feh. finally got enough sleep this weekend - sleeping late and taking a nice nap yesterday. so i've finally refueled enough to write about the two shows i saw/worked last week - Martin Medeski and Wood, and Paul Simon. i'm tellin' ya - this Orpheum gig just kicks butt!
so Thursday was MMW. i was all excited to like this show, because i really like their album Last Chance to Dance Trance (perhaps). it's got the whole funky jazz thing goin' on for it. they came out on time, with no opening act, and dove right in. hm. doesn't sound much like their album stuff. which is ok, because you don't go to a concert just to hear the album; for that, you may as well save the money on tickets and buy a kick-ass stereo. actually, it sounded nothing like their albums. they essentially played two hour-long free form jams, and a couple song encore that was closest to their recorded material. it was really a little too out there for me, mostly. don't get me wrong - they are great musicians. it's just that i don't have much musical training, and it's hard for me to hear structure in music if there's no identifiable tempo. and i will say that i liked the second set better; the first set was still busy, and i pretty much had the show as background music for work. the second set, i scored a seat in the back, and could watch the guys goofing around on stage. when you could see how they were watching each other, and really playing off what the other person was doing, it all made more sense. and the percussion guy was clearly having an amazing time, dancing around and playing everything from gourds to metal bands to something that looked like an art installation. he and the drummer ended up having a 'conversation' with some sort of hand drum that squeaks - i can't describe it better than that, i'm afraid - but they were doing a call and response kind of thing with these two hand drums. still and all, tho, the space jams weren't my thing.
one of the most interesting things to me about this gig is seeing the kind of crowd that comes to each show. MMW was, as one might expect, a pretty organic crowd. lots of incense, dreads, Peruvian sweaters, macramé beads, and pot. it tended towards the younger side, which must have been fun for the beer guys, carding away, and oh, did i mention the pot? i was seating people and asked one guy if i could help him. 'not unless you have sooooooomething to ... sell me.' nah, outta luck, i'm not who you want to be seeing right now. despite the no smoking policy and a reasonably active security staff, i could easily have turned to the person next to me at any point and asked for a hit - and gotten it. made for a pretty friendly atmosphere; noone really gets out of hand when they're well and truly stoned. and maybe that would have helped me like the show a lot more. everyone else certainly was digging it.
got a bit punchy giving directions to the bathrooms, and ended up looking like a stewardess explaining the emergency exits. 'up the stairs [flagging straight ahead] and to the right [flagging right] - thank you for flying Orpheum Airlines.'
the oddest thing about that show was that it felt like old home week. J of M and J was working that night, which was lovely (i know them from the poker game); the brewmeister was also working (i know him from the brewery and the poker game); rob and mark came in (from the 58meacham gang, and apparently i was supposed to know they were going to be there, but i didn't); C and M from Gargoyle's were there; E who manages Casablanca came in; and P, whom i used to work with oh, say, 5 years ago came in with his lady love, M, whom i finally had the pleasure of meeting. P caught me most off guard, because while i have a pretty good face-memory for the duration of a show, it's like taking passport photos as someone gets in your face. say hi, grab ticket, direct person, repeat. so P had about 10 feet to recognize me, and i just looked up and he was right there. when he said hi, that little processing center in your brain that allows you to not make a fool of yourself because you *can* actually recognize your friends was about 3 steps behind. 8) it was cool, tho, and i caught up with them just after the show, and hope to have lunch w/P next week.
saturday's show was Paul Simon, late of Simon and Garfunkel [which disclaimer i only put in because someone said to me this morning '*the* Paul Simon?', as if there were a multitude of them running around]. this show i really loved, and i hadn't expected to. the man came on stage right on time, talked to the audience a little thruout the show, played two and a half hours straight, and sounded great. it was an 11-piece band with -get this- four drum kits: one standard kit, one African kit, one Carribean, and one Latin. the man loves his percussion, yo. he also has a guitar thing going - three guitar players and a bass player. the stage was littered with guitars (over a dozen) before the show. and the little man plays a big guitar (soundwise, not size wise, altho they all look pretty big in his hands). the set was a nice mix of older S&G stuff, Graceland/Rhythym of the Saints stuff, and a smattering of more eclectic (read: not top 10) stuff. even the older songs sounded new, as he had revamped them with jazz-y arrangements. here's what cracked me up: simon's socks matched his baseball cap.
and the drunken rowdies i thought might be out thursday waited for this show, which made no sense to me. overall, it was a middle-aged, white middle class crowd with the occasional hippie thrown in for good measure. these frat boys so didn't fit. and they were *druuuuuuuunk*. part of the job is to keep the patrons from bringing booze back into the theatre. these boys were none too happy about that. and i do agree it's a stupid rule - if you're gonna sell it, let them take it in. but i guess it's the only was to ensure that you're not bringing beer back to anyone underage. then they got pissed that i wouldn't dance with them. not my job to be your personal entertainment committee, boys. anyway, these guys were getting out of hand, and ken pulled me aside to ask if they were too much for me (he doesn't like it when his ushers get harassed). nope, not an issue - they've already pissed off security, so i'm good to go. sure enough, about 10 minutes later, i ducked into the office, laughing, and ken wants to know what's up. i couldn't stop laughing as security dragged one of the boys, as in on the floor, dragged by the ankles, right out of the theatre (god only knows how they got him down the two flights of stairs), and threw his obnoxious ass out in the alley. i'm sure his friends weren't happy, but i was amused. and i didn't have the heart to tell ken that he didn't have to worry, since i have a reputation as a bit of a ball buster at work, because he was being very sweet to look out for his ushers.
speaking of which, he nearly got himself hurt trying to play a joke on me. i was working up in the mezzanine for the first time, which i had avoided so far because of my fear of heights. it's set up sort of like the Huntington, in that there are a few mezzanine rows by the railing, then an aisle row, then the rest of the balcony rows. the Orpheum is not in the best of repair (that 50¢ restoration fee is about as useful as the turnpike tolls), and the floor has a downward slant, towards the railing, naturally. as i was leaning into the mezzanine rows to check on a seat, ken came up behind me, grabbed my shoulders, and pretended to pitch me forward. oh, and the lights were down at this point. i instinctively grabbed onto the rail and a nearby seat, and swore a blue streak. poor ken - he really was just goofing. don't think he'll be playing that game with me again, tho. 8)
next show is The Bangles, which i'm really only doing for the opening act, Dido, whose album i'm listening to right now.