The Adventures of Zoë

Chapter 14 -

How Zoë came to get the credit for instigating the biggest food fight in Candlestick Arena's history


Backstage at the Monsters of Rock
Candlestick Park, San Francisco
photo © Jay Janini/Artist Publications

It was all arranged. Metallica and friends would be coming down from the North Bay and Zoë would drive up from her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains and they'd meet at the venue. Then, Zoë would get in the van and wind up backstage at one of the biggest rock concerts ever held in San Francisco.

It was to be Metallica who had, after years of hard work, become big enough to rank third on the bill: Scorpions, Van Halen, Metallica, White Lion, Poison, Ratt and Kingdom Come at the 75,000-set open-air "home" for the San Francisco Giants baseball team. Perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean in South San Francisco, Candlestick Park was legendary for it's ferocious cold breezes, but this was midsummer and, with the high pressure ridge perched firmly off the California Coast, the weather should be hot and breezeless.

Zoë had zero interest in sports, so she'd never been inside the facility, though she'd driven past it on Interstate 280, oh, probably a thousand times on her way in to The City.

"So," Zoë figures, "I know how long it takes to get there, but I'll allow an extra hour, just in case. You never know what might happen, and traffic usually gets pretty bad going in—there's only the one narrow entrance when you turn off the freeway..."

It was the usual 20 minutes winding down the 7 miles from Big Sur near the crest of the mountain range that divides the Coast and beach side communities from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz from the Peninsula and Silicon Valley. Then a nice zip up 280, the 8-lane freeway that's a straight shot from Cupertino (home of Apple Computers) to Candlestick and beyond.  Or at least, it's usually a great, fast ride, with everyone cruising along at about 80mph (unless of course you spot a Highway Patrol car, then everyone slows down to the mandated 55mph until he's lost interest and gone off at one of the off ramps, to turn around and go back down the way he came. Imagine riding up and down the freeways every day.. well, we all gotta make a living.)

But, today, oh, no! It's an accident. Creep, stop, creep, stop. And finally, things start moving again—but not for long. It's another accident! By the time Zoë finally crawls into the facility, all the main parking is gone and she's already running seriously late. "Oh, my god, where am I gonna park?" Zoë wails, until she finally finds a place way at the back of one of the unmarked dirt lots pressed into service for the overflowing crowd.

Frantic now, Zoë tries to orient herself so she can find the car again, then rushes to the appointed meeting place. "Oh, shit. I'm two hours late.... They've gone in without me. *sob* Well, there's nothing to do but pick up my passes and try to find everyone.

"Oh, damn, damn, damn! Entry tickets are here, and there's a press box pass from the promoter, but where are my backstage passes? Argh! And there's no Colleen, who knows me and helps me resolve these problems, these people are strangers! Oooooh."

"OK, OK, girl, get a grip. OK. So, go up to the press box and see if you can find anyone in there.... " Zoë trudges along, round and around the many levels, trying to find which entrance actually leads to "backstage". Finally, she finds it, but again, it's guards who don't know her. Apparently, the promoter is using a lot of the usual Candlestick employees instead of his own, with whom Zoë has carefully cultivated good relations, so they can help resolve problems just like this one. But these guys won't even send a guard back with a note!

Zoë goes back up to the press box. "What a drag. It's just a bunch of old guys from the newspapers and who-knows-where. I'm gonna go back out there and see if I can find someone I know, who knows me, who'll help me. Maybe I'll finally run into my photographer, maybe he'll come looking for me...."

But instead, Zoë meets a couple of girls who have passes like hers. They put their heads together, as none of them is happy about where they're supposed to sit. And so, they begin to prowl, to find a better vantage point... "I know," says one, "let's get into one of those special VIP boxes, they're much nicer."

And how are we to do that? Hmm, well, let's see.... "Ah, I'll bet this locked door will get us where we want to go. I've been up in those boxes before, I'm sure this is it.  Look, it doesn't go all the way up, I can just climb over," says one, and with that, she scales the 6-foot door—in her dress yet—then unlocks it for the others.

And suddenly they're in the corridors that take them to the VIP boxes, perched above the crowds.

c Jay Janini/Artist Publications

"Hey," a guard suddenly stops them, "where the heck do you think you're going?" "Oh, why," we three bat our eyelashes in unison and flash our passes: "You see these? They say we're supposed to be in Bill Graham's box!" (Well, the passes do say "Bill Graham..." and they do say "...BOX" and men do get kind of blinded by pretty girls, that must've been it. Because suddenly he turned into just Mr Nice & Helpful, escorting our little trio of interlopers from one box to another until we'd chosen the one with the best possible view, stage straight ahead.

"Wooohoooo! We did it!" they yelp in unison. And settle back to watch the show. Metallica really goes over great, the crowds are buzzing—and there are all the people Zoë was supposed to go backstage with, standing on the side of the stage. "Ooooh," Zoë thinks, "oh, dear, that would've been cool."

Break between the bands, and a couple of men suddenly walk in.  Van Halen's up next and his reps decide they want this box for the entourage. "OK, girls, out. We want this box," Van Halen's reps snap.

But after all we've been through, we're not gonna give up ground now: "Oh, no" we reply, batting our eyes in unison, "This is our box. We're supposed to be here; why this is so-and-so's sister, and this is..."

"Oh, excuse us, our mistake," the gentlemen concede, "we'll just take that other box after all..." they mutter to one another as they beat a hasty retreat..

Falling over themselves in glee, the three musketeers, as we are now referring to ourselves, get through the Van Halen set without any further interruptions."Good," Zoë thinks, "everything's running on time—I'll get out of here while it's still light, so I can find my car again.

But then time ticks on. And on. And on. And still the Scorpions fail to appear. Bored, Zoë sits on the window ledge in her little summer dress and kinda flirts with some guy down below. He tosses up a roll of toilet paper. She tosses it back to him.  Up and down the roll goes, and soon others start tossing things up as the other girls join Zoë in the window.

"Hey," a guard bursts in—he's been watching everything on the security cameras. "Cut that out, or I'll throw you out of here!"

But it's too late. As Zoë looks down again, not only rolls of toilet paper but plastic bottles of coke and half-eaten hot dogs are flying about. Soon, it spreads all around the stadium, and "Oh, my god, look! They're throwing ice from the fridges in the VIP boxes out of the windows," and the three musketeers sit there on their hands, terrified that they're gonna be ejected—as the guard bursts in again, points at Zoë and screams: "It's all your fault, you started it! I saw you!" Then leaves.

And finally it's dusk and people get tired of throwing stuff and the Scorpions come on (later, Zoë finds out that this long, boring break had occurred between sets because the Scorpions refused to come on until the sun went down—something about needing the dark for their laser light show.

Zoë leaves 15 minutes before it's over, as she usually does if not going backstage to talk to the band/s, to beat the crowds out of the parking lot. Trouble is, it's now dark, and it takes her two bloody hours to find the car, and another hour to get out of the parking lot because there's an accident right at the entrance/exit.

Later, Zoë hears from Rich Likong, Kirk Hammett's brother: "Zoë, where were you? I looked and looked all over for you, in the press box, all around the place..."

"Oh, my God," Zoë thinks, "if I'd stayed in the press box after all, I'd have gone backstage, stood on the stage while Metallica played, and I wouldn't have been accused of starting the largest food fight in stadium history!"—as she falls into bed, utterly exhausted.

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