Los Angeles, CA
Monday, December 22, 2008
The day after Rockapella: Epic Fail (heretofore known as R:EF) started off OK. I was lucky enough to get the day off of work, so that I could recuperate from last night's disappointment. OK, so it was originally supposed to be to recuperate from last night's revelry, but it wasn't that...um...revellious? So I slept in, wrote lots on this blog, and wrapped 2 presents. Way lots more to go, unfortunately, but all I wanted to do was stay in my nice, warm bed.
I finally got ready and drove to Jenn's house to meet up with her and Rhonda. Rhonda was about to see her first Pella show, and Jenn was very excited about it. I guess I would have been, too, if I wasn't still so apprehensive about everything. Rhonda had been hearing a lot about Rockapella from Jenn, so she was eager to find out what all of our obsession was about.
We drove to the Sunset Strip, almost missing the House of Blues because it's BLUE and DARK. We were also busy looking at the Comedy Club across the street because Rhonda was talking about how much time she used to spend there. Karla had arrived early and had been calling us. She told us where to park, but I didn't see that, and ended up at the valet stand. $15.00 is an exorbitant amount to park my car, if you ask me.
Anyway, there I was with my bags of goodies again, and I passed a guy talking to one of the employees. I thought to myself, "That guy looks like Jeff Thacher....wait a minute, Sherry. You're at a Pella show. That IS Jeff Thacher!" Yes, that actually went through my head. So I turned around, said hi to JT, and he gave an enthusiastic "hi" back. I asked him if he could please take the bags of goodies to the dressing room, not noticing that he had 2 big suitcases to carry already. Gentleman that he is, though, he added them to his haul, commenting on how heavy they were. I think he thought that they were all for him until I told him that they were for all of the guys. He went through the stage door, and I was finally happy. Pella was here, JT took the cookies so I wouldn't have to worry about where to place them, and there would be a concert tonight!!!
We went to the restaurant and sat with Karla. We signed our Christmas cards for the guys, signed copies for each other, and basically initiated Rhonda into seeing the obsession just take us over. I also had a birthday card for Jeff, but didn't let Karla sign it because she had brought one from herself already. I ordered the Catfish Nuggets because Jenn wouldn't shut up about them, and I also wanted the sweet potato fries. For dessert, I had the Banana Bread Pudding, which was also tasty. The trouble for me with eating before a Pella concert is that I get so keyed up that I can't really eat very much, so I maybe had, like, 3 of the baby back ribs that Jenn ordered (or maybe even just one), and a cornbread muffin along with the other stuff. Karla kept looking over at the stage because she had a view of it, and kept telling us who was there for sound check. When she saw Fred, I thought she was going to mess up my Christmas card because she hit me. Cindy joined us a little while later and was able to enjoy her dinner before we decided to go outside to brave the cold and Bypass the Line. As we were about to go down the stairs, who should appear before my eyes, but my Pella friend, Gordon!!! Angela and I became friends with Gordon when we stood in line with him at the Redding show in May 2000, and I haven't seen him in over a year.
APPARENTLY, "Bypass the Line" is supposed to start in different places, depending on which employee tells you about it. So we had to go to 3 places to find the correct one. We thought that we'd be first in line, but there were about a dozen people in front of us. So, what? You're supposed to order your food to go, then get in line and eat there? Whatever. It was cold, so we wouldn't have done that anyway. We finally made it past the bag check and weapon wand, and I saw Gordon sitting in the front row. He motioned to the empty seat next to him, so I took that one, then reserved some seats in the next two rows for everyone else. Mox arrived as we were getting situated. Karla sat behind me, and Fred walked by, so she talked to him for awhile. He mentioned to her that he contributed to the holiday decorations on stage by including a Hanukkah stocking. Gordon and I caught up on lots of stuff, and I also talked to our fellow fans from Reno. They're hoping to have 2 shows there next year; one holiday, one regular. I'm looking forward to going back there, and maybe we can stay at the Siena again. I made friends with the bathroom attendant and just gave her a tip for the whole night since I'd be back often, and I didn't want to keep making sure that I had $ on me. Besides, she told me that I looked really cute in my outfit: a houndstooth cape jacket, black pants, and pretty black & white-checked shoes.
