Aplscruf's Music Blog

Concert Season 2006

Concert Season 2006
I gauge how good of a year I’ve had based on the quantity and quality of concerts I have attended during the spring/summer/fall months. This year [2006] has been the best ever! Usually in February, I start hunting band websites, venue websites and Ticketmaster looking for Seattle tour dates. I get so excited for Concert Season to roll around! The winter months are usually quite boring, with hardly any acts. That is the time for vacations or just spending downtime with family in the gray gloom. But then late in the winter, the dates start showing up in the newspaper, Ticketmaster sends emails, and I get a rush of excitement!

The following is a summary of concerts we saw, the experiences we had, and the music played. It’s been such a good season! I’m hoping it’s not quite over, even though it is September 9 [2006] today. The one regret is not booking tickets to Nashville for the Americana Music Awards, but how can I complain. I might see Todd Snider in October, if I can find someone to go with me. We’ll see…

June

Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville. Saw Elvis Costello with his latest collaborator, Allen Toussaint, a New Orleans R&B vet. They have an album out together, and I need to pick it up! Lots of boogie-woogie R&B sounds. Elvis played songs from that album along with his classic new wave stuff like: Watching the Detectives, Allison, Pump it Up, What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love, and Understanding…

Hot night, about 85 degrees. Went with H and C. Purchased a nice bottle of 2003 Syrah and some cheese, salami and crackers at the winery gift shop. Had a great little picnic before the show. It was such a beautiful setting, a nice crowd. It was fun to people-watch as the show progressed, to see the middle-aged businessmen getting a little tipsy from the wine and trying to stumble across the uneven grass back to their seats. Unfortunately, the one time C and I went to the bathroom, the line was out the door, and only two stalls were available. This was exactly the point where Elvis kicked it up a notch and played his old favorites. I was crabby, but we still had fun.

Also in June, we saw John Hiatt and the North Mississippi All Stars. Wow what a show! They played at Marymoor Park in Redmond. P and I arrived early and got some dinner. Then we got some wine and beer, and some more wine and beer. I was quite tipsy by the time the show got started! P was up to the bathrooms about every 10 minutes! No more beer for him at concerts! We had 4th row seats, a little to the right of center. Perfect!

N. Mississippi consists of two brothers, Luther and (I don’t remember) Dickinson. They are sons of Jim Dickinson [who recently passed away in 2009], who produced John Eddie’s “Who the Hell Is John Eddie” album as well as John Hiatt‘s, and lots of other folks. Luther can play the guitar like no one I have seen before. At one point, he played a one-string guitar that looked like a box with a stick in it and a rubber band for a string! He made that thing moan. Unreal. And he looks like he’s 20, although I believe he’s in his 30’s. The bass player looked like Fat Albert, and played the bass real high up under his chest. His last name was Chew, which I thought was fitting, but man could he play! He also added a little rap/hip-hop style to their very southern rock. A real nice mix, which has garnered them a broad, young following. They played a good ½ hour set, mostly from their new album, “Electric Blue Watermelon,“ then took a break before being joined by John Hiatt.

I have only recently started listening to John Hiatt. I knew of him, and The Mountain radio station brings him to town every year, but I didn’t know his range of music. He has done country, rock, has written scores of songs that other artists like Bonnie Raitt (Thing Called Love) and Suzy Bogguss (Drive South) have made famous. He is famous in his own right as well. He has a very unique voice, like that of Randy “Short People” Newman. He is skinny, wiry, with a face worn by a hard life, but kind, appreciative of the audience, and totally against the Bush administration! Yay! P was impressed.

John sang a slew of songs, a Greatest Hits night, plus many from his new album, “Master of Disaster.” Set list included: Master of Disaster, Cry Love, Love’s Not Where We Thought We Left It, Ain’t Ever Goin’ Back, Slow Turning, Thing Called Love, Thunderbird, Old School, Child of the Wild Blue Yonder, Buffalo River Home, Riding With the King…many others. He was very entertaining, and surrounded by a talented band.

July

Ahhh, Tom Petty time. Finally. We saw him last year at the Gorge, but I was looking forward to a new venue, Clark County Amphitheatre, in Ridgefield, WA, near Vancouver. Tom has a new album out entitled “Highway Companion,” so I was excited to see how the new songs would sound live. Also we had 4th row seats, so I was very anxious to see how close we we would sit to the stage.

