Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Concert #1 - Michael Buble (yes, again)

Only this time, we took the kids! We're officially groupies. :P Granted, I haven't been as many times as the lady in the front row, who was wearing a "This is my 7th concert - can I have a hug?" t-shirt, but I'm so doing that when I am (and yes, she got a hug, as did the guy whose girlfriend made him a t-shirt to commemorate his 13th concert).

I can't think of many more famous people I'd like to see in concert multiple times. Michael Bublé is nothing short of INCREDIBLE. Seriously, look it up. The reviews he's getting of his "Crazy Love" tour are Phe-NOMENAL. I read a whole bunch of them and every word made me sooooooooooooo glad I saw him on tour. TWICE no less!

So, Mark and I enjoyed the concert so much when we went the first time, that when we were telling friends how amazing (seriously, AMAZING!) Michael Bublé is, and looked up YouTube videos of concert clips to show them, were reminded again how great he is in concert, and decided we just had to go again and that we had to take the kids (and I don't throw the words "have to" around lightly either). This concert tour was not to be missed!

So, we looked up his tour dates and locations and contemplated many options near us (pretty much anywhere in New England or the mid-Atlantic region). We decided to travel to Wilkes-Barre, PA on June 8th and make an overnight of it. It was our first time away from Scout (and man oh man, did we miss her like crazy!) -- our awesome friends checked in on her for us both days -- they gave her lots of tummy rubs and attention, which she loves!

So! We got ready . . .

made an awesome sign for the kids . . .

and drove a couple of hours to get to our destination with plenty of time to go out to dinner beforehand.

Here we are at where we thought we would eat


Okay, funny story time (everything between the dashes is the story. If you want to skip it, scroll down). So, we go to this restaurant that we had found online beforehand. It had good reviews of its food and it was close enough that we could see the concert arena from the window while seated at our table. It was packed but they seated us pretty quickly. They brought us drinks and chips and salsa and we ordered our food (oh, were we ever excited for some good Mexican food).

Our waitress was a dipstick. She was very nice, but the whole experience was a comedy of errors. For starters, she introduced herself while grunting. I couldn't figure out what was wrong and then I realized she was trying to pull her pen out of her apron (unsuccessfully). So, she grabbed another pen to write our order and it wouldn't write. I told her she needed new pens.

After over 20 minutes of waiting for our food, I began to get nervous about time. I did not want to be late for the concert, especially since the opening act was so good. I wanted us in our seats when it started. More time went by and I really started getting antsy. We nicely told our waitress that we didn't mean to be a bother, but we were kind of in a hurry because we were trying to get to a concert. She responded that everyone was trying to get to the concert. Not helpful.

Yet more time passed and we alternated between hoping every dish being carried out of the kitchen would be ours and looking for her so we could ask her how much longer it would be.

After more time, she walked by (huzzah!), so we asked how long our food would be and she said, "I don't know."

"Well, could you find out?"

"Oh, I don't know if I could."

I didn't want to tell her how to do her job or anything, nor did I want to state the obvious, but our conversation was rapidly going nowhere, so I suggested she ask in the kitchen.

"Oh, they won't tell me."

(What?? Was it top secret? Was it a surprise? Was it too freaking much to ask??)

I was so stunned, I didn't even know what to say next. So, after a while, I came up with the genius move to simply repeat what she had just said, but as a question.

"They won't tell you?"

"Nope." She had that spacey, far off, slightly frazzled, pained, dippy look again.

Desperate to get to the concert on time and to extract any useful information from this woman, I had to come up with something.

"Well, could you tell them that your table wants to know?"

"Well, I could. But they won't tell me."

"So if you go in there and ask them, they just won't tell you?"

"Yeah, they just pretend they don't see me and they don't answer."

"They don't answer you?"

"Yeah, they never do."

I just sat there, blinking stupidly. At this point, I was ready to go in the kitchen and ask them myself. I hated that I was even having this inane conversation. I'm not a belligerent person and I wasn't even sure how to have this conversation (how can you keep repeating the same thing over and over again without feeling like you're making the other person look stupid?). Plus, more time was passing and our food was still not coming out of that swinging kitchen door.

I should've clued in when I saw her take 15 minutes to split a check at the next table over. I witnessed that while we waited for our food. They seemed anxious to get on their way to the concert, too. But they were gone now and we still didn't even have our plates!

She was gone again. We had agreed on a time at which it would be too late to sit there and eat -- we figured we'd just box it and go and eat in the car while we parked. Well, that time had passed and still no food. Not even any to box!

Yet more time passed and she finally walked by again.

"Look, I don't mean to be a bother, but we really want to get to the concert and are just wondering how much longer it will be."

She shrugged with that doe-eyed look and said, "I don't know." Only, this time she added with a wave of her arm to a neighboring table, "They've been waiting an hour and a half and they still don't have their food!"

That was it. An hour and a half?!? We were so done. I just told her we were really sorry but we had to go. I felt badly. I mean, it wasn't her fault (and I told her that), but we had to go. We didn't pay good money for concert tickets to just sit there waiting for food and missing the show! We left her a tip and hoped she wouldn't get in trouble (though they'd have to talk to her to do that).

She asked if I could let them know up front. Uh, okay. We jumped up from the table and high tailed it out of there. It was a pretty full restaurant and right after we got up, I saw the kitchen door swing open and people came out carrying more food. I was following the waitress to the front of a very crowded and loud restaurant, my husband and kids right behind me. I sort of pointed to the food and wondered out loud if that was ours, but kept walking.

I told the host at the front of the restaurant, apologized, told them it wasn't our waitress's fault, explained that we have NEVER walked out of a restaurant before (never!), but we had waited for over 45 minutes for our food (they really should've told people there was that kind of delay) and we really needed to leave. They said okay, but didn't look happy. I felt justified, but also was embarrassed by the whole situation and just wanted OUT of there.

So, we stepped outside and walked quickly to our van. Well, I did. I turned, saying something to Mark, and noticed that he and the kids weren't outside with me. I was mortified. Had they stopped to use the bathroom? Had someone stopped them to talk to them? Didn't they know we were storming out and making a statement?

I texted Mark, "Where are you?!"

I was standing outside our van (Mark had the keys) waiting for a bit. I looked up and saw them exiting the restaurant, shaking their heads.

"Where were you?"

"We were sitting at our table!"

"What?! Why?!?"

"You pointed at the table. I thought you wanted me to sit there."

"What? No, I didn't."

We both quickly figured out that when I pointed at the food coming out of the kitchen and wondered out loud if it was ours, he thought I was saying to sit and wait.

Mark went on to explain, "The waitress came back and said, 'You can go. Your wife went outside.'"

We busted up laughing at how ridiculous this whole situation was. We also noticed the backed-up traffic at the arena as everyone tried to get in and park. What a fiasco our "dinner" had been!

We knew we needed to eat something since we'd be at the concert until 11 or so. We drove around a little bit looking for anything quick but healthy (a Subway, for example). We even rolled down our windows to ask locals for suggestions. All they could suggest was McDonald's. Blech. We hadn't eaten fast food in almost a year, thanks to "Food, Inc." and "Supersize Me."

We were opposed to the idea, but with no options left (how has this country not yet demanded healthier food from a window?!?), we very reluctantly decided to just get something there at least to "take the edge off."

Here we are getting "dinner" (gag)

The kids and I all got a dollar burger and a value fry to share. Mark, wisely, passed on all of it. His plan to go without food rather than eat this crap was so much smarter than ours. I was trying to be positive about it, but this really did smell and look (and taste) gross. Our kids each took one bite and that was it. Thing 1 said, "The meat of a thousand cattle!" (a fact we learned in Food, Inc.). I said, "Oh man! Thanks a lot. I had forgotten that!" She thought she was so funny. Thing 2 looked sick and just shook his head and said, "I feel like I have a brick in my stomach." I had taken a bite and promptly wished I hadn't.

Anyone who knows us KNOWS that I am loathe to throw out food. I will go to great lengths to save leftovers and spruce them up, if needs be, to make another meal and not waste food. So you know it's bad when I say we threw all 3 burgers (and the fries) into the trash. And we all felt disgusting. We popped mints and figured we'd just get something after the concert. I was totally envying Mark at that point. By choice, he hadn't eaten any of it. I wished I hadn't.

One good thing to come of this was learning how truly done we are with fast food. Between watching those 2 movies (seriously, watch the movies -- you won't eat there either), followed by a year of not eating fast food, we were officially done with the golden arches. And it was totally our kids' choice! We've told them that if they want to eat it once in a while, they can. But they choose to opt out. Amazing!


Anyway, the food that night? Quite an adventure. But on to bigger and better things. Namely, MICHAEL BUBLÉ!!

First off, let me say we got tickets for some pretty great seats on the floor (Stubhub is awesome). While Thing 1 and I used the restroom before the show, a nice couple offered 2 front-row seats to Mark and Thing 2. (Well, they thought they were front row -- turns out it was a few rows back from that, but still! They had gotten comp tickets from their buddy who works security). We stayed in our regular seats for the opening act -- Naturally 7. GREAT a cappella group. Lots of fun. Thing 2 especially loves that kind of music, so he enjoyed them a lot.

Since it was their first big concert experience, I wanted to capture their reaction to the loud music and excitement of it all. Here's what I got:

LOL! They seemed a bit overwhelmed at first. But in no time, they totally got into it and were dancing and moving and having a great time.

I'm pretty opinionated about concert behavior. I don't understand the logic of going to a concert to just SIT THERE and not move! If that's all people want to do, why don't they just buy a DVD of the singer and watch it in their living room?!? It's a CONCERT. It's loud. It's live. You're there. The performer is there. It's an experience. Move. Stand up. Dance. Yell. Sing. Drives me crazy when people just sit there. Dull, dull, dull, boring people. GET UP! (And can you imagine how crappy it must be for the performer feeding off that "energy?" Yikes.).

I'm pleased to say that as the night wore on, the kids got into the spirit of things (which is more than I can say for most of the rest of the crowd--I had noticed this at the first MB concert and was starting to get perturbed by PA audiences). While I love to be in a place where the group energy matches my own excitement and enjoy being with people who get into things, when surrounded by dull and boring people, I don't let it get me down -- I just ignore them and have a good time (and quietly feel homesick for Boston folk).

And at one point in the concert, when Thing 1 and I were totally dancing and having a good time, Michael Bublé himself pointed at us from the stage and widened his eyes and opened his mouth with a happy, surprised look to see us having so much fun. Yeah, that's right. He loves us.

Anyway, after Naturally 7 (great opening act) . . .

. . . there was a short break.

So, we got a picture of our family
and then decided that two of us would go ahead
and grab those seats that we had been given
on the front row (well, closer anyway).

Some of our concert photos

In Michael Bublé's own words, his concert is "bombastic" and it's true! It's easily the most amazing show I've ever seen. Ever. (To read more about the concert itself, check my earlier post -- it was basically the same format with only a few minor differences: he was scruffier this time and he had switched out one of his set list songs to include his latest single "Hollywood."). LOVED it!

Here we are well into the concert. The crowd was also more into it. How could you not be? PHENOMENAL!

Thing 2 and Mark --
turns out there were empty seats right behind
where Thing 1 and I had moved up
to those seats we'd been given.

Me with Thing 1 -
having SO much fun!

Me, with the couple who had given us the tickets -
they were super nice and a lot of fun

Remember how I touched Michael Bublé at the first concert?
Well, Thing 1 got a turn this time!
We're so excited!
He held her hand while singing and totally smiled at her.
(In the picture, he's messing with one of the girls who gave us the tickets --
apparently, he loved her hat).

My and Mark's absolute favorite part of the concert -
at the end, while you're distracted by the trumpeter
in the back playing in the audience
(so your back is turned to the stage),
they draw the curtains to hide all the staging
and lights and set
and it is simply one light on one person --
and Michael Bublé stands there
and belts out a solo
with no amplification at all
It's incredible.
Plus, he's singing "Song for You"
so the lyrics are so so fitting.
Totally gives you chills.
You just stand there, awestruck.

I'll show you a video clip of it -- seriously, the guy is a consummate performer. He's easy on the eye, has a crazy, confident, sexy stage presence, and he interacts with HUGE audiences as if he mingling in a crowd of close friends. He finds a way to make it feel intimate. LOVE this guy. DO NOT MISS a chance to see him. I can't say that enough. He's just amazing. Love him!

(Sorry it's sideways, but you get the idea).

We had a fantastic time and it's the kind of concert you're always sad to see end. We reluctantly left and found our hotel. Everything was closed, but we found a pizza place that would deliver after midnight, so we got some pasta primavera bowls, cheesy breadsticks, and wings, and had our own after-party in our hotel. It was fun. We all went to sleep SUPER tired, but very happy.

All in all, a GREAT 1st concert experience for the kids . . . despite the lousy dinner. :P


the emily said...

You look so cute in that last picture!

Also. Your waitress didn't put your order in. I guarantee it. I was a waitress and had that happen more than once when people were like "Where's our food?" when I realized I never put the order into the computer. I guarantee that's what happened--food doesn't take that long, even when it's slammed.

That concert looks so fun! I just started listening to Michael Buble this week and I can't get enough. Today "Cry Me a River" was on while I was taking Noah to school and he goes "Mom, what's that music? It's going boom boom boom? I like it. Turn it up." It was so cute!

Also, Jess left me a link to Hamm & Buble from SNL, have you seen it? If not, watch it on Hulu it's sooo funny.

Jimmy said...

Anyway Mexican food in PA can't be that great. Emily will agree with me.

Sounds fun!

Lindsay said...

So much fun! I would have gone off on the waitress, well maybe not. I am not sure what I would have done, but with her acting so ridiculous to you guys, I would have said something! I was even getting a little fired up while reading that part. Haha, maybe it is my post pardum hormones kicking in!!
As far as McDonlads, not going to lie, I like it which is why I won't watch Food Inc. Hehe. What a fun concert, though. That would be so awesome to go as a family. It was fun reading your post.

Boquinha said...

Thanks, Em! Our waitress was really . . . off. I ADORE Michael Buble. He is PHENOMENAL. That's cute about Noah. And yes! Jess showed me that a while back, too. Love it! MB is super funny and has such an easy manner about him.

Yeah, Jimmy. We've lived in AZ and, when it comes to Mexican food, it's all downhill from there. :P

Lindsay, she was almost pitiful. She was like the brunt of all the jokes or something. It was kind of sad. You should totally watch "Food, Inc." and "Supersize Me." "Supersize Me" is actually REALLY entertaining.