ELEVATION: The Tour Diary ("For my sanity and your entertainment," M.) - Page 2
The post-vacation numbers are in and somehow, mercifully, I lost ONLY two pounds during the Montreal trip!
Plus, the pictures are back and I'm pleased with the results! I won't have to banish myself to some podunk town to manage a Krispy Kreme after all!
Fellow Mattopians, Live from Times Square, in "easyEverything", the world's largest Cyber Cafe! (There are a few hundred computers in this place; they even shut it down to the public on Monday so Men In Black 2 could be filmed here!)
Ya know, on the subway ride into Matthattan this morning, the thought crossed my mind: I NEED to be a millionaire. It's progressed from "want" to a full-blown "need"... And I know JDE won't get me there (my overindulgence in JDE stock is a lesson learned!); my freelance stuff is a step in the right direction, but I need MORE... SO, I need to get to work on my screenplay. Surely that'll be my ticket to fortune and glory!! Perhaps after Dublin...
As for New York, Bono hits it right on the nose with these observations from All That You Can't Leave Behind (uhhh, they're paraphrased here, and no, I won't hum along for you to get the tune): Freedom looks like too many choices. In the summer, it's gets so hot, you can't walk around the block without a change of clothing. In New York you can forget how to sit still. You say to yourself you'll stay in, but it's down to Alphaville!
Yeah. It's been quite the trip already! Arrived Friday afternoon in LaGuardia and the first thing I see: Bono on the cover of USA Today, headline: Rockin' the Debt, referring to his Jubilee 2000/Third World Debt Reliefefforts! Then I did my quasi-traditional stop at the Rock America store (next door to the Late Show) and got yet another Yankees cap and a photo with Mujibur, who wasn't as chatty as he's been in the past (although he did comment on all my "luggage" and wondered why I was lugging it around).
Then, it was off to Shea Stadium for the Subway Series. There's nothing like baseball in New York. The fans are so into the competition, they constantly deride each other and the opposing team. There was even one character up a few rows from us acting like Rocky Balboa - complete with boxing gloves and - trying - to float like a butterfly. Even the NYPD was laughing at the guy. The whole atmosphere makes it exciting to watch baseball again, which is hard to do at the TOO friendly confines of Coors Field.
Happily, the Yanks won 5-4 over the Mets! WOO-HOO! Of course, the NY papers are filled with headlines about Joe Torre's future with the team being in doubt. On the rampway out, half the fans were shouting out "LET'S GO YANKEES!" (clap clap clap) and then the other half would immediately respond, "YANKEES SUCK!" Ahhh... baseball in New York!
Then there was Cabaret on Broadway. In hopes of catching Gina Gershon in her final weekend as Sally Bowles, I bought a nosebleed ticket. Alas, her understudy performed. But, it was still good to see - again, at the historic Studio 54. Matt McGrath did a good job as the MC, but he's no Alan Cumming. The smaller roles were all filled by a very talented cast.
Also caught The Rocky Horror Show on Broadway - a $20 rush seat put me in the second row! This is the ONLY Broadway show I've ever been to with a sign at the entrance that reads: "Participate! Don't Aggravate! NO WATER PISTOLS!" You could even buy "participation bags" for $10, which gets you a baggie of confetti, a swatch of toilet paper, and a stylish pink boa. It was a hoot, and worth the $20 (but not the $85 full price!). It was fun to see Ana Gasteyer of Saturday Night Live singing and dancing; she did a good job as Columbia. It's even funnier when you consider the roles she's played on SNL, like Jonette in the pop duo Gemini's Twin. Daphne Rubin-Vega was another "big" name; she was in the original Rent cast and in the movie Wild Things, but her voice kinda bugged me. The actors came into the crowd (one even bumped me off the arm rest as planted his foot there!) and they did a great job of encouraging participation; there were several people in the crowd that had seen the show many times. You could tell the actors almost relied on those fans' interaction to keep things interesting and somewhat improvisational. And Dick Cavett was actually funny as the narrator; he even flips the bird at one point. Nice to see the guy finally let his hair down a bit.
