I feel like my most recent posts could have seemed complain-y. I think folks who know me or at least get me understand I’m a verbal processor, to which this exercise contributes.
Not to mention it spares my friends a lot of one-sided ranting about nothing.
People who know me will also understand that I notice patterns. Not in a full Rain Man card counting type of way. it’s more of an I did well on those standardized tests in school we used to have to take when graduating and going to a good school was a parent’s dream for their kid. Now, I think parents are happy if their kids finish their school career with a pulse, but that’s another blog.
So, anyway, when I notice things, I like to talk them out. Especially when it’s something inherently annoying I notice someone doing. And then someone else. And someone else.
Nonetheless, I felt it was time to show a little less attitude in a post and a little more gratitude.
Or…maybe I could do both!
If you’ve read this blog over the past year, you’ll be happy to know that the 2022 streak of free live music has carried over into 2023. It’s actually expanded slightly.
2022 actually ended with a show I was excited to see – Modest Mouse – ending up being really awful. It’s so much of a disappointing memory, I was ready to go back to not bothering with live shows.
Then I remembered that I’d won tickets last November for a show in March of this year and felt really conflicted about not using them. On the one hand, it was someone I’d never heard of, Unknown Mortal Orchestra. On the other, I’d seen some free shows for bands and acts last year I’d never heard of that turned out to be great experiences: Tigirlily Gold and Noah Kahan to name two who have gone on to have quite a year.
Between Modest Mouse and UMO, there was a lot of gratis ground to cover! From kicking off the year with a free Literary Arts lecture as a stand in for a traveling friend, to The Lone Bellow (amazing), Daniel Seavey (left because he was an hour late), Vance Joy (insanely good, really wished he’d played more than 3 songs!), Inhaler (I was offered ear plugs, these guys absolutely ripped it up) and then bookending my free live music with a private screening of the new Matt/Ben movie Air, which was just a lot of fun for the hometown connection.
But my favorite show of the year – I’m going to say “so far” – was The Dandy Warhols.
A) Because they are also a local Portland success story. B) They were doing something unique, playing with the Oregon Symphony. I’d seen other acts I love do this, but never an alt/punk act. It doesn’t lend itself to orchestra accompaniment as well as some of the adult contemporary or singer/songwriter acts I’ve seen do this, but the more die hard fans didn’t seem to mind some of the more dissonant moments of the show that I didn’t care for. C) Zia McCabe had a Chris-near-miss a while back.
And when they performed what is arguably their biggest hit, they absolutely killed it. Old people were dancing in the aisles – and it was particularly dangerous because these are sloped theater aisles!
Sidebar: a song by one of the last acts I saw at the KINK Live Performance Lounge just came on the radio – Inhaler.
If he looks familiar, it’s because his dad is kind of famous, too…
If you closed your eyes, you’d have sworn Bono was right there in the room. I’m sure he doesn’t love that comparison, but it thrilled me. I hadn’t seen U2 perform in decades and never in an intimate setting like this, obviously.
But back to the story. My favorite thing a bout seeing The Dandy Warhols was my arrival.
I actually won the tix – don’t worry, I went alone even though I won a pair – while I was driving around one night and one of the DJs, Gustav, did a call in interview with Zia about the show. Afterward, he pulled the whole, “If you want to see the show, gimme a call” thing, so I did. And the son of a gun picked up!
So my tickets were at Will Call. I go up, they’ll the guy my name and he hands me my envelope – and then says, “Hold on a second, there’s another one!”
I thought it weird that they would put the tickets in separate envelopes, but whatever. I’m opening my envelope as I head to the GA stairs – because a friend of mine told me free tickets are always in the nosebleeds and I believed it – and there’s two tickets in the envelope. And they aren’t nosebleeds…they are Orchestra! Score!
I open the second envelope once I get to my seat, curious about why there were two envelopes with my name at Will Call. My guess is that it was just a duplicate. But the tickets are different seats. Also Orchestra, but a few rows closer to the stage. I’m sitting in U and I think the other pair was on the other side of the venue in row R. I muse that I could move at intermission and get an offset stereo experience.
Then my neurotic ass chooses to feel guilty that Gustav had put my name on someone else’s tickets and they were gonna be left high and dry at the door. This is also when the orchestra starts walking out into the stage.
I’m conflicted. I’m also wondering if someone else would arrive later than I to an event like this – most of the shows I win tickets to are at General Admission venues with no seats, so I just go at showtime and miss the standing around alone part of the show. Then I notice something different about this pattern of tickets for me:
Do you see it?
My tickets for the seat I was in said $0 – truly comp tickets. The second set cost $49 apiece. My neurotic ass kicks into high gear, worrying that I derailed someone’s date night. Surely someone wouldn’t arrive later than I do to an event on a date!
That all comes to a screeching halt when I realize that maybe there’s more than one me in Portland.
It can’t be, I think. Last time I checked, there was only three men in the entire country. Me, Chicago me and Tennessee Me. Or was it Kentucky? Doesn’t make much of a difference at that particular point…it’s splitting a fine hair.
Mind you, this was back in the days of MySpace that I was looking up myselfs.
Clearly, it was time to look into this further.
LinkedIn found another me right here in Portland –
Also, this guy in Oregon City, courtesy of The Knot –
So in a moment (and 20 years, give or take) I’d gone from being one third of the mes in the country to being one third of the mes in my hometown!
I felt about as unique as a Pitt in Neosho, MO. And since one of these guys sounded pretty well compensated from his LinkedIn profile and the other I learned about from a wedding registry site, I felt a lot like the lesser Pitts in Missouri – less successful at life.
Suddenly I was less concerned about possibly disrupting someone else’s date night. I kid. I was still worrying about that. At intermission I tried to see if those other seats were occupied, because I know people get email receipts and theaters can reprint tickets – and they weren’t. Maybe they’d gone to the bar.
I’ll keep on keeping my eye out, too. I’d hate to be the last of Me to find out this was a Highlander situation…