Rockapella walked onto the stage wearing burgundy and white. Very nice! I love JT's burgundy vest. I want it, actually. It was red and sparkly. Anyway, they started the show with "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." Scott introduced himself as Yukon Cornelius, and I cheered for him, which made him stare at me. I then realized that I had forgotten to place the Rudolph Ornament cookies into his bag. Oh, well.
They then sang a quick version of "Hope We Hold." I don't know if they were just trying to get through all of their songs in time to catch their flights, or if I'm just used to the slower version on the CD, but it seemed pretty fast to me. During the song, Scott smiled over at me, and I mouthed "hi."
Scott asked who in the audience was supposed to be at the Rrrancho Cucamonga show last night. He said that their plane wouldn't start. So there I was, picturing a pilot in the cockpit, urging the plane's engine to turn over.
Scott introduced George, and when Geo started to sing, Scott said that George is nothing but testosterone. Whoo, Baby! He introduced the different voice parts as they sang a little bit of "Zip."
Scott said that he was "so surprised to find that there are other holidays besides Christmas." They sang the Dreidel song for all of their Jewish fans...and all of the other fans who just like hearing the song. I especially like Scott's pelvic thrusts while the others are high-stepping.
Up next was "Winter Wonderland," and I liked the pause that Scott did for the word "Chill."
Angela's not-favorite song was next: "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and I couldn't help myself from joining in on the choreography from my seat. Yay! Scott's whistle solo! He's just awesome. And of course, I love JT's sleigh bells at the end of the song.
Scott said, "This would be the best place we've ever played if it was this afternoon, because Monday Night Football would be right there," pointing at the television at the bar. They're big football fans, these guys.
After singing "Glow Worm," (during which someone in the audience giggled while John danced, which puzzled me), Scott talked about John touring with Phil Collins, Tina Turner and Julie Andrews ... all at the same time! Or not. They then sang "Little Mary Snowflake."
Kevin said, "This has been a crazy, crazy holiday season so far and it's nice to be back in some nice, warm weather." It was 4 degrees below zero with the wind chill outside the airport where they were stuck yesterday (Chicago). He said, "I don't mind being called a baby girl," referring to him being a wimp when it comes to cold weather. This was their last holiday show this year. He said that people celebrate the holidays differently around the country. They were in a little town in Wisconsin, and there was snow on the ground, and it was like they were in "It's A Wonderful Life." He noted, "You know what's great, is we only had to be there one day." He showed everyone Fred's stocking, and thanked him for being Fred. I turned around to Karla and told her that Fred got a mention because she was there. Kevin asked if any of us were driving or flying for the holidays, and then advised, "Don't go to Wisconsin." They then sang "Love and the Lights."
During "Rudolph," JT asked for applause for being Vixen. I like when JT gets to dance, too. Karla reminded me, so we both yelled out "Yahtzee!," which scared Gordon, and made Scott look over at us. Hey, we know when we're supposed to participate!
John did his victory dance: "I'm done with my shopping for the holidays. I'm done with my shopping, I know you're not!" He told those of us that had not finished that it was already too late and we'd be in line at CVS, just grabbing anything. He dedicated the next song to all of the love birds. He said that they should turn to each other and forget about whatever happened before they got here tonight, look at one another and say, "This is for you." They then sang "Merry Christmas, Darling." I loved George's solo: gorgeous!
Scott asked Kevin where he stayed when he was traveling with musical theater. Kevin said that at one place (in L.A.), there was a big Mormon statue outside the hotel, and he wondered, "What have I gotten myself into?" Scott said that Jeff is the Acme, the Zenith of his craft. Kevin said that "you can only be the King of VP if you can do sleigh bells with your mouth," to which JT responded with his sample. Kevin said of Scott: "Not only does he have really pretty hair, but he can sing notes only dogs can hear." Scott said, "chihuahuas." I wish Linda had heard that.
Scott talked about the original group singing on street corners in NYC, and "people started throwing cards in, started throwing their shoes at us..." Love it. They sang "This Christmas Day," and they had me and many others in stitches as he tried to back up and snuggle into Kevin, and Kevin tried to ignore him, but they both ended up giggling at each other. Ah, tenor love. :)
"KEVIN!!!" They sang "Christmas, Don't Be Late," and I was like, "YOW!" when George did his hula hoop move. Scott came back after the drum break wearing a sweater. It's just so cute and Perry Como.
