Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blind Melon Mount Airy Casino Mount Pocono, PA

The evening before a couple of amazing melonheads showed up at my home to spend the night since my original plan of travelling fell thru- the melon gods were looking out for me making things fall perfectly into place.  In the morning we got up and headed out for a bite to eat.  As we were sitting down I heard of the snafu of reservation issues with our room. Luckily that all got sorted out (miscommunication and changing of management makes problems arise when there doesn't need to be). On the road we were headed. There were flurries falling sporadically as we cranked music from shows past. Updates from the guys online kept coming in as we got closer to our destination. The welcome sign to PA made the jitters in my stomach intensify and the back to back texts from melonhead friends made it even more so. "The Melon has landed in the Poconos." Never made me smile so much. As we turned onto the exit that could bring us either to the hotel or the casino, we decided to just go straight to the Mt. Airy as the other melon who were sharing our room with was running behind thanks to the room problems.

One of my melon friends & his wife got to go into the sound check & he told the guys I'd be out when they came out, which was really sweet of him. When we walked into the casino, we headed right over to where the venue was located.  Outside the doors was a couple of vigil friends who noticed me before I did them & I almost walked right past them.  We were the first ones there & decided to stake our place in the line in front of the doors right then as it was set up.  A couple more melon friends who were staying at the resort came down from their room to join us. Nice thing about making the line with a bunch of friends is we could come & go as we pleased & have breaks without worrying about losing our spot.  We got get a drink, have a bathroom break & get a bite to eat & head back & forth.  Our small group were the only ones when Rogers emerged from the doors. I yelled hey to him & he high fives me. He scurried off like he was on a mission.  Then Glen & a couple other people came out after & they rushed off too.  Then out came Brad, Travis & Tara. I turned to Brad "hey I know you" and he smiled & said hey & threw his arms into a big hug for me.  The I went to Travis & gave him a hello hug as well. He asked how the drive was there. I told him it took us less than 5 hours. He seemed to be amazed by this. We took our time, stopped & ate & didn't rush to get there, so it was a nice relaxing ride.  Travis & Brad hung out for a while chit chatting until we got yelled at for wanting to take pictures with them.  The security guy told us if we wanted to do so we had to go by the fountain which was on the other side of the casino. So a few of us went that way & Brad led us there.

Travis & Tara disappeared ahead of us while Brad stayed & took pictures & talked for a little bit longer before he said he had to meet with the rest of the guys & their manager, he said he was late & then he scurried off as well.  We were heading back to our spot in line when I ran into my melon friend & his wife after they came out from the venue.  We headed out of the casino for some mischief at their hotel.  It was a fun excursion yet I don't know how intelligent it was chugging the beer like I did but it's all in good fun.  On our way back from our shenanigans, we were trying to find a place to park & we started to follow these little old ladies heading back to their car.  They were moving slower than molasses! If we wanted to get back to the venue in time before the show, we'd have to go around them & attempt to find another spot.  There was nothing anywhere nearby & after a while of going in circles & striking out we saw the valet parking.  We all decided that this was probably the smartest thing to do with the state we were all in.  None of us cared how much it was we just wanted to get out of the car & get back in line. After we arrived, people started flooding in & the line wrapped around the edge of the building almost down to where the fountain was.  Time seemed to stand still.  We got more excited when the lights outside Gypsies changed & the attendants came out to check our tickets.  My stomach started flipping & we hadn't even gotten in yet.  We got ushered in- which had chairs set up which we thought was strange but we went with it. We took up the front row.  I headed to my usual spot so I could be right between CT & Brad, left side of the stage. I nestled myself between miss jersey (I think someone called her that once upon a time) & my vigil buddies. It was nice being able to sit waiting for the guys to come out before the show started.  And there was a barista lady coming around to get us drinks, that was pretty rad. I could get used to that if they were at every show I went to. I had a good buzz going from the drinks & the anticipation of the guys coming out on stage. As we sat seeing the setlist, we joked about vandalizing it with the songs that we wanted to hear, I piped in that I had sharpies in my abyss of a bag. We all decided that we'd leave it alone. Melonheads with sharpies can be a dangerous thing. 
The lights went down & the instrumental brass section from Soup came on & one by one the guys came out onto the stage and got into their spots.  Brad shook my hand & leaned down to say hey to me.  Travis made a comment about the chairs "this isn't an old folks home..."  They started in on the opening notes to "Galaxie" & we all went a bit wild. We all started dancing & singing & having a grand old time loving every minute of it.
