So with a good 2 or possibly 3 hours of sleep, I awoke early enough on Sunday to get Fudge to the Express Bus and then make minyan to say Kaddish. From there, I went to the bagel place on Union Turnpike and got a fresh onion bagel with lox spread and an enormous cup of coffee, which completely mortified my mother.
“Are you crazy?? Why did you go and buy a bagel? I have bagels in the FREEZER!”
“Mom, I can have frozen bagels in Milwaukee.”
I dunno. I have this same discussion with her EVERY time I come to NY. Normally I just go with it and eat the frozen bagels. But I was tired and I needed a good jolt of caffeine anyway.
Afterwards we went back to the hospital on Long Island to check on Boba and got stuck in traffic going both ways. I LUV NY!
Finally, my mother dropped me off at the Utopia Jewish Center, a structure I had not been in since my friend Joseph’s Bar Mitzvah in 1979. And only a few blocks from where I grew up.
What can I say about the show? It was a blast! You can read Shira’s account. The musicians were fantabulous. I was especially impressed with drummer Roy Weinberger, who is a much-in-demand session player in NY. Bass and drums have a very special relationship in music. The goal is to get them to sound like one instrument. Although I had never played with him, we locked in immediately.
Roy and I also apparently share another trait, in that we’re both anal retentive when it comes to being prepared for a gig. We both obsess over set lists and prepare rehearsal tapes and practice the songs on our own. If you’ve read my prior Shlock Rock posts, you know that I routinely beg Lenny for advance lists of songs so I can bone up on the material. And routinely, he gives me ridiculously long lists of songs that I spend hours preparing, and that he generally ignores when we’re on stage. This show was no different.
Here’s a little example: At the start of Act 2, Lenny was off stage. Somebody started to reintroduce the band for the next set. As Lenny was making his way back through the crowd, I spontaneously started to play the Blues Brothers theme (and Roy joined in perfectly). When Lenny got up on stage, we finished the riff, and then he introduced the song “Kohain”, which is based on the Blues Brothers tune “Soul Man.” Only problem was, this was not one of the songs on his set list, and I hadn’t played it in years. I wasn’t even sure what key it was in! But as he counted it in, he turned to me and yelled “In C!” And we launched right into it. And did one of the best renditions I had ever played. I doubt anyone knew the difference. But the first song of the set was supposed to be “Rejewvenated.”
The rest of the band was great, too. Long-time Shlock Rock arranger Steve Bill was on guitar, and believe it or not, this was the first time I had ever played with him. Mark Infield was there on a variety of wind and percussion instruments, and sang his trademark “Under the Chupa.”
The crowd was wonderful and included children of all ages, although I think that I have to take credit for bringing in all of the younger kids, since most of those were either directly related to me or children of bloggers. Yes, there were quite a few bloggers there. More on that later.
Probably one of the best things about the show was that my little nephews got to see me perform for the first time in their lives. In an instant, I became “The Cool Uncle.”
After the show, I did my usual combination of packing/schmoozing, and a woman from Alabama came up to me and told me that I looked no different than I did the last time she saw me, 15 years ago (presumably, this was a compliment). That’s when it hit me. Fifteen years? Had it been fifteen years since I last played in New York? Is that possible? I’ve done a lot of gigging in these last few years. But I guess it’s all been in the Midwest. And believe it or not, this was the first time that I had ever played in my own neighborhood. I had NEVER played there before! Not when I was growing up, not when I lived in the NY area and gigged with Kabbalah or Shlock Rock, and certainly not since leaving. What a strange feeling.
In the weeks leading up to the trip, I racked my brain trying to think up ways to get together with my New York/New Jersey blogging friends. Because I really do think of you all as friends. You’re actually better than real friends. You come visit this blog day after day, looking to see if I’ve written something new, or if there’s been a new development in my life, or to participate in an ongoing discussion in the comments. My real friends mostly just ignore me. And they never call or write. But to be fair, neither do I. OK I’m a rotten friend and it’s no wonder nobody calls me on my birthday. I deserve what I get.
There. I got that off my chest. Where was I? Oh, yes, bloggers. So, how to get together with them in the short time that I had. I figured eventually that the best way was to have them come to the concert. That way, even if they traveled a long distance only to discover that I’m actually quite boring in person, they could at least get a nice show for the kids out of it.
The truth is, I’m happy about all the bloggers who came. And I hope they had a good time. But it probably wasn’t the best forum for a “Blogger meet.” First, there were many other people there besides bloggers, and these people wanted my attention, like fans or family or other musicians. Ideally a Blogger meet should be just bloggers. Second, many of the bloggers didn’t know or read the other bloggers’ sites. So it’s nice that I read Shifra and I read Shira, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Shifra reads Shira (I don’t know if that’s the case BTW, I’m just using it as an example). And while it was clear that all the bloggers who came wanted to talk to me, there wasn’t much indication that they wanted to talk to each other. In fact, there was some pretty clear indications that some of them did NOT want to talk to the others, because while some, like Mark Frankel of Beyond BT might not be anonymous, others, for example Eishet Chayil, are very protective of their identities and do not want to be “outed” to other bloggers. (In fact, EC was so secretive that she apparently chose to show up AFTER the concert was over and not even introduce herself to ME!) Still others, like Queeniesmom and Nati, while they may be regular commenters on various blogs, don’t have their own blogs, and are not really known to each other.
So the net result was that I was the host of this particular party, and I ended up ignoring pretty much everyone. For which I feel really, really bad. Bad Psychotoddler! I promise to learn from my mistakes and do it better next time!
Oh and Steg…you’re not excused until I see a note from your doctor.