entelein: (operator)
Last night I saw Thomas Dolby in concert.

I've been reading Luny's online journal for ages, so when she started talking about being a tour manager for Dolby, I decided I'd have to be crazy not to go, what with him being here two nights in Chicago. What really sealed the deal was seeing that Carey Ott was the opening act. I don't actually know Carey or his music at all, really, but I do know his brother, Chris, who was my next door neighbor in the dorms when I was an undergrad at NIU *mumblemumble*13yearsago*mumblekoff*.

I got to Martyrs Pub somewhat late, thanks to my own slowness and two very slow buses. But I claimed my will-call ticket and worked my way around to the audience right section, near the back bar. I think the last time I'd been at this venue was to see Over the Rhine. It's a pretty intimate space, but the large fans running kept everything cool and incredibly breezy. I was on the young side of the age range I saw around me, which was a little strange.



I stayed over on the far right for a few songs, but decided to head back near the entrance once Thomas broke to introduce the crew and give a big shoutout to Luny. I whooped it up for her, and then squoze back through the sold-out crowd to say hello. She seemed totally happy and excited to see me there, which was really nice, and she beckoned me behind the merch counter for a hug and a bit of chattiness. Which meant we were just a few feet from the action:





I ended up bugging Carey (without really letting on that I'd missed his set) to go find Chris, since it was determined that he was indeed there that night. A bit of time passed as I waited for him to wander outside and find him, but I enjoyed listening to the memories flow over me. Chris appeared and walked past, so I poked him in the arm, and then we just sort of stared at each other for a few seconds before he broke into a grin and hugged me. We'd seen each other once since college, when he was in Torben Floor and performing as part of the 30 bands in 60 minutes concerts at the Metro, part of a Neofuturists fundraiser. We think it must've been sometime in 2001 or so.

It was amazingly good to see him. He's the same, but his hair's a little darker and more naturally wavy, and he's got a beard going on. But definitely the same kind eyes and smile. I was reminded of my undergrad days and how much I enjoyed that time in my life. It was a good touchstone for that night.

There was a strange moment before Chris showed up where a man who looked very much like xnbomb came up to me, and excitedly started telling me how I was a dead ringer for his best friend from a few years ago. He'd seen me talking to Luny at the merch booth, and could hardly believe his eyes. Alas, my name was not Keri, and I was not from Minnesota, but it was funny all the same to be 'recognized.' I get that a lot, actually, where people randomly come up to me and tell me that I remind them of someone in their family, or that I look exactly like someone they knew long ago.

It did get a little too weird later on when he reiterated to me again how uncanny the resemblance was, and how much he missed this woman. "She's married now, see, and her husband's the jealous type, even though we were just friends!" It struck me then - an almost physical feeling of impact - of how much he had hoped I was her. There was a palpable hunger for this person to be in his life. I smiled politely, but felt a little ... out of my depth.

But it's all good. I got Chris' contact info, and I got to hang in the green room after the show with a few other hardcore geeks clutching rare vinyl and Sharpies. When I went back to the merch booth after the show, Lunesse asked if I wanted to meet Dolby, and I said sure, so she handed me a coveted wristband, and I trudged up the steps with the small group of fans and we sat on beat up old couches and chairs and the geekfans asked slightly awkward questions, and I tried not to notice the man who 'recognized' me just staring at me, heh.

I kept my nerdiness turned way down, and asked nothing of Dolby except to sign my CD, and I made it clear that I was not going to keep him occupied any longer than necessary. He was super-nice though, and cordial: he made a point of asking my name and how to spell it, in order to personalize the CD. His wife is beautiful and sweet and down-to-earth. I think she enjoyed seeing all the fans more than Dolby. I pointed at Luny when we were done, and said, "I NEED TO TAKE A PIC WITH YOU!" and then I shrugged at Dolby and said, "I guess you could be in the picture, too. That would be cool!" Luny laughed, and I giggled, and so Kathleen took a pic of the three of us, and then the man of the hour requested a second one, as he felt he was looking a bit demonic in the first one. So here we are, a little less demonic:



I chatted with Lunesse for a moment or two more after that, as I was last person, but felt really aware of how tired they must all be. I cajoled her to take in some Chicago sights before having to leave the city, and I wandered back down the stairs, through the kitchen side door, and back out into the bar, where it was empty and low-lit and cool. I crossed the main floor and out the front door, where a couple people were having a smoke. Still feeling social, I asked if they'd been seeing any cabs come by. As they tried to remember how recently they'd seen one, a cabbie floated into view, and I casually stepped out into the street and hailed it.

"Wow!" one guy said, "You're charmed!"

"Lucky!" said the woman standing near him.

I grinned, ducked into the cab, and came home.

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entelein

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