Sunday, July 27, 2008

Music Nerd Test

Now this one I felt more at home :)

78.01932% - Hardcore Music Nerd

Click here for Music Nerd Test and post your results!

The only one above mine, by the way, is "Obsessed Music Nerd." I know one person who is reading this that may beat me. Is "Danger" in the house?? HAHA

Friday, July 25, 2008

Nerd Test

These are always fun.. this one was actually funny :)

Thanks, D! says I'm an Uber Cool Non-Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Livin' in Dreamtime


Daryl Hall solo in Lowell, MA
Photo: Kathy G

As a fan of over 25 years, I always have high expectations when I see a Daryl Hall and John Oates show. However, there's still the unknown regarding any concert you attend. The sound could be unbearable, the venue may not conducive to music, or the artist may not up to par. This was not the case when my friend and I saw Daryl Hall solo at the Lowell High School Auditorium, Thursday, July 3, 2008.

My friend "Babs" and I started the day early. Originally Daryl's performance was part of the Lowell Summer Music Series at a local park. Although it was going to be hot that day, we were looking forward to it. We even got the "low beach chairs" for the event as we were planning on getting there major early to get "front row." I think each of us packed 3-4 bags of "stuff" (yes, this was only a day trip!) as there were also impending thunderstorms. "Rain or shine" it said, and as true fans, we just planned to be prepared.. no way we were going to let a bit of rain or sweltering sun get in the way of seeing our man.

I checked the website at 1pm, which was an hour after we were set to leave. This worked out though as it was stated on the site that the show got moved INSIDE to the Lowell High School Auditorium! Hooray! We still packed all our bags just in case and headed out. Babs, albeit a major H&O fan, has not yet listened to all their of albums yet. I do give her credit, though. She, unlike most people, has all of Daryl's solo work and actually knows all the words. Seeing that we were seeing a Daryl Hall solo show, she'd be alright most of the show :)

I went ahead and brought "Sacred Songs", Daryl's first and best solo album from 1980 and two H&O CDs, which are two of my favorites--"Along the Red Ledge" and "Beauty On a Backstreet" for the ride in. It's always cool for me to introduce anything new or old to fans, or even friends that have become new fans. I feel it's part of my job in life :)

We blasted the "sweet soul music" from her house to Lowell. (Lowell--it's still funny saying that city name :) We found where we needed to go from my trusty Nav and drove by the high school to check the line status. There were only about 10 people there so we were golden. We looped back around to the parking garage where it was $8 all day. I laughed out loud. $8. I was ready to pay $25. Gotta love small cities.

Karma Kicking In

When we pulled into the garage, I started noticing my "karma," as Babs put it. Things were just working out for us. We got there in record time, there was hardly anyone in line, $8 for parking and then we literally get the first spot in the garage (many other cars were there, by the way). Knowing that we'd have to go back and forth to the car for a bit of the day, this was a huge plus. Whatever was happening, we wanted it to continue.

After parking, we left most of the stuff in the car and walked over to the high school. Babs talked to a guy that had been around there since 8am. Came to find out later in the day that this was literally his SECOND concert ever! Although he lived in the area, I found it odd that he ventured out at 8am to see Daryl Hall. Either way, I was proud :) He mentioned to Babs that the line really hadn't grown since 10am. With it being a bit past 2pm, I made the decision to go get some lunch and then come back, even though Babs was a bit hesitant. Karma's on our side and we had nothing to worry about.

We headed over to the "downtown" area where there were a few small places to eat. As we crossed the street I happened to look behind me and saw a diner named "Angelina's." Only really hardcore H&O fans would know this, but Hall and Oates have a song named "Angelina" from the 1977 Past Times Behind album. I couldn't believe the hilarity of the situation. I said we had to eat there. The place was really cool, but hot inside. It's one thing I still can't get used to in New England--no AC. Being from Texas, everywhere has AC, but the buildings are also not 100+ years old. But either way, we found something to eat to hold us over and took some pics of us with the floormat that stated "Angelina's." Stop laughing.

Kat at Angelina's in Lowell

As we made our way back to the car, we were creating a plan of action. We had about 3 hours to wait out there. Thankfully, where we'd wait was in a shaded area, but neither one of us wanted to stand that long. The decision was made to bring the chairs and see what would happen. Hopefully, people wouldn't be a-holes and know what the basic rules were of "line waiting." I had my doubts, but anyone who had been there or was coming within the next hour, I assumed would adhere by said rules without having to say anything.

