Anyone who knows me also knows I don’t watch much of any TV, no less a women’s daytime talk-show that focuses on such things as celebrity rumors and drama, reality shows and like. So what on earth was I doing yesterday sitting in the studio audience, as a VIP guest, no less, at a live taping of ‘The View’?
Well, here’s the very simple, very awesome answer.
For anyone who reads my blog or Last Exit In New Jersey, you know I and Hazel Moran are both fans of Shooter Jennings, and my only disappointment after his fantastic show on March 5th was that I had forgotten to get a picture with him. But the other day, through his Facebook page Shooter announced he’d appearing on The View, and to my delight I scored the two tickets to watch him perform, then meet him after the show. And this time, I have a picture to show for it! But the day was far from over, because Shooter put us on the guest list to watch him perform a show at the Gramercy Theatre that evening!
Needless to say, yesterday was a long, fun day, one that started well before dawn and didn’t wrap up until nearly midnight. We headed into the city early to drop my husband’s truck off at his job, then headed across to Manhattan just as the city was waking. That’s one of my favorite times of day. The subways aren’t crowded yet, and Central Park is alive with daybreak joggers, bikes, and countless dogs of every shape and size out for their morning play.
The station’s walls are covered in a mosaic depicting the Manhattan skyline, but as I fished out my camera, our subway was pulling in.
In another hour, this station would be solid with people heading to work. At this point I was informed I looked like a tourist, taking pictures like this. Yes, these sights are nothing new to me, but I realize with the thousands who visit my blog, these images aren’t what the media shows of New York City.
It’s playtime at the park!
We reached the studio well before we were due, but there was already a line of people waiting to see the show, (a line we didn’t have to wait in,) and by the looks of it some of them had been there for hours. With more time to kill, we found a little diner and grabbed some breakfast. In Manhattan real estate is at a premium and old building squeeze on top of one another. Stores and restaurants must make the most of every square inch. As a result, access to restrooms can often be, shall we say, *interesting.* In this particular diner, I was warned the steps were ‘a bit steep’, and I’d have to duck at the bottom.
With a hearty breakfast out of the way, we returned to the studio, to the front of the line, where we were escorted in to the adventure of live TV. It involves long stretches of waiting, broken by moments of being shuffled (herded?) by loud and perky interns, from one room to another. At one point Shooter and company passed by in a hall as we waited, and four of us, (myself, husband and a very nice couple from central Jersey who won tickets from a radio station,) took notice. The rest of the audience members, all discussing their favorite hostesses, asked, “Who was that?” The four of us explained, including that his father was Waylon Jennings, which rang a bell with a few of them. On his return pass, they all joined in on enthusiastically shouting out to him. Then finally we moved into the studio itself.
I’ll admit, I never understood why those studio audiences would be clapping madly, smiling like they’d all won the lottery even as the show just begins. But now I know. The studio had a stand-up comedian working the audience well before taping began, warming everyone up, and let me tell you, he was good. Very good. In his ‘routine’ he explains how things operate, working it for every laugh. Once the show began, the moment they’d cut to commercials and the stage crew scrambled through set changes he was right back at it, so as the cameras kicked on again and we were all clapping away, much of it was his doing. As I expected, the one part of the show we’d been waiting for was in the last minutes, and he performed “The Deed and the Dollar.” The show ended and the audience was instructed to remain in their seats — except for us. We were pulled to the side and escorted down the hall and into the elevator with Shooter and his people, headed to the ‘Green Room.’(Anyone know why they call it that?)
Not to go fan-girl, but once again, but how cool is it to hang out with a performer you’ve admired for years, for the second time in just over a month, no less?! I nearly forgot all about my camera yet again, but my husband reminded me and took a quick picture. We talked about his latest album, Family Man, which I’m loving, and his upcoming release this fall, about my book sales, (fantastic — I’ve been hanging out on the high end of Amazon’s best sellers list for a nice stretch and selling an incredible amount of books!) and I really had a great time. Shooter mentioned he was playing that evening across town along with Cody Canada (formerly of Cross Canadian Ragweed, another of my favorites,) somehow we’d missed that memo — but he said he’d have tickets waiting for us at the door!
Round 2 – The Gramercy Theatre!
After work my husband and I met up over on 23rd Street, but again we were early, so we decided to grab some dinner. I could have really gone for another round of Hill Country’s amazing barbeque, but that wasn’t an option. But we spotted something that raised our curiosity. I ask you, where else besides Manhattan can you find a Peruvian/Brazilian Sushi restaurant? (Apparently, according to their web site, in New York, Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas, and London.) SushiSamba — unique, and excellent!
Then it was back to the Gramercy, where I gave my name but they couldn’t locate the tickets. Turns out we were “on the guest list.” And in we went!
The Gramercy is one of those old theaters where most of the seats, save the balcony seating, have been removed, leaving an open floor in front of the stage. My kind of place to see a band. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’d seen any performance where the audience was confined to assigned seats. Cody Canada and the Departed led off the evening, and I was surprised to see such a small turnout for such a powerful group of performers. I’ve been to a number of Cody’s performances with Cross Canadian, and he always rocks the house… only this time there wasn’t much house to rock. The performance was great, but the audience seemed disappointingly sparse. Where was everyone? This is also around the same time I began to realize what I’d been suspecting recently; my old digital camera was having issues with low-light photos. I did manage to get three semi-decent shots in before it quit completely.
Then Shooter came on, and from my low vantage point down in front of the stage it looked as though the place was really starting to fill up, and once he started rocking it sounded that way as well. And once again, he put on an exceptional show, and he treated us all to everything from some of his older songs to his latest and even some upcoming ones, (I can’t wait for the new album, which promises to be just as good as his latest, if that’s at all possible,) as well as performing his father’s music in a way that is both haunting and amazing. Shooter’s band, all New Yorkers (yay!) are exceptional — at times I was mesmerized by the blurring hands on the keyboard, or fascinated by the intricacies of the steel guitar. From beginning to end, this show was a perfect example of what real music is — true, pure, strong, and powerful. I know my tastes in music earns me a few odd looks from some people, but I don’t give a damn. It’s what I enjoy, and last night was yet another great show by a great group of musicians. I only wish my camera had held out just a little longer.