Tom is my musical hero. His album, “Damn the Torpedoes” was one of my first album purchases as a young teenager. I wore that record out on my sister’s very nice stereo system. She almost killed me when she found out I was using it when she was gone! I used to play “Here Comes My Girl” and “Even the Losers” over and over.

I had a feeling I would cry when he came on stage. There was my hero, up close. He also announced he probably would not be doing any major tours anymore; this may be his last one.

I did cry.  I was blown away being 15 feet from my hero, and having him come out with the first song being “Listen to Her Heart,” one of my all-time favorites!

Set list included: Handle With Care (Traveling Wilburys), Free Fallin’, Down South (Highway Companion), Square One, and I think one other off the new album, Refugee, You Wreck Me, then with Stevie Nicks (guest singer) Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, Insider, and one other of Tom’s songs that Stevie sang alone with the band. The last song of the ovation was American Girl, another favorite of mine.

I cried at least two other times when he played my favorite songs. I just love him, and I’m so glad we got to sit so close.

September

Saturday the 2nd, we went to American Idol with S and D. The guys were not thrilled about going, but it was in Tacoma, and we thought the drive would give them a chance to bond a little! They did, and we went to a nice dinner at a brew pub near the Tacoma Dome by the old train station. That area of Tacoma is pretty nice.

We had fun teasing them about us wanting to act like little teenagers at the concert. We even had Hicks Chicks pink t-shirts on! The guys just rolled their eyes. It was pretty warm that night, too, which made the concert even warmer than expected. Luckily, I wore shorts.

The Idol show was very cheesy. The 10 people performed based on the order they were kicked off. Mandisa went first, followed by Lisa, then Ace, Paris, Bucky, Pickler, etc. Finally, Taylor Hicks came on and rocked everyone with Jailhouse Rock. He was the best, even though his dancing was even weirder than on TV. He did play the harmonica, which was awesome. I kept telling S how much fun it would have been to see him in some shithole bar with his band. Much more fun than this stinking heat dome with a bunch of screaming 12-year-olds. Chris and Elliott also did well, but only sang about 2 songs apiece. That’s ok, we vowed to see any of those guys separately, once they’re done with their AI contract.

Then, a long shot…I had written to Will Kimbrough to see if he was playing Seattle anytime soon. He said no, but he was playing Coos Bay with Rodney Crowell. It was a long shot, but I told my son if we can find someone to go with, we could drive to Coos Bay to see them. It was a free outdoor concert, so hard to beat! P couldn’t go because he’d eaten all his vacation time this summer. I had recently sent Will’s Americanitis CD to our friend R, who loved it. I called him and asked if it was possible for him to go with us to Coos Bay. He wanted to talk it over with K first, then get back to me.

He finally gave us the “ok” to go! I got the time off approved in advance, thank God. The boy had been talking about going since mid-August. He even made cute little foam visors with their names on each one that he insisted we wear at the concert!

So, on Tuesday, Sept. 5 [2006], we started our long trek down South. Just R, the boy and me. I didn’t think I’d have the guts to do it, but I was determined not to let an opportunity pass me by. Plus, I owed it to the boy [then 10 years old] to take him to his first “real” concert. It was a good opportunity to bond with him, and also R was really excited to spend some time with the boy (he’s like an uncle to him) and see Will. I took my iPod, and R was impressed with the quality of the sound and all the music it held. I played lots of Will and Rodney for him, so he would be more familiar with them. He didn’t realize Rodney was actually the headliner, so once he heard his music, he was impressed and excited to see him, too.

I drove to Eugene, then R took over. The driving wasn’t as bad as I thought. I usually don’t drive for that long of a time, but I did ok. R enjoyed not having to drive, since he always has to drive with K. The traffic was bad through Portland and Salem, but it was moving, at least. We had a real pretty drive through the hills from Eugene to Florence. R’s hands were shaking because he wanted to fish the rivers we passed! Lots of cute little towns and storefronts along the way

Florence was gorgeous, with the massive yellow sand dunes surrounding us. We took a little side trip to see if we could get close to the ocean. We finally parked and the boy and I climbed up a dune and looked out to the ocean. It was about a quarter mile from us, so not enough time to run down to see it. R had to wait by the car due to his prosthetic leg; he wasn’t able to climb up the dunes. The wind was blowing at least 20 knots, so we didn’t stay long. It was also cold, about 58 degrees! It was in the 80’s the whole way down until we got there! It was foggy, too.