We got our place in line behind the "second concert guy" we talked to before lunch. Everybody was pretty chill; reading books, talking, someone even had an iPod with one of those portable speaker deals. It was nice to do a sort of tailgaiting before the show :) As the day went on, more people started coming. Anxiety from those of us adhering to the "rules" started to rise as people walked to the left side of the staircase. It was extremely obvious that we were creating a line on the RIGHT side of the staircase, but some people just don't care. Not too long after we put the chairs down, there we were making the decision to put them back in the car and stand in line. We took turns going back to the car (once again thank God for the parking space!), and then started getting vocal about our places in line. "Second concert guy" and another friend of his finally said something out loud letting the "ladies" who were trying to move ahead of us know who was boss. One woman didn't seem flustered by it at all. I won't go into my opinions about this person, but we'll call her "Ms. California" with the blonde hair, skinny white jeans, black tank, huge sunglasses, and the "Live from Daryl's House" hoodie placed loosely around her thin waist. She wasn't new to moving her way along (so I say), and I saw right thru what she was doing.

Cliff notes version of this part of the story is I saw her chatting-up just about everyone there. She saw that there were about 20 of us in line and started to look around to see who she could "befriend." She ended up being one of the "left staircase people" getting to know one of the women who was in front of us. I once again will leave my opinions to myself about the crowd, as I will look like a self-centered Bi-otch, but let's just say, the person she was talking to was not someone she would be friends with.

There was not much I could do about the situation, so I just made sure we adhered by "the rules" as best we could. Overall, things were OK until 5:30pm hit. Many of us had been there for hours and doors were at 5:30pm. Being the concert goer that I am, I knew the doors would not open right at 5:30p. Luckily, one of the staff that was there came out and told us that sound check was still happening and doors would open in 15 minutes. The natives were restless as the sky was "colored heavy gray" (sorry, lyric reference :) as the storm was a'comin'. We were also told that when the doors were open, people with will-call tickets would go to the left and those with cash to the right. This was just the beginning of the disorganization. As you can imagine, most people had will-call tickets. That in itself is not a problem, but when you only have ONE person with a clipboard with pages and pages of names to mark off with a highlighter, this could create major chaos. We all started to see the line ain't gonna be moving very quickly. When the doors opened, as I thought, "California" ended up getting in front of us. Calling her and others out made no difference, and to make matters worse, the woman that she "befriended" ended up giving away or selling her ticket once she saw that the "cash line" was open with no waiting. We were all yelling at the staff saying how unfair that was, but no one acknowledged us. There she went, throwing her $30 into the cash box and running into the auditorium. Our blood started to boil.

My heart started racing; I was pissed. All of us were. Babs and I got in OK and headed into the venue. The first three rows were sectioned off for VIPs and season ticket holders. In row four, there was the "befriended woman" who CUT in line (oh sorry, paid cash) sitting on the aisle. As we went to go sit down next to her, she said: "These are all saved!" It was literally 7-8 seats. I gave her the biggest go to hell look I could give and we sat behind her. Babs and I learned something. Don't listen to people that say "these are saved" for a GA show. There's no way she could have said anything if we did sit down and we would have had those seats. Not minutes later, here comes "California" and a bunch of people that were behind us outside (one of the girls I know from other shows) now sitting in front of us. One guy who was in front of Babs and me outside bitched out "California's" new friend, and Babs bitched out "California." As I assumed, "California" said nothing and it didn't seem to phase her. Her new rude friend only said: "I did stand in line!," but no one cared.

Babs and I sat silently steaming wondering what our next step was going to be and deciding that we needed to grow some balls when it comes to shows like this. Never again would this happen. I wondered where my karma went so when Babs went to take a smoke and grab a drink, I decided to talk to my fan friend who was sitting in front of me. We chatted for a few to lessen the tension and rude girl tried to get into the conversation. I was pleasant to her, but didn't really engage her. All I know is "Payback's a bitch" and it would be coming tonight or sometime in the future.

Babs got back after 15 minutes or so and I told her I chatted with the girls and had let it go. It's not like we had bad seats, but it was the point of the entire thing. Either way, that passed, and it was time to chill and enjoy the show.

Still Waiting...
Jen Kerney, a local pop and soul artist, did her soundcheck while we were all milling around. From my engineering mind, this was a cool experience to watch and listen to. It can be boring, but I love to attempt to hear what the FOH Engineer is hearing to train my own ears. A bit geeky, but whatever.

Not too long after soundcheck, Johnathan, the Lowell Event Planner, came out. He seemed like a cool guy and welcomed us all. He also talked about all the sponsors, etc. Basic stuff. Earlier on, some people around us were also talking to one of the staff guys regarding when he'd take the tape off the second and third rows. We were still trying to figure out how we were going to move up and it looked a bit tough. From the stage, Johnathan then says that he's planning on moving people UP (who had will-call tickets) to the second and third rows! How exciting! But there were like 500+ people in the venue. It kinda went over my head a bit until he said: "listen for your name." He stated that the first name would go to the third row, right center section of the theater. Although we were in row four, right center was really a better seat as Daryl's synth was on that side and the seats were between that and Daryl's center mic. Cool. We all sat quietly and he says the first name: "Kathy Gaalaas." Babs and I jumped up and screamed! I couldn't believe my name was the first one called! We gladly went over to the prime seats and I turned to Babs and said: "Payback's a bitch." We laughed hysterically.

