Adam Green - Oude Zaal, Melkweg, Amsterdam - 02/03/2005

"“I'm so happy, I got sick.”"


A reading from the book of Green.


He did come into the Melkweg, to preach and we did come to listen. There was I, and some friends, and lots of other people. And there were some women that were very tall who did hail from the low lying lands and they had all gathered there, in that darkest of rooms, the Oude Zaal of the Melkweg, to hear his sermon. The Gnomes, for that was the name of his backing band, stood silent on the raised platform they called the stage, patiently awaiting their master. The Jewish men, of which there were many, in the crowd stood with their arms folded, patient but demanding. Only when their glasses fell down the bridge of their nose and they did have to push them back into place did any of them move. As I glanced around the room I felt nervous. Should I have been circumcised on the way in? Had I stumbled into a barmitsvah? I drank a beer to calm my nerves and then, bathed in white light, did the man appear before us.


He was dressed in dark jeans and boots, with a blazer and dark shirt combination beneath his shoulder length, curly hair. He looked like death warmed up, for ill was the man. But the crowd did not care and neither did I and we clapped and we cheered and some even whistled their pleasure at the sight of the man.


Small handheld cameras appeared in their dozens, held aloft by smiling Jewish men and myself, everyone eager to take a glimpse of the prophet Adam. As I tried to take pictures of the man, to show you, dear reader, a gigantic woman nearly seven feet in length (well, estimate around 6 foot 6) held her hand in front of the lens repeatedly, which caused me to become slightly annoyed. "What are you doing?" I asked of her and she did reply, "Make sure you enjoy it!"


"I'll enjoy the night if you stop waving your bloody hand in my face," I did think but I did not say and so I grumbled under my breath and drank some more beer. The Gnomes started to play various instruments, drums, keyboards and guitars and the man did tell us a story about the Novotel and everyone in the room smiled. His voice was lower and croakier than I had ever heard it before, but it did suit him well. Drums pounded and the guitarist did play quickly and Adam then spoke of a life Down on the Street. "I'm in trouble like a dirty stinking Jew" he did say and most of the room seemed to understand what he meant by that for they all smiled and nodded and then pushed their glasses back up their noses.


Adam looked down at the crowd and told them "I'm sorry you caught me when I'm sick. I've got the Aids tonight. And I'm hot. So hot!" and then he told us of some friends of his in the form of a song entitled Friends of Mine and many in the crowd, like myself, having already heard this song in previous sermons, did sing along with him. He did provide an interlude then, between Psalms, when he sang a piece from the Scriptures of Salt N' Pepa. "Let's talk about sex baby!" The room was incredibly warm, but outside it was incredibly cold. In fact, it was snowing outside and the temperature had dropped to a position on the scale that meteorologists have been known to call, 'bloody freezing.' But Adam was warm and ill, so he paused the sermon to take off his jeans and throw away his thermal Long John's. Women applauded. Men laughed. Adam sneezed and coughed, for he was ill. Clambering back into his saggy arsed jeans he did tell us a tale entitled Gemstones in the form of a hoedown but that did not entertain him fully so he sang it again, in the more traditional format where he did speak of a girl named Holly. "She's a wild one," said the man, "She'll be staying for a spell. Till they find her and they drag her down to Barcelona." And at that point the Gnomes got all excited, Adam did throw his arms around and we did jump and dance and smile broadly once again.


Jangly guitars introduced the Psalm Bunnyranch and he did sing, "Do me doggy, rape me in the packing house," and people did laugh at him. "You guys are all Jewish right?" he asked and most of the crowd did scream "YEAH" extremely loudly. He followed that with the psalm knows as Emily where everyone danced and sang as he told us of Jennifer, Eleanor and of dear old Emily herself. Then he sang the tale about Drugs and the one where he goes off to Choke On A Cock and most people laughed but some were rather baffled.


Accompanied by a gentle and pleasing keyboard sound Adam did announce "I wanna choose to die, COUGH COUGH SPLUTTER CACK!!!!!" and it did take him a few attempts to begin the song I Wanna Die properly, which did bring forth giggling from the crowd. I was listening to him sing, "She was a man with Herpes, floating in a yellow stream. Running through the windows backwards, kissing all the buildings clean," and I did think that I was truly in the shadow of genius.


The Gnomes then wandered off stage in search of refreshment whilst Adam strapped a 6 string acoustic to his shoulder and proceeded to play an horrendous version of Proud Mary, but we did laugh and we did sing along. It was all fun after all. He followed that by quoting Beck's Where It's At? The crowd giggled once more, but then stood in reverance as Adam sang the utterly marvelous Can You See Me Now? "If everybody was the best, there would be so few of the rest." Words of wisdom and truth, I'm sure you'll agree.


