Tag Archives: cross canadian ragweed

Shooter day…

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.

Saturday night, round 3…

As promised, here’s some photos from Saturday’s Salute to Texas Independence Day show at Terminal 5 in NYC. Our spot at the edge of the balcony gave me a great view. My shots earlier in the show came mostly blurry, but by time Cross Canadian Ragweed came on, I’d figured out what settings I needed. For bigger, higher res shots, click here.

Saturday night, round 2…

As in February 28, 2009, at Terminal 5, NYC.  Yesterday was too busy and I was too tired to give a proper run-down, but seeing that people are already hitting my blog searching the various musicians that performed I figured I should give a follow-up.

Doors opened at 6, and we were among the first in. As always, I’m amused how they all but strip-search Frank while smiling and waving me through. Oh, the irony. And based upon the price of drinks within and my jaded tastes for higher qualities of rum than that paint-stripper most clubs serve, (Bacardi? Captain Morgan? Blech! Try Gosling’s Black Seal, or better yet, Old Rum!) I vowed I’m aquiring myself a small flask for future events.  Food? In the corner of the third floor they had these ‘pizza-pocket’ type things, edible but overpriced. To be expected, I suppose. We’d planned to meet friends and grab dinner before the show, but traffic on the Jersey side cancelled that.

The thing I liked about Terminal 5  is the layout. The club is your standard black on black pit of darkness, but there’s three floors. The ground is open to the stage, and by 8 it was pretty much packed up. Those of you who know me know my aversion to crowds, which can only be overridden by equal amounts of loud music, quality alcohol, and my own personal 280 lb. bouncer/bodyguard. But Terminal 5 had another option. Two floors of balconies, surrounding the stage to three sides. We staked out a spot right at the edge of the second-floor, with an excellent, unobstructed view of the stage, the mass of humanity on the main floor, and even a small counter on which to rest our plastic cups.

Now on to the ‘Salute To Texas Independence Day’ Concert.

Ray Wylie Hubbard came on around 7. This is my first time seeing him live, and he put on a good show. I would have hoped for more audience participation during ‘Snake Farm’, even if you’ve never heard that one, he made the sing-along fairly straight-forward and fun. But the shocker for me was the lanky kid to his side, introduced as his son, who played one amazingly wicked guitar. Watch this kid, he’s going somewhere! His Texas blues solo was beyond words.

Charlie Robison followed around 8. I’m least familiar with his music, and much of what he performed is off an upcoming album, but it all sounded good.

Around 9, Cross Canadian Ragweed came on. This would be my third time seeing them live, and hands-down the best performance I’ve seen to date. I would have been there for them alone, everyone else was just a happy bonus. They kicked off, appropriately enough, with New York City Girl, and it only got better. And while they were short their own drummer and had to borrow Robert Earl Keen’s, everyone was in superb form. Guys, if you’re reading this, well done. Keep coming back to NY, we’ll be there every time.

And finally, Robert Earl Keen came on, also in excellent form. His live performances are legendary, and while this was my first time seeing one, he did not disappoint. I was particularly pleased with ‘Feelin’ Good Again’; it truly suited my mood for the night. He left the stage, all went dark, the crowd chanted, and he came back on with Cross Canadian. They did the most epic jam of  ‘The Road Goes On Forever’, with amazing guitar solos. All in all, a perfect end to a great show.

And now, a rant. There was one negative to this night, and while those with me said I let it get to me too much, I feel I need to discuss the issue of ‘Concert Etiquette’.  We’re not talking classical music here, where coughs must be choked back and crinkly wrappers kept in check. So my guidelines of courtesy are much simpler. Scream, shout, dance, show your appreciation for the band and the performance they’re putting on.  That’s what we’re here for, at least that’s what I’M here for. Those tickets cost me a chunk of change. So did they parking and the round-trip ferry tickets, not to mention the over-priced drinks and (?) food. Bottom line, I’m here for the music, and that’s why I was in the door early to stake my spot where I can see, and that’s why I didn’t move from that spot for five hours. If you wanted a good spot, you should have shown up earlier. So when my husband steps away between bands, that’s not your invitation to shove your way into his place, pushing my arm off his space at the balcony edge, then laugh and ignore me when I warn you he’s coming back.  He did, and gee whiz, a bit to big to push around. Big enough to shove you back where you belong.

