I am home.
It was a very long few days, and I'm here to report on all of it, happily and much to your chagrin. You come here expecting short little observations and ditties, don't you.
And I always give you overflowing platters loaded with the mundane, obvious and ridiculous.
Here's another one. I shall begin with Friday, July 16, 2004.
I left with the kids and headed to NY. Normally it is a no more than 5 hour trip. Traffic in Connecticut was atrocious, so I bailed in Bridgeport and grabbed the ferry we were the second to last car loaded on out of the stand-by line. Hurrah for me and thank you God because that would have been 45 minutes of waiting to see where we could have been driving.
Traffic on Long Island was no better. We got to my mom's at 5pm, a 7 hour trip total. But the ferry ride, while adding time to the trip, was fun and relaxing, and the kids were superbly behaved... lucky me.
I grabbed my sister and Ronnie, and we jetted over to the Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach theatre. Traffic on the way there was light, the Wantagh parkway was desolate. I was confused... but it was already close to 7pm, and that was when the opening act was kicking off. So we missed the traffic, scored pretty decent parking, and missed the opener but from what I heard in the parking lot I don't think we missed a thing.
I would have LOVED to have come early, gone to the beach with Jessie, had a tailgate with food... but. It is what it is and we made it in one piece. On to the show.
Last time I was there was to see America and Renaissance (no kidding) in like 1983. I forget who went with me. The place has changed quite a bit since then. Another level up the top, and the VIP section I don't ever remember having been there. I had VIP envy when I saw the beer and the food. But. I had Ladies Room tickets and didn't have to hang out with what seemed to be a fashionista crowd with more fashion and being seen on their minds than BNL.
Our seats were in the 8th row, Ed's side, no obstructed view. I sat next to a pair of Alanis fans who told me that Alanis would be performing first. I was pumped to know BNL would be the closer. I asked him if he got his tickets through the Alanis fan club, and he said no, that he had to join BNL's fan club to get the awesome seats... he wasn't happy about that, because he didn't like them, but he was seeing them again in Holmdel, NJ.
Thumbs up to the Ladies Room for providing excellent seats, even to folks who dislike the band! Gotta love the fan club, y'all.
I've mentioned here in the past that I'm not a big Alanis fan. I don't want any hate mail from people who worship/adore her. I don't hate her... I just don't click with her like I do the Ladies.
That having been said, I'm amazed at how I know all the words to her major hits. And she played them all. The one I wanted to hear was "Uninvited" and the girl didn't disappoint. Her band was phenomenal -- I could watch them play all day. Put someone else up in front of them singing though (heh. dig on Alanis). She was alright -- I'm still not a big fan. But... her performance was good. Her stage presence was loving, she was all smiles. The crowd didn't seem that into her, except for three people in the second row
... and this one girl who stood right in front of us. I'm not sure why it is, but at this time last year, if you recall, we went to see Nickel Creek and Bruce Cockburn with Tess, and we had Crazy Hippy Shirtless Kid dancing in front of us.
Why do I get the crazy dancers? Why? Oh, God, why?
If you were behind or around us, perhaps you saw her. Heroin chic thin, spray-on tan which needed to be rubbed into the backs of her arms and thighs better, tiny pink skirt, cami top with pinned on lacey thing. Did you see her?
In the written word, I cannot describe what this girl was doing. If one could call it dancing, one might be considered in the realm of accurate. She was all over the map. The guy in front of her (who was a dead ringer for my buddy Brian) was having a really hard time avoiding her long, enthusiastically flailing arms. It wasn't like Elaine on Seinfeld when she dances... it was a whole different animal. One needing to be caught and tagged by Steve Irwin, and re-released into the wild.
She was a VIP tent person, and when she came dashing in, just as Alanis' set began, she dragged a (what would appear to be) boyfriend with her. He sat down, and read "Self" magazine, which I presume he got in the VIP package along with the size extra negative small bebe t-shirt and a mess of other fashonista shit.
At one point, another woman came to join them. Not sure if she was Dancing Girl's mom or Recalcitrant Date's mom, but she and Recalcitrant Date sat and talked and talked while Dancing Girl did her thing.
