My Thomas Dolby concert experience, part II

On April 6th, I saw Thomas Dolby in concert in Minneapolis, MN.

In the first entry of two about it, I discussed some notes I wrote on my phone beforehand. Now, I want to describe the concert experience, started with when I got in line.

How,  the two friends whose apartment I stayed at, I hung out there for about an hour. I’m really kicking myself over that because if I’d had them drop me off right when they picked me up from the bus station, I’d have been a lot closer to the front of the line.

No matter. That little fact will not mar my entire concert experience, so let us move on. I was honestly a bit amazed that the line was as long as it was when I arrived at 6:30. Doors didn’t open until 7.

I spent that time chatting up this lovely couple ahead of me in line (that’s one of them with the scarf). They were nice. The man was rattling off Dolby vinyl that he owned, it was pretty cool.

This was the moment I really began to freak out, when I saw the time capsule.

So, switch to getting inside. Of course, the prime front and center area was already well filled by the time I got in. I secured a seat in the second row, off to the side a bit but still fairly close to the middle. I began chatting with another wonderful couple, and we had a lovely discussion about how I got into music like Thomas Dolby and I was only 25. We also had a brief discussion about the Laurie Anderson song playing on the PA system. I told the lady my story for how I’d gotten to be a Dolby fan. It was really quite nice. I was much too excited to be that disappointed that I hadn’t gotten a seat closer to the front.

The two men in red shirts are twins. Those shirts say “I’m the evil twin”. I chatted with them after the show, and they said their mother had gotten the shirts for them ages ago and they hadn’t been taken out of the box until this night.

The music on the PA system before the opening act came on was pretty nice in and of itself. The Talking Heads, even a David Bowie song I hadn’t heard for ages. They even played the song New Toy, by Lene Lovich. Which I spazzed about because it’s literally been years since I heard that song.

So, then the opening act. Made up of Aaron Jonah Lewis and Ben Belcher.

Now, they played some unique country/bluegrass kind of music. If you know me and my stance on these things, it’s a testament to them that I actually enjoyed it. I don’t know that I’d run out and buy the cd, but they were both really talented. And they were funny.  I don’t know. It might appear that I have a blanket hate policy on country music, but that simply isn’t true. I’m just extremely picky about it. And when one is disillusioned in regards to a genre of music, it can be easy to become biased against anything closely resembling it.

But I enjoyed the opening act. During one of their songs, Thomas Dolby’s drummer snuck behind them on stage and smacked around on the electronic drum kit. Neither Aaron or Ben noticed, which the audience thought was quite hilarious. I could have cried laughing.

After the opening act, I started to get really excited. Up until that point it almost felt like a dream, but now, I was wearing my outfit, holding my LP, sitting in the venue. I wish I could have bottled that feeling so I could tap into it on gloomy days.

So, when this well dressed announcer guy came up on stage and asked if we were all ready to see Thomas Dolby, naturally the audience screamed like hell.

That is nothing compared to that first moment that Thomas came on stage.

The song playing was Commercial Breakup, and the only thing going through my head was “OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD”. I literally almost cried with joy, but I stopped myself because I didn’t want to smudge my eyeliner.

In my defense, I did run this through the “clarify” filter in paint shop pro 8 a bunch of times. Occasionally doing so produces really neat effects like this one.

I screamed and clapped like a spaz after every song.  To aid my memory of this show I did look up a setlist. Believe me, my memory is horrible for everything except music.

The next song he played was One of Our Submarines, and even though I kind of knew the backstory for it, it was lovely to hear Thomas tell it in his own words. It’s a lovely song. It translates really well live, I think.

This shot is blurry, but I like to think he’s looking directly at my camera.

Now, when he began playing The Flat Earth, I spazzed a bit. It was one of my favorite Dolby tunes I fully expected him not to play, since I believe it was played on The Sole Inhabitant tour. I figured since it was in the last one, it wouldn’t be in this one. So I was extremely excited. It sounds lovely live. I remember loving how the guitar sounded in the overall ambiance of the song. Honestly, The Flat Earth has such a great message. I highly recommend it.