We continued our trek, closer now to our final destination! We got to Coos Bay and the Red Lion Inn about 4:00. We checked in, dropped off R in his handicapped-accessible room, and then headed across the parking lot to ours. We slowly drove up to our door on the first floor.

As we were driving, we had a brush with fame! A man, who I’m almost positive was Rodney Crowell himself, had just checked in and was standing outside his door, just 5 doors down from ours! He was thin, short and had scraggly hair under a baseball cap. I’m pretty sure it was him, and the boy was too, after I showed him a picture of Rodney on a CD cover! That town is so small; the only two hotels are the Red Lion and the Best Western. There were also big tour buses in the parking lot that night.

Anyway, that was enough to get my knees shaking! Wow, that’s cool to be staying in the same hotel as the band! I kept peeking out to see if he would come out again, or if any other band members were out there. But it was getting late, and I needed to take a shower still and get ready for the show.

We met R for dinner at 5:00-ish, then hung out and waited for our friend, who used to coach with R, to show up. G and his wife live near Florence and were excited to spend some time with R. This was perfect, because they sat up in the grassy terraced area in chairs, while the boy and I parked our blanket about 4 blankets back from the stage, front and center! Cool!

Will Kimbrough

We were all set to go, and I could see Will behind the stage (it was basically open, with some sheer black curtains behind it) with his acoustic guitar warming up. I wanted to go say hi, but refrained. I know from his blogs he was in his warm-up mode that he does before his shows to loosen up. The boy was excited. He insisted we wear our hats, too! So cute.

Will opened the show with “Piece of Work” and also played the following: Made Your Bed You Got to Lay in it, Grownup Now, Black/White [not sure of the exact title], Another Train, Life, Everyone’s in Love (boy’s favorite, and he sang along with a smile on his face, sweet baby), Modern World, and I think a few more.

They took a little break, so I took the boy with me to see if we could talk to them, and he asked if Will would sign his hat. Will did, then I turned to him and introduced myself. He shook my hand, and thanked me for coming. I then introduced him to the boy, and he shook his hand. He got a big thrill over that. I let him go, as other people were waiting to get autographs.

Then we could see Rodney behind the purchase table tuning up his guitar. He looked busy, so we didn’t ask for autographs yet. We found our seats and waited. It wasn’t long before Rodney came on. Yep, that was him at the Red Lion!

Rodney Crowell

He played many songs, some from his new album, The Outsider, then others from previous albums including:

Ain’t Livin’ Long Like This, Fate’s Right Hand, Still Learning How to Fly, Say You Love Me, Dancin’ Circles Round the Sun, a song Keith Urban sang to Nicole Kidman on their wedding day that Rodney wrote and sang, I Walk the Line (Revisited) and Will sang Johnny’s part in his lowest range! Ended with Like a Rolling Stone with the audience helping out! He did one more slow song at the end, and we all stood up near the front of the stage. It was awesome! The boy was thoroughly impressed, although a little antsy during Rodney’s long set, since he didn’t know all of the songs. It was a little chilly out, too.

After the show, we found Rodney and he signed my hat with both our names on it. I thanked him for coming, told him this was boy’s first concert. He seemed a little tired, and had other people waiting. Not real talkative, but nice. He has great cheekbones! His face was lined vertically and was a little pale. Lots of travel and life have creased him.

We hung around a few minutes, then the boy said he wanted Will to sign his polo shirt! So we found Will packing up guitars on the stage. I yelled, “Hey, Will!” He said, “Yeah?” “My son wants you to sign his shirt!” So Will jumped down off the stage and had his pen ready in his pocket. He gladly signed the back of his shirt.

I can’t remember the whole conversation. I was trying to soak it all in, but at the same time felt very self-conscious for bugging him again. It went something like this: I think I told him that was a great show, and this is the boy’s first concert. He asked boy how old he was, and he said 10. Will asked if he was in 5th grade, and then said his daughter is in 6th grade this year. I then asked if his other daughter was in kindergarten, I remembered from reading one of his blogs. He said yes, she was. He said he was heading to San Diego to go to a wedding and maybe do some surfing! He also wanted to take his kids to Sea World. He also thanked us for making the “long haul” down from Seattle. I said it took us about 8 hours! I don’t think I said a whole lot after that, just thanked him and shook his hand again. Well, it was good to finally meet him.