During Alanis' big huge F-bomb classic "You Oughta Know" she really tried to get him to dance... and he steadfastly refused. And, by the way, no self-respecting man should ever be dancing to that song. Sorry. Ugh. Painful "I hate you and hope you die!" kind of tone to the song, and not a male admiration anthem.
Alanis spoke very little between songs, only to thank the crowd and tell them how happy she was to be sharing the stage with Barenaked Ladies. Reluctant Boyfriend turned to Older Woman With RatsNest Hair and said "Oh, that's who her back up band is?" I laughed heartily. I turned to Linda and made fun of the guy, but she told me to shut up because Ronnie said the same thing. Heh.
Recalcitrant Date then turned to RatsNest Hair and said "It would be nice if there was like, beer being served here... or... a cocktail or something." I bet that poor guy needed some booze at that point!
Steve, Ed and Jim joined Alanis on stage for "You Learn," which sounded bloody awful. Their mike was really hot, and their vocals sounded feedbacky. But it was cool to see them on stage together.
My only complaint about the performance itself was that I wish they'd done more stuff with each other. I really would have enjoyed that.
Mr. Garfield wanted to know if she did her Cole Porter "Delovely" song. She didn't. I would have like to have heard it live.
When Alanis finished, the people beside me left, they were very nice and I encouraged them to stay for a song or two but they were having none of that. Dancing Girl, RatsNest Hair and Recalcitrant Date left, and Dancing Girl screeched out "I loved it I loved it I love love loved it!" towhit Recalcitrant Date muttered "No shit."
My sister and I had a huge laugh.
BNL took the stage after a brief turn over. They opened with "Brian Wilson," with a very pretty little a cappella bit at the beginning (five part, pretty layered harmony. nice!) and then they launched into the second verse of the song, which Steve messed up and turned red laughing over.
The guys were really funny, they made fun of Tyler's new facial hair thing, calling him "Boceifus" while singing about football and "All my rowdy friends are comin' over tonight!" They rapped about Virgils Ribs, and made a ton of fun of Hillary Duff.
They did a never-recorded before song which may or may not be called "Bull in a China Shop" and it was awesome -- I hope it was written AFTER "Everything" came out, because THAT would have been the true Radio Hit for them on that album. It's a fabulous song... I remember reading on the discussion boards that folks went to see Steve perform solo acoustic in NYC back in November or December and he did that then, and they loved it too.
Speaking of the boards, over the past several shows I've had the opportunity to meet and greet a few people on the barenaked.net board. Mathmarie was there again, and I saw Shaun and Bob and Jeff... but didn't get a chance to go say hi to them. The Manchester show provided opportunity for me to stand next to luvmoose and a few others, and this time I got to be with Janedivided, a name I remember seeing on posts all over the place during Peepshow.
The BNL community has provided me the opportunity to meet some really nice people. Wonderful people. This time was no different. She and I sang harmony to "For You" in their Prairie Home Companion style set, and she can stand next to me singing any old time. Rock.
But for all the super and incredible people I've met in the last year there is always one person who boggles my mind. In Manchester it was stripper dancer girl. At Mohegan Sun it was the creepy guy who stood there with his middle finger up the whole time while shoving his hands down his girlfriend's pants and fingering her during the performance.
This time, there was a guy in the row in front of us who kept screaming and screaming and screaming "Break Your Heart!" in between songs and while the guys were dishing on the Broadway play "Wicked!" Everyone wanted to kill him with bare hands.
I wanted Steve and Ed to say the following:
S: Oh, you want to hear that song do you?
E: We WERE going to play it, but because you won't shutup. Fuck you.
S: Yeah, here, see the set list? It's there after we come back from the "Shopping" break and the stage gets cleaned up. But now, because you're a loudmouth jerk, it's off the list.
E: We're actually going to play more Hillary Duff songs. And only Hillary Duff songs for the rest of the night. Because you're an ass, sir. If you can't live with what we've chosen, and you insist on yelling, you ruin it for everyone.
