I found an old ticket for Marah yesterday and it made me smile – it was a great night. It also made me laugh, as on that particular day in 2006 I was only marginally less crazy than the guys from the band, which, if you know anything about the Bielanko brothers, is no small feat.
Somewhere during that night in Zagreb I got an idea that I would ask Dave the frontman to read a message for my (now ex) boyfriend during their gig in Belgrade the next day. Marah were one of his favorite bands and he would be there.
“Now that I think about it, it was a bit crazy,” a friend with whom I’m sharing my desk at work said yesterday. But that night, he wasn’t trying to stop me. On the contrary, he thought my plan was great, sweet even.
“You should definitely go for it! It’s a brilliant idea! Definitely ask him,” he encouraged me.
It must be that we all had lost our minds to euphoria that night. Marah’s recordings reveal an okay, if somewhat bland rock band, but live, it’s a completely different story. That day in the Zagreb Students Center, the walls were sweating and alcohol vapors filled in the air mixed with bliss. Local rock critics claimed they now had a proof God didn’t exist, otherwise Marah would be considered the greatest rock band in the world, and I can’t remember anyone, myself included, who didn’t claim this was the best gig they’d ever been to.
Somewhere in this madness, around midnight, I went ahead with my plan. As the band left the stage – they mumbled something along the lines that everyone needed a drink now before they returned for another half hour of playing covers (as if we were at a dorm party) – I stepped into their path and told Mr. Bielanko what I wanted him to do.
“Excellent! That’s great, we’ll definitely do it. Just tell the guy who sells the CDs what you want me to say,” he said.
So, on a piece of paper I wrote something like ‘X sends her love to Y’. Not very original, but my hand and mind were shaking with panic, as I’m not exactly a girl used to asking wacky favors from rock stars.
“Nice try,” my boyfriend said next night in an e-mail.
My plan didn’t work. By pure chance he intercepted the message before the plan was executed. As always, he was buying CDs before the gig, this time right at the moment when the CD guy was explaining to the roadie that Dave should read out this message about X & Y. Upon hearing our names, my ex realized that it was too much of a coincidence, asked what it was about and told the guys to consider the message delivered. He told me that he considered himself lucky to have avoided a public humiliation, but in fact I could tell he loved it.
“This never happened,” Dave Bielanko told me two years later.
“Yeah, right. Since he was drinking Jack Daniel’s straight from the bottle on the stage, as far as his memory is concerned, the whole gig probably never happened either,” my friend laughed yesterday.
This second time I met Dave was when I was meeting my friends at the Godot bar before Marah’s second gig in Zagreb, and a friend who had arrived early chanced upon the band and sat with them.
The Bielanko brothers at this point were dry and sober. I’d read later that Dave had a relapse, that he and Serge had fallen out, that the band had fallen apart. But, they are touring again, though Serge is ‘on parental leave’. I hope they’ll visit us again, I might have some new ideas.