We found R, got the truck and headed back to the hotel. It was soooo worth the drive. And R was thrilled to meet up with his friend and his wife. They enjoyed the concert, too, so I feel my musical evangelism paid off. I did my part to spread the Rodney and Will Word!

October

On October 12, P and I went to see Todd Snider at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get anyone to go with us. Their loss, it was a great show! I told P to see if anyone from work wanted to go. He didn’t seem to believe me how big this was going to be. He never thinks anyone else but me likes these bands! [After a few years, he now knows better!] Well, the place was packed, probably 250 people there!

We got to Ballard around 7:00 after dropping the boy off at Mom and Dad’s. Then we were hungry, but decided we’d better find a place to park first. It took us about 15-20 minutes to find a place to park! [the usual pain in Ballard] Then we went directly to the Tractor to see what was up. The opening act, Joy Mills, was doing a sound check and there were a few people milling about. I noticed they had chairs set up, so then we got to thinking we’d better get in early and reserve our seats up close. So we went across the street first and grabbed ale and ate some peanuts to sustain us for a little bit! No one had food! Tractor only had TV dinners, they said. But the guy at the door did say to try Hattie’s Hat, which was 2 doors down, and then bring it in the Tractor! Cool!

So I got our seats in the second row while Pat picked up the most amazing salmon BLT and fries from Hattie’s! Yum! Then the show started. Joy Mills was good, but it was just her and her acoustic guitar. She was a little slow, but the songs were ok. The audience was pretty silent and polite, until the last couple of songs when more people showed up and more people were on their second or third drink.

There was a short break, in which I was hoping they’d bring out the piano, drum set, extra guitars, etc. But, alas, Todd was solo that night. We saw him walk in with his road guy, Elvis (I guess that’s his real name) and a couple other people.

You can’t miss Todd. He wears this big floppy felt hat all the time now.

He had on a baseball type shirt with black sleeves, with a vest over it, rolled up jeans and Converse tennis shoes that he immediately took off when he stepped onto the stage. Barefoot, he looks like a hobo.

He started playing immediately–I think he started with the song Old Times. He also played the following:

Horseshoe Lake (one of my favorites)

Tension

I Can’t Complain

You Got Away With It

Looking for a Job

Carla

Easy Money

Tillamook County Jail

Iron Mike

Kingsmen Ballad

The Devil You Know

Conservative Christian Right Wing Republican….

Play a Train Song

He was like a comedian/singer. He had little anecdotes about each song–many were the same as what he wrote in liner notes in the CD’s, but that’s ok, it clued people in on the humor/point of the songs. He also said something about going through the Multnomah tunnel by his old hometown near Portland. He said everyone used to paint graffiti in there, and all of it would end in the word “rules” such as Portland High School Rules! Etc. So after a show, he decided he’d write “Todd Snider Rules” in big letters. It was so full of graffiti, that you’d actually have to clean the wall by using white paint to paint over the other graffiti. He said his tour manager that he thought was a guy for years but that’s another story, was supposed to stop him from doing stupid things like that! As they were passing through the tunnel the next day, one of the road crew said, “Oh, the kids must have liked your show last night, Todd!”

I don’t know– he can spin a yarn with much more humor in person than I can possibly convey here. The audience was real receptive to his little jokes and remarks as well as his very funny lyrics. P was very attentive and really enjoyed him, too. I took about 10 pictures [disposable camera], so we’ll see if they turn out. I tried to get his bare feet in a couple of them.

The bummer was he also wasn’t feeling well after partying in Portland the night before, so he was not in the mood to do a meet’n’greet afterward. So we waited for about ½ hour to see if he’d come out. Finally, this couple from Juneau, AK asked Elvis if he was coming, and Elvis said he’d already left. Darn! We were upset. One girl had her tree huggin’ hippie shirt on, had her two CD liner notes out in her hand ready for him to sign. She was bummed. I told her to also listen to Will Kimbrough, and she hadn’t heard of him. Hopefully she’ll remember he’s on the liner notes.

