PERSONAL NEWS #147
[Duchess Note – Sit yourselves down and give your feet a rest, because this will be a long post, with photos and concert reviews. Photos by Josee, Sarah & the Duchess. FYI...new commentary and format over at "Friends of Friday Forum". Link located in left hand column. Be peace……………]
June 22nd through 26th … I took some vacation time from work to entertain a few of my Pearl Jam friends who were visiting from Canada. Two weeks before they arrived, I’d asked my landlady to bring someone in to make repairs in bathroom, plus I made some changes around the apartment. The day before my friends were due to arrive, my cleaning lady [Dana] came by to help me spiff up the place. On June 22nd I went into Manhattan to meet with Josee at a Lexington Avenue subway station. She took a bus from LGA to the subway. It was great seeing her again. [She’s one of the original awesome MFs.] We last hooked up back in May 2006 when Pearl Jam played Pepsi Arena in Albany, NY. [That was such a terrific concert. They played RATS for the first time in concert since 1998.] We headed back to my abode via subway[s], so that she could settle in before getting a tasty lunch at a local Thai place. Their Veggie Pad Thai totally rocks. Afterwards I showed Josee around parts of my neighborhood in Brooklyn, milkshakes at an ice cream joint, plus the courtyard in back of my apartment building.
We nicknamed one of the wacko pigeons [Harvey] who occasionally hangs out in courtyard. Personally, I think there is something wrong with the bird, as its sense of direction is all messed up. Before heading back into Manhattan to pick up Sarah at Penn Station we relaxed around my abode. Poor Sarah, she’d been on that friggin Amtrak all day from Toronto, and there were delays at the Canadian/US border. [Typical of Amtrak, as this happened to me back in the summer of 2004 during my Canadian excursion. Coming and going I might add!] Sarah’s train finally arrived just before 11pm and was originally due at 9:30pm. Great to finally meet Sarah after corresponding with her since the autumn of 2000, via a Pearl Jam message board. We got back to my place in Brooklyn, via subways, by midnight and hung out chatting for two hours before crashing to bed.
In the morning we took our time getting ready, utilizing the bathroom, making coffee for Josee/Sarah while I had my Ionix Supreme by Isagenix, and planning our day’s full agenda of sightseeing. [I was up first, so I utilized the bathroom.] Weather report said it’ll be cloudy, warm and humid. Before heading into Manhattan, we stopped for a late breakfast at Bagel Delight on the avenue. They’ve been in the hood a few years and their bagels are delicious. From there we took 3 subways to the upper Westside of Manhattan for a look at the Dakota on West 72nd Street, view Strawberry Fields, stroll around a small portion of Central Park and then walked past the Museum of Natural History.
Then it was back to the #1 subway and ride all the way down to South Ferry, which is last stop in Manhattan. Strolled around the old Coast Guard building, which is now the NY Battery Maritime building/museum. Also, on weekends, one can take a ferry boat ride to Governors Island in the harbor. Then it was on to South Street Seaport for a lunch time snack, bathroom break and views of Brooklyn Bridge. While at Pier 17, Sarah purchased a replica of the Australian flag to wave during the Pearl Jam concerts on 24th and 25th. After a nice rest period of watching the activity around the pier, we walked over to and up Wall Street. Showed Josee and Sarah the Stock Exchange building and Federal Hall were George Washington had his inauguration.
[At this point I was wishing I hadn’t worn the sneakers and stuck with my sandals. My hot, sweaty feet would have to wait until we got back to my place later on. I’ve since then gotten new, better sneakers.] We then briefly checked out Trinity Church before getting on the subway to head up to midtown. Stopped by my office to pick up a parcel [ie: Isagenix]. While there I showed them around the floor I worked on, my desk area, plus hangout in two of five conference rooms and get refreshment from the pantry. Felt good to sit for abit, prop my feet up and relax.
Were we done yet with touring? Hell no! We rounded off the next hour or so with Times Square, Hard Rock Café store, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall.
I couldn’t wait to get home and fling off those darn sneakers and socks. What a relief it was … divine! Using Josee’s laptop, while lounging in the living room, we looked at and had a laugh over some of the digital pix taken that day. I know what your thinking and inquiring minds want to know. Hell no, our day wasn’t done yet. Just before 10pm we headed over to the Black Rabbit pub for some drinks, gossip, nibblers and many good laughs. We even thought up our own Pearl Jam set list.
What we’d love to hear the lads play during a concert. We finally crashed into our beds after watching Letterman on the telly. Whoa!
I was the first to wake up Tuesday AM and I promptly utilized the bathroom. Next up was Josee and finally we nudged Sarah into consciousness. Before going to Bagel Delight for a late breakfast, we went to Keyfood to get cereal for Sarah’s mother. After breakfast we took a bus to the #7 subway and then switch to an uptown #1 subway to 86th Street. Sarah was meeting a friend of hers and would be staying with her for next two nights in Manhattan. After chatting for abit we parted company and went our separate ways. We’ll see each other later on at the Pearl Jam gig that evening at MSG. Josee and I flagged down a taxi to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art over on 5th Avenue.
