Friday, January 4, 2008

Good Times Square: Part One

New Years Eve was certainly the most bizarre birthday I've ever had. I woke up around noon (this part was pretty normal, unfortunately) and did the daily food scavenge. Didn't find much in the minibar. So I went back to Cafe Europa, where I had breakfast with Jae and Robin the previous day. "Stick with the safe choice!" That's what I always say. Who cares if you're in a city filled with a multitude of delicious options?

Then I celebrated my birthday by going to the Sprint store and activating my brand new (to me) Treo. Very exciting. While I was in a celebratory mood, I decided to swing by Best Buy on the way back to the hotel to pick up a Spoon record I really wanted. As a present to myself. I went in and found the CD immediately. And then I looked up and realized that Best Buy + NYC + New Year's Eve = NO. The line stretched all the way through the store and out the front door. So I put it down and left.

Later, we all hopped in the van (minus Candice and Kay who unfortunately were replaced by dancers for the day, as there wasn't going to be much room on our tiny rooftop stage). Luckily, Times Square was only three blocks from our hotel, so even with traffic we anticipated a short ride. Unluckily, the police re-routed us at every intersection in some cruel display of misplaced power. It took us almost 45 minutes to get there. Stacy and I thought we should just get out and walk, but for some reason, nobody seemed to want to. This was absurd.

We showed our top-secret Dick Clark passes and were ushered into the ABC building into a tiny room that (strangely enough) had a washer and dryer in it. This was our dressing room.

They brought in some Virgil's Barbecue, but I didn't really like it. Despite everyone saying it was some world-class restaurant, nobody really enjoyed the food in front of us.

Around 5pm, they escorted us all up to the roof for a sound check. It was freezing up there.

The dancers quickly cobbled together a routine, adapted for the tiny stage. We were all very impressed with them.

(R-L: Christina Glur and Ashlee Nino)

To our right, we could see that a massive crowd had already gathered in Times Square. However, we weren't performing to them. Though it looks, on TV, like we're facing the crowd, this is what was directly in front of us:

A lot of people, equipment, and (oddly enough) a UFC billboard owned by CBS. (Why was this on top of the ABC building?)

Stacy began arranging his kit, Jaco was playing with his amp, and I was setting up my keyboard, when BAM, they just started the ProTools tracks and we had to go go go. Nobody even told us we were playing yet and off we went.

Everybody felt frazzled but we got it together quickly. By the time the song ended, we weren't sure if we'd just done a rehearsal or a pre-tape. I think it was both. We did it one more time and then headed back downstairs to the warmth of the Barbecue Laundry Room.

Jack then notified us that we had five hours till the show. Great. Let's go explore! Except, ABC + NYC + New Year's Eve = NO. We weren't allowed to leave the building. The whole place was on lockdown. Nobody really brought anything to do. Except Jamie. He had a deck of cards.

So this is what the next five hours looked like:

Notice, behind Jack is Times Square. We had a great view of all the people wearing their red hats (sponsored by Pontiac!) and the acts performing. We had a TV in the room with a feed of what was going on outside. So we could watch Carrie Underwood on TV and hear the bass and the crowd screaming from outside, and poke our head out the window and looky -- there's Carrie Underwood!

Mostly though we just played cards.

At precisely 9:50pm, we were hurried back up to the roof. Tiffany gave us heating pads to stuff into our clothes. I had previously bought some cut-off gloves from H&M, and I quickly stuffed the pads into the palms. I thought I'd leave my coat behind since we were only playing two songs and I wasn't going to wear it during the broadcast (who wants to look like a puffy porpoise on national TV?).

Little did I know we'd be standing there for a full 20 minutes before we played.

As I froze my bony booty off, I enjoyed this view of the revelers:

The revelers happened to be reveling without any alcohol this year, as Times Square is dry for New Year's. They still seemed totally drunk.

We got a 10 minute warning. Then 5. Then 2 minutes. We were all waiting for the 5-4-3-2 countdown before we start playing.

It didn't come. BANG! The ProTools started again. WHAT!? We all just ran with it. Live television, ladies and germs! When you watch it, you might be able to notice that we're all a little surprised at the beginning.

Needless to say, Miley was great. She was energetic and a total pro in the arctic weather. She's a little 15-year-old powerhouse.

My fingers were frozen, and I had a painful hangnail on my thumb which I had to slam all over the keyboard. None of this felt good.

But what a thrill it was to look to the right and see us playing on all the Jumbotrons in Times Square.

And then as quickly as it began, it was over.

Here it is, as seen on TV (only grainier):

Then we all practically ran out of that building.

But the night wasn't over yet. Part Two coming soon.

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  1. Sorry about the hangnail, that must have really sucked.

    I was trying to watch you guys on the tv in the bar of the bowling alley I was in, but there was no sound and I had no idea what song you guys were on.

  2. Hi Mike, it was great seeing you perform on TV for NYE in NYC and I was watching from the comfort of my living room. I was thinking about how cold you all must be up there on that rooftop, but didn't have any idea how long you had been up there. It sounds like a very different way to spend your birthday, but probably a very memorable one. I am looking forward to Part 2 of your time in NYC as well as how the Cleveland, OH show went.


  3. Oh oh part two!!! We can't wait! we are glued, ABSOUTELY glued!

  4. you guys did great.=]

    i was actually more excited to see you up there.. i was like "hey! i read his blog!"

    and isnt ashlee.. the backup dancer from "so you think you can dance"? she looks familiar..

  5. It really was a thrilling one-of-a-kind experience, and it was wonderful to know that my readers were out there watching!

    Yes Liz, it's THAT Ashlee. I had a blathering star-struck moment when I first met her. But she's not just a great dancer; she's a very sweet girl and I'm proud to know her. She gives everyone a hug before the show.

  6. You were AWESOMEEEEE! and I screamed happy birthday to you and my mom thought I was crazy hahaha

  7. I saw you on the tv and I jump on my couch and I was like "I KNOW THAT GUY!"