The Juneau couple were big fans. They had flown down specifically for the show. They were also planning to go see him on New Year’s Eve somewhere back East. They were probably in their mid-20’s. The guy was good-looking, but the girl was absolutely striking, with long black hair and big, dark blue eyes. She must have stood 6’ 2”! Anyway, the guy was so funny because in the middle of Todd’s show, he came stumbling down the aisle to try to get Todd to give him a high-five! He just stood there and waited for his high-five, with his right hand poised in front of Todd. But Todd was in the middle of a guitar solo, and had his eyes closed. The guy must have stood there for 10 seconds, while the audience laughed, then “awwwed” him as he returned with head bowed to his seat. It was so funny! I didn’t think Todd noticed or cared. But then during the next song, or maybe he waited for a second one, Todd said, “Where’s that guy who wanted to give me a high-five?” And of course, the guy ran right back up and was all excited! Todd obligingly gave him the five, and then the guy wanted a knuckle pound, then another high-five! It was so funny! Todd said something after he took his seat, like, “Geez, I thought the guy was going to take over the show!”

So anyway, it was really fun, P had a great time, but we would have loved to have seen a full band show.

November

Next up…Van Morrison! November 4. P just figured out how much the tickets cost us! Ouch! But Mr. Morrison’s a once-in-a-lifetime shot. He hardly ever tours, and when he does he has been really shy, to the point of playing with his back toward the audience. This time, it sounds like he’s loosened up and is enjoying himself.

Van Morrison was well worth the price of admission (2 seats $500), but our seats sucked. He played at a new venue, called the WaMu Theater, part of the Seahawks Qwest Events Center. It looked like a big warehouse, with exposed pipes and beams in the ceiling. I was suspicious when I ordered the tickets as to where we would be sitting. Although we had Row 5, the section was E. My suspicions were correct. We were placed on the far left end of the stage, past diagonal. P couldn’t see all of the band members from his side, left of me. I couldn’t see the fiddle player, except for his fiddle. So the whole night, although Van was about 30 feet from us, was spent looking at the backsides of the vocalists and a side view of Van. I was very disappointed. The stage was also about 6 feet high, so it made it even harder to look up from that angle. The theater held maybe a couple thousand people.

The sound was great, though, and Van was in top form. He brought along a ten-piece band which included three vocalists, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, fiddle, steel guitar, organ, drums, and he played sax and harmonica. He came out swaggering to the stage pumping on that harmonica. He’s so good. Very cool in a black suit and felt fedora. He’s a stumpy, barrel-chested fellow, not real talkative with the audience, but was having a good time onstage.

He played a lot of songs I recognized, but hadn’t heard in quite awhile, and not ones I had on my Greatest Hits albums. I really liked the music, though, and he really kept it upbeat most of the time. Lots of boogie-woogie, some country (his new album, Pay the Devil does a lot of country covers), and classic Van. He ended with Moon Dance, Brown Eyed Girl and Gloria, which got everyone on their feet. P enjoyed the music, but was a little bored and disappointed in the seats.

April 3, 2010 Posted by | Americana, Concert Season 2006, Marymoor Park, Music, Rodney Crowell, The Gorge Amphitheatre, Todd Snider, Tom Petty, Van Morrison, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tom and Willie

2008Willie at the Gorge

What a bizarre week.  Two concerts, months apart, yet I purchased tickets for both within 24 hours.  I am broke.  Baby needed a new pair of shoes.  Too bad, Baby.  We’re going to Tom Petty in June at the Gorge.  I’m taking my mom to see Willie Nelson in September at the Puyallup Fair.  That is, if both Mom and Willie are still alive by then (sez Mom).  We are also geared up to see North Twin tomorrow night for their swan song of a show.  Very sad about that, but I believe Tony is starting a new project, so we will be there to support him in his next venture fer sure!

March 5, 2010 Posted by | Music, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tom Petty Is Coming!!

Tom Petty Is Coming!!
Tom Petty Is Coming!!
Tom Petty Is Coming!!
The Gorge Amphitheatre, June 11-12

March 1, 2010 Posted by | Music, Tom Petty | , | Leave a comment

Tom Petty at The Gorge 8.16.08

August 16, 2008 

 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 

Steve Winwood opened 

The Gorge 

Good ol’ Tom. 

