Sunday, May 15, 2005

Well this is turning out to be a helluva weekend.

A very pleasant drive up to Philly on Friday. We met up with our friend, B-, just after 5:00. Happy hour at Woody's (think JRs), followed by another quick beer at some other bar/restaurant down the street. mmmm.....Flying Fish... Decided to have dinner in Chinatown, since that's where the Troc is. We stopped by to pick up my will-call ticket before dinner and I asked what time the show was. I assumed it would be about 10:00 at the earliest, being a Friday night. Nope. "The Dolls come on at 9:15." Crap. It's already after 8:30. We went to a restaurant down the street, but by 9:10 I still didn't have my food yet. I had to bail. I walked onto the Troc at exactly 9:15. Sure enough, I was there about 30 seconds before the lights went out. Whew. That was close.

Of course, The Dolls were terrific. The opening 1-2 punch of "Looking For A Kiss" and "Puss 'n' Boots" had the place jumping. They played everything you'd expect (with the exception of "Babylon", which I thought was an odd omission.) They even did "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory", dedicated to Johnny. It was a great show. I can only imagine what they were like back in the day. I'll take what I got though. The did not disappoint.

The Troc was a cool place. It's an old vaudeville theater, so the open floor is slightly sloped, giving better sightlines from the back. No drinking downstairs though, which was a bit odd. Normal for Philly, from what I'm told.

Walked down to The Khyber (smack in the middle of str8-land) to meet up with the very inebriated BF and B. Off to The Bike Stop before hitting a much needed late-night breakfast.

There was some sort of Bear event going on this weekend. As we were leaving Woody's earlier, there were literally 25 or so bears coming in. The distinctly non-bear crowd at Woody's were a bit beside themselves. I kid you not - someone yelled "Oh my God - They're coming in!" haha. Get over it Mary. Oddly, there were hardly any bears at The Bike Stop. Go figure.

Saturday, after being served coffee by the quintessential hot South-Philly Italian boy, we were on our way home. A picture-perfect drive. Not a cloud to be seen, sunny and warm, with very little traffic. In fact, the only minor traffic jam the whole way home was at 95/New Hampshire Ave. Welcome home.

A quick dinner and we're off to see Bruuuuuuuuce. Even though this was in a slightly shortened Patriot Center, they tried to make it as much like a theater show as possible. You HAD to be in your seat by showtime, because they were closing the entrances for the first 3 songs. After that, you could only enter the arena between songs. Before a note was even played Bruce, himself, requested that folks turn off their cellphones and not try to sing or clap along. Much to our amazement, this was probably the most respectful crowd I've ever seen. It was eerily quiet for the entire show. You could hear people on the other side of the arena when they coughed.

B- from Philly had told us not to expect anything even close to a hit song to be played. It was (supposedly) 100% new material. That had the BF a little concerned, but it didn't matter in the end. (Nor was B- completely accurate.) The show was simply fantastic. It was very similar to the VH1 Storytellers format, with Bruce introducing most of the songs and talking a bit about them. While Bruce can write rockers with the best of 'em, I never really paid much attention to how powerful some of his songs are. With acoustic guitar and the harmonica around his neck, the Dylan comparisons are too easy, but very deserved. (Quite possibly by design, considering the house music before the set was Dylan.)

I go to a lot of shows. Some suck. Some are really good. But there are a handful of moments you just know you're going to remember forever. Seeing Bruce sitting at a piano by himself singing "The River" is one of those moments. Damn. Absolutely stunning. Yeah, I think he played the entire new record. But there were a few older tracks thrown in as well. "The River", "I'm On Fire" (on banjo), "The Rising", and a fantastic "Promised Land". A good mix of old and new. I didn't hear a single complaint from anybody. The crowd ate it up.

I think he played for about 2:15. It pretty much flew by, except for the fact that we had to sit perfectly still for that time. These old bones need to stretch once in a while :-).

So that's the weekend so far. Today has been highlighted by a wasted trip to the Homo Depot, trying to get some doors we ordered back in December. First they cut them to the wrong size. Now they (supposedly) cut them correctly, but they can't find them. "They're here somewhere. We'll find them and give you a call." Gee thanks.

We're getting ready to head downtown for the night. I'm going to see The Cassettes/Two If By Sea. The BF is going to hang at the Eagle while I'm around the corner at the Warehouse. That's fine by me, as I'm looking forward to having a few hours to myself tonight.

Not a bad weekend at all - and it's not even over yet.

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