The Flat Earth was not playing when this picture was taken, but during the editing of these pictures I got slap happy with adding lyrics, so I thought it prudent to include this picture.

For Evil Twin Brother, Thomas’ son Graham sat in on drums.

And I was honestly blown away by it.  I am 25 and I am not even coordinated enough to play drums. This guy is probably only in early teens and he can already drum like a boss. After the entire show, I was in a small queue of people at the stage while Graham came on stage to pack some stuff up. In afterthought, the drawing I wanted to show Thomas, should I have been lucky enough to meet him, I should have given that to his son and asked him to pass it along. But again. I’m not going to let “what I should have done” ruin the entire experience. Anyway. On with the blog.

I was very excited when Thomas began telling a story about his song Love is a Loaded Pistol.

I knew that it was about Billie Holiday, but I didn’t know it came about as a result of an odd dream he had. It went something like, Billie Holiday came to him in a dream and gave him the line “this time it’s love”, and in the dream he remembers thinking that was a crap, unoriginal lyric. When he woke up, he was mad at himself for dissing the great Billie Holiday, so he promised himself he’d write a song with that line in it. It was really fascinating. When I have dreams, they’re about standing in the rain with David Tennant outside a time machine, or about having to deliver paychecks to honey badgers. Nothing that amazing has happened to me in a dream.

The song is really lovely, by the way. I got one of my best pictures of the night while he was playing that song.

The next song, My Brain is Like a Sieve, I knew that one was going to be played, but I freaked out when he started talking about it. He mentioned the album it’s on (Aliens ate my buick) and myself and another fan in the audience that had brought that album, we waved them in the air. And right before the song I had a good laugh, because Thomas said something to the effect of “If he didn’t remember all the words that would be ironic because the song was called “my brain is like a sieve”.

The next song was Road to Reno. He told a little story before hand about he wasn’t always good at doing his research when he wrote songs (something about getting wrong the year the camaro was released, and how to pronounce it), but I honestly think you can chalk some of that up to being adorable and British, both things that Mr. Dolby happens to be.

The next song was Toadlickers, and honestly, even though it’s fairly country, it’s a really kick ass song. It’s really bizarre. The song mentions Dr. Pepper which is pretty much the only kind of soda I want to drink right now. The song also mentions jaffa cakes, but I’m in the US so I went for some hostess cupcakes on the bus ride home and figured that would be close enough.

I am quite pissed at myself that this shot didn’t come out better but better to have gotten it blurry than to have not gotten it at all. It still makes me giggle.

Now, when Thomas began telling a story about the next song (“I Love You Goodbye”)  I really freaked out.  The album it’s on (Astronauts and Heretics) might be my favorite Dolby album. I had known vaguely that it was about New Orleans, but hearing the story he told about it was fascinating.

Again, this wasn’t the song playing when this picture was taken. I’m not that good at remembering what particular song was playing when a particular picture was taken, but I wanted to include this shot anyway. He’s facing my direction again, so there. 😛

The next song was Europa and the Pirate Twins, which is a wonderful, peppy song. I have known it for years, since my first Thomas Dolby obsession when I was in college. So in addition to just generally kicking ass, it’s a bit nostalgic for me. I used to watch the music video on the computers in the dorm computer lab all the time. It’s just a nice song to groove along with.

Now, I had known beforehand that he was going to play the song “Field Work” which he wrote with Ryuichi Sakamoto, but I still spazzed when he began telling a story about it. It’s one of my favorites, and the song inspired what I consider to be one of it not the best drawing I have ever done, which was done several months ago.

So now whenever I hear this song, it makes me think a lot of the color green.

