Friday, August 27, 2010

Doobie Brother's Concert LAST NIGHT (back stage tickets!)

Me, awesome Patrick Simmons & my husband Doug
Went to Marymoor Park for a Doobie Brother's Concert last night. I was really in a great mood and ready for a most awesome night but getting there proved a bit disconcerting (I'm only gonna touch on the negative experience here before I talk about the concert because it's rather entertaining). Driving that far north on I-405 during rush hour traffic was like going back into a previous lifetime where I feel certain I was once a warrior on horseback. 

CASE IN POINT: I've got half-a-car's length available between me and the vehicle in front and suddenly a pickup, pulling a flatbed trailer, careens into my path. I slam on my breaks to avoid hitting him only to realize he's not drunk. He's just a typical Washington freeway driver attempting to merge. That's when I start to think: "Oh-h-h. You're going DOWN brother!" But then I remember I'm going to a DOOBIE BROTHER'S CONCERT and I mentally hit: "ERASE." I mean WHO HAS TIME FOR ROAD RAGE WHEN YOU'RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE ON YOUR WAY TO THE DOOBIES???

(Doobie Bros. Tom Johnston's daughter)
Laura Johnston & her band launch
this concert with a most lively opening
Needless to say, after four or five such "near collision" incidents like that, I make it to my husband's place of work. What's interesting about my relationship with Doug is we don't really talk to one another like normal people communicate; not anymore. We've been together for too long now and our conversations go something like this. 

"Hey Doug, you know -- now that we're here at Marymoor Park -- and I just stood in line for the bathroom after Laura Johnston (pictured right) and her band finished playing the opening music for the Doobies ..." He says: "Yeah." So I say, well, that short woman who was sitting in front of us with the really cool hippie shirt on? She stood in line with me. We got to talking and she lives in Snoqualmie - not far away - and she also loves to garden so we were talking about strange mushrooms that keep showing up in her yard."

Doug goes: "She's a doctor?"

I say: "What? Where'd you get that? I didn't say 'doctor' I said she lives up in Snoqualmie."

He goes: "You said doctor." (Typical Doug.) 

So the concert finally begins and the Doobies are expectedly AWESOME.
I mean their music is like a most soothing drug and suddenly all that rush hour traffic and my husband talking to me like he just climbed out of a spaceship is all forgotten and we are dancing and clapping and swaying to the music. 

Doug just happened to score the absolutely most awesome D-row tickets and we've got a perfect view of the stage where I can see the whites in every band member's eyes. The energy radiating from that band is just electric. Suddenly, while I'm dancing along with the rest of folks at the concert who are also standing and waiving their arms in the air my husband sits down. So I stop dancing to ask him: "What's wrong? You feeling okay?"

Kid you not, Doug says: "That guy behind me just asked me to sit down. He can't see the stage."

Suddenly that road warrior I told you about lurches out from deep inside of me and I wanna explode (but I'm keeping most of it bottled inside). "What? Are you kidding me?" I'm thinking: this is a DOOBIE BROTHERS CONCERT. We're all supposed to be dancing and having fun! This isn't some dude's own personal Sunday School classroom! So I say: "STAND UP Doug! Everybody else is dancing. Don't let anyone ruin this night." (Secretively I hoped that nasty control-freak of a man would get up off his rusty old ass and start to enjoy the concert too.)

Not even RAIN can spoil a Doobie Brother's Concert!
So it starts to rain ... pretty hard. I sit under my leather jacket for a while but then decide THIS IS JUST NOT HAPPENING and I get up to start dancing again. I realize, with the awesome music, and all that concert energy, not even liquid sunshine can dampen the fun.

BACKING UP JUST A BIT: When we first arrived at the concert, we were really early and all the rows with plastic seats were barren. So after sitting down I pulled out my new Droid phone. I wanted to figure out how to operate the thing. It's rather complex as far as phones go because it's more like "your lifestyle in a compact mirror" sort of gadget.

So I'm pushing buttons and two people who are going to sit beside us arrive. The radio station is broadcasting rock 'n roll from the tent far behind us and I acknowledge the new arrivals with a smile and a nod. The man (who sits immediately on my left) ignores me and starts talking to someone else so I wait, politely, to greet him and then say:. "I heard you say this is your first time here. Did you mean to a Doobie Brother's concert? Or to this park?"

The dude totally turns away from me; big snub. It's like he thinks I'm some homeless person holding up a cardboard sign that says: "Hand over your wallet or I'll flick a maggot on ya" or something terrible like that. Problem is, I really hate getting brushed off. In the past, I'd try very hard to get such a person to 'like me' by being ridiculously nice, "Can I get you a $7 per dixie cup of beer . . . or something?" 

