Arthur Lee: “Close Enough”

A few of my friends have commented on the 10th anniversary of ’60s psychedelic rock legend Arthur Lee’s passing today, so I thought I’d share a favorite story. Gather round, kids.

When Love played the Fillmore in the ’00s, at one point during the show, We were watching from the side balcony when Arthur Lee suddenly leapt off the stage between songs, waded out into the middle of the crowd for a moment, and then quickly returned, without explanation.

A few years later, my roommate’s friend Doug was in the apartment and the subject came up, and it turned out, he’d been the reason for the excursion into the audience. The story is this:

Lee had been wearing mirrored sunglasses for the whole show. So Doug called out during the break between songs: “MAKE EYE CONTACT!” Never one to abandon a joke before he’d beaten it completely into the ground, he began doing it between every single song. Over and over again.

So finally, after a number of songs, Lee, increasingly irritated with it, spotted Doug in the audience when he yelled it for the umptheenth time. So Lee finally leapt off the stage, and waded through the crowd, right up to Doug… whipped off his sunglasses… got right in Doug’s face, almost touching noses, glared straight into his eyes, and yelled, “IS THIS CLOSE ENOUGH, MOTHERFUCKER?”

RIP Arthur Lee, 8/3/2006