Rockapella at Lincoln Theater/University of Hartford
Friday, October 2, 2009
West Hartford, CT
When Kevin announced that he would be leaving Rockapella, I decided that I wanted to see them as much as I could before his last show. Cindy turned to the Dark Side and decided that she wanted to go, too, so we decided to go to Boston. I had Friday off anyway due to furloughs, so I figured that I could see two shows in one trip. Unfortunately, I had to do the 1st part of the trip by myself, but I had fun anyway, as you'll see. :)
I took a red-eye flight on JetBlue out of LAX on Thursday night. The flight attendants offered a Sleep Kit, which included an eye mask and earplugs. That's nice! I didn't use it, but I kept it for whenever I'd need it. I had an aisle seat, and the man next to me asked if I would switch seats with his wife, whom was also in a middle seat, but I declined. It's too long of a flight for me to be uncomfortable, sorry, and I chose my seat a while ago. I remember when I was on a choir tour and we were flying back from overseas, and Rudy asked someone to switch seats with his "fiancee" so that we could sit together. That person was nice enough to switch with me, so I felt a little bit guilty this time. But back then, we didn't get to choose our seats in advance, and I think that I'm the one that ended up in the middle seat that day. Dude slept for most of the flight anyway, probably for longer than I did. I wanted chocolate chip cookies for my snack, but the flight attendant said that they needed to get more from the galley. This never happened. I don't know if it was because the flight was a little bit turbulent and they forgot about me or what, but they also didn't come down the aisle with the hot towels that they announced about over the PA system. I got to Boston without any major problems, though, so that's a good thing.
We arrived at Logan Airport in the morning, and I went to Alamo to pick up my rental car. I spied a PT Cruiser, and hoped that it was available for me since I had driven one before. The agent at the desk was very nice, and I asked for a GPS. When I asked about the toll booths, he said that I could rent a transponder for the EasyPay lanes, which would be good for the whole weekend, so I opted for that as well. I was allowed to choose my own car, so that PT Cruiser was mine! It was white, so it wasn't as pretty as the PFCV, but at least I didn't have to learn to drive a different vehicle for the drive to CT.
I was advised not to turn on the GPS until after I got out of the tunnels, since it wouldn't work in there anyway. I followed the agent's directions and set up the address ahead of time, and turned it on as soon as I was in open air. Well, the darn thing kept stalling. Luckily for me, I had also printed directions before I left home, so I didn't panic. There I was all alone in my car, strange area to me, and getting frustrated with the GPS. I needed to think of a name for her, as several of my friends have named their personal GPS. The name "Helen" came into my head, probably because I already felt like I was in Hell with the dang thing. So Helen it was named. I stopped at a rest area, one of the fancier ones with restaurants and gift shops. I decided to do as the Easterners do and have Dunkin' Donuts coffee with a pumpkin muffin for breakfast. Aside from naming Helen and yelling at her to stop sleeping and guide me already, I spent my drive time admiring the fall colors along the highway. It was pretty, and I wished that the rest areas had some of the nice scenery so that I could take pictures. I mean, I couldn't ask Helen to do anything other than the job that she already wasn't doing. She was too busy giving me the silent treatment.
Once I arrived in Connecticut, I stopped at the Welcome Center, which was quite small and old, just like the state is small and old. I was going to arrive in Hartford early, and needed to find something to do before check-in time. The Visitors Guide mentioned the Mark Twain House, so I figured I'd go there. That is, if Helen would let me. Well, she got me there just fine, but I couldn't figure out where to park. It took some driving around and Helen now yelling at *me*, but I finally found the correct entrance.
I arrived just in time for the next tour. Mark Twain lived in Hartford because that was where the big publishing houses were. He lived next to Harriet Beecher Stowe, but they were of different generations, so they didn't exactly hang out together. (I could have toured the Stowe house as well, but I was tired and wanted to get to the hotel). He lived there with his wife and 3 daughters. The property has recently undergone a major refurbishment. It was beautiful inside, with intricate decor and our tour guide was quite knowledgeable. We were all surprised when she told us afterward that we were her very first tour, because she did really, really well, fielding questions and providing trivia. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside, but here it is from the outside.
I walked around the Visitors Center for awhile. LEGO was one of the sponsors of the renovation, and they did a LEGO Mark Twain. I kept singing to myself, "Mark Twain" a la the boat at Disneyland. If any of you had been there with me, you know I would have sung it out loud.
LEGO Mark Twain
I bought "A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court" for myself, as well as a picture book of the house itself, since I couldn't take any pictures inside. Then I went to the hotel. I stayed at the Hilton in Hartford, and my room was nice, with a very comfortable bed. I took a short nap before getting ready for the show, then I had dinner at the M&M Cafe downstairs. The food was OK, and I realized that I still don't like bleu cheese.