He then asked Jessica, of the Simpson family, where her love has gone and the crowd did ask right along with him. Jessica may not like the song herself, but the crowd that were present at this sermon certainly do. Jessica dear, "a purple bulldozer, is calling you on the phone." Best run along then girl, don't you think?


The Gnomes reappeared and they did accompany Adam in a slight reprise of Beck's Where It's At until Adam messed up the guitar part. Then he did down some medicine. Medicine that looked strangely like Jagermeister, it must be said and then he did scare the whole crowd by singing a version of Michael Jackson's Heal The World, "There's a place in this world, where the children have such fun. At my ranch, where I treat them very kindly." Thankfully that ended soon after and the band played a song about the Hollywood Bowl that I had ne'er heard before but it had some wonderful time changes and some jaunty keyboards and it even reminded me of Chas and Dave in a strange kind of way. Chas and Dave sung by Vic Reeves in a club singer style, that is. "I don't even care that I'm sick man. This is my best show I've ever had in Amsterdam and everybody knows that!" I don't think anybody in the room argued with that statement.


I kind of hoped he would have suddenly appeared in a Peter Pan costume, but My Shadow sounded good even without one. Well, it could have sounded much better to my ears if the gigantic woman who had obstructed my camera lens earlier wasn't SHOUTING HER HEAD OFF! I was quite aggrieved. After telling me to stop taking photos and enjoy myself she decided to talk to the man next to her about Desperate Housewives. Desperate Fucking Housewives! "Keep your voice down," I did say to her and I also did say, "If you want to watch tv, then go the fuck home!" She did apologise but there was an uncomfortable moment. Thankfully Adam started singing about Teddy Boys and that got everybody dancing again. He followed that by leading the band through a wondrous version of Dance With Me and it was then that something rather unexpected happened.


My nemesis for the evening, the gigantic woman, started dancing and she moved right across me, grabbed my arms and the two of us forgot all about our previous petty quarrels and we did dance arm in arm, twirling around and everything throughout Adam's bizarre electric guitar solo and on until the song developed into a fuzzy cover of Purple Haze that was, well, it was interesting. Adam Green stops all arguments. "I'm so fucking happy," said Adam. "I'm so happy, I got sick."


Then he introduced the band and strummed his guitar gently, "If there's a heart inside your eye. If there's a clock inside your head. If there's a girl outside your bed. Put your face in my place." Yes, listening to the Prince's Bed was a marvelous moment, to the point that he did sing, "Everybody's talking 'bout Jesus. Everybody's talking 'bout Jesus. Everybody's fucking my Princess" and it did seem tender. The main part of this sermon was brought to a close with Over the Sunrise, that was really good, although I couldn't help but feel disappointed when I realized that the actual lyric is "We're gonna do it in this beautiful Mustang." You see, I'd always thought it was "We're gonna do it in this beautiful Mustard," which sounds much better to me. Nevertheless, I applauded the man from the stage like the rest of the crowd, who were clapping, cheering, whistling and frantically pushing their glasses back up their noses.


I must give the DJ some credit for he did play Michael Jackson's Man in the Mirror whilst the band were backstage. That really had me in stitches. To the relief of everyone in the room Adam and the band did reappear before Mr Jackson could finish his tune and they did play Cast A Shadow In My Direction and then the brilliant Bluebirds. But Adam felt very ill, "Oh man I sound like shit. But I got it from you, I got it from the whores of Amsterdam!" Then, in true Wedding singer fashion, the prophet did start taking requests. And so we were treated to Computer Show, which was great and then we heard No Legs, which was hilarious. "There's no wrong way to fuck a girl with no legs. Just tell her you love her as she's crawling away." Again, words of wisdom and truth that I'm certain you'll agree with.


We're Not Supposed To Be Lovers was then requested from the crowd and introduced by Adam blowing his nose and throwing his diseased handkerchief into the crowd. Which was nice for the girl it landed on. "Ok I'll take one more request," said the man and took He's The Brat from the floor but once that had finished the man did realize that he had neglected some of his worshippers. Looking up to the balcony he called forth for one final request and a girl did shout out the name of a song and thus the sermon did finish with a song by the Beach Boys. The request was none other than Kokomo. We did sway, we did sing and we did think about going to Aruba, Jamaica and wanting to take people to Bermuda and The Bahamas. We wanted to take those pretty mothers to Key Largo and Montego Bay but then decided we'd go down to Kokomo because we could get their fast and take it slow but in the end, when the music stopped and the prophet Adam did wave goodbye, we all wandered outside into the snowy streets of Amsterdam.


My friends and I were very thankful. We had just experienced an enlightening sermon and we did thank the prophet from the bottom of our hearts and then we did join in the snowball war on the Leidseplein, which was intense and highly rewarding for all that were involved. I then spent the next three days wrapped up in bed suffering from the flu. I did not thank the prophet for that!


Words and photographs : Damian Leslie