We ventured toward the Tampa Theatre and parked the car, then walked over to Spain, a restaurant that served tapas. I happily ordered a red wine Sangria (my favorite drink on my trip to Madrid), and we ordered different dishes to try. We looked at another table that ordered their own dishes instead of sharing their food, and felt all hoity-toity because we actually knew what we were doing. The food was wonderful, but the drink needed more fruit. I mean, hello--it's SANGRIA! I didn't complain, though, because I was too busy admiring the face of our server, Juan Carlos. Items we ordered included Paella, Champinones Extravaganza, Empanadillas de Carne, Filete de Res, and Pollo Villaroy, and we ordered Chocolate con Churros for dessert. Yes, that would be churros with chocolate dipping sauce. Everything was delicious. Thanks for treating us to the lovely dinner, Jenn!
Rockapella, minus Scott, walked onto the stage, and Kevin announced that Scott had an accident. He said that this is his last show, and I started to cry. Kevin said that Rockapella is here for us, and asked us to keep Scott in his prayers. They left the stage so that the opening acts could perform.
The first act was All Night Yahtzee, an a cappella group from Florida State University. They sang a lot of different Christmas songs, probably more than they had originally planned due to the need to stretch the show. They did a good job, and I especially liked the male lead on "Lay Your Head Down". They also did "Somebody to Love", and I really liked the chord right before they start the chant.
Kevin then announced that there was now water pressure in the building. He also introduced the Xtreme Team from The Wright Step School of Dance (his wife Amy's dance studio). He asked the stage hand his name as he arranged the set. (His name is Rick). The dancers did a routine dressed as Hillbilly girls, then one dressed as Motorcycle Riders, with their ponytails all up in their helmets for the 1st part, then taking off their helmets and flipping their hair around. Cute!
Kevin, APPARENTLY, was the M.C. of the evening. He then introduced the Plant High School Drumline, which included snare drummer Jesse Leonard, himself. Yay, Scott's son! I was in heaven: Rockapella and a drumline in the same building? Oh, YEAH!!! It was way loud, as they drummed up the aisles and kept playing in the aisles, then went up to the stage. Jesse is so unmistakably Scott's son: very thin, very flexible, hair waving around like The Blond One's himself, and he was even wearing stripes! I mean, he was Scott through and through, except for, maybe, his nose. He had the smile and the stage presence and everything. And the drumline was pretty darn good, too. I laughed as Ross ran around assisting with stuff. For the Bro, some stats: they use Vic Firth Sticks, Evans Bass drums, Zildjian cymbals, and Yamaha Snares & Tenors. The line itself had 3 snares, 2 quads, 4 basses, and 3 cymbal players.
Kevin appeared back on stage after the drumline was done, and said, "I saw them coming down the aisle, and the look on some of your faces was priceless. That was loud! WOW!" Kevin was really excited, and I thought for a moment that he had lost his mind. We had an intermission at that point. Donna ran away sometime during the 1st half, so I left my seat and sat with Wendy & Karla. She did come back later, sometime during Pella's encores, though. Somehow we got into a conversation about fondue, and decided that we need to go to The Melting Pot in Rancho Cucamonga.
Finally, Rockapella sans Scott took the stage, starting with I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. I immediately missed Scott's voice. Kevin now had to do all of the talking and introductions.
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
John tried Scott's whistle, but you know it just wasn't the same. Thanks for trying it, though, JKB.
John said, "Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa. I don't know anymore."
They rolled up their individual voice parts, and John called Jeff's throat mics the stuff that gives him "the boom boom sound." He then said about Geo: "what our brother Scotty likes to call 'Smoothness Personified'....then we're the Cheetah Girls."
John asked if anyone in the audience was celebrating Kwanzaa. "Hey! One in the back. Finally."
The Dreidel Song
I like watching Kevin imitate Geo.
Kevin was holding notes for the Afrikana terms used at Kwanzaa.
I soooo love Geo's entrance for that song. Wendy likes to say, "How bout-y Scotty, what's the news?" There was a LOT of George in that one, and I liked it.
Kevin realized that he needed to sing out of the side of his mouth during the old school intro. No counterpoint from Scott during John's dance made me sad. There was only an "ooh" during Scott's "illuminating". That made me sad, too.
