Sunday, July 26, 2009

eekie's Church Excursion -- Part 2 -- Falls Church

Had a nice sleep in Pittsburgh in the nice comfy bed at my hotel. That was a really good thing because I was very tired and sore after that first show -- I actually wondered how I was going to manage the rest of my trip if I was that miserable after just one gig. However, apparently that sleep did wonders for me because I didn't feel that bad on the rest of my trip.

So I checked out of my hotel, loaded up my car, fired up my GPS, and headed out to the next destination -- Falls Church, VA. What a beautiful drive -- I loved all the hills and the trees, just how green and lush it was. And since it only took a bit over four hours I didn't feel at all rushed.

I have to mention my GPS device here -- it is, without a doubt, THE BEST INVENTION EVER!!!! I didn't get lost once -- granted, most of the time I didn't know exactly where I was, but Garmina (that's what I named it) did, and she (this unit has a female voice, so I think of it as a she) always got us where I wanted to go. When I disregarded her instructions (there were times I wasn't comfortable making a turn she suggested, and occasionally I would go left instead of right because I'm hopeless at knowing my right from left) she would simply say "recalculating" and give me new directions. I absolutely love how she says "recalculating!" She gives this little sigh and sounds so disappointed -- did anyone else's mom say "I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed" when you did something stupid? Well, that's how this voice sounds when she says recalculating. I love that -- it always makes me laugh. I hadn't even tried it out until the day I started on my trip, but it's very easy to use and I learned to rely on it very quickly. So I highly recommend a GPS for anyone travelling to unfamiliar locations, or for those, who like me, are directionally challenged. Ask around for which models people like best though -- the band had GPS units in the vans, but those often gave the instructions a bit late and they actually turned the voice prompts off in at least one van. Garmina was good -- she gave me plenty of warning before I'd have to make a turn, etc.

Garmina in action!

So I find the venue and locate a parking lot close by -- there was only one empty space when I pulled in and this huge Ford Expedition was trying to wiggle into it. To my complete joy, however, the Expedition was just too damned big and had to abandon it's quest for the spot and I smugly tucked my little rental into the spot. Nah nah nah nah nah! I head off in what I think is the direction of the venue (I'm thinking "what I need is a GPS unit implanted in my brain...") and I see this little group of people, so I figure "aha! I am going in the right direction!" I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Suddenly I hear this lovely familiar voice call out my name and everyone else in that little group turns and gives me this "who the hell is she?" look. Yep, Steve is holding court behind the venue (and I actually was going in the correct direction! Yay!) -- giving an impromptu yoga lesson (there are a couple of photos on HW). We say our hellos and he continues chatting with the little group, and I hear my name again. This time it's PV! Turns out he's out for a week to video the band and will be at all the rest of "my" shows. I like PV a lot. He's a genuinely nice guy and I've always enjoyed talking to him (a few days later these two things turn out to be VERY good :-) ). He's also the first of my internet Church buddies I met in person.

Steve finishes chatting and heads back inside...suddenly he stops, turns around and says "Holly, c'mon!" Being ever the bright child I say "huh?" lol He says "you want to come upstairs?" Again I see the "who the hell is she" looks (gotta admit that feels kind of cool) as we go in. So was there any big excitement upstairs (the performer lounge area), you ask? Well, of course -- cheesy 80's videos and interviews (including one of SK) on You Tube complete with commentary by Steve! It was just light and fun and pleasant. For me the highlight was the video Steve introduced as "the worst video ever": "Ooh La La, by The Venetians. Click here for the link (sorry, embedding was disabled). Pay particular attention to the drummer. It's Tim. lol! Much laughter.

So, eekie, I hear you ask, how was the actual show?

Fan-fucking-tastic! This was the show I was hoping for. Merch Stephen (as opposed to singer Steven ;-) ) said after the show that he knew right off it was going to be something special when they came out and noodled around a bit (musically) before plowing into Tantalized. You know, I think he was right too...that noodling around was a bit like...well...foreplay. And it's always better to have a bit of foreplay than just your basic wham, bam, thank you, ma'am. :-)

Now none of the shows I saw were bad -- not even Pittsburgh, which was my least favourite -- but during this one they all seemed to be firing on all cylinders. After the show Steve even said it had been his favourite thus far. Yeah, it really was that good. And this was their sixth show in a row, which to me makes it even more impressive. There were a few problems (mostly some tuning issues), but they didn't derail the show -- it had enough momentum to keep going in a good direction. Plus it was a good (appreciative) crowd and a nice venue. That helps too.

