life in and around NYC is insane

Sunday, August 24, 2014

So ok, I'm not 25 anymore

Two concerts in two days at Jones Beach left me wrung out, exhausted ... And very, very happy.

I love Jones Beach as a concert venue. Outdoors, with ocean breezes blowing. Great experience, unless it rains. What's really unique about the theater is that the stage was built in the bay. Literally. In the early years there was a moat separating the stage from the seats, and Guy Lombardo would sail his boat from Freeport to the theater every night and tie up the boat at the stage. They filled in the moat, of course, but if you're sitting in the orchestra, you're right near the water.

Jones Beach Theater is a "dry" venue. Or should I say "semi-dry"? This year they started selling beer, but you have to drink it in the designated area, you can't bring it back to your seat.

So Wednesday night was a double bill, Santana and Rod Stewart. An odd pairing, even more so than Jackson Browne and John Fogerty, earlier this month. It was a sold-out show, more for Stewart than for Santana, of course. I'd never seen Rod in concert, but Drew had seen him years ago, when Drew worked as an usher at the Jones Beach Theater, and Rod performed a great concert in the pouring rain.

Having experienced the decline of Jones Beach concessions, we decided to 'tailgate" before the show. For Drew and me, this simply meant stretching out in the minivan with sandwiches from Pastrami Plus.

First up was Santana. Latin Jazz. I like Santana, I've got a couple of their big hits in my iTunes playlist, but I am not enough of a fan to buy tickets to see them in concert. Still, it was a very exciting and upbeat show.

And then it was time for Rod. He sang "You're In My Heart"'and "Tonight's the Night" and "Hot Legs" and "Maggie Mae". He joked about expensive crazy shoes and kicked soccer balls into the audience.

And he joked about how this was the first time he was at Jones Beach and it wasn't raining.

"Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" was the final song of the night – performed in front of a video screen showing a 1970's quote from Rolling Stone: "I don't want to be singing Do Ya Think I'm Sexy at 50 and become a parody of myself." At 69, he's still sexy.

Thursday night was Jimmy Buffett. I "discovered" Buffett in 2009, when we won tickets to see him at Madison Square Garden. We had a cruise to the Caribbean planned for February 2010, and his music seemed to sync with our upcoming plans. We've seen Buffett at Jones Beach every summer since then, except, of course, the summer we were actually cruising the Caribbean the week he was at Jones Beach.

A Buffett concert at the beach is much different from any other concert. The fans love to tailgate in the parking lot all day. They set up elaborate tents, etc. Why the parking lot, when they have a world class beach at their disposal ... I'm sure there are more fans in the parking lot than in the seats. It's really crazy, and since we don't spend the whole day at the tailgate party, I pay for premium parking just so I know we won't be parking over a mile away from the theater.

We did our own version of tailgating again, this time with sandwiches from Subway.

And then it was time for the concert. I chose our seats carefully, picked seats in the "Orchestra D" section. House left, near the stage and the water.

The theory was that our fellow audience members would be better behaved in more expensive seats -- we had unpleasant experiences in nosebleed territory for Bon Jovi at the Meadowlands and Billy Joel at MSG.

The theory is wrong -- although we've seen bad behavior in the stadium seats at previous Buffett concerts, the only time I've ever had to actually summon an usher (you can do it via text message!) was Thursday night. Drunk guy spent the first half of the concert drinking in the beer tent. Showed up at his seat (behind us) midway through the concert, and really made his presence known. Screaming at the top of his lungs. Flailing his arms wildly, not caring that he was hitting other people around him. He kept touching the woman sitting next to Drew, it's a wonder her date didn't punch him. Thank goodness he left before the encore!

But we didn't let the jerk ruin our good time. Jimmy sang all his hits, covered some really good songs, generally created a party atmosphere. "Fins", "Volcano", "One Particular Harbor", "Cheeseburger In Paradise", and, of course, "Margaritaville".

And then, after the show ... Well, the performers cannot park their trailers behind the stage, so they have to walk the through the house to get to their trailers. Security walks them through ... Orchestra Section D. Yes, Jimmy Buffett walked right by us. We saw him up close and personal. Drew was shocked to realize how short Buffett really is!

It was another great concert, but the craziness is starting to get to me. I'm thinking I'll be spending my concert money elsewhere next summer.

Yeah, I'm not 25 anymore.

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