The next song he played was Airhead. I freaked out a bit because  it’s one of my favorite, favorite, favorite Dolby songs, which is also on the album which I brought along with me. It’s one of those songs that is also nostalgic for me because I used to listen to it a lot when I first discovered Mr. Dolby’s music. I still think of the video and these ridiculous tight, bright red leather pants that were worn in said video. In fact, I have taken my tumblr blog title (Little miss door ajar) from a lyric that I borrowed from this song. It’s a great song and despite it’s lighthearted sound, it is a really intelligent song. Which, given the title, sounds like a paradox, but I promise it’s not. XD

The next song was Hyperactive, and naturally, as with every song, I freaked out when he started playing it. It’s a great, groovy song. Translates pretty well live. I did miss the trippy background vocals, but if I wanted to hear the song sound exactly like the record, I’d listen to the record. There’s something to be said about people who are so consistent they can produce live the sound they had on the album, but I don’t mind live versions being different at all.

Of course, being that this is a Thomas Dolby concert, one cannot escape She Blinded Me With Science. It really is a great song, but it’s not nearly his best, not by a long shot. That being said, I prefer the song live. It needs that energy.

Then, they walked offstage. I clapped so hard and screamed so much during that, that my arms still hurt and my throat is still a bit scratchy, and it’s been three days. I almost had to stop clapping, my arms hurt so bad. XD

The encore consisted of Spice Train, and Silk Pyjamas. This made me spaz.

Spice Train is a wonderfully funky song, and everyone at this point was up and dancing. I probably looked like an idiot, but I don’t care. When I hear music, it makes me want to move a certain way. And I move that way, and damn to hell what anyone thinks. It’s that complete abandon that I love about it. That complete freedom to move exactly the way you want to move.

Silk Pyjamas was one of those favorites that I never, ever thought he would play live in a million years. He had a wonderful story to tell about Silk Pyjamas where the record company wanted him to release a version in Spanish. They wrote it out phonetically for him and he recorded a spanish version and then never thought of it again. Then, he had to make an appearance on Spanish tv, which was lip synched. But it was the Spanish version. He didn’t know any of the words, but the crowd knew them all.

Then, the show really was over. And I had no idea what to think or feel. I queued up by the stage with some other fans for a bit, but the drummer told us our best bet was the tour bus out back.

I didn’t get a concert tee shirt, which I am regretting a bit, but at the time I didn’t want to deal with the queue. And I thought perhaps I had a shot to run into Thomas outside, so I was kind of eager to get out there.

Unfortunately I did not get to meet Thomas. I did hang out outside for a while with some other fans, and this lovely older gentleman let me wear his jacket while we were all standing in line to record our messages for the time capsule. It was kind of touching that someone else was willing to stand out in the cold so I could wear their jacket. I almost felt guilty.

While waiting for my ride, I pulled up the songs “I live in a suitcase” and “Oceanea” on my phone. It was an amazing experience, this entire concert, but I was a bit melancholy and sad because it was over. I looked forward to it for so long that I was a bit downtrodden that I didn’t have it to look forward to anymore.

It was honestly a wonderful experience. I don’t want to call it “once in a lifetime” because if Thomas tours again, I will be seeing him again. And hopefully meeting him. Since I’ve gone through this experience once, I will be better prepared the next time around, should I be lucky enough to get a next time.





My Thomas Dolby concert experience, part I

On January 27th, I wrote to you about buying a Thomas Dolby concert ticket.

I spent over 2 months anticipating seeing my favorite musician in concert.

This past April 6th, I saw Thomas Dolby in concert.

To pass the time, I wrote the occasional note on my phone, as a way to chronicle the day. I am going to include those notes here, in italic text.

Since this is mighty long enough with just the notes I wrote on my phone, I will go into detail about the concert in an entry which I shall link to here, once I have written it.

I  took a bunch of pictures before I left, in transit, and finally at the concert.

Due to the sheer volume of pictures I took (well over 200) I will take the liberty of only posting the pictures I took at the concert.

As it is, you’re in for a bit of a long winded read.

-Well, it’s 1:54 on April 6th and I’m waiting for my bus to arrive. Won’t get here until 2:45, and time seems to be dragging on and on, as it usually does when you’re awaiting something exciting. The bus station is in our airport. Some may call it pitifully small and a little outdated, but I prefer cute and retro. It’s my first bus trip on my own (the band trip my sophomore year of HS doesn’t count) so it’s a bit surreal and weird to be honest. But, hell, little kids have been on flights by themselves before, so at 25 I should be fine. 