Opened with You Wreck Me, Closed with American Girl. All the greatest hits in between, and a couple of extras. 

Here are most of the songs, not in this exact order, plus some long jam sessions on several, including Breakdown, a blues song called Willie something, Don’t Come Around Here… 

You Wreck Me 

You Don’t Know How it Feels 

Free Fallin 

Even the Losers 

Mary Jane’s Last Dance 

Runnin’ Down a Dream 

Don’t Come Around Here 

Blues Song 

It’s All Right 

I Won’t Back Down 

Refugee 

Honey Bee 

Rebel 

Saving Grace 

Break Down 

Gloria 

American Girl 

I’m sure there were some more in there, but he did extend several of the songs with some great jams that never seemed too long. 

We had a terrible time getting out of Bothell/Redmond when we were ready to leave last Saturday! We spent 2 ½ hours stuck at lights, stuck in traffic, getting food at Whole Foods, stuck trying to get on the freeway in Issaquah! They were working on 405, so we decided to take the surface streets to 90. What a pain. We almost wished we would’ve taken Highway 2 and gone over Stevens, but then it’s quite a drive past that to the George. 

Once on the road we made really good time. There was no line up to get in, so that was great. By the look of the campground, many people spent the night Friday and made a weekend of it. Tom played 2 nights. Unfortunately, we did not get in the premier campground, and had to park where they told us, which was very disappointing. We begged the security/parking guys to let us get to the fence where we could see an opening, but they would not budge. I told P to watch his mouth so we wouldn’t get kicked out of there! 

As it turned out, we were in the middle of a quiet young couple on one side and people our age on the other who had a big camper van and large gazebo, so we were ok. But we were surrounded by some other pretty noisy campers that night. I think I’m getting too old for this! 

We set up our tent fly and almost didn’t because in 100 degree weather, we were ready to rip the thing to shreds! We were so hot and tired when we got there, and we couldn’t figure out how we set it up before. It took us about ½ hour to get it set up, attached to our truck hatch, and then get the chairs and the cooler out. Then it was finally time to relax for a couple of hours before heading down the long trail to the amphitheatre. 

Our seats were stuck right in the middle of a very long row. Once in, we were pretty much stuck for the whole show. P got out a couple of times to use the restroom. I just decided to hold it and stay put. I’m glad I did because it was near impossible to move in those rows. 

Overall, we had a good time, but it paled in comparison to being so up close at the Troubadour. Nothing will beat that. 

February 16, 2010 Posted by | Concert Season 2008, Music, The Gorge Amphitheatre, Tom Petty | | 1 Comment

Tom Petty with Mudcrutch at The Troubadour 05.02.2008

In honor of Tom Petty’s 2010 Tour, I decided to post my favorite show…

Friday, May 2, 2008 Tom Petty and his new/old band Mudcrutch The Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA

THIS WAS MY ULTIMATE CONCERT EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME, A FANTASTIC, SOUL-LIFTING, POSITIVELY AMAZING, ONE-OF-A-KIND LIFE-CHANGING EVENT!!!! TOM PETTY IS MY JESUS OF ROCK-N-ROLL!!! […and just for the record, I coined that phrase waaay before Kid Rock]

So anyway, after getting that off my chest…I can clearly remember standing there near the stage saying, “I can die now. My life is complete!” Unbelievable.  Musical Salvation.  Ok, here’s the story…

So P calls me during my second week at my new job. Do I want tickets to see Tom Petty at the Troubadour in Hollywood? “Sure, Hon, that would be great.” I’m thinking to myself, what a joke. There’s not a chance in hell we could get tix to see him in some small nightclub.

He later called back and said they sold out. End of story. But wait, there’s more! P called again and said they opened up another night for the next Friday, May 2! Could I go? Well, I have to work, but we could leave right after work. I told him I could figure it out later, wondering how the hell I was going to tell my new boss. He called back and said, WE GOT THE TICKETS!!!!! Holy sh**. I yelped at my desk! I worked out taking the time off, and promised to make up the time, while P booked a room and reserved a flight. That was a little more difficult due to flight times.

Eventually we booked a room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood. Sounded nice, and the price was right. It was an old hotel, and they were still working on the restaurant, so they were offering suites at a low price. The flight was pretty cheap, but later in the day than we would have liked. I ended up working about two hours, then taking off to see if we could talk our way on to an earlier flight.