Weather had some clouds and not as humid as day before, plus I was wearing sandals today. Felt much better too … amen! As always there are crowds of folk at my favorite museum in NYC, plus artisans and street performers. There is never a dull moment in front of that lovely museum. Main thing we wanted to see and do was visit the roof garden on the 5th floor. The Jeff Koon’s sculpture exhibit was up there, but the main thing is the views of Manhattan and Central Park. Gorgeous! Stunning! Awesome!
[I first learned about the roof garden back in the summer of 2003.] After photographing the sculptures and views we headed back down to main level to see a few other terrific exhibits [ie: Superhero’s & Greek/Roman]. Josee and I also checked out the MMoAs vast gift shop, which I might add is very nice, but pricey. Then it was time to leave and we purchased some ice cream from a vendor. We strolled past the artisans selling their wares and then noticed the dark clouds looming from the west. We walked quickly east and made it to the subway before it started to pour. By the time we emerged in Greenwich Village the rain had passed and it was again a hot day in NYC. We walked around the Greenwich Village area for an hour or so. Stopped into McNulty’s to purchase chocolate covered espresso beans, which are oh so tasty. Found a place that does smoothies and fruit/veggie drinks for a much needed energy boost. We also checked out a record/vinyl shop that seemed to feature a lot of Bowie stuff. The Village holds many treasures [architecture is terrific] that can be found on charming side streets; such as private courtyards that look like a country oasis. I love to just stroll around and let things happen.
Strolled back to the subway to head uptown and go the pre-concert party to hook up with Demetrios. We eventually found the place and it was packed with Pearl Jam fans having a good time before the gig. The band “No Code” was playing Pearl Jam covers in a back room of the bar. Out front, near the entrance, were tables set up with loads of Pearl Jam memorabilia and that’s were we met up with Demetrios. [He’s an acquaintance of Josee and a very nice gent.] He had an extra ticket for both nights and I’d purchased them a month or so ago. He gave me my precious ticket for that evening’s gig, as well as some DVDs from Pearl Jam concerts. WooHoo! I picked up a Pearl Jam key ring that said “Ament”. I love Pearl Jam music and I adore Jeff Ament. He is one sexy man and plays a mean bass. Sigh! From there the three of us walked up to Hotel Penn to meet up with Josee’s friend[s] Sheri/Mark, and off to “Triple Crown” restaurant for a quick bite to eat. Back at MSG Josee hooked up with a few chaps who’d purchased extra tickets from her via online. Once that was out of the way, it was time to head into MSG, pick up Pearl Jam goodies for my friend Michelle, use the restroom and then find our seats. Sarah was down on the floor area facing the stage, while Demetrios and I had seats on the side of the stage looking down were Mike McCready usually stands. Josee and Mark were also in the stands like me on Mike’s side of the stage. I was quite pleased with where we were, and thrilled that I’d mostly be looking at Jeff and Mike. Double sigh! The warm up band was okay and to be honest with you, I can’t recall the name of the band. Just before Pearl Jam came on at 8:45pm I waved to Josee and Sarah. Was so happy to be there in MSG and you could feel the excitement from the fans in the packed arena. Wow, it so intensified when the band took the stage and everyone stood up. WooHoo!
MAIN SET: Hard to Imagine, Save You, Why Go, All Night, Corduroy, Faithful, Small Town, Down, Unemployable, Given to Fly, Who You Are, Whipping, Half Full, Even Flow, Present Tense, Daughter/Blitzkrieg Bop tag, Do the Evolution
ENCORE 1: Love Reign O'er Me, W.M.A., Leash, Spin the Black Circle, Wasted Reprise, Porch
ENCORE 2: No More, Crazy Mary, Comatose, I Believe in Miracles, Alive
ENCORE 3: All Along the Watchtower, Indifference
I danced about throughout most of the show on a high from the music. At times I could see Sarah waving the Australian flag around at her seat. My favorite songs during the gig were … Hard to Imagine, All Night, Corduroy, Faithful, Down, Given to Fly, Whipping, Half Full, Even Flow, Present Tense, Love Reign O’er Me, WMA, Spin the Black Circle, Porch, No More, Crazy Mary, I Believe in Miracles and Alive.
Before doing “I Believe in Miracles”, Eddie introduced CJ Ramone, who came on stage to play bass during that song. The band members are fans of the Ramones and The Who. The concert ended around 11:30pm to wild applause and cheers from the fans. Met up with Josee across the street at the Hotel Penn, where Demetrios was staying, and the two of us took subway back to my place in Brooklyn. Before going to bed, Josee and I checked out her digital photos of the day on her laptop. It’s like reliving the day all over again, only from the comfort of a cozy apartment.