Then Helen and I made our way to the University of Hartford. We had a hard time getting there, what with Helen giving me the silent treatment half the time. It was dark, and since it was a University, I needed to find my own way to the Lincoln Theater. At one point, I thought that I had arrived with a few minutes to spare, so I parked the car, and walked quickly to the theater, where there were guys in tuxes standing outside. I asked them if I was at the right place, but no. They told me where to go and suggested that I come back to watch them in the orchestra if I was too late for Rockapella. As much as I love orchestral music, I don't think I would have been a happy audience member if I drove all the way to CT for No Pella.
When I got to the Lincoln Theater, I saw that there were a lot of people standing outside. I picked up my ticket at Will Call, and was told that the performers were late, so the doors weren't open yet. Phew! I made it! I had pictured myself running down the stairs to my seat in the front row and the guys giving me a hard time, but I dodged that bullet. They finally opened the doors about a half-hour after the scheduled show time, then we had to wait until everyone was seated before the show would start. The configuration of microphones on stage was different than I'm used to, so I figured that there must be an opening act of either a couple of guitar players or a group that included little people.
Someone walked on stage and said that it was Parents' Weekend and Homecoming, so he was happy that Rockapella was there to entertain and support their benefit (a portion of the Rockapella CD sales went to the benefit), which was for local non-profit agencies. The opening act ended up being L'Shir, U of H's premier a cappella group, which included 10 men and 8 women, none of whom were little people. Their repertoire included "Love the One You're With", a song that I think is called "Peace of Mind", "Put Your Records On" and "Love That Remains the Same". They did a great job, and I wondered if they watch "Glee". We had an intermission after that. I texted Angela, and told her to rub her (pregnant) belly and kiss her son Tyler for me. She told me to kiss Pella for her and rub their bellies, too.
The guy that introduced L'Shir earlier returned to the stage to announce Rockapella. I saw Scott walking on the stage a little bit early, not realizing that someone was going to introduce them first. Scott APPARENTLY didn't get the memo: he was the ony one wearing a light-colored suit, and the others were in dark colors.
Scott introduced himself as Chris Dodd. I realized that this is one of the last times I'll see Kevin, and already got a little bit teary.
4U 4Now 4Life: I love this song, and at one point I was screaming inside "OMG, I LOVE THEM!!!" I have realizations like that once in awhile. ;) Some people in the audience were from Springfiled, MA, home of Basketball. Scott said to them, "You braved the state line!" He then introduced the band, saying that JT's throat mics were used to pick up the rumble 'neath West Hartford.
Got To Get You Into My Life: I thought to myself, "You know, Scott's an awesome arranger." See? Realizations.
Stand By Me, which is when JT gets to take a break. As I looked for JT, I saw that there was a guy watching from the sidelines, and wondered if he was the new guy. I think he was just security, though.
Use Me: Kevin's ring fell off during the stepping, rolled around, and he picked it up with a little smile and put it in his pocket. During his high note, Scott just stopped using his microphone, and Kevin was laughing at him. I'm really going to miss Kevin's laughing at the other guys.
Kevin told us the story of driving from Florida to Michigan for his wife's family reunion. He didn't make any plans for different stops, just thinking that they'd figure stuff out as they went along. They got hungry after a while, and Kevin looked around, saying to the girls, "We've got McDonald's, Wendy's..." and the girls said from the back, "HOOTERS!" Kevin looked at his wife, then said, "We're not going to Hooters." His wife repeated it. But then the girls began to chat "Hoo-ters! Hoo-ters!" and Kevin said to Amy, "Well, they've got the best chicken wings," and the kids got their way. When one of his daughters saw the waitress, she said to Kevin, "Dad, she's really pretty." Kevin replied, "She's not that pretty," trying to avoid Amy's stare. He said, "You've got to watch what you say in there. I tried to just look at the TV and on the game."
Under The Boardwalk: Kevin sang, "You can almost taste the Hooters wings and french fries they sell." At the end, he said, "Thank you for going to Florida one last time with me." And I started tearing up again.
Tell Me What You Want
Wait. Maybe that's John's ring, because Kevin was talking to him about it.
They brought their seats upstage, and Scott noticed that his had some water on it. "Refreshing! It's like a peppermint patty on your butt." He asked Kev, "Did you wet your seat as well?" Then they all noticed that the stools spun around. Scott said, "Oh my God, this is a good spinner. It's like some kind of college secret stuff. I'm getting dizzy!"
California Sad-Eyed Girl: OK, I'm crying now.
