Friday, August 26, 2011

i think i'm playing in a band

it was starting to look like this post would never make it to the world, but being that today is the birthday of the man in the yellow tie who writes heterophonic tunes of how love bites, i'm taking some time to sit down and tell my tale.

tally hall was coming to provo on july 27th and, despite that being smack dab in the middle of the second to last week of our intensive summer course, i bought myself a concert ticket and a plane ticket.  yes, they were playing in dallas, austin, and houston, but seeing them without kristin would be utterly pointless.

a week or two before the concert date, they sent out an email announcing their dates nationwide and included a contest: if you signed up on some website you would in a drawing for that concert to get up on stage and play a song with them.  so heck yes, i signed up.  there was an option to post it to facebook so that my friends could vote to increase my chances, but i kind of have an aversion to signing up for things that will post to my facebook account (i'm never impressed when i see a "[friend] just used this new app" on someone else's page), so i figured my own entry effort was good enough and went back to lighting my summer project.

a few days before the concert i got an email with the subject line being something about the provo contest winner and figured they were letting us know who the lucky skunk was.
no.  it was just to me.
letting me know.
that i was the skunk.
i was going to be playing on stage with my favorite band.

i immediately forwarded the email to those few who would best appreciate the glory of this situation:

me: umm.......


Oh my gosh, I need explanations and pictures STAT. I mean, at your earliest convenience.

and so on.

i wondered if i'd be singing backup on "good day", or maybe i'd get to do the fast part on "ruler of everything" and was soon envisioning what color of tie i'd choose if they asked me to join the band until kristin brought me badk down to reality by noting that the contest said i'd be playing a theramin, pretty much the easiest instrument in the world to play: you don't even have to touch it, just get near it.

i wrote back my confirmation that i would be at the provo show and the lady told me that after one of the openers to go the merch table, where i'd meet bora and he'd tell me what to do.  she sent me a video link of an earlier performance (that i didn't watch), noting that the theramin would be working for me....
so if it was possible to be even more excited to go to utah that week, i was.

as is customary, kristin and i went out for chocolate before the concert.  our conversation topics were more lighthearted than usual and we got some good pictures, especially of her, then headed down to the velour.  in the awesomeness of the anticipation, we rocked out fully and thoroughly to some classic tally hall whilst parked by the curb, then went to meet up with brooke in the queue out front.

as they were finally opening the doors and letting us in, two of the members of the band (rob and andrew) were coming out and passed us in the entrance.  since kristin was their personal host and concert photographer at the elementary school concert the last time they were in provo (you know, the one that i initiated but didn't get to go to?  that one?  yeah), they know her and kindly pretended to remember me.  at any rate, we felt pretty cool.

being that we prove that the word "fan" came from "fanatic", we got there before the doors opened and stood at the front of the stage for the hour+ before the first opener started while members of our gang arrived.  it can be long and tiresome and particularly irking when a gaggle of high schoolers literally pushed through us so that they could wedge themselves at the very front of the stage.  i refused to budge as they brushed against me.  this is my show.

looks better on her
the first opener was a dude with a guitar, and while i'm not for the dude-with-a-guitar genre, this guy had a lot of energy and gave it his best, and i respect that.  he was also dressed nearly identically to kristin: shirt, jeans, even haircut.  but he was still a cool guy.

when the band you're there to see is usually an opening band for other bands that most people haven't heard of, you really can't have any expectations for their opening bands.  but the second band was actually pretty darn good.  called "speak", they were from austin, tx, and really knew what they were doing.  which was more impressive considering they all looked really young.  really.  one kid looked like a 15-year old harry potter and the lead singer... well, we all had reasons against him, although i'm sure he was a nice guy.
still, those kids could rock.  i bought their ep for $3.

at one point i snuck off to the merch table and met up with bora, who told me that the theramin was having problems but that it would hopefully be working soon.  he said that my song would be after "the sacred beast" (they were going to play "the sacred beast"?  awesome; that was the song i wanted to hear most from the new album), and that that would be right after "welcome to tally hall" (the main song i wanted to hear and rock to at this concert, so at this point, i'm good...)  he said to stand somewhere where he could see me, and either one of the band members would call me up or else he'd just nod at me or, well, just watch him and we'll figure out something.  if nothing else, just go up doing "the fall.", i'm supposed to just climb up on stage during the middle of a song, unannounced?
ok.... i guess it isn't like there's some security guard who's going to taze me.

the concert was awesome.  they came out (not in their customary white shirts and ties at first, and we kind of freaked).  they played.  we rocked.  and smiled.  and rocked some more.

after "sacred beast", zubin asked "is jeff here?", to which i giddily raised my hand and was invited up on stage for the next song.  everyone around me (and not just the people who knew me) cheered for me as i made my way through the crowd and hopped up on stage behind andrew and his keyboards.  he told me something about how he'd let me know when to go out and do my thing, but soon the song started and i wasn't sure what to do.

so i just stood there, grinning from ear to ear.
i was on stage with tally hall.

i remember being at the guster concert (where we first saw tally hall, lo those many years ago) and were talking with the guster members afterwards.  allison's friend steven said that they were his favorite band.  for me, my favorite bands were r.e.m. and they might be giants, and excepting that one time i high-fived john flansburg, they were all kind of out of reach.  so the idea of meeting your favorite band seemed unreal to me.
but at this moment, i was on stage, about to play with them.

joe.  rob.  me.  : D
at some point during "the fall", they gave me a nod, or maybe i just decided to walk out there, but i started playing.  they're rocking, it's loud, and the theramin looks not like the pictures i'd seen, but rather like a small black box with a radio antennae sticking straight out the top of it.  and with rob on my left and joe on my right, i couldn't hear if i was making any difference or not.
but if i couldn't, likely the audience wouldn't know, either.

so, i did my dang best.

when the song ended, rob complimented my playing, later adding that a lot of people are kind of timid with it, but that i boldly attacked it.
just doing my thing....

kristin's adding the final touches.
rob's in the zone.
after the concert our group hung around, taking pictures while kristin and i waited for the various throngs to die down so that we could get all five band members together for our traditional picture: at the first concert, she and i (and allison and her friend steven) took a picture with rob.  at the next concert, we brought a copy of the first picture (why did we do that, anyway?) and got rob plus zubin.  since then, we've added a band member each time and included all of the previous pictures.  being able to get all five guys together for one picture took some patience, although the waiting time did give us opportunities to talk with some of the less-crowded members like ross and andrew, who were very cool and actually asked us questions, rather just politely listening while we gushed about how great they were.  andrew was especially impressed that i flew up from texas just to see them.

we got the picture (although, in the interest of time and not wanting to stretch their kindness to the snapping point, it wasn't as posed as the previous shots have been) and even got a few cds autographed before we had to go.

on my way out, i bought myself a poster.
our fifth tally hall concert came to a close.
and the next day i was on my way back to texas and back to reality.
meanwhile may it join in going hmmm mmm hmmm mmmm...

"casting spells"


Em said...

way to dream big.....

Leith said...

I bow to your supreme coolness!

LJ said...

I just went blind in the blaze of your awesomeness.

No joking.

It's a long story.

Jack said...

that is seriously dang to the max. way to be a fanatic. and cool like a mule. by the way, i do legally own the Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum album. and still listen to it all the time.

The Former 786 said...

That is AWESOME! I had no idea you won the contest! Also, I've never heard of a theramin before. This bears more research. . .