But that wasn’t as bad as the group that took the spot to my other side, when the couple who’d shown up early left around 10. The space was open, so fine. I even squeezed back to give you a better view. But you were just there for your dates, not the concert. Or you would have actually faced the stage, not had your back to it the whole time while you shouted to one another about who said what, who was wearing what and ‘Ohmygoddidyouseeherhair?’ The entire time Robert Earl Keen played, you leaned to each other, right against my shoulder, and shouted into each other’s (and by proximity my) ear about every inane thing that could have been discussed elsewhere, so close your voices competed with the music onstage, while those pointy cornered little stylish purses you wore tucked under your armpits jabbed me in the ribs. And ladies, when you’re that stinking drunk (and you were) breath mints, please. I asked them to keep it down or move it elsewhere. I don’t think that was unreasonable. I was ignored. Finally I leaned over and yelled “Please, a little louder. I can still hear the band over you.” And yes, those were my Doc Martens deliberately stepping on your feet, when you refused to get a clue. Next time, I don’t won’t be so polite.

In the end, the show was great, despite the inconsideration of some individuals. I have some fantastic photos I’ll be loading a bit later.

Last night…

At Terminal 5, New York City.

pitures-02-11-09-283 Robert Earl Keen, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Charlie Robison & Ray Wylie Hubbard Sold Out!

The show started at seven, and closed after an awesome REK/CCR jam around midnight. More pictures and details to follow. Right now after another busy day I’m still catching up on sleep. Forecasts report one major snowstorm headed this way, it’s probably already snowing, so I should hope to be happily snowed in, rested, and online.

And the name of the band is…

Okay. Somehow, inexplicably, with even less sleep than last night, I’m up and functioning better than yesterday. Webster Hall was bigger, louder, and more insane than Blend Bar.Cross Canadian Ragweed opened, playing a different set of songs, putting on an amazing show. We met up with some friends, and weren’t surprised to find some familiar faces from the night before as well. We all took the same positions right up front, and made enough noise that Cody Canada recognized us, thanking those of us from Jersey who came to both shows! These guys are awesome, and if you’re looking for some real, honest to god in your face alt-country-rock, they’re worth the look.

The next band up was a bunch of New Orleans degenerates (said with the highest respect), and the name of the band is… Cowboy Mouth! My voice is gone from shouting that over and over, as this band demands audience participation on all levels. Getting smashed, dancing and screaming isn’t enough. Expect to leave exhausted, laughing, grinning, and friendly with your fellow audience members. The show goes beyond description, though checking out their site and listening to recordings gives a bit of a hint. I’ll be seeing them again, and I’ll make sure I’m well-rested, well-hydrated, and eat my Wheaties before going! Oh, yeah… and I even caught a drum-stick!!!

Sleep deprivation, revisited…

Okay, so last night, by some wierd twist of the universe, Cross Canadian Ragweed was playing in, of all places, Ridgewood, NJ.  Go figure.  Needless to say, we were there. Damn right. Who says I can’t function on 4 hours sleep? ‘Cause tonight they’re playing Webster Hall in Manhattan, and if you’re gonna burn it at both ends, why not throw some gasoline (and Scotch) on you’re at it. If this isn’t all that coherent, it’s just cause neither is the person at the keyboard right now.  All in the name of fun.

Also, I’d like to mention that the opening band, a bunch of local grown Jersey guys operating under the name of Super Satellite, were pretty damned good. I’ll be following their progress and listening in to them more closely after I’ve caught up on some sleep. (Place your bets how much I get tonight.) My ears are still ringing, my head aches a bit, so let’s hear it for round 2!  What?

And a side note for those of you out there who’ve written me over the last few days. You know who you are. I may catch up on some email tomorrow, though that remains to be seen.  Right now, my mail is on another computer, and I don’t have an address to reply. Congratulations, the baby is adorable, and as for Annabel Lee, there is more to the name, but that goes without saying.