I think one of the ladies here used to work where I work now. 

I just talked to a lady and my bus was supposed to leave from here about 4 minutes ago, but it’s running late so it should be around 2:30. Which is funny because the bus ticket I bought said 2:45. At least, I thought it did. No matter. I would have been here way early anyway. And they’ll make an announcement before the bus leaves. So at this point the only thing worrying me is worry itself.  Which sounds like a line that might be in a really shitty presidential speech. But anyway. 

I wanted to bring a notebook to kind of journal my experience but since I was already carrying so much stuff with me (or it feels like a lot, but essentially it’s just a small backpack, a messenger bag, a little gift bag and a record sleeve) so I didn’t want to add yet another thing to carry.

Actually, I did ask that girl who I thought looked familiar. She did not used to work at the store I work at. She has a twin sister. Well now I know. At least I won’t have to keep myself up at night worrying about it now.  Lol. There is only one other person in here aside from three workers. I’m just wondering what bag checks will be like, if it will be anything like when we came here to get on an airplane way back in 2004.  I’m starting to get nervous. I know it’s only 2:15 but I’m paranoid about missing that bus. I was told there would be an announcement which is a standard thing that happens but the thing about my anxiety is that I can take the simplest little mound of dirt and turn it into a mountain. 

-Around 3pm-ish: Well, I’ve been on the bus for about 15 minutes, and it’s pretty calm. A couple rows over, there’s a beautiful woman with dark skin wearing a headscarf. I really wish it were socially acceptable to take a picture. 

The landscape is just starting to really turn green. Being on a bus is a little odd. I can see overtop of cars and trucks. It’s kind of cool. I have a bag of chips along with me but it’s so quiet in here (save for the droning of the bus engine) that I’m almost afraid to rustle the potato chip bag. We’ll have a 20 minute layover in Albert Lea so I’ll probably eat them then. It’s so weird. If it weren’t for the road signs I’d have no idea that we’d left Iowa. It all looks the same at this point.

There is a balding blonde man eating a chocolate peanut cluster and it’s making me wish I’d thought to buy a candy bar at the airport. I have my chips, true, but what he was eating looked really good. Just thought that would be one of the nuances you would like to have recorded for posterity. Screw it. Hungry now. Just opened my chips.

-It’s 3:40 and our layover is done. I bought a sandwich and some mountain dew. I finally figured out how to adjust my seat. Lol. There’s a really cute dude on his laptop a couple seats over. I’m listening to “Beauty of a dream” on my mp3 player and it’s just a really beautiful song. Everyone seems to be talking more so it’s not quite so uncomfortably quiet in here. It occurs to me that I don’t know how long some of these people have been on the bus so maybe they really needed that layover to recharge. Cute guy a couple seats over is playing solitaire on his laptop. Don’t know why that’s relevant, it just is.

I am beginning to get excited again. I was nervous all morning and at the bus station but I’m calm now. On that note, in the car on the way to the airport/bus station we heard “Ticket to ride” by the Beatles on the radio. I feel like this was a musical act of divine intervention. It was too perfect to be a coincidence. 

It’s funny, really.  Here I am, sitting on the bus headed for Minneapolis. I have spent weeks contemplating what this moment would feel like. It’s weird that I’m actually doing it now. I have looked forward to this for so long, I don’t know what I’ll look forward to when it’s all said and done.

-It’s 4:42. We’re passing through Faribault, MN. Notable things seen so far: a kid on a motorized scooter, and a large man standing outside KFC holding a bucket of chicken. This is America after all. Case in point, we just passed an Anytime Fitness.  I’m starting to get really excited about the concert. It hasn’t felt quite real but rather like a dream. Bus driver just honked at some douche driver. Speaking of which, earlier I saw someone in a different car driving with their knees while simultaneously unplugging his phone and driving at 75mph. That frightens me a little.

Some dude just texted me. Wrong number. He said “I’m here!” and “I’m with Jon on the 5th green”. It amused me because I am the last person you would find on a golf course.