This time I decide I'm not going to grovel for his friendship. This is a CONCERT for crying out loud. People are SUPPOSED to be having fun and acting friendly. I'm not going to let this midget of a man bother me at all.

So after Laura Johnston completes her very animated bit (she looks so petite but she has a big fat and POWERFUL mature-sounding voice). So before I talk to the hippie woman in line at the bathroom, I practically lean into this snobbish dude's lap, get right into his face and say: "Isn't Laura Johnston wonderful? She's so full of energy. I mean there's just so much volume coming out of that really small head and body." I bat my eyelashes a few times to make sure he knows I'm not doing something deviant, like hypnotizing him with all my magical charisma.

The Doobie Brothers: Dynamic Quartet
He had no other choice. He HAD to acknowledge me: "Yeah. He says finally, leaning back. She was great!" Satisfied, I didn't speak to him for the rest of the concert. Oh - okay. So I actually DID speak to him (because he was really friendly after that and I was there to have a good time) but I just thought it would sound funnier if I said I didn't speak to him.

As usual (Doug has lavished me with Doobie Brother tickets year after year) this concert was TO DIE FOR. 

Kid you not, most of the people with back stage passes were told to "stand along the fence." It was such a gruff and authoritative command, I started wondering if they were going to make us undergo a strip search or something. I mean, I've never been back stage before. So I start talking to others who are standing along the fence alongside Doug and me to see what's happening. Turns out, most of them personally knew someone in the band and that's how they scored their back stage tickets. My husband, on the other hand, has been trying to get back stage for YEARS.

So we wait what seemed like a ridiculously long time (because the band members were "eating"). Then we were led through a muddy and uneven grass field (which meant I was four-wheeling in my 4-inch heels) to wait some more on the porch at some house that's in the park. FINALLY - a few band members came out.

Doug and the most awesome Patrick
I have to say that singer, guitarist and songwriter Patrick Simmons was the most comfortable about meeting his fans. He's just so very mellow and very fun to talk to. He grew up in Aberdeen and told us that really small coastal town actually has a tree with a little plaque in his honor and a metal likeness of him. It was really cute hearing him tell the story. Evidently Kurt Cobain was also from Aberdeen so the town has a tree designated to Kurt as well. We laughed about how "weird" that was (sort of awkward being one of two musicians and the other one is, very sadly, dead).

We spoke to Pat about how the Internet has changed the music industry. I started saying I was thankful for YouTube because it took some of the corporate politics out of what kind of exposure an artist can get. Then I quickly apologized because I didn't mean to make the conversation turn political and Patrick said he tended to be anarchist as well (he totally agreed; which made me feel better).

It was US (and not Patrick) who finally ended the very flowing conversation. Doug and I both feel we'd still be talking to Patrick on that porch if we hadn't decided to leave. When we all departed, only Doug, Patrick and one other couple were still standing around together; the other couple left with us. 

Patrick signed the Doobie Brothers shirts that Doug and I were wearing (ones we purchased from the concert we attended last year). I'm so grateful for that lasting memento of an awesomely magical night.

Guitarist/singer John Mcfee was the first band member at the house to greet us and he proved so incredibly friendly. We talked to him for quite a while on the porch before Patrick came out. John was very cordial, gracious and down to earth. I felt (while talking to him) that spending time with complete strangers, albeit adoring ones, must be stressful for all band members and I really felt so grateful for his efforts (to be so cordial).

Tom Johnson made the briefest appearance
back stage after the concert.
Tom Johnston made a super fast appearance but seemed in a very big hurry to leave. He didn't really say hello to hardly anybody besides Pat. He was such an animated performer on stage and really made the concert experience very fun. I can see where his daughter gets her talent.

John Cowan, stepping in as Bass Guitarist for The
Doobies while Skylark makes his recovery.
Temporary bass guitarist John Cowan performed awesomely with the Doobie Brothers. This man has such a marvelous voice; it's one that you can really swoon too. He also plays bass guitar with extraordinary talent. He was the first band member to meet us because he intercepted the group in the parking lot where we waited. It wasn't until we talked to Pat, later on, that we learned that the usual bass guitarist, Skylark, had suffered a stroke and cannot perform at present. 

Patrick said he's hoping Skylark will be back on stage soon. (No telling how long such a recovery will take). I really respected the way Patrick seemed to mourn Skylark's absence. He said Skylark is practicing and working hard to get back on stage -- and he really praised John Cowan's capabilities as the stand in.

~ Tami

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