The guys were tight & looked like they were really enjoying each others company up on stage. Brad had us give it up for Travis. And we all cheered. The 5 of them were really in a groove together. It was like they hadn't skipped a beat from the last time they played together back in Spain.  Travis' voice sounded solid & the best I've heard in quite a while despite the fact that he had strep the week before, he said that the penicillian was doing it's job.  There was an energy that was coming off the stage & all of us could feel it.  Travis being barefoot on stage & he was all over the place up & down, it was fun to watch.  When a few more songs went by Travis said he was gonna need some girl's help singing harmony on the next song.  He asked this one girl if she would do it & she said no way, he said no pressure but he'd need some lovely lady to come sing the part- then I piped up & said that sure I would do it.  Travis turned to me "You'll do it? Well then get up on here." Then he added "If you f**k this up they'll throw s**t at you," I looked him in the eyes & replied "If you f**k it up, I'll throw s**t at you" which made us both giggle.  I handed my camera off to the front row & attempted to boost myself up on the stage which was no easy feet being at a weird angle & being as short as I am.  The stage wasn't that high up off the ground but it wasn't happening without help from other people.  When I finally got up on the stage, Travis pulled me in for a hug & a kiss on the cheek "this girl is gonna sing the harmony" and so began into "Mouthful of Cavities"!! Travis started strumming & smiling right at me.  Behind me out of the corner of my eye I saw Brad biting his nail, Rogers was smoking a cigarette, Glen was sitting at his drums & CT wandered around before heading over to his steel guitar.  Brad's mic was too far away, I attempted to pull it down so it could be closer to me but I was still nowhere near it.  I started to ask him to fix it but I was too caught up in the moment.  So I was a million miles away from really anywhere near the mic- pretty much anyone beyond the first few rows couldn't hear me too well. Without monitors in my ears, I really couldn't hear myself at all so it was hard to stay in key and not be pitchy. With it being Brad's mic, the sound was hooked to his monitors so therefore whatever sound there was, was going straight into his ears! At one point though, Travis smiled so big at me that I didn't care what I sounded like.  His smile said it all.  I looked over at Brad at one moment when Travis & I had a good harmony & Brad's eyes were closed while he was playing his bass with a huge grin on his face. I glanced over at CT & we exchanged eyes for a moment & we both smiled. I danced around on the stage inbetween my singing. I was having a blast up there. I felt so comfortable up there with them.
When we were done singing, Travis pulled me in for another hug & kisses on the cheek & he turned to whisper in my ear "that was badass." Then he hugged me again- like an embrace from an old friend who was really happy of something they had done. "Give her a hand everyone," Travis applauded while I got helped down off the stage by my friends.  I turned to miss jersey & asked her to pinch me as it didn't seem possible what just happened did.  More songs played & we continued singing & dancing & Travis asked us if we were still having a good time. And we really were. We exploded with cheers.  So much elation from the guys & the crowd.  The jam breakdown ripped version leading into No Rain was amazing & the best jam that I've ever heard of theirs.  The guys took a brief break off the stage for a few minutes & then came back out from behind. During their break, miss jersey & I headed over to the merch table where Tara was. She was impressed that we had a list of all the stuff we needed to get for melons. I told Tara that you tell melons that you're going to a show & people want you to get stuff for them. When they came back on, Brad strapped on a guitar & Travis took the bass.  Brad stepped up to the mic to say the next song was about sometimes missing something & then they started into "I Won't Be the Same."  I know that I listened & sang without a dry eye the entirety of it.  It was amazing to see & hear him perform it right in front of me.  It made me want to hear more live AJ.  They switched back to their usual instruments & CT adjusted the mic & pulled out his harmonica from his pocket.  When "Change" ended, Travis looked up to the sky & shouted "We love you Shannon!!"- gave me goosebumps.  They had to nix "Time" because ironically they ran out of time as they were on a time constraint.  The venue was being turned into a dance club & they wanted them done. I took Brad & CT's setlist off the stage.  I was determined before the show even started that I was going to take it.
