Tuesday, February 26, 2008

With Fans Like This...

Last Saturday, Gary and I went to see Linda Eder. It was sort of whim for me since I've only one of her albums, and have only seen her singing that "Man of La Mancha" video at Sidetracks a thousand times. But I thought it would be a fun evening, and considering I didn't have the cash to see Ms. Barbra last year, I felt I owed it to myself to see at least one diva this year.

So I dolled myself in my new job interview clothes (Sears was having a sale) and off we went leaving a lot of extra time for dinner. We were going to go to a local restaurant but then because it was only 5:30, Gary suggested going to Sabatino's. Sabatino's is great; A Chicago tradition with the best Italian food and atmosphere around. However, since I rarely try to eat at family restaurants on weekends we both were in for a surprise. Not only was it packed to the rafters with people with reservations waiting, but they told us the earliest we could get in would be 9:30. I had no idea that people ate so early on Saturdays. Our second choice was another Steak place on Milwaukee, but that too had a line of people waiting to get into the parking lot.

Then I remembered a really good Polish restaurant called the Golden Duck. There pork chops were amazing, and they had mash potatoes to die for! So we drove by there and it was open and looked empty.

We walked in and all the tables were empty. We sat down and someone from the bar came over and said: Can I get you something to drink. Gary said he was going to wait and could he see a menu.

"We don't have any menus".
"Huh, well what kind of food are you serving".
"We don't have any food...just drinks."

We were back on the road again. I was no assuming that we'd be making that 9:30 Sabatino's meal after-all.

In Rosemont, near the theatre we found Gibsons. Again it was packed, but we were stuck. While we were waiting we looked at their wall of signed celebrity photos. Sinatra, Tom Selleck, Billy Joel, Elizabeth Taylor, etc... So I figured this place has to be good. And it was one of the most amazing steak dinners I've ever had in my life. One funny thing was when we sat down after we'd gotten over the initial sticker shock of the prices, our impossibly handsome waiter suddenly showed up with this enormous plate of raw meat. It would have been a vegetarian's nightmare! Just goes to show I don't go to these fancy eatin' places very often. I had no idea that I would be able to pick my own cut of meat.

Anyway, dinner, as I said, was amazing. So off we were right on time to the Rosemont to see Ms. Eder. It had been a while since I'd been to the Rosemont Theatre, but I didn't remember it being so, so suburban. It was mix of the bland and the over the top gaudy. The lobby has all the charm of an airport terminal, except with a huge chandelier hanging in the middle of it. It was as if they spent all the money on the chandelier and couldn't put even the minimal amount of decoration into any other part of the theatre. There are these glass cases built into the wall that hold ostentatiously hideous porcelain figurines. One filled with several Santa heads, another with some Cinderella fantasy all polished and sparkly. I had the uncontrollable urge to smash them. The auditorium has evem less character than the lobby; Just grey walls, and plain stage. It had the feel like the whole place could be all packed up in boxes and shipped somewhere the next day.

Ms. Eder was playing with the Chicago Pops Orchestra. Like all Pop's Orchestras they did the standard 'Footlight Favorites', Harry Potter theme music, and the overture to "Funny Girl". I figured that they were pandering to all the gay men in the audience with that one. It's always happy to see a huge orchestra. All those people playing together to making amazing sounds that you could only otherwise hear on an Andre Kostelentez album. However, like the theatre, the orchestra sounded flattened. My guess is the auditorium has almost no really acoustics to speak of and everything has to be miked. It sounded processed and they might as well could have played a record. But this isn't Orchestra Hall. Oh, the other thing was the conductor seemed to be terrified to speak. Either that or he had Parkinson's Disease. He was just shaking when he was introducing the numbers. He was fine with conducting. (Watch I find out he has some horrible illness he's bravely fighting and then I'll feel like a jerk.)

Linda Eder came out for the second half of the program wearing the ugliest purple-ish dress which made her look like she had just been a bride's maid that afternoon. But the girl can sing, even though she seemed tired. She explained that she had been caught in the snow storm that hit the East Coast so I'm assuming that was part of it. Her stage presence is a little lacking too and consists of standing and singing. We both agreed she needs some writers to help her with the non-standing and singing parts of her act.

So anyway, this leads me to why I started this post in the first place. The crazy audience member... Linda's songs are for the most part pretty dramatic. And most have that American Idol moment when she pauses and takes a big breath to let out that big moment when she is going to Streisand-ize the end of the song. Well during every one of these moments this one fan used this as his cue to scream his head off. "We love you Linda". "Go Linda". or just an irrigating "Wooh!". Now we were in the balcony in this theatre that has no acoustics to speak of, where the horn section had to be miked and he sounded loud in the balcony where we were sitting. I can't imagine what it was like down by the stage. What could Linda Eder be thinking right now... except 'where are the ushers?'

The next day Gary found this website with this guy Jason Heath who was playing bass that night. To hear his side of this story click HERE. He tells a funny story... and his other video stories are pretty good too.

So that was my Saturday. Makes me sort of glad I'm not a famous diva.


Anonymous said...

Well Johnny, you about said it all. Not sure I could add anything to that story, other than...IF YOU'RE GOING TO A CONCERT ON SATURDAY NIGHT, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE RESERVATIONS FOR DINNER BEFORE HAND!!

On the other hand, had we stuck with our original plan, we would have never gone to Gibsons..and it was very good! Sometimes it's good to stray from the path. I'm glad you were such a sport about the whole thing.

Gary Airedale

ohbut said...

Reminds me of that live version of the Sarah McLaughlin song "I Will Remember You" - at the very end of the song, which was beautifully poignant, she sings "don't let your life pass you by..." and pauses for the dramatic conclusion - and some dumbass in the audience has to scream "waaaauuugggghhhh" into the silence and breaking the whole mood of the song...

Aaron said...

I always heard good stuff about Gibsons (at least the one downtown), though I've never been...

The theatre (and most places in the suburbs) sounds like my aunt Evvie's house. (LOVELY person, but was born at the turn of the 20th century to immigrants, so equates "ostentation" with "prosperity" even when it's French-Provincial hideous...)

Yes, the crazy fans always fuck things up a little, don't they? I wonder what the people sitting right next to him must have thought...

Aaron said...

Oh, and I just watched that bass player's video...I think listening to him imitate the fan every 5 seconds might have been even more painful than having a root canal.

Cute kitty cat, though...!