At the start of the next song, Scott took his mic stand and pretty much pounded it onto the floor to sing "Please Come Home for Christmas." A variety of microphone antics ensued, like him letting it fall to the floor, and kicking it back up again, as well as dancing with it a la Fred Astaire. During his monologue, he said, "I felt like a turkey at a Sarah Palin rally" and later said that maybe he could "get a little bail out, a little cash." When George started to flirt with someone in the front row during his solo, Scott yelled at him, "This is MY song!" and sang to the same woman himself. I want them to fight over me!
Scott then gave us some facts about Kwanzaa, and talked about traditions that we've adopted from other countries. Like on "Cinco de Mayo, we drink tequila and celebrate Mexican culture." They sang "Matunda Ya Kwanzaa". To you I say, "Habari Gani? -- What's the news?" I enjoyed watching Scott trying to learn the Afrikana dancing from John while George was singing.
John chose a woman named Mariko to join them on stage. Kevin immediately greeted her, "Hi, Monica!" and she corrected him. He noted that she was wearing Uggs. She said, "It's cold." Mariko's wish was for her whole family to be together. Kev tried to get her to say that she wanted a Rockapella CD, which she finally said. He asked her to sing along with them, but when they started the intro, she clearly didn't know it until they got to the refrain. Scott tried to get too close to her with his microphone and scared her. John tried to dance Da Butt with her, which was amusing. She mimed the whipping of the reindeer quite well, but I don't think that her part, "To Town" should have had the inflection of a question. It was funny, though. Kevin told her to "make sure to keep those feet warm her in L.A." Scott said, "She was sweet. I think we had a moment there." Yes, Scott. A moment of terror.
They sang, "Christmas Without You," which is my favorite original Rockapella holiday song, even though it's supposed to be depressing, because it's funny at the same time.
George said, "I was standing up there during that last song and I thought to myself, 'I know what I want for Christmas. I want to sing like a woman. I want to sing like Whitney Houston." So he did his "I'll Always Love You" thing (really, for the holidays, Geo, you should think of a nice "O Holy Night" or something like that). He then said to us, "I want to tell you all that really hurt. I had to squeeze my butt cheeks together and I need 15-20 seconds, to just keep laughing." We did. He added, "5 more seconds, please." More giggling. He said that he loves this part of the program because he gets to ask the audience to sing. "Let's do Handel's 'Messiah'." OKAY! I know that one really, really well. But no, we sang "Silent Night" instead, and George said, "Again, I'll be playing the part of Whitney Houston." The audience was talented, and sang pretty harmonies. George said, "Too bad it's the last show 'cause I'd scoop all of you up to sing with us." To which I say again, "OKAY!"
I really like how he segued into "Grinch," talking about how our singing reminded him of those Whos in Whoville and how he hated those people. I just plain love when they sing that song anyway, because it's pure awesomeness, but I really did like his intro.
They sang Wendy's favorite song, "Angels We Have Heard on High," and I thought about how I wished she hadn't missed this, especially the last chord.
For the encore, they sang the Jingle Bell Rock/Ukrainian Carol. Scott said that their Rrrrancho shows would be rescheduled for either March or June 2009. He then asked if we'd like to hear a world premiere. Well, of COURSE! They sang "Happy Christma-Hanu-Kwanzaa-Koliday," which leaves a lot of room for (really quick) adlib, and should be fun in future holiday shows. It actually reminds me a lot of "Indiana" the way the beat starts with Scott's clapping. It also involves some audience participation, during the "whoa"s. Altos first (yay!), then Lumberjacks (manly basses), and castrati (not-so-manly high tenors). I'm listening to it right now, and like it more with each listen. Jeff has a workout in this one, as he does in "Indiana." Well, now I want to hear "Indiana"!
Scott mentioned that a long time ago, their first agent wanted them to be a group like "The Wiggles" on their first album. Then they went to Japan to record their own stuff there, and while they toured, Scott wrote "Hold Out for Christmas," which they sang off-mic.
