Saturday, July 23, 2011

Procrastination (and a concert aftermath July 14 and 15)

I'm supposed to be doing a shop update. In fact, I should have started it on Thursday but between the heat and family visiting I haven't done much of anything useful at all. So, this is my concert aftermath, and then I'm going to start working on my shop update and if I don't get anything listed tonight I'm going to give away some yarn on Twitter. I don't think it'll come to that, but it's a good extra incentive to finally edit down those 400+ pictures I have.

Also, I should say I'm one of "those" fans but I'm not one of "THOSE" fans. I met some of THOSE fans on the 14th and I'm far too mellow to be that way.  Here, have a teaser picture:

Yes, that's a picture of my sock in progress at the Newark show. I am a knitter, after all! I like this tradition a la YarnHarlot and I think I'll continue to do this in the future. That means I need to knit more socks, I think!

More blather and eventually lots more pictures after the jump.

So, AT&T and Samsung are the sponsors of this tour and they've been giving away free tickets to the concerts and BSE (back stage experience, which is an interview and group photo op) passes the day of each concert. Imagine my surprise when my town was announced as the location for Newark's giveaway. Mind you, I live almost an hour from Newark in the middle of nowhere. I decided that it was too fortuitous to pass up and drove the 10min to get to the shop. All in all a very small total of about 11 people total showed up, partially because we're in the middle of nowhere and partially because the place was hard to find.

They gave everyone free tickets. This was interesting to me because all of us already had tix for the show which we had confessed to each other on line. Everyone was there for a chance at the BSE passes. I was the only local person; a few people had driven all night to get there and were extremely disappointed not to get the special passes. There might have been tears shed, at which point I made a note to myself to explain that I'm only one of "those" fans, lowercase. 

I also think I was viewed with a bit of doubt when I walked up at 1:30 and added myself to the queue. Certainly it seemed odd to me that one of the people there would ask me what my favorite KU song was, as if he expected me to be unable to name any songs. I was all "... Do I have to pick one?" I don't like trying to pick one. Picking 1 off each album is bad enough. So, I rattled off a few of my favorites off Get Closer along with why I like them and halfway through my list he lost interest so I suppose I "passed". :P

I don't think I'm imagining things here, although perhaps he wasn't aware he was doing it. It's a little odd being Asian in this particular milieu; especially since I'm neither very young nor very demonstrative and my obsession doesn't come out in a sense of entitlement. :P This is one of the reasons why I can't wear a cowboy hat. It would not be protective coloration for me; it would in and of itself raise comment and expectations that I would not be able to fulfill in a way satisfactory to myself.

Yes, I know. I think too much about these things. I'm also fixating about what knitted thing to make and wear to the show in September because yes, I've added another show to my concert going this year. I wasn't going to do this one because well, it's Seattle. I can't afford the airfare on top of the tickets and it's hardly ingratiating to impose myself on my sister and her family to go see a show by myself. But my sister suggested it and convinced me to come out for a visit and take her girls to it. She's using her mileage for the airfare and I'll be of actual use since they need someone to stay at the house a few extra days due to business trips. Guilt free indulgence!

Which means I'm not giving up my status as one of "those" (lowercase) fans just yet. :D

Anyway, on Thursday I did not get BSE passes and I couldn't find anyone "at home" to give my new spare tickets to because it was the same day. Not only that, but most of my local-ish friends were taken up with the Deathly Hallows pt 2 release at midnight. So, I took the spare tickets with me and hoped for the best.

Prudential Center, Newark. Gorgeous day quite unlike the stupidly hot weather we've been having all this week.

I picked up my own mystery pre-sale floor ticket at Will Call (great seat), noticing two rather down looking people loitering near the window. As I was turning away, I turned back and asked them if they needed tix. Out came a brief explanation that they had had some sort of misunderstanding or problem with tix from some friends and that they were waiting for them still. At that point, I offered the tickets I had and I could see that they thought I was going to ask for money and they didn't want to get involved with a scalper. So I told them that they were free and real and had lanyards an everything, and that I already had my own ticket. I showed them the envelope and my ticket in comparison and they seemed really flabbergasted that a random person would just walk up to them and offer them free tickets.

I just wanted the tickets to be enjoyed and not to have to loiter outside looking for other sad looking people. So, I gave them the tix and they said they'd pass them on to someone else if their friends came through. That really pleased me and I went off to find my seats much happier to have resolved my part of it so easily. I'm not sure if they were used or not; I think I did see them in the section later in the evening but it was crazy so I might have been imagining things. The tickets were decent, too, first level, second section. Nothing to compare to my floor seat, but then the floor seats have issues with tall people and people standing on chairs. Both things caused me eye line issues during the night so I will say floor seats are great but the proper first level seats have their compensations.

I got a bit of knitting done and did a little people watching. The people on my right had brought their 6yr old son and the people on my left were from Ridgewood, which I thought was funny since I have a friend from Ridgewood. As usual, Jake Owen opened and I decided that greater familiarity with his songs and being close up really helped me engage. Still not entirely convinced but I find him charming enough and a good opener. I've decided that I do like one of his songs enough to buy; of course it's one of his new ones and not out yet. It figures.