Give me your shoulder, I need a place to wait for morning.

Back in January, you may recall me talking about purchasing a ticket to a Thomas Dolby concert on April 6th. Well.

It’s currently 10:19 pm on April 5th. Which means that in less than 24 hours, I will be seeing Thomas Dolby in concert.

It’s a bit surreal, to be honest. I bought my ticket the very first day they went on sale, back in January, and then I tried to keep it to the back burner a little bit because I had so long to wait. And winter has this odd habit of dragging on and on and on, seeming about three or four times longer than it actually is.

I would occasionally get really excited about it, but again, I’m not a patient person, so I tried to forget about it momentarily.

Now, the plan has changed somewhat from what I originally wrote about. Originally, I was going to walk to the concert venue from the greyhound bus station (about 2 miles) and take a return bus that wasn’t going to leave until 5:30 in the morning on Saturday.

My dad got in touch with a friend of his on facebook who has a daughter that lives really close to the bus station… Or close to the concert venue. Given the fact that the station and the venue are only two miles apart, whatever, doesn’t matter what she’s closer to really.

But yeah, her name is Phoebe and she has graciously agreed to let me crash at her apartment. She lives there with her fiancee (yes, she’s marrying a woman get over it) and three cats. I already knew we were going to get along, but when she asked me if I watched Sherlock and where she could see it online, I started freaking out a little.  Because if you weren’t aware, Sherlock is my new favorite tv show and the chosen fandom I am surrounding myself with.

That sounds like a really stupid reason to be excited about meeting someone, but trust me on this one.

Because I know she doesn’t read this, I will say this here. I got her a little gift for allowing me to stay at her place. It’s a little “Would you rather” card game and a roll of giant smarties.  Seriously. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a smartie the size of a quarter.

Instead of getting the greyhound bus for 5 something in the morning, I will just suck it up and pay the 15 dollar transfer fee to use my ticket for a later bus ride. It’ll be one leaving that evening, so Phoebe has said that after she gets off work at 11am (she works at a coffee shop) she would be willing to show me around Minneapolis a little.

I’m just so excited I can’t even tell you.

I thought about chronicling Friday/part of Saturday in pictures. If I don’t do that I will be keeping a notebook so can journal the day but really, I’m a visual person.

Only thing is, taking pictures constantly can distract a little. So I’m not sure. Lol

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have chamomile and peach tea to drink out of a coffee mug shaped like the TARDIS.

Actually, I’m trying to calm myself down because I’m excited to the point of anxiety.

Most of it is excitement, but I worry way too much, so I’m just a little paranoid that something bad will happen.

I spent half my shift at work today going “Shit, what if the bus is full and I have to get on a later bus so I won’t make it in time for the concert? What if they cancel it at the last minute? What if the bus crashes? What if I lose my ticket?” and so on and so forth.

I’m going to be extremely careful. I have a list of stuff to pack (most of it already having been packed yesterday) and BUS AND CONCERT TICKETS is written at the very top in huge letters, with stars and a box around it, so I doubt I’ll forget them.

Seriously, I’ll stuff them in my bra if I have to. There is no way on god’s green earth that those tickets will be forgotten. I’ve read horror stories of people driving hours and hours to a concert only to turn around and go straight home because they didn’t double check that they had the tickets before they left.

And yeah. I might be overly paranoid, but in situations like this, my paranoia serves me well. It keeps me safe and helps me remember things, and if you have any idea how terrible my memory is, I need all the help I can get.

I swear, I always say “Hay guys I need to end the entryyy” and then end up writing like two more huge paragraphs.

What can I say, I’m a woman. I can’t shut up.

With that being said I actually am going to shut up for once and try to wind down. As a sesame street videocassette I watched when I was little said, “The sooner you get to sleep the sooner it’ll be tomorrow”. I believe the video in question was about how big bird had to spend a night in the hospital or something. Don’t ask why I still remember that but can’t remember the names of half my coworkers.


I really am going to shut up now, I promise. XD