Next morning we took our time getting ready before heading out. Josee packed her suitcase, as she was staying at Sheri’s place that night. It’s easier for her to grab transport to LaGuardia Airport in Queens. Went to Bagel Delight for a late breakfast and then took car service into Manhattan, as we had to drop off Josee’s suitcase at Sheri’s place near Lincoln Center. We strolled through Lincoln Center and down Broadway to Columbus Circle, which borders southwestern edge of Central Park. Many of the Pedi-cabs are lined up there to take tourists through parts of southern Central Park. [Been meaning to take a Pedi-cab ride one of these days, just to say I experienced it.] Next we went into the Time Warner Center and photographed the two large “naked” statues in the lobby, then up to the 5th floor for the views of Central Park and parts of Manhattan.
Before heading down to City Hall, we stopped by MSG to pick up our tickets for the concert that evening and met up briefly with Demetrios. Josee was pleased with her seats, though Demetrios and I were abit iffy. Back on the subway down to City Hall and we relaxed with some liquid refreshment in a shaded area of the park. Many folk were still out and about enjoying a late lunch.
Josee’s PJ friend Mark joined us shortly afterwards. It was another nice, sunny day with some clouds and not as toasty as Sunday or Monday. Next on our “touring” agenda was the trek across the famous Brooklyn Bridge towards the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights. The views from the bridge are quite amazing and the breeze is refreshing. In Brooklyn Heights we sat in Cadman Plaza for awhile talking and resting under some shady trees.
Yep, you guessed it, back onto the subway and trekked up to MSG. We parted company from Mark and went to find a place for a meal before the concert. We ended up at Mustang Sally’s on 7th Avenue for a light repast. Back up to MSG to hangout for abit outside and relax our feet. We parted company and head off to our respective seats. Josee had good seats down on the floor and I was sitting on Stone’s side of the stage. Again I wasn’t impressed with the warm up band whose name I cannot recall. Demetrios showed up about 5 to 10 minutes before Pearl Jam came on at 8:45pm. He said the pre-concert party was a blast and met lots of cool people with “connections”. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with my seat for this evening’s concert. Despite that this show had far more energy then previous evening and the audience was on fire with enthusiasm. The Garden was shaking and bouncing!
MAIN SET: Release, World Wide Suicide, Severed Hand, Corduroy, All Night, Cropduster, Garden, Marker in the Sand, I'm Open, Wishlist/Vote Obama, State of Love and Trust, Evenflow, Who You Are, Rats, Given to Fly, Do the Evolution, Go
1ST ENCORE: Inside Job, WMA, Lukin, I Believe in Miracles w/ CJ Ramone, Better Man/Save It For Later, RVM
2ND ENCORE: No More, Last Kiss, Why Go, Black Diamond w/Matt and Mike on vocals and Ace Frehley on lead guitar, Alive, Yellow Ledbetter
About three songs on the set list, like the night before, had backup singers, who were fabulous. Before “Marker in the Sand”, Ed talked about the late George Carlin. Then as they went into Marker, Mike f--ked up the intro and said, "I wrote it and I f--ked it up." And then he restarted it. "Last Kiss" was played to the audience at the back of the stage. I have a confession to make, I so dislike the song “Wishlist” and I wasn’t thrilled with the tag to it either. Four songs later they made up for it with a great version of RATS. I screamed and jumped for joy. People around me thought I was nuts. Who the f—k cares what people think, it’s a fav song of mine. Other favs were Marker in the Sand, Given to Fly, WMA, All Night, Rearview Mirror, Why Go, Alive and Yellow Ledbetter. Quite a surprise to see Ace Frehley join the band during “Black Diamond”, only thing is I didn’t really recognize him. Why? Well, the only KISS member I’ve seen without stage makeup is Gene Simmons. Mike McCready is a huge KISS fan. Fellow NYDoP board member, Kevin, was also at the gig with some friends. We talked about the concert during a DoP conference call next evening. After the gig Demetrios and I met up with Josee in front of the Hotel Penn. We talked for abit and then went our separate ways. Josee joined her friend Melissa in walking about the Times Square area. Tonight I would be sleeping in my apartment all by myself.
Next morning, after breakfast, I tidy up abit around the apartment before heading into Manhattan. I headed over to Sheri’s place on Westside to meet up with Josee. Met Sheri’s adorable little Maltese doggie Shaney and we all talked about the concert. Afterwards Josee and I grabbed a taxi to Port Authority, so she could catch her transport to LGA. The bus arrived and we hugged goodbye. Made sure she got off safely and I later learned that Sarah caught her 7am Amtrak okay at Penn Station. My dear Canadian peeps were safely on their way home … I headed home myself and watched Season 3, Volume 1 of LOST on DVD. Relaxed and totally crashed … overall it was great fun and I enjoyed having my friends visit. Next time I’ll have company in my home will be during my birthday bash weekend in October.