Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bryan Adams at the Orpheum

When my friend A called me up to ask me if I wanted to see Bryan Adams in concert, I almost said "no". I mean, really? Bryan Adams? Is he even still singing? What was the last thing he released? Is he even alive? But I said "yes" because at the end of the day I enjoy spending time with her and I figured what the heck, it can't be as bad as sitting through the warm up acts for Nickleback right?

So we met up at a pseudo-Italian restaurant prior to heading to the concert. I say "pseudo-Italian" because while they purported to serve excellent spaghetti (and accompaniments), they were less than stellar on the delivery.

The side salad was a handful of iceberg lettuce, a few shreds of purple cabbage and five croutons. I got my dressing on the side and thank goodness for that as it was about a half a cup's worth. If they had dumped that much on my salad I would have had iceberg ranch soup.

I kept it simple and ordered spaghetti with meat sauce. It showed up within about five minutes of ordering which is suspicious at best. The spaghetti noodles were somewhat gummy which I can only assume is because they had been cooked some time prior and kept warm. The sauce was okay. Not great, not horrific, just okay. It had an odd taste to it that I couldn't quite place. I'm sure it was some spice, just not one that necessarily belonged in any sort of spaghetti sauce.

But the best part came when I went to top my spaghetti with some powdered Parmesan (is it that much cheaper than shredded?) Because before I tipped it completely over, something in the container caught my eye. Turns out it was a rather large bug. Poor fellow had apparently aspirated on the powdered Parmesan and died an untimely death. Lovely. And appetizing.

While the delivery of the food was rapid, seeing and catching the attention of our waitress in order to get new Parmesan was not. She flew by our table several times like she'd been shot out of a cannon. Her eyes were fixed on the kitchen door each time so there would be no way to catch her eye. I didn't feel like yelling to get her attention as that is crass at best. Eventually she served the table next to us and made the mistake of turning in our direction so I was able to catch her eye. Anyway, long story short, she replaced the buggy Parmesan and thanked us for bringing it to her attention.

That's a pretty big lead in for a post labeled "Bryan Adams at the Orpheum" isn't it? Sorry, I get a bit long winded occasionally. But wait, there's more!

We left the pseudo-Italian place to drive 1.3 miles down the road to the theater. It took us thirty minutes. To go 1.3 miles. Not even joking. The problem seemed to be that the parking garage was directly past the traffic light and there was a backlog. So, every time the light turned green exactly ONE car would go through it. Oh. My. Holy. Hell. I was ready to get out of my car and start ripping the other driver's heads off. When it came to my turn, I made a radical move and actually turned right. Onto the street. And then I (gasp!) drove down the street and found a place to park. Apparently the other drivers couldn't figure out what those weird posts sticking up out of the concrete in the sidewalk were. You know, parking meters. Goodness gracious. The best part was that since it was almost 8:00 by the time we got there, we didn't even have to pay to park. Bwahahahaha all you fools clamoring to pay money to park in the garage!

Okay, so I'm rambling again.

So we park. And then we walk two blocks to the theater.

The Orpheum Theater is a small venue with only 1364 seats. Originally built in the late 1920s, it retained it's ornate, Spanish Revivalist roots after a major renovation in the 80s. It's cozy, comfortable and beautiful to look at. What more could one ask for? Oh that's right, the main act!

For those not in the know (read: me) this the "Bare Bones Tour". Which means effectively no band, no special effects, no "show". It's just Bryan with his guitar, harmonica and microphone accompanied about half the time by Gary Bright on the piano. I didn't know this because I never bothered to look anything up once A asked if I wanted to go. She had the tickets so I just showed up. Seeing nothing but a piano and a mic on the stage once we got seated was a little worrisome. What if Mr. Adams, in his advanced age (joking), couldn't sing like he used to? What if the songs lacked the fullness that a band adds. What if I just wasted sixty five dollars to hear some old man waver through a bunch of songs that I didn't recognize? Mostly, what if this sucked?

But you know what? It was awesome! Bryan's voice is nothing if not powerful. It's still the same gravelly goodness it always was. The songs sounded just like I remembered them. And I remembered them all. Best of all, it was such an intimate setting that it felt like I was hanging out with a bunch of friends listening to another friend serenade us. It was really cool.

I honestly can't remember what song he started with but he worked his way through the last thirty years of writing and hit all the good ones. His stage presence in this cozy setting was, again, like having someone you know up on stage. He spoke with people in audience. He had us laughing. And singing. Out loud. As a minor side note, while I belt out songs in my car on the highway, I generally don't sing out loud at concerts. I'm an introvert at heart (you just shush!) and self conscious enough that I don't want to bring any undue attention (seriously, shush!). But I just could not help myself, I had to sing. I forgot that I knew all the words to most of his songs. I forgot how much I enjoyed Bryan Adams.

But I remembered it all last night. It brought back a lot of memories. Memories of high school dances. Memories of listening to albums repeatedly, of trying to tape songs from the radio without the dj screwing it up with chatter. Memories of dancing with Mister C to "Everything I Do"after watching Robin Hood. Great memories of great times.

It was awesome.

Yeah, I get that my iPhone takes crappy pictures and I couldn't zoom in. But look how close he is! How cool is that?