Thursday, May 22, 2008

Z100 Zootopia

New York City welcomed us with a bleak, cold rainstorm. A rainstorm with which we became very familiar as we waited soggily for our shuttle to come pick us up from the JFK airport. It didn't show. After over an hour, Stacy made a phone call to the shuttle service. The service replied, "He's been waiting for over an hour. He couldn't get in to the gate, so he's around the back."

No one called to tell us this?

The only thing worse than waiting in a chilling rainstorm for a shuttle is waiting in a chilling rainstorm for a shuttle that's parked around the corner.

We made our way to the bus marked "Krystal." Their slogan was "a 'gem' of a ride!"

Kill me now.

After boarding and finally leaving the airport, the driver swerved and tailgated his way into the city. Nearly a half-hour later, we pulled over near a basketball court in what was clearly the ghetto. This was not our hotel. The driver exited the bus. He slowly walked around the side and looked closely at the front tire. Then the back tire. Then he went around the other side and did the same.

And then, without a word, he got back on the bus and resumed driving.

Okay then.

He had a strong preference for the right lane on the freeway, adding at least 15 additional minutes to our ride. When we finally reached the hotel, he parked at the entrance that was clearly marked "closed after 7pm." It was nearly 9pm.

He started pulling all our bags out of the back of the bus, when he finally heard us all screaming, "We need to move!" and "Put the bags back!" and "Why are you so dumb!?"

So he drove the van around the block to the front entrance.

Not quite a "gem" after all.

My room at the Affinia Hotel was spacious, with a full kitchen and a high ceiling, but tempered by the customary miniscule New York bathroom: you can only take a shower if you suck in your gut.

The pillows were comfy, but in case they weren't, the Affinia had a pillow menu to put that other place to shame (click photo to enlarge):
What to do when you're in New York City? Well, same thing I always do: see my buddy Ben. The two of us slogged through the wet city to some country steak joint that oddly smelled like warm brownies, which is never a bad thing. I say "oddly," because brownies were not on the menu.

I had the burger.

Just like last time, it was garbage night in the city.

I'm convinced this is an everyday sight. Trash sprawled up almost every street. And trust me, there's nothing like the smell of wet garbage in the evening air to rid your brain of brownie thoughts.

The following day, we were slated to play Z100's Zootopia. Z100 is supposedly the most widely listened-to station in the world. I'm not sure how anyone can prove this.

The festival was being held at what was previously the Meadowlands Arena in Jersey, now annoyingly renamed the Izod Center. During the tour, I grew weary of arenas with names like the Dunkin Donuts Center, the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater and the FedEx Forum. Are there any venues that haven't been bought by The Man?

We had our soundcheck early in the morning and everything went very well. I can't say the same for Jessie McCartney, who spent his entire half-hour listening to Pro-Tools tracks while his playback guy tried to fix some completely inaudible problem. The band looked impatient, and Jessie looked like he was about ready to blow.

At noon, they commuted us back to the hotel for an entire day of freedom in the city. I went to the park.

The Krystal bus picked us up again at 8:30pm and drove us back out to Jersey for the big show. Also performing, the Jonas Brothers, OneRepublic, Danity Kane and Simple Plan. We got back just in time for me to check out Sara Bareilles. I really like "Love Song." Good thing too, cause they only let her play that one tune, even though everybody else was playing half-hour sets.

After her, all the girls swooned for New Kids On The Block. Yes. That's not a typo. New Kids. And how they did swoon. Some of our female dancers (and I won't name names to spare their dignity) knew all the lyrics and were very excited to see their childhood idols all growed up (read: old and depressing) and still dancing the same dance steps. It was like Bring Your Dad To Work Night at the Apollo. But I'm happy for them, I guess. They just grabbed themselves another 15 minutes.

We took the stage around 10:30 and Miley proceeded to melt some faces. Everything went well until the song, "Right Here," when my ears went out. I looked around and noticed that I wasn't the only one. Jamie was mouthing to Stacy, "No ears!" Jaco looked at me and mouthed, "Did you lose your ears?" We kept playing despite the fact that none of us could hear much of anything, as our ears block outside sound, so when they turn off, you can't hear very well. A while later in the song, the ears came back on, and of course we were off the click, so they had to stop the click track. Again, we kept playing.

Looking at the faces in the audience, nobody noticed the numerous heart attacks that just occured on stage. Those crazy kids just wanna have a good time. And a good time they had.

One show down, one to go. Tomorrow, the big NetJets show.

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  1. Hi Mike! Yea, the weather has been terrible lately... but I hear this weekend is going to be awesome! I dunno what's up with the garbage thing cuz I don't usually see it... do you only go to the city late at night??? :)

    It's IMPOSSIBLE to get tickets to Zootopia, so consider yourself lucky! ;D

  2. This entry was so long and scrumptious!

    I agree, I hate the name Izod. It's very annoying. And it's still raining here in the NYC region ... I'm dying for some sunshine!

  3. its a good thing you have played "Right Here" hundreds of times.

  4. i knew something was wrong with "Right Here", i heard it like speed up at some points. But you guys looked totally calm on stage

  5. why does it always seem like you have trouble whenever you travel?...anyways i love your blogs cant wait till the next one

  6. Ah, you could tell when the ears went out.


    Hah. You guys did good, all things considered.

  7. That's horrible! Young kids and technology...Vish probably had a seizure!