Monday, July 26, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.26 - Summer Tour 2010: Denver

Las Vegas NV

Sitting in my hotel room, reliving last night, I decided to not blog about it. I mean, who the hell do I think I am?! I’m just me, so I settled on keeping part of this story to myself and my journal.

About 30 minutes ago, I read my friend Melanie’s latest blog in which she asked herself the same question: Who the hell do I think I am? Well, that’s been answered. Here we go:

I left Minneapolis to spend four days in Denver. This will be the longest stay in one place on my Summer Tour. Other than the show on Sunday, I was so excited to spend time with three good friends – Ruthie, Marc and Steve. I hadn’t spent much time in Denver when I was there as Miss Tall in 1997, so having time to see the city was exciting.

Ruthie and I met in the tall club, likely at an Orange County 2nd Friday Night dance. We really came to know each other at the TCI convention in Clearwater Beach FL in 1997. She is such a sweet, witty and wise lady. I’ve always enjoyed her stories and company and her great laugh. Graciously, Ruthie was my airport shuttle and Denver tour guide. We lunched at this FAB restaurant called Encore on Colfax . Wow! The food menu wasn’t lengthy; but everything on the menu was such an interesting pairing/combination: seared scallops with watermelon/tomato/corn/fennel relish on mixed greens; fig & pig pizza (fig paste, prosciutto, gorgonzola); mac n cheese with English peas and toasted almonds. Such a delightfully different menu. So delightful, in fact, I went back the next day! Anyway, it was great to catch up with Ruthie…

Saturday afternoon was my Marco time! We met three years ago when he invited the BFFs to his time share in Puerto Vallarta. We got on great, had a great week in PV. The two of us spent a lot of time sitting on the patio or balcony, talking about music and life and everything in between. We became very good friends and stayed in touch. So, when he picked me up, we fell right into our easy chatter like no time had passed at all. I love friendships like that. We headed over to an area called the Highlands, to a bar called Lola. I was digging the vibe. It was eclectic and the crowd was age and ethnically diverse. I’d never seen so many inter-racial couples in one place! Honestly, did not think Denver would be so diverse. Marc and I abandoned Lola for the quieter Forest Room 5. This was a strange place – cuckoo clocks on the walls, a close-captioned Western showing on the wall above the bar, wood stumps for barstools, huge wood slabs (for lack of a better word/description) was the bar. Then, I spotted the Hendrick’s gin and all was less strange.

Sunday afternoon had me back at Encore restaurant with Steve and Chrissy. I’d heard so much about Chrissy that I just knew I knew her. And, it was an easy friendship from the get-go. The two of them walked into the hotel lobby and we hugged. Friends. Done. She is so lovely! And the two of them together are so fantastic. We caught up on life and chatted about John Mayer and Michael Jackson. Steve is out in SoCal often so we plan to get together again soon. Chrissy and I will make our own plans sans Steve.

Sunday night was the 2nd show of Summer Tour 2010. The Ogden is a great theater – huge, open venue with a balcony and split levels. In terms of layout, I would compare it to the Wiltern. Squeeze had their merchandise set up in the lobby, sharing space with the bar. This left a corner inside the theater for the Beat stuff. Candy and I were elated – we’d be able to SEE the show, not just hear it, like at the zoo. We were so ridiculously giddy! When Squeeze came on to do sound check, the two of us stopped arranging the merch to sing ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ as loud as our out-of-tune voices could get.

While waiting, two people came into the venue.

“Hi. Aren’t you Shannon? Love Hope Strength…?” I’m sure she gets that a lot. Shannon is the Executive Director of the Love Hope Strength Foundation which provides support for cancer-care centers around the world.
“I am.”
“Hi – I’m Rissa…met you last year at the PhillyRocks event.”

Shannon and Jeremy were there for the LHS ‘Get on the List’ bone marrow donor drive. (Sidebar: it’s easy, it’s painless and it’s FREE to get on the list at concerts around the country this summer. Do it!). That table was set up on the other side of the venue, we said our “See you laters” and got on with our business.

The Squeeze set was most excellent! With each song, Candy or I would squeal “Ohh, I LOVE this song!” then start singing and dancing. “Goodbye Girl” is the one that makes us pause to relive the memories each of us has associated with the song. I love watching Stephen on the keyboards – he’s so energetic and looks mighty fine in a well-tailored suit. When he breaks out the iPad for “Pulling Mussels” it’s so awesome! Technology, meet the 80s. Fantastic, I say.

After the show, Shannon invited me to join her and Jeremy for a drink at a bar across from my hotel two blocks away. After saying my goodbyes, I walked down to meet them at the Irish Snug. However, they were nowhere to be found. Uh…okay. I’m looking both ways, ready to run across Colfax Avenue to my hotel when I hear yelling. “RISSA! RISSA! OVER HERE!”

I make my through the bar to the outside patio and am greeted by Shannon, Jeremy, Simon (Squeeze drummer) and…Glenn Tilbrook. My stomach did flips worthy of Olympic competition 10s! I’m fairly certain my face did not betray my giddiness. Glenn stood up, kissed my cheek, hugged me and said “It’s nice to see you again.” Naturally, I would like to think he would remember me from September 2009 in Philadelphia. The likelihood of that is unlikely. He probably remembered me from staring at him during sound check at the zoo three nights prior! No matter. I was just hugged by Glenn Tilbrook.

Let me just say this – it is awesome to see movie stars and celebrities when out and about. However, musicians and songwriters bring out the 12 year-old girl in me. I identify so much with music and lyrics; every important or life-changing or defining moment is associated with a song or three. So, meeting any of these brilliant musicians/songwriters is a huge deal for me.

We were joined by Stephen and Ray, keyboardists for Squeeze and the English Beat, respectively. I enjoyed chatting up Stephen, talking about walking in L.A., flying in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and franchising Hot Chick-a-Latte. He is adorable! (And the British accent does not hurt at all)

I moved back into conversation with Shannon and Glenn, talking about last year’s Mt. Kilimanjaro climb, the upcoming trek to Mt. Fuji, how to get the LHS/Get on the List word out at the rest of the shows and the closing of the Rocky Stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a two-year, $1.5 billion renovation. I must admit, a few times my mind shut-down and all I could think was “That is Glenn Tilbrook. Glenn. Tilbrook.”

Our night was cut short by the tour manager’s mildly scolding “The bus is leaving.” I was sad. I didn’t want it to end! We said our goodbyes to Shannon and Jeremy. Stephen and Glenn hugged me and said “See you in Vegas.” Simon chimed in “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?” We shall see…

With that, I bid you a good-night from Las Vegas.

No comments: