I’m sure if you’ve been following along and casually reading Beat & Lyric you will sense a recurring theme. Well it isn’t exclusively ‘Ryan Star’ but he does play a major role, and so does bacon. Bacon I will however leave to the quirky foodie Betty because that is right up her alley.
It’s all about connection, a connect-the-dots drawing that is a map of creativity that crosses paths, builds bridges between minds, colours blending and emerging in light and sound. Betty & I are sharing the sound, sharing our words and thoughts here and with every show we see, or trip we take the map gets larger, the paint on the canvas thickens, and the connection(s) electrify.
Erie, Pennsylvania is an interesting city, the lake city as it is sometimes known on the southern American shore of Lake Erie. Erie the next destination on the Beat & Lyric concert tour. This trip, the second cross-border trip, the third with Betty by my side was a true road trip. In the car early on Saturday morning, drive-thru for a caffeine fix, playlist made and plugged into the car, Google maps printed and in the hands of navigator Betty Beat.
The trip focus was of course a show. Sunday night, November 13th we had tickets to see The Goo Goo Dolls close for Ryan Star. This is how we ‘fanatical fans’ of Ryan were referring to his 6 week tour with Buffalo bar-band gone big time The Goo Goo Dolls. Thinking back to my ‘cd’ collection I did recall purchasing ‘Superstar Carwash’ in 1993 and enjoying the entire album, especially ‘we are the normal’. I would have to dust off the collection and look through, I could own ‘A Boy Named Goo’ & ‘Dizzy up the Girl’ but I’m sure that anything after Iris would be unrecognizable to my ears.
I don’t think I have to reiterate the love that both Betty & I have for Ryan, his music, and his entourage. I think we have established that in the three previous 11:59 blog posts. The trip was uneventful for the first part of Saturday morning, we made record time to the border, but it seemed that every Canadian uber shopper was heading into the USA for ‘deals’. An hour weight time at customs, luckily we had taken advantage of the Duty Free Bathrooms on the Canadian side and scored a sweet deal on fancy bacon-flavoured vodka.
Shopping in the USA is different than Canada, especially outlet shopping. There is a sense of urgency and if you don’t break the ice early with a purchase you lose momentum. Betty scored boots at a very reasonable price in the first store…..I however did not. At that point I should have realized that my very narrow perimeters for the style, colour and feel of the boot I was after, would be my downfall in finding a deal. Hence I came home bootless. I did however nearly complete my Christmas shopping for the plethora of nieces and nephews my siblings and sibling-in-laws have blessed me with, that was the goal.
Just before we embarked on the second leg of the road trip, something worth mentioning – running into people in a mall in another country hours away from home that we know, well that Betty knew. A friend /co-worker of Betty’s with his wife were at the outlet mall, and she spotted them from across the busy food-court. Not a strange coincidence as the place was likely packed with Canadians, but still a chance meeting all the same and another ‘connection’ to solidify the recurring theme. I wonder if they like bacon?
Leg#2 – driving from Niagara to Erie. Playlist = Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials. We both had been skipping around the new album at home but never listened from beginning to end. We did on this leg of the journey and the conclusion is that both Betty and I have different favourites but have the same dislikes about the album. We arrived in Erie after listening to many different tunes, and we found out that both have a love of Dinosaur Jr. and car-danced to Start Choppin’, what a great driving tune. I think I may have even peaked Betty’s interest when Buffalo Tom came on in the rotation, we went from brand new to kickin’ it old school in a matter of hours. Every good road trip playlist needs a great mix of old and new….if only we could get our hands on some good soul music, anyone have a Gerald Levert mp3 they care to share?
I’m going to fast forward here as we arrive in Erie, checked into hotel, found a rather unassuming chain-type restaurant to eat, and then crashed. Noteworthy is the hotel in downtown Erie – sketchy place but dirt cheap and there is bacon and it’s free!!!!!! Seriously free bacon makes you overlook the downsides of a cheap hotel – the copious amounts of pigeon shit in the parking garage, the broken elevator, the stained carpets and sketchy bedspreads, and the gaggle of drag queens hanging out in the lobby (I did really like one of the gal’s boots, perhaps I should have found out where she got them).
Sunday was about Target, but not before we indulged in the free bacon buffet in the hotel restaurant. Target didn’t know what hit them, and when we returned to the hotel our room was littered with red-dotted plastic bags (keep in mind we will be reusing these bags and that in Canada they are recycled so we lugged them home to do our part.)
The afternoon and evening was spent twittering with other rstar fans in hopes to meet up for drinks before the show. We managed a dinner near the venue and a few cocktails to liven us up, and then off to the show. The Warner Theatre is a gorgeous old venue, and much reminds me of the Capitol Theatre in my hometown – nostalgia crept in. We found our seats and were pleasantly surprised by the view we would have of the stage. Old theatres really don’t have a bad seat in the house.
Tradition has been started and typically it is an ‘expensive’ shot/shooter at the venue bar, weren’t we mildly delighted when the bartender poured us double-shots and only charged us $10! Suddenly Erie, PA went up a notch!
The opening act – well, he was fabulous. When the set first started it was only Betty & I along with only a few others in the crowd standing. We didn’t care, we were here to see Ryan and there was no way I would/could sit through it. By the end Ryan had them on their feet! The sound in the theatre was great, or at least from my seat it was great…we sang, we danced, we grooved…..it was all too short. I was thrilled to be able to experience ‘Stay A While’ live so I give you a video of that night’s performance. Thanks to my twitter peeps for posting this one.
Set list – Brand New Day, Right Now, 11:59, Last Train Home, Psycho Suicidal Girl, Breathe, Stay A While, Start A Fire, Back of Your Car
After Ryan’s set we meandered out to the lobby knowing that he’d be at the Merchandise table to meet and greet. We had already chatted with the lovely Michelle pre-show and it was nice to re-connect in person after meeting her all those years ago in Toronto. My one regret from the NYC show is not making my way over to chat with her, there was so much going on that night that I never really even had a chance to say ‘hi’. She’s a doll, so if anyone out there hasn’t chatted her up, take the time, she doesn’t bite!
We caught some of the Goo Goo Doll’s set and it was lovely. Didn’t hate, didn’t love….but like I said earlier they have been off my radar for some time so my opinion on them is irrelevant, the venue was packed and their fans were rockin’ so that to me is a testament that they’ve had staying power.
We made our way out and chatted with the rstar crew. I was thrilled to get a giant hug from Serena, another absolute doll in the rstar crew, I imagine that I if I lived in NYC that we’d be sharing cocktails and cupcakes on a regular basis. As the show let out and people were milling about in the lobby it felt like a cocktail party. Mingle with people, chat with old friends kind of cocktail party. We managed to meet only half the band, Artie & Eli, as Dan & Dallin were perhaps meant for the next show. Artie is a character and he made me laugh, I’m not sure if his telling me my proper use of the word ‘loitering’ was a compliment or not?!? Marti, a friend of Ryan’s and a twitter peep was also great person to finally meet – she’s an artful soul with a great creative vibe – she was kind enough to give me permission to post one of her shots of Ryan from that night’s show (see top of this post) http://martitaylordee.com/
Betty and I were lucky enough to get some great face time with Ryan – we chatted like old friends and I believe he truly appreciates each and every fan new and old. He’s a man with no pretentious bones in his body and I have a feeling that I will be rocking to his tunes for years to come – firstly because I love his work and secondly but he’s a gracious creative soul that connects with the people around him on another level.