Scott said that Kevin was in several Andrew Lloyd Webber shoes, er..shows. Kevin said, "He's got nice shoes." Kevin has also been in "Into the Woods", as the first Jack of Jack & the Beanstalk of the national tour. I wish that I had seen that. Kevin said about Scott," I like to say that he has the hair of corn. You can make a lot of ethanol on that hair." The mascot for U of H is the Hawks. Kev said, "Hawks can hear really, really high notes, too," looking at Scott.
Paper Doll: JT began to spin his chair around during Geo's wicked bass part, then they all did a ripple of chair spinning at the end of the song. It was hilarious.
Rock the Boat: Geo did an extra point for "Do the Hustle" and cracked himself up.
Jingle Medley: "You ain't nothin' but an ointment (for my bottom)" -- I had never heard that part in the parentheses before. Cute!
My Girl: John chose Jill, Kevin asked her for her sign in his high voice. Jill was brought to the show by her boyfriend, Mike. Kev: "Is he a cool guy?" Jill: "He's all right." Kev: "Wow." They've been together 6 months. Mike has seen Rockapella 4 times, and convinced Jill to come to a show. Kev: "You didn't come the other times? 'Cause what? You thought we sucked?" Jill is a dental student. Kev: "I would go to Jill for my dentistry." He sang, "Oh, Jill..I've got a toothache. Oh, Jill, Jill, Jill, Jill -- OW!" Kev cracks me up.
Ain't Too Proud to Beg: It took a while for Scott to get Jill to dance, and she still wasn't really dancing when it go to Kevin's turn.
Geo sang "I Will Always Love You". He said that, "Being the bass of Rockapella, you have to be cool all the time. My job is to make the ladies' seats rumble." So we screamed. "So I walk around like this. This is called The Dip, y'all."
Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Carmen: JT backed into his little stage after his solo.
Up On The Roof/Wonderful World: Somebody's cell phone rang between the penultimate and last notes of the song. Scott said to Kevin, "Was that a cell phone?" before singing the last note. I wanted to throw that person's cell phone away. I mean, Hello, Dummy.
Meet and Greet
There was a picture of a carousel in the lobby. It's too bad that there wasn't a picture of a ferris wheel as well, so that I could show the guys the difference. I talked to Fred, and he asked why I was there. I told him that it's a state that starts with a "C", so I had to be there. Fred said that the guys were only a little bit late. The show started late because there was a problem with the electronic ticket readers at the door.
I couldn't tell which way the line was going, and neither did anyone else. I went to the table where L'Shir was selling their CDs, bought one for myself and complimented them. Yes, they love Glee and schedule their rehearsals around it. :) One woman was telling a L'Shir member that she should go on American Idol, and I told her to just audition for Glee.
I met Pamela, whom had driven in from Ohio. She was very nice, and we took pictures of each other with Rockapella. For some reason, she doesn't think I'm psycho. Perhaps she will after she reads this.
The guys were surprised and pleased to see me, even JT! I told them that I'd be in Boston tomorrow. I asked the guys if they could please sing CSEG for Kev's last show in CA, and especially asked Kevin. They all said yes, and Scott said, "Of course!" John wondered why they wouldn't be singing it anyway, and Scott informed him that it would be a holiday show. I told them that I had seen the Temptations, and they asked how it was. JT had seen the show, too, and said it was great. I told them that they don't do enough of the rolling-arms motion, and John said that it would be difficult while holding microphones. I told them all that I just met Pamela and that I like her. They said that Pamela is cool and they like her, too. I totally forgot to rub their bellies and kiss them, but maybe then Pamela would think I was psycho, so perhaps that was a good thing that it didn't happen. As IF I'd have the nerve to do that! :) They were already in picture-taking formation, so here we are.
JT's family was in town, and they were going to go to The Cheesecake Factory afterward. Scott said that he was too full to go. I said, "Full? Of what? Potato chips and Diet Mountain Dew?" He said yes. I told him that I wanted to shove a cake down his throat, but knew that it wouldn't go anywhere. He laughed. See his happy smile?
Sher & Scott ... and some guy
I told Scott that he missed the memo on the suit colors. He said that during the shows in the summer, John called him a snowman because he was wearing a white linen suit with a pink shirt, and all of the others were wearing black.
I told Kevin that I'm crying already, but I'm happy for him. I talked to him about his website, and the pictures of his straight hair. He said that it was actually a wig, but perhaps his hair would have looked like that because it was long. I pictured Kevin using a hair straightener for hours before each show.
Pamela and I chatted for a long time, and exchanged numbers so that we could keep in touch. We were mostly chatting for a long time because Pella was taking pictures in the lobby with L'Shir, and we couldn't leave. She's going to tomorrow's show, so I hoped that I would see her then.
Helen somehow got me home in the dark, but not without a little bit of yelling again. I swear, she hates me.
Rather than end this post with negativity, here is a happy moment for you to see.
Awww...Sher & Kev