the very front of the stage. I was excited to see who would preform, because I was unaware of what band was to open the show. While I thought I had arrived fashionably early on, the opening Bay Area local band by the name of “Kingsborough” made their fashionably late entrance. But I was completely okay with it, as my impatience from early on had already subsided and I was solely there for the good music - ready to see some incredible performances from the emerging bands.
Kingsborough – I must note – intrigued me, to say the least. The vibe was a bluesy take on modern soft rock, where the lead vocalist gave me the vocal tone feels of the fifteenth season American Idol winner Trent Harmon, from the – at the time – final airing of the popular series back in Spring of 2016. And just as I was a fan of Harmon overnight, I had also become a new fan of Kingsborough in a matter of a few minutes. Though, I was especially excited to see Dorothy and the band, I was happy to have left with not just one growing interest but two!
I appreciated so much to the fact that Dorothy had an open-call type opportunity for local bands to audition as the opening acts across their “Freedom Tour”. I spoke shortly after with the electric guitarist and lead guitarist-vocalist from Kingsborough while they were clearing out their sound gear, congratulating them on the set they had just gave. I asked them if they happened to have a vinyl out but they directed me over to the merch table to find their most recent album, 1544. The guitarist handed me their set list that was posted on the ground in front of them and thanked me for sticking around.
Through and through, Kingsborough was the most ideal choice and one that complimented Dorothy in an unexpected way. So to that I say, bravo and thank you for the lively show!
But when Dorothy hit the stage, I think my heart probably skipped a beat or two. It might have even melted. There she stood, sparkling with her back turned to the crowed and fog shooting out on both sides of her - sparking a marijuana stuffed Backwood Cigar, using it as a torch to light her free-spirit intention. The vibe grew beyond the crowd and the band rang its sounds. And all I heard was freedom.I most definitely caught the vibe.
Draped in a glistening bohemian goddess robe, Dorothy turned to the crowed and for the rest of the night, all I could picture was the new found lady liberty. And how ironic it all felt, not just to see that type of attire on the Freedom Tour but that she was also playing at a venue named The Independent. Talk about a vibe!
Among catching the feels of the night, there was one moment where Dorothy had to completely cut the music during a personal favorite song, “Wicked Ones”, only because a fight had broke out in the front middle audience, just a few feet from the stage and myself. In a total movie type moment, she called to have the man removed from the show. And rightfully so, because nobody wanted to be around those negative formations in a performance showing us all the positive ones. After the person(s) was removed she said, “Now we have to start the song over! Can I tell you guys - I think it’s crazy - I feel like I manifested that shit in some way. I was just watching a show of on stage moments of rock n’ roll where fights broke out, just 30 minutes ago. I gotta stop watching that. I think it’s a perfect example of what you think will become.” said Dorothy, as I looked over at the electric guitar player strumming lightly, as our eyes locked for a moment in mutual confirmation of that single truth. Dorothy continued before restarting the song, “So what you think, you will become. If you think you’re powerful, you will become powerful. The power of the brain - of the mind - is extraordinary. Don’t forget that.”
At the very end of the concert, I waited for Dorothy to come back out for an encore finale. I assumed she would do another song, based by the crowds roaring demand and as she she did, she noticed me now standing with my unwrapped vinyl in hand - mesmerized by what I had just experienced. She nodded to be me in recognition and looked toward her team to grab a black sharpie. She then approached me, bent down to my level and signed my long awaited vinyl, as I personally applauded and thanked her for the signature. And in that exact moment, I had come to realize that I had just manifested one of my own dreams to occur that night: the things you desire come to you when they are supposed to.
And while the power of our minds are strong, so is the transcending power of the music we surround ourselves with. For me, the unique frequency of Dorothy’s music defeats all the static we find ourselves catching in the day to day – liberating us from the traditional Top 40 radio play and moving us beyond it – into the pure form of music magic.
ALL IMAGES AND VIDEOS ARE BY THE EDITOR, EXCLUSIVELY FOR ITEM MAGAZINE.
Tyler J. Drinnen, is the Founder and Editor in Chief of iTEM MAGAZINE,
a freelance fashion writer, poet,
photographer and abstract visual content producer.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies from Sonoma State University, where he wrote a weekly Opinion Column For
The Star, dabbled with his own radio podcast format, titled Saturday Nite Scandal, and helped to create one of the first of 25 Professional Student Lead PR Firms in the USA.
From there on, he continued his work by interning with Sonoma Discoveries Magazine and then shortly after wrote and interned for Fashion School Daily, where he solidified his love for feature writing and working with emerging talents from around the world.
In December of 2016, he received an Honorary Master of Arts in Fashion Journalism from the Academy of Art University. And what an achievement that was, to be the first in his program to have graduated a full semester early. Bringing him to four degrees in a short five and a half years, nothing will stop him from bringing art to the eyes of many.
He has worked in the fashion industry for nearly a decade, from commercial retail management to corporate level ghost writing. Now - he the poet - T.J.D. takes his life public with the independent launch of the urban California lifestyle based fashion-art movement, iTEM MAGAZINE: A Platform For Rising Artists.