The last two nights have been Assigned Seat shows, which are different animals than General Admission shows — one the one hand, seated theaters sound pretty good — often they’re designed with acoustics in mind — and have fancy ceilings and little muppet show balconies for vibe. On the other hand, at general admission shows the people who are most excited to be at the concert work their way to the front, giving you lots of energy to feed off of during your performance.
For a while, at Assigned Seat shows, the front rows were held for guest list. Which meant that Adam’s Uncle Harris would be at the Beacon Theater in New York City, sitting down in the second row and coughing into a handkerchief. This became a major vibe-killer and we dealt with it by moving the guest list seats back into the middle of the crowd. But we still find at some theater shows that the first few rows will sit down while the rest of the crowd stands up. It’s awkward. It affects Ryan’s game.
The other night in Des Moines it was hard not to notice the 19-month old in the first row. That’s something you don’t usually see, especially at a show that starts at 10:15pm and ends at midnight. I expected to him to be passed out in an ergo a few songs in, or whisked away during a Red Oyster Cult Meltdown mid-show. No. Apparently a big fan, little “Powell” made it up past his bedtime and lasted the whole show, even making it through the aftershow meet and greet without shedding a tear.
And, as he threatened to do early in the set, Ryan brought Powell on stage for the last song, “Hang On” — kids go through various phases of stranger anxiety in their first couple of years, but at no point in her life would my daughter have been okay in the arms of a random singer on stage. She’d have freaked out, kicked her way back into the crowd, and then figured out how to google “Child Protective Services” to call them and find herself a more secure domestic situation.
Little Powell was totally chill. Here’s pictures:
So we’ve been out in LA for a few days now and this time we tried something different with our accommodations. Rather than three nights of expensive hotel rooms that have fake-log fireplaces with a switch-on gas flame, we tried a more economical VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) that have fake-log fireplaces with a switch-on gas flame.
The place looked good from the Craig’s List photos. Four bedrooms for four band members. Stainless steel kitchen appliances and a fancy piano. Bearskin rugs in the bathrooms. The right price. Why not.
But there were strange things going on in this VRBO when we showed up. To quote one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s many smash hits: “ooh ooh that smell, can you smell that smell?” — the lingering, constant aroma of old people. Dead people? Perhaps. I can smell dead people.
Who’ve been peed on by cats.
After one night at our place Adam’s backpack was full of ants, and he found some on his jacket and in his arm hairs. This is likely because Adam had a muffin or a banana peel rotting in the bottom of his bag, but let’s just get into the spirit of this road journal and blame it on the ant-ridden VRBO. And the televisions. So many televisions. Sometimes two to a room, old, new, all suspended from the ceiling in awkward crates, custom created for this house before flat screens were invented.
The TV in my room was white, and the walls and ceilings were white and this morning I discovered a little remote attached to my awkwardly sloped bed that helped explain everything. I’d been sleeping in a Craftmatic Adjustable Bed…. I’m not in a vacation rental, I’m in a hospital.
Bonus Pet Peeve: Airport toilets where instead of a germ-ridden flush handle, there’s a motion sensor that flushes the toilet when you stand up. And when you lean to the side to reach for the toilet paper. And when you grab your cell phone out of your pocket to check your email while you’re crapping. It’s kind of a cool little spritz down there mid-game that’s refreshing if you don’t think about what you’re getting spritzed with. I think I’d rather just flush the handle with my sneaker like I used to.