Saturday, September 22, 2012

"I Hear There's Some Good Baseball Being Played In Here"

You are right about that, Bruce...not to mention the rock-and-roll tour de force that rumbled through Nationals Stadium here in DC last week.

We've been to a ridiculous number of Bruce shows over the years (decades), and it is amazing how the experience never loses its edge, never gets stale even one bit.  Last Friday night's concert was certainly no exception.

Let's start with the basics.  A thirty song set list.  A performance that went on for just over three-and-a-half hours.  Seats on the stadium floor not all that far from one of the risers that Bruce races out to during the course of the show.  (I say seats, but I for one was never sitting.)

Highlights included...

Prove It All Night with the 1978 guitar/piano intro.  I was too young to go see the Darkness on the Edge of Town tour, even though I was a fan at that young age.  And so, for me, as well as many other diehards, the extended intro to "Prove It All Night" was something I had only heard on radio broadcasts and seen on YouTube.  For Bruce to come right out and open with this piece of music was a pretty cool moment, as this was one of the very few times this piece of music has been played since the late 1970s.

Racing In the Street.  In keeping with the Darkness theme, there was a beautiful, intense musical extension of the song, with Roy Bittan doing some incredible work on the piano.  Every time you thought it would end, the band kept the music going for another series of measures.  It was just gorgeous, a relatively quiet moment in an evening of loud, raucous tunes.

Bruce and Jake during Spirit in the Night.  As depicted in the accompanying photo (which you can see, along with other photos of the show, by clicking here), Bruce and Jake ended up down front, sitting there together, with Bruce telling Clarence's nephew about how the events of this song all took place long before he was born.  It was great to see Jake cracking up, as well as to watch his role in the show get bigger and bigger.

Rushing the Stage.  When Bruce came over to the riser near us during "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," Julie made a rush toward that stage, getting right up to the edge for the rest of the song.  When the band broke into "American Land" next, I followed suit and went running up the aisle looking for Julie.  I made it all the way up to the very front stage, somehow missing Julie along the way.  Working my way back, I was dodging people dancing together in the aisles.  It was indeed a house party with all of the lights turned way up!  When I finally bumped into Julie, we danced for the rest of the song and then for "Twist and Shout," which was the night's closer.  An awesome end to what was just another evening out with Bruce and tens of thousands of our closest friends!

Prove It All Night ('78 intro)
My Love Will Not Let You Down
The Ties That Bind
Hungry Heart
We Take Care of Our Own
Wrecking Ball
Death to My Hometown
My City of Ruins
Sprit in the Night
Blinded By the Light
Jack of All Trades
Jackson Cage
She's the One
Johnny 99
Darlington County
Shackled and Drawn
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
The Promised Land
Racing in the Street
The Rising
Badlands
Land of Hope and Dreams
* * *
We Are Alive
Thunder Road
Born to Run
Detroit Medley
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
American Land
Twist and Shout


~Steve

Friday, September 21, 2012

Soda Pop

Congrats to Z for being cast as Soda Pop in Georgetown Prep's production of The Outsiders!

For those of you who may have seen the movie, this is the character who was played by Rob Lowe.  Based on what little I know about the character, as well as looking at how Rob Lowe was dressed, this should not really even count as acting.  Soda Pop has Z-man written all over him!

~Steve

A-Z Kids

Here's a weird one that really left us scratching our heads. I don't think it was a language barrier that led to the situation I am about to tell you about. Perhaps it was some kind of cultural difference we had no obvious way of anticipating. Anyways, you be the judge...

Desi had this great idea to meet up with friends who have small children at this place called A-Z Kids. The notion was quite simple...The four of us could see what a Chinese-style indoor kiddie play center looks like, and our friends would have an afternoon out. Win, win...right?

Well, first off, A-Z Kids is located way out in Shunyi, way out in the outskirts of Beijing where all of the expat villa complexes suddenly appear out of otherwise rural landscapes. It would take us some time and effort just getting there, especially because A-Z Kids is in a strip mall far beyond walking distance from the nearest metro station. No matter, we were able to take the subway as close as we could, and then get a driver to take us the rest of the way.

Now, as you might imagine, Desi did her homework before we left. This means that she had Z and I call the place up in advance to verify their precise location and operating hours.

So you can imagine Desi's surprise and anger when, upon getting out of the cab, we walked up to the door and were greeted with a sign announcing that A-Z Kids is...closed for summer vacation.

WHAT!!!???

OK, several questions are obviously begged here.

What was the phone number listed as the official A-Z Kids contact? Obviously, Z and I did not call a land line inside of the place, as it was all dark and shut tight. Was it an owner's/employee's cell phone?

Why did the person on the other end not tell us that A-Z Kids was closed for summer vacation? Sure, neither Z nor I asked this exact question, but wouldn't it strike you as obvious to alert potential customers, who are inquiring in real time about your hours of operation, that you are closed during this time of year?

Just when we think we've experienced it all...

~Steve