Kevin had to get a little water, so he told us so in a Cockney accent. "Just a little water, sir." I think that he was Oliver at that point. He said, "Every year is different because traveling during the holiday is...special...flight patterns, turbulence that would curl your hair....I have a lot of stories stuck in my head...I didn't know what the holidays were about until I had children. It makes me feel like an old person, really." He told us that his wife is expecting a baby. "This is really...something. My other kids are 9 and 11." (laughter) "You get it! I'm leaving Rockapella after 13 years, with my wife having another addition. I will really miss seeing people because they are like friends and family." He talked about his days living in New York. "Some years, I would jump in my little Fiero. I would be parked in Manhattan, and if the window wasn't broken, I'd feel lucky. I'd drive for 24 hours to get home."
Love and the Lights
I was crying during this song, thinking that this was probably the last time we'd hear it sung live, since Kevin wrote it. I was especially crying during what should have been "turning from white to green", which is what Scott sings, mostly because it would be the last time, partly because Scott was missing. Karla and I sang it together anyway, because it's our favorite part of he song.
Kevin said, "John likes to brag that he's done shopping before Hallowe'en." Jeff said, "Dollar Store." John then told the story about lady at Wal-Mart. Kevin said, "That's a mean joke, because you had me at 'hello'." John said that his director told him that story, a fact which he had told me at the Malibu Meet and Greet. He then dedicated the next song to his wife, whom was present in the audience.
Merry Christmas, Darling
I was missing the high tenor during this song. John was jamming there at the end, which was cool. He then threw a kiss at his wife.
Christmas, Don't Be Late
John was the one to do the roll call, and said about the last person, "He does this every night. KEVIN!!!!" John just couldn't bring himself to ask for an Olsen twin. He tried, but couldn't finish the request. Jeff said during a pause in his drum solo: "I see red camera lights that match the lights on my jacket. I challenge any fan to get a good picture of this jacket." The challenge was taken by many a photographer in the audience. Wendy said that Jeff looks like a rabbi with the jacket. When the guys came back, John was able to make a request from Santa: "Lady Gaga on DVD", and shook his hips.
Santa Claus is Comin' To Town
Kevin asked energetic people to raise their hand. Thacher raised his. Kevin said to some kid, "Do you want to go up on stage with me? No?" Finally, Kevin chose a kid named Jackson, a 6 year-old from Tampa, who was in the 1st grade. Kevin said, "It's kind of surreal, you're on stage." He introduced him to the guys, and got to George. "That's Big G Man. He's OK, he's OK." Jackson wants a bike for Christmas. Kevin asked, "What kind of bike?" Jackson said, "I don't know." Kevin: "One with 2 wheels? Anything with 2 wheels. Do you want anything smaller? Like, say, a CD with maybe 5 -- or 4 - guys tonight -- singing?" This kid knew the song. Kev picked a winner for his last show. Jeff said that he heard Jackson's mom shout, "SING!"
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
I miss the echo of "troubles will be out of sight." Scott's lead vocal was missing for his line as the other guys just "ooh"ed. HIs spirit was here, though. And there was Sherry, crying again.
George said, "When we go around the country, we meet a lot of really, really great people." I said, "Thank you!" George asked the audience to sing a song with him. "Let's see...the last show, we sang Handel's 'Messiah'." (laughter) "Let's sing 'Silent Night'. Once again, I will be singing the part of Whitney Houston." George sang soprano, but then sang in his very low bass register "Sleep in heavenly peace." He said afterward, "Some of us have good reason for different moments in their performance, and yes I am one of them. A voice teacher once told me, 'George, when you sing high you need to squeeze your butt cheeks together.' So I am sure you know when I released."
George said, "Please put some extra sugar in my milk. They say I'm not nice. I think I'm very, very cool."
The dancers from The Wright Step performed during the song, dressed as little Cindy Lou Whos. Way cute.
John said to Kevin, "It's been a pleasure, we learned so much, and appreciate you so much."
Kevin: "This is not a time for tears. I want to express my gratitude for each of you. I wish Rockapella nothing but success, and hope that it goes on forever and ever. I wish Scott would have been a part of it tonight.
Jeff: "He is, inside."
...and Sherry is bawling again.
George did his spiel, then said, "Wait. George needs to blow the key." (giggle)..."MANHATTAN!" It was weird to see that without Scott, because nobody was at Kevin's back. During the break, John asked Kevin what was wrong. Kevin said, "I....I need some turkey." Was Kevin hungry?
Love Potion No. 9
Wow. All right, with the old school!!!!
Kevin's daughters presented flowers and a frame to him. Adorable.