When the guys were done playing, we all stuck around waiting for them to come out. It was nice finally getting to meet some melons who I've only talked to online & on the forum.  To see them & talk in person definately makes it that much better.  So many people came up to me & complimented or commented on how amazing my singing was.  It was a little overwhelming & more nerve wracking than being up on the stage.  Travis came out & I went over to him to sign my Melon book (filled with pictures from the last show I was at). He decided to just open & flip thru & whatever page he landed on was where he was going to sign. And that is exactly what he did.  I hugged him again & thanked him for the night.  He told me thankyou & he appreciated that I had the balls to get up on stage.  Brad walked past me & we high fived again while he headed to the merch table.  Then I went over to Glen & asked him to sign my book.  He looked at me like he recognized me but couldn't figure out who I was. When I said my name, he called me by my full name like it's all one name. It makes me giggle & smile. The page he signed is one of my favorites- he told me he was going to make a doodle on it & then he said it looked like he vandalized my page the way we were holding it.  Then I went over to Rogers & said hi & gave him a hug.  He did the same thing that Travis did by flipping to a random page to sign.  He said I really am very short- I said well he is a giant so standing next to me makes me look even smaller.  Then I noticed CT standing to the side of him & I whapped him with my book & turned to say "hey stranger" then he hugged me.  I handed him my melon book for him to sign.  Then I pulled out my Awol book to for him to finally sign.  He stood & very intently looked at each page.  He asked why he hadn't seen that before.  He wanted me to make copies for him.  Brad was standing near us & I handed him my Melon book too. I had a specific page I wanted him to sign and then he started to look thru the whole book & wanted to see the Awol one too. Then I asked them if they had a moment if they wanted to take a look at my vigil book too that I had brought with me. CT had it & Brad was looking over his shoulder.  CT said my pictures are exactly what he loves about us fans.  And Brad said nothing better than the Melon family.  I turned to talk with CT a little more, somehow we got to talking about Awol again & I told him about my Texas excursion with the nation & he was hanging on my every word with the interest of my adventure.  He was asking where they played & seemed really into it & happy to hear about it all.  CT got a text & I poked fun that he might not know how to respond.  He glanced me that classic look that CT gives me everytime I see him. It was what I had been waiting for.  There were a handfull of us standing around & the management told us we had to leave & move out even though we weren't in the way.  But we were too close to the entrance.  CT & Glen said something back to them & they were very rude to the guys.  We were like fine, we'll just go into the casino instead.  Glen led the way out over to the bar.  Everyone seemed to scatter thru the casino.  CT disappeared probably to go to bed.  Brad said he was going upstairs that he'd be back.  Travis & Tara were seen roaming around for a bit before heading to their room.  Most of us hung around the bar area.  A few of us all got Glen a beer at the same time & somehow I got handed a beer along with my drink.  I played slots with a melon friend for a bit.  Then everyone disappeared & I wandered around by myself.  I spotted Rogers sitting by himself at a Black Jack table when I headed over to him.  I was like hey I know you. That must be my classic line. When I was standing there, he said his luck got better- I said it was the melon magic.  Some people came up & said how good he played & such. I turned jokingly & said how it kinda sucked & he could've done much better.  He jokingly thanked me & we both laughed.  He thought it was funny, I made Rogers laugh.  I sat for a little bit but after my hands getting worse, I decided to move on.  I wish I had stayed, my melon friend who replaced my spot won a few hundred. Eh such is life. I went to play slots near Brad, he was my melon luck instead of Rogers.  I did really well at that point.  Then Brad was talking with some people about the vinyl that was coming out & the process that went into it.  He was explaining it but my attention span was very low at that point.  I wandered over to the bar where Glen still was with a group.  Brad was standing back over near us there.  I asked him what he thought about me being up on stage.  He said it would've been even better if I could've heard myself- Travis sometimes forgets that when he invites people that they're not going to have monitors. He said other than that, it was badass. He said he could tell I was having a great time up there & it was nice to see so much happiness from such an avid fan.  I turned back to talk with Glen again. I had a candid chat with him & I got to see a side of him that I never had before.  Our chat was something else that is for sure.  Fan lust is a fascinating thing.  Someone asked about a tour & what they were doing next.  He mentioned something about a cover tune ep that was coming out with bands that they liked.  He rattled off the list of it but between fatigue & booze, I couldn't remember it even a few minutes later.  I heard from a few of the guys that they were going to do a small stint of some shows.  Who knows what the future holds for Melon, but I will follow whenever I can.  We all stuck around at the bar area until the guys headed to their rooms & we headed out toward the hotel for a little rest of shuteye for a few hours before heading out on the road towards home the next morning.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

AWOLNATION 12-12-12 Ho Ho Hoedown at Boston House of Blues

When the kidlet got home from school, we got ready for the show & decided to take the train into the city. He was so excited to be getting to see Awolnation again with me.  My camera died the night before so I was bummed that I wasn't going to be able to snap away like I normally do. Luckily the mister was kind enough to loan me his. But it is nothing like what I was used to so I decided ahead a time that I wouldn't take many pictures. So we hopped on the afternoon train and headed right in. When we arrived, we stopped for a quick bite to eat. After having some dinner, we walked over to the venue to go wait in line. There were only a few people ahead of us as we had thought the doors were at 6 & the show at 7 when it really was the doors were 7 & the show at 8!! There were probably about 10 people ahead of us. It was frigidly cold but luckily we had both layered up so weren't too bad having to wait outside.