T: Can we play some Rush songs instead? I've been practicing "Red Barchetta" and I'm really rather good at it. We could do that instead.
K: Actually, I'd rather do my bluegrass rendition of "War Pigs."
S: Well, whatever songs we end up doing for the rest of the night, it isn't going to be what this guy wants to hear. Sorry buddy.
E: Yeah, you screwed Linda out of hearing it live again. How does that feel, jerk?
Or something along those lines.
I am posting a link to this journal entry in the barenaked.net forum the way I always do. And, if the gentleman is reading this, suffice it to say that you really irritated about 100 to 150 people with your incessant yelling.
AND you annoyed my sister who was standing right behind you in a very specific non-loud manner. Why? Because you smoked cigarette after cigarette in a no-smoking venue, cupped hand over the cancer stick like no one would see, care, or notice.
My sister smokes... only she had the courtesy to take it outside when she needed a fix of vitamin N. Why you could not, is beyond her, and beyond me.
Talking about this in my online journal may bring me some heat, but really -- I'm not feeling like I felt when I was at the show when you would not shut up. Now, I actually feel sorry for you.
I hope this gives you pause to reflect on your public behavior... Your girlfriend kept giving you the "I can't believe you're doing this" eye, and the soft pathetic smile that I'm sure she serves up when she'd rather say "what is WRONG with you???!!!" and you ignored it. For her sake -- reflect. I would bet she finds something wonderful in you, and that she doesn't love you for your ability to yell "Break Your Heart" loudly while secretly puffing away on your smokes.
We all could use some improvement. Perhaps you're not even aware that your behavior is annoying. Pause, reflect -- carry on. Go forward and sin no more. M'kay?
They closed with "What a Good Boy," and blew the metaphorical roof off the joint (it being an open air theatre with no roof, well, you know).
And I love them.
I want to see Ed's left arm tattoos up close. He's got this fabulous map and fish thing going on that I simply must check out. Kevin was genius on the keys, adding all kinds of great new noises to old standards. Jim was amazing on bass. Tyler -- well hell, all his Rowdy Friends were there to see him. I actually thought he looked more like Neil Young with no hair than Boceifus. I don't even know how to spell Boceifus. Damn.
I told myself as I was driving down to NY that I didn't need to see another BNL concert for a while, due to money and time and ... money. I've seen them a mess of times in this past year (Boston, Hartford, Mohegan Sun, Manchester) and I've skipped a few shows that I would have liked to have seen (Portland, Amherst). I could live without seeing them for a wee bit.
Then, the drugs wore off.
Who the hell am I kidding? Why the hell didn't I buy tickets to Mansfield!? I'm such a dingus. Such a fool. I could see these guys all day, every day. I love them. I love their show. I'd even sit through Alanis again just to get to the other side and see them.
Gah. I'm such a friggin addict.
Saturday morning dawned too damn early. Linda, the kids and I got in the car around 10, got up here to get husband who had the truck and the dogs ready, we watched the hilly insanity leg of the Tour de France, and we headed up to Aaron and Michelle's.
10 hours in car is bad for my ass.
Anyway, if you recall, over July 4th weekend, Linda's car died in Ellsworth. Aaron got it to a mechanic and got the flux capacitor replaced along with the spark plugs, and the car needed to be retrieved. What better time than this to go get her. We spent Saturday night at the house, and Sunday Doug needed to head on home but I stayed with Linda to enjoy the rest of the Sunny Sunday and part of wet Monday.
We drove home here on Monday, stopping at a very over crowded and insane Freeport, ME for a quick visit, where Jessica bought a shirt that says "Wicked" on it, in honor of Ed and Kevin and their Broadway show viewing and mocking of said musical. Linda left and headed home, and that was our whirlwind tour of the entire northeastern United States, Minus Vermont and Rhode Island.
Today we returned to Maine, only just over the border, for Pete's 7th birthday party. I really don't want to see the highway for a while. Thank God I don't need to.
Unless I go see BNL in Mansfield with someone who has an extra ticket. Heh.