The wind is gusting big-time here in Sunnyvale, where I’m getting ready to watch the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy on Hulu. I am not looking forward to the carnage that awaits. Even though I know the broad strokes of what happens, I can’t miss the nuances if I’m to be prepared for next season.
My girlfriend, heretofore known as the Middle-aged Tart, or “Tart” for short, and I went up to the City to see Broken Bells at the Regency Ballroom. They were fantastic. Love love love them and loved also their young opening group from Berkeley, the Morning Benders.
But let’s start with our hotel, the Parc55 at Union Square. It is never a good sign when your hotel room comes equipped with earplugs. But, not to worry: nothing more than the usual San Francisco sounds of sirens, cable cars and people partying outside. And as usual, they lulled me to sleep.
But onto the concert. We started to walk the mile to the venue. Three blocks from the hotel I realized just how sketchy the area was and we caught a cab. I really didn’t want to pick through the drunks and other homeless lying on the sidewalk.
The Regency Ballroom is an event space and we were much surprised to find a big, open ballroom with no chairs or seats. Apparently, the audience was to stand for the concert. The balcony was open, though, and we were able to pick our way through reserved seats and find a good viewing spot with seats.
As the crowd waited we could see the rectangular lights of their I-phones and Blackberries, all in use. What DID we do before we could check email or the news while we waited for a rock concert to start?
The Morning Benders started their set with a tune that was almost Dark-Side-of-the-Moonish and ended it with something that was almost doo-wop, but in between played all sorts of indie songs. Loved the combination.
Danger Mouse and James Mercer took the stage to a rousing ovation. As the lights hit the crowd, the room erupted like Mount Vesuvius in a cloud of marijuana smoke. The Tart and I completely cracked up, because our balcony vantage point afforded us a great view every time a group exhaled. Each time a new song began, the smoke erupted all over the room like a volcano range. It really was funny. The aroma was strong enough for a contact high and reminiscent of the many concerts we attended in our youth.
And we loved Broken Bells. They did a really great version of Crimson and Clover that was almost identical to Tommy James’ version but with a twist. Nice. Toward the end we went downstairs to join the standing crowd; I was able to take this very bad photo. I was much closer than this shot makes it seem.
When the Tart and I were young, the end of a great concert was marked by everyone raising their Bic lighters in tribute. Here, I expected everyone to raise their lit I-phones. But no.
We caught a cab back to the hotel, slept well and in the morning, hit our happy place, Macy’s at Union Square. We were on the 12:15pm train back to Sunnyvale, where M. was to pick us up.
Usually I sit in a car that has an obvious door, but we found a newer car with tables and seats both and settled in for our ride. The door was behind us. At Sunnyvale, we must have dallied a bit too much and we walked to a more distant door. The Tart got off the train, but I was a little slow. The train doors closed behind her, leaving me on the train and a recording warned we were leaving the station.
YIKES! M. watched from the platform as the Tart started beating on the closed train doors. The ones I was behind. I managed to pry the door open and hop off with my suitcase a split second before the locomotive started locomoting.
The Tart and I burst out laughing. “Take the train much?” I asked. M. could barely contain his laughter was he walked toward us, saying that when he saw her beating on the doors, he just knew that he and the Tart were going to be quickly driving to the next stop, Santa Clara, to pick me up.
I guess I need to move a bit more smartly as I exit. But I’m home safely and happy we went.