“Wow. That was something special.”

Last Saturday was pretty ideal as far as my Saturdays go.  Although there was really nothing special about it. 

I woke up at 9am (or somewhere around there) and did a round of yoga with the windows open, because it was beautiful out.  After showering and making lunch, I headed down to the St. James Theatre to help Matt and his friend Paul (who was visiting from LA) out with the lottery so Paul could see the show (American Idiot).  The crowd was minimal – under 50 people – and Matt, of course, was the first name called.  Matt went to work (walk-in at A Behanding in Spokane) and I ventured to Starbucks with Paul to keep him company in the hour + of downtime.  I walked around parts of midtown that I hadn’t been to in a while, and also popped into The Drama Book Shop on 40th Street before heading back up to the St. James.  I guess you could say I finagled my way in, because I ended up in the 9th row for American Idiot that day. 

Omar Lopez-Cepero was on for Ben Thompson.  Sean Wing was in Chase Peacock. 

The show was the great, the house was packed, and the audience was very into it.  I’d never seen the show from House Left before so it was interesting.  I watched [Michael] Esper a lot when I usually never do because he’s pretty stationary on the couch for most of the show.  I noticed that John Gallagher Jr. plays different chords than the ones I’ve learned in the last month for Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Wake Me Up When September Ends, and even uses a capo in one of the songs.  (Does anyone know why this is?)

After the show Paul and Matt found me on the sidewalk, and Paul said only, “Wow.  That was something special,” which are perfect words to describe American Idiot.  And not in the Special Ed way either.  In other words, he loved it.  Before I departed them, Paul hugged me and said, “Alli, you are a gem!”

I thanked him, told him it was lovely to meet him, and waved goodbye to both, happy with how I spent my day and not having wanted to do a single thing differently.  I went home to my apartment for a night in; centered, energized, and happy. 

So, I’ve known Matt since 2005, when we both worked at Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  He tends to be a bit of a theatre snob and I like most things rock musical-esque.  I dragged him to see Lennon in late 2005, which he didn’t like, and our opinions on shows have tended to be the completely opposite on almost everything since then.  He’s never liked a show I’ve recommended to him.

Until last night.  He had asked me if I wanted to play the lottery for American Idiot on Friday and of course, I said yes.  I wanted to see the show from the front row and I knew that the lottery would just get more and more crowded as time goes on.  May as well be an early bird.  I got there way too early after work and there were already about 30 people there.  Uh-oh.  I put my name in early and Matt got there 5 minutes before the draw.  There were about 100 people there by the time 6:30pm rolled around.  

Well, we were lucky.  Matt’s name was the first one called.  I gave him money and then stood to the side, asking a girl if she wanted my tickets if my name was called.  Her eyes immediately beamed and she accepted my offer.  Last night was our night, I guess, because we were VERY lucky.  My name was the last one called, though I only could get one.  The girl who accepted my offer gave me money anyway.  They sold partial view tickets after for $37 for those who didn’t win the lottery (something they also did on Wednesday night).  

Matt got our tickets, I gave my ticket to the girl who paid for it, and then we headed to Celtic Pub on 8th Avenue, a place we used to frequent together when we worked in the ‘hood.  I had wine, Matt had beer, and we split the extremely [un]healthy appetizer sampler.  We headed around the corner to the theatre at about 20 minutes to showtime.  Matt said hi to some of his former co-workers and I went down to our seats.  Now, imagine you’re sitting in the front row during Rent at The Nederlander Theatre, get a little closer to the stage and raise the stage about half a foot.  That was our view (as seen above).  We were close.  And remember those really well-behaved Green Day fans from Wednesday night?  Well, they were still really well-behaved and I wish I could say the same thing for the obnoxious theatre (and Rebecca Naomi Jones) fan sitting behind us in the second row.  Before the show even started she was screaming, “BECCA!!!!!” and she kept screaming really inappropriately through most of the time before the show and a couple of times during the show.  Oh well!

Green Day arrived about 5 minutes before the curtain went up, sitting 8th or 10th row dead center, and receiving a stand ovation from the crowd.  

The lights went down, the sound started and the curtain started rising.  It’s an awesome view at the start of the show from the front row.  About half-way through Jesus of Suburbia, Matt squeezed my arm and gave me a thumbs-up of approval.  There were maybe a handful of times where we had to look up a LOT and our necks ached a bit, but for the most part, the front row was awesome.  I feel like a cliched groupie saying this, but it’s true: I had to wipe the spit off my cheek from the cast members.  The military choreography during Give Me Novocaine was amazing from the front row.  

I noticed for the first time that ‘Tonnie’ (Stark Sands) loses one of his legs above the knee; I had always thought he just injures it.  And I took notice of a bunch of tiny nuances that Tony Vincent [‘St. Jimmy’] adds while he’s behind John Gallagher Jr. [‘Johnny’] in the shadows.  

The cast was still fully energized but during “Nobody Likes You” towards the end of the show, Michael Esper had noticeably lost a few of his high notes.  "I feel asleep ____ watching Spike TV, after __ cups of coffee and you’re still not here.“  The words just wouldn’t come out.  I hope he starts resting his voice and drinking a LOT of tea at night.  That is probably going to be the hardest thing for this cast: maintaining their voices.  

I asked one of the stagehands for one of the many guitar picks strewn across the stage before they swept them all up.  Now I just have to figure out how to drill a hole through it.  I’m a geek like that.  

Matt put into words perfectly how the show leaves you feeling: "That is an exhausting hour and a half!”  It really is.  We went to the upstairs bar at Sardis after for a drink and to watch the craziness of 44th Street as the three other shows on the block emptied out onto the street at 10:30pm.  A truly perfect night.  Enjoy the photos! 🙂