Tuesday, September 04, 2007

You know what it means to me

We've been across the country and back. Just the two of us and no laptops. So I didn't drop off the face of the earth, just the face of the East Coast.

If you were to nail me down and make me choose a favorite band, I would have to say Crowded House. It isn't me really, to just name one favorite, but if I had to, that would be it.

With that knowledge, Guy told me that if I planned the trip, we could go see them on their first tour in America since 1996. I have never seen them live before. This was the best present he could ever give me in a million years.

After discovering that Chicago was sold out for both nights, Nashville had really crappy seats left, and Atlanta was general admission, I figured out why Guy had turned the planning over to me. It was proving to be really frustrating.

Then I saw it. Labor Day weekend, they were playing on a Sunday night. We wouldn't have to miss work. We could fly in on Saturday, leave on Monday, and see Crowded House play live.

It was only 2873 miles from home.

With a quick phone call to my West Coast friend Tattoo Dave and a few clicks of the mouse, we found ourselves booked on a plane to Portland, Oregon to see a concert and hang out with Dave.

Many of our friends thought we had lost our minds. Most of them said, "Crowded who?"

Maybe it was crazy, but it was the best weekend of crazy I've ever had.

We stayed in the Heathman Hotel which was right next door to the venue for the concert. The hotel was beautiful with wonderful service, and Portland put on it's best facade of having perfect weather. Dave tried to convince us that it rained for 7 months of winter out of the year, but we didn't believe him. It was too stinking gorgeous for that.

On Saturday, Dave picked us up and we headed to his favorite breakfast spot. After Guy and I thought we had stuffed our faces, Dave then proceeded to go across the street and eat ice cream. I had forgotten what a bottomless pit Tattoo Dave is. A quick nap and some dinner, and we found ourselves pooped.

Sunday, Guy and I spent some alone time at the Japanese Garden and then met Dave at an art festival downtown. Before we knew it, it was time for the show.

I'm saving my thoughts of the first opening act for a Props and Pans piece, but I'll just say now that it was the most amazing solo performance I have ever seen in my life.

Pete Yorn followed that, and although I think I would like his album and songwriting, the live show was crap. There was too much guitar all in the same frequency, and the vocals were swallowed whole by the sonic soup created by everyone grabbing the neck in the same place at the same time, all turned up to 10. I got up and left just to rest my ears a bit.

Crowded House was simply phenomenal. Neil Finn still has the voice of an angel, and the band, even with a new drummer, is still solid as a rock. I forgot to take my Kleenex, and I regretted that move by the second measure of the first song.

They were perfect. And I rarely say that about a live show. There is usually something I can critique. Not here. They were absolutely perfect.

I'm pretty sure Bird liked it too. I sang along or hummed through their whole set, just so I could make sure he could hear it. That started some serious boogie down time in the womb. Bird danced almost the whole time.

The only thing I didn't count on was that it would feel like the concert was starting at 10:00 for us, so that when Crowded House took the stage, it felt like midnight. I have to admit, I fell asleep during one song from the new album, but I just couldn't help it. They played for at least another two hours, and I haven't seen 2:00 AM in a looooong time. Staying awake was hard, but well worth it.

We could have spent another week and Portland and not have done everything we wanted to do, and there was one other sweet soul that I really wanted to see and didn't, but we only had the weekend. We made the best of it. Quite truly.

The trip home included an unexpected night in Houston, complements of Continental Airlines. That's what happens when your plane lands 3 hours late and you have a connection to make. They weren't passing out hotel vouchers because they were blaming it on the weather, but they were smart enough to not want a pregnant woman sleeping in the airport because of them. We had a lovely room at the Hilton Garden Inn with breakfast provided the next morning.

Another night away with Guy isn't that bad when you think about it. One more night added spontaneously on what has to be the best vacation ever.

So yes. We traveled 2873 miles just to see Crowded House. Every second of the weekend was spent with each other. We saw an old friend. We ate well. We slept even better. And we saw an amazing show.

What more could you ask for, really?