Month: July 2010
We as fans sometimes go to great lengths to see performers. Yes, as stated before, I went to London to see Peter White. But those circumstances were different. I won the tickets to London, and I thought that the perfect time to go would be when Peter was performing there….right?! RIGHT?! Ahem. Yes, I have met those who have travelled cross-country to see their favorite performers, heard of those who came from as far as Japan to the East Coast to catch their favorite performer’s in concert. Crazy? Some might say yes, but I think not. You see, there is something about a live performance that you just cannot get with a CD or Mp3. The nuances, inflections, smiles and perspiration that the performance ensues just energizes you AND the performer! It can be addictive, I must say.
A few weeks back, I had a conversation with Joy, a good friend that I had met in person at Berks. We connected when we both mourned Wayman Tisdale while watching his funeral on live feed together. She was a great comfort to me during that sad time. We both felt the pain and loss, yet rejoiced in the bright spirit that was Wayman. When we met at Berks, I had come off a Red-Eye flight, and believing she was already there, called her cell and said loudly, “Where you AT?!!” She softly replied, “I’m still at work, honey”. Yes, I was embarrassed, but excited to meet her. When I finally did, she, Mike Reynolds and Jazz Queen Terri couldn’t get rid of me!
Joy has the same excitement, if not more, for Contemporary Jazz. She is the co-host and creator of Smooth Jazz Conversations that airs on Monday evenings on Blogtalk radio. You can hear the excitement that she has for the genre AND artists on every broadcast. She has a few favorites, one of which is Euge Groove. I tease her incessantly about Euge calling her name 3 times at Berks during her performance. I put hands on my hips and roll my head, mimicking Euge saying “Joy will show you how to do it”, or “C’mon Joy”. I don’t remember the performance, per se, just his mention of Joy throughout it!
Well, Joy called to ask if I was going to Tucson to check out Euge with Rick Braun. Well, to be honest, once Euge was on the bill, I KNEW I would be there! Forget that I just saw him in April in Phoenix! At that concert, I told Euge that Joy had said to tell him hello. He excitedly looked around and asked “Is She Here?!” I had to break the bad news to him that she was not. I swear that he is looking for her in this picture we took together!
Joy told me that she was going to Tucson for the concert Wow! After convincing her to fly into Phoenix and ride with me on the 2 hour trip down to Tucson, it was ON. Joy did not want to spill the beans that she was coming, so she remained mute about it on Facebook, and checked “Not Attending” on the RSVP. The thought was to surprise Euge (a Maryland native like herself), with her presence. The best laid plans, right?
I pick Joy up at the Phoenix airport on Friday morning, the high at 11 a.m. was already 106F, and we started our drive. Since the show was not until Saturday night, we could take our time driving down, stopping over at Cracker Barrel for lunch. We arrived at the J.W. Marriott Starr Pass at around 2pm. This is a HUGE resort hotel, set amongst the Saguaro cactus, on a hilltop. My Mom and I had been there previously for the New Year’s Eve party with Rick and Richard Elliot, and enjoyed it thoroughly.
We valet parked and I went inside to check-in, with Joy close behind. I see this tall, dark-haired man in front of me with a suitcase…wouldn’t you know it, it was Rick Braun. I loudly say, “Timing is everything”. He looked around and smiled. Joy is coming through the doors, and I’m semi-whispering “Rick Braun’s in front of us!”. He gets on the elevator, (whew) and we continue the check in process.
I had not had time to get any cash, and the front desk informed me that they had a cash machine on the bottom floor. Joy waits with our bellman “Frankie” from Costa Rica, (not a bad wait, considering Frankie was “foin” with pretty eyes) while I get cash. I come back up and we proceed across the vast lobby area. There are steps to our right coming from the open restaurant/bar area, and I see Rick Braun and his wife Christiane come up from the stairs. Joy was adamant about hiding from Euge until the show the next evening. Well, who is following the Braun’s but Euge and his lovely wife Bain, right in front of us! I say something like, “oh well, your cover is blown now!” Euge sees us, and pretends to be running out of the door! I know Joy is not happy that she has been busted so soon! They are gracious to us, Christiane and Bain hugging and speaking to Joy, the guys acknowledging my presence with a hug. Euge remembers that I live in Phoenix, (finally!), but he is amazed that Joy has come all the way from Maryland to see him! Joy hugs Euge and Rick, and I introduce myself to Bain, who says nice to see me again. Now I have never formally met Bain before, but I have seen her on every Smooth Jazz Cruise I’ve been on that Euge has attended, and I believe I saw her in Phoenix a year ago at the Guitars and Saxes soundcheck. I never wanted to go up to her and introduce myself, ’cause I didn’t want her to think I was a crazy person! So this outing I was fortunate enough to meet her.
Joy and I parted ways with the group, and headed towards our room. Suffice it to say that Joy was disappointed that her plan fell through. But as I explained to her, if we had wanted to bump into him…we would have never seen him! You know how Murphy’s Law works! That night, I dragged Joy to the bar with me for Tequila hour (yes, I drank her free tequila shot, too), and I invited my Facebook friend and Jessy J Arizona Fan Club Head, Monica Robledo Guerette to join us! Much to my pleasant surprise, she did! Joy swore she was going up to bed, but once Monica arrived, all bets were off. We enjoyed the night sky and the twinkling lights of Tucson below for a few hours, including S’mores. We were seated in front of the outdoor fire pit, but at 89F, I did not think they would light it! They DID! The couple next to us were roasting marshmallows, so we decided to get in on the action. $14.00 later, we were roasting marshmallows and Joy and Monica were making their own S’mores. Did I mention it was 89F?! Crazy, but crazy fun it was! Wait until you hear about the next night……