Luckily, we did take an earlier flight, because after arriving in L.A, renting a car and merging on the freeway, we were hit with nasty early rush-hour traffic . Plus, we weren’t exactly sure where to go, so we ended up missing an exit and winding through some side streets. It eventually worked out, and we found our beautiful little hotel up on a hillside, kitty-corner from Whisky-A-Go-Go!

We asked the front desk about the history of the old hotel. Well, had I watched the show, I would have known immediately: this is the hotel portrayed in Beverly Hills 90210!!! Wha’? Not only that, but the new restaurant will be the next Hell’s Kitchen! The winning chef of the current season will get to run the restaurant. Wow. How cool is that!

Our room was spectacular: a long suite with couch and chairs, separate desk, a nice deck overlooking the hills, beautiful king bed and then a very large walk-in shower, separate bathtub and gorgeous tiled walls. We were very impressed and felt lucky to get such a perfect deal in a great place. We had to really hurry after being stuck in traffic to get ready for the show. I didn’t know what to expect, but I wanted to look a little nicer than my sweaty self! We were very crabby and hungry by this point, after going non-stop since early this am.

We zoomed out the door only to be road-blocked by a very slow taxi service. Apparently they haven’t worked out all the bugs of running a newly renovated hotel; there were about 10 doormen and bell boys standing around and no taxi in sight. They called one out, but the taxis were not lined up due to the very small entryway. Fifteen precious minutes ticked by before one arrived. We should have called from the room!

We got down there with a little time to spare. The line at the Troubadour wasn’t too bad yet, with maybe 50 people in line. We were starving and thirsty from our rushing around. We went next door to an Italian restaurant, which is where the rest of the people were, apparently!

We couldn’t even get in the bar, so we walked down the block to an Indian restaurant on the corner called A Taste of India. Perfect! There was hardly anyone there. The prices were decent, and the Chicken Tikka Masala and naan were amazing. We scarfed it up and mmmmed and ohhhed our way through it, while downing beer and water. The polite waiters were so nice and kept refilling our water. It was pretty hot out and we were cooking from all of our running around getting ready and zooming down the block. I went to the restroom and saw all the pictures on the wall of famous people who have eaten there or ordered takeout. Quite impressive!

Ok, on with the show! We walked back up the block to wait in line. The line was now around the corner and down the block, but still maybe only 100 people long. Not too bad, but it did limit our chances of getting close to the stage. P showed me a pic on the web of the Troubadour a few days before we left, and it looked interestingly small for such a big name playing there. There was a history of musicians that debuted there, such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, other big 60’s bands, and, uh, The Knack (ha more on that story later). The Troubadour has been around since 1957. Way cool.

As we waited, we noticed the sign across the street that read, “Beverly Hills”. We then noticed all the cars that went by us: Mercedes, Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s, Land Rovers, Hummers…unreal. I couldn’t believe the high concentration of money (or debt) in such a small area. I felt very pale and poor, but  the population in line was more in my poverty bracket, I believe. There was an exception: a woman who was very tan and leathery, with fake boobs, fake blond hair and fake lips as well as pulled eyebrows that made her look like a surprised clown. She was the epitome of what that town was all about. Ugh. She looked terrible. There’s something to be said about just letting things be. I remember her when I look in the mirror and wonder if I should get a lift here, a tuck there.

After about 45 minutes, the line started moving! I was getting anxious about not being able to see the stage. The venue was small, but wide. The stage went almost the length of the inside wall on the right. At the back was a bar. Around the top was a balcony, and then little curtained rooms above that, where the band was hanging out with their friends and family. Way cool! You could kind of see through the sheer curtains and make out Tom’s silhouette as well as other band members’.

More waiting. I think we had to stand there for close to an hour before it started. We took turns going to the bathroom and getting a drink. I only had one drink, then only wanted water after that. It was pretty stifling hot with all the bodies standing so close together.

Also, and most important, we managed to get one of the best positions in the house, just right of center, about 3 layers of people back from the stage! Tom’s mike was only about 10 feet away from us! The stage was only about 2 feet off the ground. I looked at P. Sh**! We’re close! I really don’t know how we managed to get that close, but most people either crowded to the middle or went directly to the bar to get a drink first and didn’t care about how close they were. Actually, it was so small in there, anywhere was fantastic! A lot of people sat up in the balcony, too, including Tom’s Heartbreakers bass player, Ron Blair! We kept looking back at him and staring like star-struck fans! Cool.