A Change in My Life
I was absolutely crying during this entire song, as I held hands with Karla and Wendy. Kevin's signature song, and we were hearing him sing it for the last time. Although Sean Altman wrote this one and he was the original lead, I will always think of Kevin when I hear this song. His angelic voice is just a wonder to behold. I cried so much that I couldn't see through my tears...and, yes, I'm tearing up as I type this.
Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego?
I like that little Billie Jean interlude.
Then it was over. I tried to gather my thoughts and finish wiping the tears off of my face. After Rockapella took pictures with The Wright Step gals, the meet and greet was scattered about. I couldn't get over to Jesse to congratulate him on his performance and wish his dad well.
I asked John if I could meet his son, Devon, and people kept stopping him on his way to me. He was really sweet, though, and still tried to get over to us anyway. Devon is 4 years old now (wow, how time passes!), and doesn't know what he wants for Christmas. Jeff was done at his table for awhile before anyone came to see him, because they were all mobbing Kevin.
Kevin signed my the mat for my photo frame, as well as my copy of the book that I had given him at the Malibu show. I told him that I was bawling during Change and that we were holding hands with each other. He said that he was really trying not to think about it because he knew that he would lose it and not be able to sing. I told him that I was glad that it wasn't him that fell off of the roof. He said, "I know, it would have been a DISASTER!" Karla gave Kevin the miniature that she made for him. He said, "I get one of these?!" and was very appreciative.
I met Kevin's wife, Amy. Their baby is due on June 7th. Kevin told us to watch his website for stuff upcoming with instruments. "I hope that's OK with you guys...it's acoustic, so it'll be OK." I asked if it would contain him playing the guitar, and he said yes. I told him that if he comes out to California, he should visit with us, and Wendy said that I throw great parties with good food. Thanks, Wendy! He said that he would and that we'd stay in touch.
We got pictures of Geo in his white & red suit. When asked how Scott was doing, Geo said, "He's OK, he knows that Obama is President now," citing a typical test of current events when someone has had a head injury. He was going to introduce us to his daughter, but she had already left before we were able to talk to him.
I saw Steve, the newest Rockapella member, but wasn't introduced to him, and I wasn't ready to go meet him myself. Jeff asked if I had met him, but I told him that I felt weird going up to meet him. Jeff was, like, "WHAT?!" Later on, he asked if he had hugged me goodbye, and when I said "no", he said that I should have told him because he almost left without giving me one. He did that to someone else, too.
Karla talked to Fred about iPod apps. I told Fred that he was done for the year, and he said that he just wanted to get home and rest from all of the traveling.
Wendy and I dropped Jenn off at the hotel, as she was feeling an illness coming down. I went into the restroom to brush my teeth, and saw that I had streaks of mascara on my cheeks from all of the crying. So I cleaned that up, and Wendy and I went to a lovely private party, where we happened to sit at the best table. :) We found out that, when Wendy and I were waving at the hospital, we were actually waving at the hospital where Scott was staying. I hope he felt our get well wishes while he was there.
We went back to the hotel, and I didn't have much time before Karla and Stacey were going to pick me up for our early morning flight, but I was able to take a nap for about an hour. I kind of slept for most of the flight, which was full. I waited for the seatbelt sign to turn off before going to the restroom, but then I got up, and the flight attendant asked us to remain in our seats for the second drink service. That irritated me. It had been a bit of a turbulent flight, so we rarely had a chance to get up, and those drink carts have GOT to go. If Southwest can do it, why can't the other airlines? Those things are ridiculous.
When I arrived back at LAX, I went straight to work and worked for a few hours before going home to collapse and was late to my rehearsal for Midnight Mass because I didn't know the correct time to be there. I don't know how I still had the energy to go to dinner before going back home, but it must have been the adrenaline from all of the excitement.
I'll miss you, Kevin. We are on to a new era of Rockapella, and I'll probably be excited by the time I see Steve in April. For now, though, I'm still a bit sad. Kevin is a really fun story teller, and his voice is gorgeous. I remember when he first joined, and I had to make my ears adjust quite a bit to get used to him being not-Sean. He made the part his own, though, and many of their songs won't seem right without him singing them. I wish we could have had a CD with him singing lead on California Sad-Eyed Girl. I also wish we could have had a CD with both him and John for every song. They really missed the mark for me on that one, so I guess I'll just have to rely on non-sanctioned downloads. Sorry, guys. I wish Kevin the best for his future with his family (Kevin has just announced that the new baby is a boy!), and I look forward to whatever else is in store from Mr. Wright, as well as from the new incarnation of Rockapella.
Keep On Smilin', Kevin. Love ya!