 I wrote on my hands & was going to on his as well but he was freezing & said he was all set with having anything done. I wrote a #9 on one & AN on the other & when the security guy was putting wrist bands on he said if I wanted to be able to drink I'd have to take it off. So I ran inside like they let me & washed it off, of course nothing but cold water ran but I scrubbed & was able to manage to get it off. Then I got my band. I might not have much to drink but I wanted to have that option. It was so cold outside so we were all grateful when the doors finally opened.  We went over & checked our coats & got a drink & headed towards the front. We didn't get right on the rail but right behind them & found the people we had been hanging out with in line before the doors had opened.  There were 2 bands that played before Awol came on. A Silent Film started the set. They're a British band that neither of us knew any of their songs but they were good & happy to be ending their stint of shows in Boston. They were pretty good. Then Younghawke Blood played next. They were catchy & have a hit on the radio that everyone around us seemed to know. There were some drunk girls behind us that I had to shield the boy from, one of them was very drunkenly apologetic that she kept bumping into him & me. We both just shook our heads & put up with it. Luckily her & the group she was with headed off in another direction & we could enjoy watching without having to deal with them any longer. The people in front of us had moved over a little & left a space so the boy & I were able to get up along the rail.  The set ended and the guy from the radio station that was dressed like Santa came out for an appearance from the balcony & all of a sudden there were candy canes being thrown everywhere. Which is never a good thing before a band is ready to come out on stage. The lights went back down & the intro to M.S. started & we all went wild as a crowd. When the guys stepped out on stage, the lights went up & both the kiddo & I waved at Dave & he saluted back at us & smiled that big grin of his. People were still throwing candy around & Aaron looked out & said people should quit it. Then they started into GFS. NYF got the crowd singing along. During Wake Up, Dave threw a pick to the boy, he thought he dropped it when really it landed in the sleeve of his shirt. During MF, we got Kenny's attention & he waved & smiled at both of us. Drew was further away but all my jumping up & down, I finally waved back & forth with him.  It was pretty rad being one of the few people around me knowing Cannibals, the girl next to me asked how I knew that song. I said it was the 5th time I had heard it live. She seemed impressed. I was just like, I have been around a while & get to hear great songs. She nodded.  When AIN came on, Aaron told us all to put our arms around the person next to us, even if we didn't know them for a little unconditional love. It was the first time I listened to that song & didn't feel the need to ball. I cried a little out of happiness, being able to share the show with my son.  When it ended & Aaron said he wanted everyone to move as close to the rail as possible so that noone would get hurt, I had a feeling I knew what song was going to be next. "Lets see how many girls we can get to crowd surf" and then he yelled let the games begin, I knew exactly what was next, "Joke." Myself & the guys that had been in line with us shielded the boy while I just kept my hands up & ducked down a bit.  I knew things were bound to get crazy when people were crowd surfing between the songs. And it really did. The security guys in the front did an awesome job catching people & helping them back up on their feet. When Sail came on, I thought the crowd was going to errupt. It pretty much did.  The security guard had opened a water but then was going to have to put it down so he handed it to the boy who said he wasn't thirsty. I, on the other hand, happily accepted it & chugged it down.  It was just what I needed.  Aaron slowed things down & sat on the edge of the stage for an acapella version of "Lean on Me."  Then he exited the stage & then they all came back out for KOS.  Which everyone around me sang along with. Aaron stayed on his guitar this time around. The guys totally rocked out. At the end Dave pulled his setlist off the stage & I pointed at my kiddlet & he high fived him when he handed it to him. And then he high fived me.  It was late & we had to head back to the train station & the boy was exhausted so we didn't stick around after. Although we did look to see if we could find the bus on the way back but we didn't see it along our travel back.  When we had gotten to the venue I had thrown my phone in the abyss of my bag & couldn't find it.  I thought I had lost it in the rush of trying to get in & get to the front of the crowd.  Little did I know that it was just in a different section that I couldn't see & on the train ride home, I was able to find it, to my relief. All & all, an epic show to end off my 2012 run of Awolnation, joined by my son. Really incredible.