We could see movement behind the curtains. People were getting restless and called for Tom! Yes! Here he is! Here’s the rest of the band, Mudcrutch! I looked back at P again…F***! He’s right there in front of us!!! I was in heaven. I couldn’t believe we were that close, in Hollywood, seeing my Rock-n-Roll Jesus!!! I thought I might cry, but I didn’t. I was sober, in complete bliss, and enjoyed every minute. I couldn’t stop smiling!!

Mudcrutch ran through their set list of all the songs off their new/old album, as well as two Bob Dylan covers (including Rainy Day Women) and Summertime Blues, and a couple of other oldies that were so fun to bounce around to. Mudcrutch was there to play Mudcrutch and not any Heartbreakers music; which was ok by me, but it would have been nice to hear one or two songs. But that wasn’t why they were there.  Luckily I had purchased the CD before we left so I knew what to expect. That really helped us enjoy the show!

Tom and the band seemed loose, happy and just out to have a good time. No big light show, no grandstanding, just a regular band out to have fun and enjoy themselves and connect with the audience. And connect they did! Tom and the boys would look out and smile, hold guitar necks out above our heads, (I could’ve touched Tom’s bass at one point!) and talk to us. A few times, I thought I made eye contact with Tom as he looked out. And then, one time, and P saw it too, Tom looked right at me and smiled. It was brief, but it was eye contact and a nice grin. It really made my night. My musical Jesus, right there, right in front of me, noticed me. I was born again! P tapped me and said, “He smiled at YOU!” SH**! I had a very bad potty mouth that night because I was in complete ecstasy.

The Knack: Tom told a very amusing tall tale about being “Tom” in the late 70’s and going to the Troubadour for the first time. He decided to get some drinks there, and heard there was a new band playing called The Knack (ma-ma-ma my-y-y Sharona!). The band recognized Tom. He said he usually does not drink, but that night he drank, which was a big mistake.  The band asked him to join them onstage. He decided to do so, being Tom and all. They hooked him up to the biggest amps he’d ever seen. The Marshall 10,000! They said they would give him his cue when they wanted him to join in. He turned the thing up to 10 and waited for his cue. “Hit it, Tom!” He hit a power chord and promptly flew across the tables (they had tables in the front of the stage back then) knocking over drinks, ruining wardrobes, and destroying furniture! The next day he received a bill from the bar and a call from his agent. $481.00 for one night at the Troubadour, not a bad deal! Then Bruce Springsteen met up with him for dinner that night, and asked if he wanted to go out for drinks at the Troubadour, because he heard this new band The Knack was playing. Everybody in the audience laughed heartily through his story! Tom warned Bruce, “Whatever you do, do NOT fly across the tables.”

After an encore, we sauntered out of there, first purchasing a Mudcrutch tee for me. We loitered around with the paparazzi who were waiting for the band. I was pretty wiped out and hungry again, so we didn’t stick around too long. Although we did see the tour bus pull up to the front of the building…we really should have waited for the band, but oh well.  I kicked myself later.

We hailed a taxi and went back to the hotel. We freshened up, then decided to venture out to Sunset Blvd to see what was happening. Wow, the city doesn’t sleep. We ended up going to a little restaurant called La Mirabella or something. We sat in a corner and scanned the horizon for stars. The only one P recognized was some guy that played a pimp in Deuce Bigelow American Gigilo. Gimme a break!

We decided to head back to the hotel after a delicious dinner and dessert.  I think we finally got back around 1:30, then promptly crashed on the couch in a heap.  At one point we made it back to bed and tried to sleep in as long as possible.

Later that morning we drove over to the coast via Santa Monica Blvd. Wow. How much money is in this town?? The beach was big and gorgeous. In the distance was the great Santa Monica Pier, with carnival rides in the mist.  It was an early Sunday, and not many people were out. I wish we had time to take a walk, but instead we just drove along through the parking lot and on the road parallel to the beach. We had to continue our journey back to LAX and back home.

What a trip–and a show–of a lifetime.

January 27, 2010 Posted by | Concert Season 2008, Music, Tom Petty | , , , | 2 Comments