Getting closer..
The show started at around 7:30pm with Jen Kearney and The Lost Onion (her band). I had heard about her before, but didn't really listen to any of her music. I knew (how I have no idea) that she was great probably from some local review I read somewhere. Seeing that a lot of us already heard her from the soundcheck, we were all anxiously waiting for more. We weren't disappointed. She had a great set, sounded beautifully and created many more fans. Check out her MySpace page for more info and to hear her songs.

There was a 20-25 minute break and all of us were definitely ready for Sir Daryl to hit the stage. I ran for a water, updated my signs just in case he took requests and wrote down some other requests from people I had been speaking to. It's always great to be around fans who have been around for a while. One woman I spoke to had seen Daryl in a small club in 1974 and sat right by the stage. What I would have done to be there. I was only 4, though.

Livin' in Dreamtime
At about 8:40pm the lights went down and Daryl took the stage. Everyone was up on their feet clapping and screaming. Each time I see him, I never know how he'll be. He can be quite moody, and due to suffering from Lyme disease a couple years ago, you never know. I noticed that smile as soon as he came out--Whew.. we are in for a great show.

He sat down at his synth to start the show with "You Make My Dreams." He looked healthy, happy, and bright. He even apologized for being late (I didn't even notice he was), which is highly uncommon. Due to the storm, he had to land in an airport he hadn't been to before. He stated: "I missed soundcheck so forgive me." Babs yelled out: "You never do soundcheck!" as a number of people around us laughed in agreement. Another woman shouted: "You don't need a soundcheck. You're perfect the way you are!" Way to stroke the old ego. LOL He laughed heartily at that and continued with the opening song that includes the Gym Class Hero's remixed intro that he played around with on LFDH a few months back. Fun!

The rest of the show was a number of us yelling out things to make him laugh, requests were offered and played (or not) and Daryl talked about the recent Troubadour shows John and he did in L.A. He didn't stand up much during the show, which was odd to see. He was either cradling a guitar or at the keyboard. During "Someone Like You" and some of the other slow, sexy songs like "Cab Driver," I feel it's best that he stands as he can show a bit more emotion. I do my best not to make up stories about why he does or doesn't do things, but I can only assume that he was either tired or just wanted it more low key and personal.

The karma continued when Daryl started talking about the next episode of Live From Daryl's House. As a bit of back story, Babs assisted in getting Monte Montgomery, an Austin singer/songwriter and amazing guitarist, on the show. Many calls were made, but it was as simple as sending a Youtube video of Monte singing "Sara Smile" to Daryl's publicist. His Publicist loved it and sent it directly to Daryl, so the story goes. Daryl loved Monte so much, he booked him on the show immediately. Babs has been very proud, but humble about this feat. So when D started talking about the next Live From Daryl's House in a vague way, I saw her on the edge of her seat waiting for the perfect moment to say something. When he stopped for a moment, Babs yelled out: "Hey D! So how do you like my friend Monte!?" Daryl looked confused for a split second and then said: "Oh yes! Monte Montgomery!" He started saying what a wonderful guitarist he was and how he gave him "a run for his money on Sara Smile." Babs stood up and T-bone (music director and guitarist for this show) saw her and began to thank her from the stage. The entire thing was surreal and I was just there observing it all. I mean, how cool was all of this!

After Babs got her bearings, she was laughing so hard wondering what just happened (she kinda blanked out) and then said: "OMG! You said just a couple weeks ago that Monte gave D a run for his money and now HE just said it! How are you so cool?!" Man, that was a moment! Everything was just working out. We were both on Cloud 9.

The show continued with some stellar "non-hit" H&O tunes and some of Daryl's solo stuff from "Soul Alone" and "Can't Stop Dreaming." The crowd continued the yelling out at funny quips, but doing this at inappropriate times thru the show. For example, I believe at the end of "Getaway Car," Daryl had completed singing the song but had a long pause before the last chord. Right at that time, a woman behind us screamed: "I love you!!!" Daryl already had his head down as the song is somewhat emotional, but when she said that, he burst out laughing, shook his head and actually blushed!!! Daryl was so authentic and it was SO great to see him that way.