I also think he looks like a cross between a young Michael Maloney and Keanu Reeves from the Bill & Ted years, which doesn't hurt at all.

Just like Boston, Newark was on its feet and singing from the moment KU and band started playing. Other than the ridiculously tall person directly in front of me I had a fantastic view. Luckily the people around him weren't nearly so tall!

I didn't take as many pics at Newark as I wanted to be more immersed and also because of that whole tall person issue. The small stage behind us wasn't that far away, but so many people stood on chairs that actually attempting to see from the floor was pointless. I did see one guy try and get on a chair and fall over, so I really can't recommend the "stand on your chairs" idea KU gives at the start of the show. It's not so bad for the fixed seating in the arena or if you have someone tall to steady you. But standing on a chair on the floor is much less stable and I certainly wouldn't do it alone.

Based on Boston, Newark, and Philadelphia, I'm fairly certain he'll be running down the stage right side of the arena in Seattle for Shirt and giving away the guitar. Yes, I counted the shows. I was curious!

This cracks me up even if these pics are blurry. After running through the crowd someone had given him a bouquet and he had it in his mouth for a while as he played when he ran back to the stage. Also, he's been so exuberant that he's been throwing himself to the stage to roll around and laugh while playing. Very silly, very endearing.

Then he takes a breather and plays a slow song, here with Danny Rader accompanying. Thing is, he never takes a complete break. I can't even imagine the kind of stamina that takes. He's in fabulous shape and incredibly flexible and strong considering his stage antics.

Two solid hours of playing and he's still doing this for his first finish and then his big finish encore.

Newark was on the rowdy side, although being on the floor may have contributed to that. Quite a bit of spilled beer and lots of enthusiastic shouts and applause. I went with it and sang at the top of my lungs for the whole show. Philadelphia was similarly over the top. I did not attempt to get BSE for the Philly show since I was too busy that day, but I did get to the arena a little bit before they opened the doors. I got in some more quality knitting time and took a few more arena pics this time since I thought it was to be my last show of the tour.

Here's a view from the floor looking up the angle of the stage. This time my seat was directly under the spot lights.

Jake Owen's uniform is apparently a baseball t-shirt in an array of different colors.

The arena filling up. This time around I got on my feet before the lights cut out. Once the Beatles started up over the sound system I put away my knitting and stood up, ready for action.

Brian Nutter early in the show since my picture of him later in the show didn't come out.

My sock in Philly, a bit further along, and another attempt at photographing the mirror ball.

For this show, I was on a center aisle and since the center aisles don't go all the way through to the stage they end up less crowded than the side aisles. I ended up sidling into the aisle once the security eased up and then into the row where some seats had been abandoned for the stage. The only problem with this location was the three people behind me weren't as into the show as everyone else and they insisted on having conversations during the quieter songs. It was extremely distracting. I don't mind conversations during the loud songs because they're quite frankly impossible to hear over the audio system. But the conversational level of a half shout is really noticeable at a concert when there's not that much distance between people. So too was the sort of fake cheering the one guy behind me was doing. I don't know why they bothered with floor seats if they weren't die hard fans. The floor is a lot more intimate than the first level.

Some shots I like. I wish my camera were better at the saturation and grain and didn't have that dead pixel in the middle of the frame. But it does a pretty decent job of it at times.

Then, of course, the band was called up to do their bit of singing. Jerry Flowers did U2, Danny Rader did Tom Petty, and Brian Nutter did AC/DC as usual. I always like this bit. They all seem to enjoy themselves so much, and it doesn't feel overly staged even if KU does sneak up on BN every night and elbow him out of the way.

For this night, Shirt occurred so far back in the arena that KU missed most of the verse he was supposed to be on. He really went way back, it was hilarious. I have a more in focus picture, but the tiny dot that was him was perfectly obscured by that woman in the foreground's camera in that one, so I went with this one instead.

Some quieter pictures, with natter natter natter occurring behind me. :P

KU came back from his crowd crawl bleeding all over his left hand. The third picture is of BN asking him about it and him shrugging.

Full sized and then a detail of the nightly group bow. I like how happy they all seem to be with each other. They really do like each other. His bleeding hand is visible in the third pic, and in the last one where he's throwing his wristband into the audience.

And then after they all wander off the stage, KU stays a bit longer to shake a few last hands at the edge of the stage. The crowd at the stage doesn't let up until he goes. I must admit I don't like the idea of him gladhanding people when he's bleeding. They're grabbing his hand and arm indiscriminately. He could get an infection!

Traffic getting out of the arena was a bit of a crush, so I drank the bottle of water in my car and ate my emergency granola bar and enjoyed the air and the full moon for a while before starting my engine and working my way out of the lot. There was quite a bit of music blaring out of car windows as we left, and I couldn't help but think we should have synchronized our car radios.

That's it for my summer of concerts. I have one more in late September to look forward to, but I have a lot of work to get done before that. Not the least because the Garden State Sheep Breeders festival is on the 10th and 11th and I have to ramp up for that. I'm thinking of it as a bit of a reward, and I really do need to decide what I'm knitting to wear to it. I need to figure out what I'm going to make for a free pattern giveaway as well. Who knows, the two things might overlap if I can get the design part of my brain in gear.

OK, now off to edit photos. I need to list some yarn!

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