This time I made sure to be closer to the front too. I wanted to feel a greater connection than I did at the back of the venue. It was a mostly seated venue (much of it reserved), but there was an open area right in front of the stage. I went there and stood against the railing at the back of it. I was pretty far to Marty's side, but also had a very good view of Steve and Tim and a pretty good view of Peter and Craig (guest keyboard player). Worked for me anyway -- I was grinning like a fool the whole show.

Here's a pic I took of SK during the show. It isn't great, but Falls Church marked the very first time I have ever taken pics at a concert, so I'm showing one. Now you know why I don't take pics at concerts! LOL!

Immeditely after the show I went out and helped Stephen with merch. It was busy! People were buying like crazy. The merch was set up in the lobby as you came in (and went out), there was plenty of room to display it nicely, and there was good light so you could see it well. I think those factors really helped with the sales...and the fabulous show also helped make people more willing to plunk down their money.

Steve and Marty came out to the lobby to meet fans. It was really cool watching -- people were genuinely happy and although I'm not sure Steve is ever completely comfortable (I notice he often slipped behind the merch table when he came out -- I think that functioned a bit as a security blanket for him), he is gracious, sweet and funny. I was really proud of him. Marty, of course, was in his element.

A pic of Steve behind the merch table (right beside me, hence the pic. Sorry it's so dark) in Falls Church.

Helped pack up and drag merch out to the vehicles at the back of the venue. One of the venue staff said she was pretty sure the amount of merch they had to sell was a record for the venue. There certainly was a whole lot of it (something like 84 different items at the beginning)!

Here's a pic of the boxes of merch that we had just dragged out of the venue (the girl in the pic was venue staff). There was still more (extras) in the trailer. When they started on the tour, that trailer was completely full of merch.


Blogger veleska1970 said...

i had thought about buying a GPS, but am reluctant to. i rely a lot on mapquest, especially with my photography job. funny you should mention that you have given yours a female persona~~one of the photographers i work with did exactly the same thing, LOL.

i'm happy you again had such a great time. it was a good show all around and i remember steve talking about it in his blog. and by all means, please keep posting photos!! your photo of steve on stage was great.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Lian said...

Thanks for a fantastic reading and the pictures, eek.

I almost laughed when I read the GPS part - I too am a complete idoilt when driving on the road, so I can certainly relate to that: I rely on my GPS just as how I rely on chips and fruits these days, I feel like I can't survive without them. Especially when there isn't a new TTB to read, I eat chips, and that helps. After having been waiting for hours yesterday, I finally decided to go out instead of waiting. I went to Greenwich Village and what a lovely place it was, but I like the road along the sea better than the pretty shops and cafes. People were enjoying the summer sun, the breeze was comzy and delightful, walking at there and I seemed have forgotten all my agonies. I miss my little girl very much. God knows why I rescheduled my trip and this last week seems so endless. I sedolm feel bored or really lonly in my life, but when I miss my daughter, it's just helpless.

Amused when I read “who the hell she is”, I am pretty sure they knew who you are, since even I guessed who you were when I saw you the first time. Just as someone commented at TTB, you are truly a treasure to the band. ... But it's a great pleasure to do something for somebody you love, isn't it?

Looking forward to the third part, eek. Sorry I rambled a lot again, which is pretty irrelevant. I just wanted to talk to somebody, maybe.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Lian said...

seldom, that is.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Freddie said...

Now that sounds like a perfect time! Thanks for sharing:-) you're making me wnat a GPS.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Freddie said...

Oh, and eek your pictures look about like mine...dark. I just hate to put the flash on those guys when they're on stage. I see other people do it all the time tho'.

9:45 AM  
Blogger General Catz said...

I'm so glad you had a great time. Sounds even better than last time. And of course i remember Terri. I'm surprised you recognized her, tho. It's been so long.

Missed seeing Steve this year but i almost felt like i was there reading what you wrote. Thanks :)

3:55 PM  
Blogger Queen Hatshepsut said...

I want a GPS!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a great story. I too, am so happy you had such a great time. I LOVE the pics. Reminds me of helping them with their merch on their last tour in '06.

Sigh. I still feel sad I missed them, but apparently this is my year to have health issues! Ah, c'est la vie! I can live vicariously through your blogs!

2:59 PM  

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