It was disappointing to not hear anything from "Sacred Songs," however. It's mind-boggling on why he doesn't play more of those songs. In most fan's opinions, it's his best album, albeit more experimental. Someone to the right of us actually requested "Something in 4/4 Time," and he perked up a bit and smiled. I noticed that he tried to get a general feel of the song on the keys for about 3 seconds, but gave up. Either way, maybe we'll hear that song in a future set, but either way it would be great to hear some of the old solo stuff.

The last three songs were H&O hits ("Rich Girl," "Kiss On My List," "Private Eyes") and thankfully someone in the front row got up to dance. All of a sudden a rush of people started going to the stage. I said to Babs: "It's time. Let's go!" As we were sitting on the aisle it was extremely easy to get up front. I was to the barrier right in front of D's synth and Babs ended up by . She was placing herself there to maybe chat with him at the end of the show to say thank you regarding Monte, etc. I had a blast over there as I'm always in awe of master singers and musicians. It's so cool to see them that close watching their hands on the keys or guitar, seeing how they sing, etc. Although I had been up front at shows before, this experience was different as his synth is usually not that close to the side of the stage. It was like he was there in my livingroom or something. I even heard nuances of songs I had never heard him sing before by being that close. A musician's and fans dream!

Daryl continued with the smiles and amazement of the crowd all night. I could tell we really showed him a great time and he was having fun. When the man is on, it's a guarantee it's a miraculous night. He and the band came back with three more songs for the encore. I had been talking to Babs earlier that they had to play "Adult Education" as we were literally in a high school (the song is about high school life) and I thought that would be funny. As I thought, someone had a sense of humor and they played it. Daryl ended with "Foolish Pride," the second single off his second solo album "Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine."

I don't recall exactly what he said when he was leaving the stage because people were screaming and clapping so loudly, but he mentioned something to the effect that it was the best time he has had on stag--ever! That is REALLY hard for me to believe, but he mentioned several times how it was a crazy night (due to all the people yelling out, etc.) and that he was having a blast.

The show concluded with us sticking around for a bit, Babs getting to talk to the guitar tech to get a message to T-Bone, and gathering some of D's picks. We chatted with a number of fans (one of whom I had only met thru the new H&O discussion board), and it's always great to put a face to a name. We headed outside to chat with Jen Kearney's bass player who happened to be a Berklee grad (both Babs and I work at Berklee). I stated to him as we were walking that I had forgotten to get one of Jen's CDs. He said we should walk over to the load-in door to see if we could catch Jen. She hadn't left yet, so I happily thanked her for a great show and asked if I could get a disc. She was just about done loading out so I waited for a few minutes. Babs had walked to the side door when I was talking to Jen and I saw her talking to T-Bone! She finally got to say her thank yous in person and T-Bone was thanking her right back stating that working with Monte was the most incredible musical experience he'd ever had! Amazing. Daryl also scooted out the door and into his car to head out. Several fans were there yelling out "thank you!" to him and "great job!" He jumped in the car with a smile and a wave and was gone. Before I caught up with Jen again, I saw T-Bone at his car and I got to shake his hand. I told him: "Thanks for a great show and it was good to see you again." He said: "Great to see you too!" He's such an amazing guy. I've met him in the past and I can tell you he hasn't changed.

As we were saying our goodbyes, I got a disc from Jen, we met some of her other bandmates and then headed back to the parking garage. Reflecting back on the night, it was so surreal in many ways and it was hard to believe it was all over. Not only did we have the time of our lives hanging out together, but finally got to experience the show *I* wanted to experience with her AND to have everything else happen? Well, that was just bonus. Oh, and as a funny aside, we ended up parking for FREE! I asked the attendant where I should pay and he said, "Just sneak out." All I could think of was Daryl singing: "It's a laugh. What a laugh. It's so stupid, I gotta laugh!"

I always say things happen for a reason. I have no idea what will come of that night with all the conversations that were had, but all I do know is that this show will be a memory that will stay with me forever.

Final Thoughts
One of the things I love to do the most is to experience H&O shows with my friends. Over the years, I have brought 3-4 friends to shows that were not huge fans, but by the end of the show, definitely were. Everyone deserves fun and great music, and Daryl and John bring that each and every night they play.

To close, I'd like to thank Babs for the time of my life, T-Bone for being such a generous human being and to Daryl for being who he is. I don't know what I would have done without him and his music over the years, but I will continue to celebrate him as long as he will let me.

Set list for Daryl Hall solo
Lowell, MA
July 3, 2008

You Make My Dreams Come True
Everything Your Heart Desires
When The Morning Comes
Cab Driver
Someone Like You
Getaway Car
Stop Loving Me, Stop Loving You
It's A Laugh
Everytime You Go Away
Maneater (reggae version)
Sara Smile
Rich Girl
Kiss On My List
Private Eyes


I Can't Go For That, No Can Do
Adult Education
Foolish Pride

And Monte's version of "Sara Smile" that Daryl got to see...