The Meet 'n' Greet was scattered style. George gave me a hug. (yay!)
I asked John if he got his package, and at first he gave me a quizzical look. I said that I wanted to make sure that Jeff didn't take all of the goodies for himself. He then said, "Yes, I saw an ornament or something hanging on it, but didn't look inside yet. The bags were on the table." Phew!
Kevin told me that he has mastered the harmonica already. I giggled because I asked him about that on his Christmas card. I asked him to open his Christmas card in front of us, and he was the only one that I was requiring to do so because they were mainly done for him. He laughed and loved our pictures. Jenn had written "Santa says 'naughty.' I say 'nice.'" Kevin responded, "Ooh, that sounds seductive!" Karla and I both said, "That's our Jenny!" Jenn was embarrassed and hid herself. He kept reading our signatures and said, "Oh, yeah! You could have been in my room!" We told him about the idea to Photoshop him into the pics. He said, "Yeah, you could put me right here, and I could be under the covers, and you could just see my eyes and nose...and then over here, I could be jumping up in the air (during the pillow fight). Jenn was worried that perhaps Kevin had been fantasizing about us on the way home from the Wigwam. Okay, but that's it, OK, Kev? ;) I later told him that Aura was there and said hi from her, to which he said, "HI!"
While I was waiting to talk to Scott, the gal that made us wait a long time to talk to Kevin walked up and said to me and others, "Oh, are you all waiting to talk to Scott?" Yes, woman, we actually WAIT instead of just busting in! AUGH. She left. My face must have been more expressive than my "Yes." As I was waiting patiently, Jenn and Rhonda told me that the gals in line in front of me have been following this blog. (They had thought that Jenn was me because she was talking about the Pellapusher blog to Rhonda). I didn't want to interrupt their conversation with Scott, and I had much to say to him myself, so I'm sorry that I didn't say hi to you, whomever you are out there! Leave a comment, OK?
Scott thanked me for the cookies, saying that I baked up a storm. I told him how sad we were, and he was sorry. He kept saying how sweet we all were as he read his Christmas card. I told him later that my friends and I made a video while they were consoling me because I was sad and had a couple of drinks, because I missed them so much. Karla said to Scott that she and Liz both pictured me sitting on my couch, eating up all of the cookies in my grief. He said that he'd like to see the video. I sent it to him a few days ago, but I don't know if he'll ever respond. As long as he gets it, I'm fine. Karla then mentioned that I won't freeze on New Year's Eve in Utah to see Pella, but I was willing to freeze in DC at the Inaugural. I said, "It's a once in a lifetime experience!" She said that she'd seen it 3 times already. I said, "Oh, you've been to see the first Black President go into office 3 times?" Scott interjected, "Well, there WAS Bill Clinton twice." So I hit him while I laughed. Thanks for that, honey. OMG, I later realized that I said, "Hi, Love," to Scott when I greeted him. I've lost my mind. It must be the whole holiday season-airport husband thing. No, Lisa does NOT have to worry about me.
Karla then introduced me to JT's brother, Andy, then told me something about JT being adopted and I got all confused. She was just kidding, though. I walked up to Jeff as he was talking to the many friends and family in attendance, and he said, "Hey, Sweetie! There you are! Where've you been?" I explained to him that I was busy waiting for other people to stop talking. He said that he knows what that's like. He's staying in town with his family in L.A. for Christmas. It's nice that he and his parents could come out here.
Fred kissed me on the cheek after Karla and I gave him our cards. I made sure afterward that Karla was OK with that, which she was. Aw, a kiss on the cheek from Fred! Cute.
We said our final goodbyes so that Scott and Kevin could make their flights. I refused to tip the valet because I felt that I paid enough to have him go down and up a hill in my car. I know it's the holidays, but I have my limits. Jenn, Rhonda and I talked about Pella pretty much all the way home. Rhonda really enjoyed the show, and would like to go to a regular show someday. YAY! I love new Pella fans!
So now my Christmas will be complete. I only wish that it had been complete three times over by the 22nd. :) Thank you, Cindy, Mox, Karla, Jenn, Rhonda, and Gordon for your fun company. Thank you, mostly, to Pella for making me genuinely smile again after R:EF.
May You All Keep the Thunder In Your Heart!