And, of course, there was one AWESOME performance from my band at Madison Square Garden. It was fantastic! And, thanks to a snafu in the retarded seating plan MSG was trying to pull off, I wound up on the floor!
Plus, Conan O'Brien was highly entertaining this afternoon; I haven't watched his show much, but I now have new respect for the guy having seen him live. Martin Short (aka Jiminy Glick, the world's worst talk show host) was effervescent, as he always is on this kind of show. Michael Rapaport (the voice of Joey the Raccoon in Dr. Dolittle 2) made the most of a joke about method acting, lizards, and raccoons. Finally, the singing geezer from The Sopranos sang us a song off his new CD; he was actually really good! We even had the good fortune of having Conan's mom in the audience. He was more entertaining in his warm-up stint and more audience-friendly than Dave Letterman has been in past visits; Conan danced up the aisle we were sitting by, plucking a couple people out to dance - including a younger male fan who was a little overly-excited by the prospect of hugging Conan, one of his idols. As "punishment," Conan had him also dance with - and hug - the guy sitting in front of him... It was funny stuff.
Shoot... I feel like a Pop Culture junkie! (A pop tart?!)
Anyway, I'm really kind of pooped! Blame it partly on the heat, partly on being up and around the city all day. At least when I was living out here I had the weekdays to recuperate... while working. This 10-day assault on the senses can wear a guy out!
Well, there's another U2 show on Thursday, in New Jersey... But with the photo pass, that means I'll have to pick up the camera tomorrow and determine whether to get a hotel close by the arena or rent a car... All those logistics!
Boy. Having this much fun can be a lot of work!
Gotta blaze. My time is running out (on the computer, that is...) and I need to make the trek back to the Bronx...
It's toasty outside, so I'm taking a quick break from the heat to fill you guys in on the latest developments. Keep in mind, I've been sipping my mandatory cup of java while walking the streets of NY, so I'm a little wired right now!
OK... So, I just got off the phone (how did I live without my cell phone just a few months ago?) with a woman in Maryland. She's just bought two General Admission tix to Friday night's U2 concert in beeoootiful NJ on e-Bay. She paid $500 for the pair (uh, face value is $45 each). The guy wanted $800 until she bitched him out and threatened to report him to the e-Bay police. As fate would have it, I happened to have a spare for Thursday night (reserved seat, $135 face) posted on the Web.
Pooling resources, she's trading me a GA on Friday for my Thursday spare... Now, I'm no accountant, but I think I came out ahead in this deal! It's U2's final stop in the US on this tour (at least for now; rumors say they'll be back in the fall!) and it's gonna be speshul! Hopefully it'll all pan out smoothly; I'm far from being a trusting person, but it's a chance I'll take. These are incredibly hot tickets. The line of people waiting for cancellations to the New York shows was phenomenally massive. Absolutely incredible - several people deep and winding around the corner! There had to be a couple hundred people waiting for tickets that probably won't materialize!
Anyway, last night I was a little daunted by the logistics of getting to NJ with yet another rental camera, but things have fallen into place amazingly well this morning. A friend I made during the Montreal stop is letting me stay at her place in Hoboken, just a hop from the arena. (This whole tour thing has created a kind of family helping each other out - "ONE life, with each other, sisters... brothers..."). We'll taxi it to the show bright and early in the morning to get prime floor space. (Yes, I'll be spending Thurs and Fri on line all day, but the payoff is HUGE!) So, the car rental and hotel things have resolved themselves! Phew...
Yes, it's another U2-centric trip, but this is going to be incredible! And now, for something totally different: Anybody want to go to Jamaica in 2002? I'm thinking of creating my own "Relaxation Tour 2002" to recuperate from the madness of U2's Elevation Tour 2001! Beaches and water and rest sound sooooo inviting right now! I'll be in "radio silence" mode the next couple days, so y'all be careful out there!