Sherry's Rockapella Trip Report
November 15, 2003
Rockwell Hall in Buffalo, NY
I had decided that I needed to see Rockapella with my bro & sis-in-law again. They live in upper central New York, and Buffalo was the closest gig to them. Well, I just HAD to agree to go! So I shuffled off to Buffalo. No, actually, first, I shuffled off to Chicago, I had never been to the O'Hare Airport, so that was an adventure, especially when I realized that when I was walking to the other terminal, I was actually underneath the tarmac. Neato.
On the flight from Chicago to Buffalo, I talked to the woman seated next to me, and was pleased to find out that she had heard of Rockapella. It was even nicer to know that she was a retired vocal teacher, which had me totally interested in talking to her. She had recommended eating Buffalo Wings, of course, and I told her that I had the privilege of going to the Anchor Bar restaurant (the origin of the Buffalo Wings) a few years ago. Since that's not a great part of town, though, I wasn't willing to return there on my own. She also recommended a Roast Beef on Wicke, so I made a note of it.
When we landed in Buffalo, there was only a slight sprinkling of rain, for which I was grateful. Driving around in a strange city is enough to provoke anxiety, but if it would have snowed, I would have just forgotten about my rental car and taken a taxi. So I drove to my hotel and somehow avoided getting lost, even though my online directions were somewhat inaccurate. The hotel itself, the Hyatt Regency, was really nice. They have an Ice Bar, where the top of the bar is covered in ice to keep your drink cold, and 2 restaurants, as well as a little gift shop. My room was a nice big size, too. I just wish the view was better, but I guess there's not much to see from there, anyway. So I ordered room service -- a Roast Beef on Wicke as suggested, which was a little too salty for me, but still good.
In the morning, I decided to explore a little bit, and took a walk to the local mall, which was sadly devoid of any fabulous stores. In fact, there were MAYBE 10 stores that were open in the entire mall. I did find another store on the way back to the hotel, but that wasn't great, either. I went to the hotel gift shop and bought some Anchor Bar sauce to make Buffalo Wings when I got home, then grabbed lunch at the cafe in the hotel. OK -- yummy! Baby Lobster on a bed of mixed greens with some yummy dressing and some melted butter, too. Awesome. Oh, and it was my first time to eat in a restaurant by myself, and I survived, and was quite proud!
My brother Ryan arrived with his wife Veronica, and their friends Dawn & Cory, for whom this would be their first Pella concert. YAY -- Pella virgins! Veronica opened up her (belated) birthday gifts as the guys tried to decide on a restaurant for dinner. They said that a lot of football players were downstairs, and I informed them that the team was staying there for Sunday's football game.
We had dinner at TGI Friday's. Ryan asked if my sweater was new. I replied, "Duh! It's a Rockapella concert!" Well, yeah, people, it gives me an excuse to go shopping! I was also happily wearing new winter accessories (scarf, glove & hat), so Ryan thought I'd be OK with cold weather now. He's sadly mistaken.
Somehow, we found our way over to Rockwell Hall at Buffalo State. On our way down to our seats, somebody said, "Sherry!" I didn't recognize the woman. She told me that she was Jade. I was happily surprised to finally meet an online friend in person. I didn't know that she'd be there, but apparently Angela told her I'd be present, and she remembered my face from pictures. I also met Jade's friend, Laura. My block of seats was in the front row, on the rhythm section side. Jade ended up sitting next to us, thanks to a couple of other gals, Alyssa and Jessica. One of them was at her 1st Pella concert, too, so I was excited again. Jade said I'd get lots of love because I had come from California. Ooh, that sounds nice!
The guys opened the show with "House of the Rising Sun." George has taken off his braids and has short hair. Jeff was wearing a different shirt! I felt the need to call Angela right then and there to tell her. Scott spied Jade and pointed at her. He didn't see me. So much for the love.
After "Moments of You," Scott talked about their last gig in the area, in Williamsville, and their Holiday Inn experience. He then introduced the guys -- Jeff, George, the Back Up guys, and himself, the guy singing like a girl. Kevin sang "Buffalo gals won't you come out tonight," as if he was doing a scene for "It's A Wonderful Life."
When they sang "Here Comes The Sun," I asked Ryan if they had heard that live yet. He had. I keep forgetting that they saw George in one of his first Pella concerts. I kept asking about different songs anyway.
After "Dancing In The Streets," El said that due to the length of time between shows there, and the fact that his wife was pregnant at the last one, he felt like his wife was constantly pregnant. he said that he was "walking tall" since the baby was born, and informed us that they're stopping at 2 (kids) "for anyone who cares." El told us that he was the captain of the basketball team in high school, but that all his life, it seems that he'd been working up to this one catch: the delivery of baby Jules at home in their bathtub. Awwww....
"No Doubt At All" sounded a little off. I think Scott was flat. Sorry, Scott. During "Use Me," Scott was making weird machine sounds during his regular rest. Something new? Cool.
Kevin asked how Buffalo got its name, and talked about the Buffalo River. He also talked about his 5-year-old, Gracie, whom was telling Kevin on the phone that she had gotten a new haircut. Gracie was saying that a boy, Clayton, was not her boyfriend ... but Mommy has a boyfriend! Kev said he needs to call his wife. Kevin's cute when he talks about his girls. Eh, Kev's cute all the time. During "Change In My Life," El's and Scott's notes sounded dissonant. Don't know what was going on there. Kev was awesome, though. Ryan and I laughed at the people who didn't know when to stop clapping with the beat.
They sang "Smile In My Heart"! George pretty much exercises his full vocal range in the song, which made me just think, "WOW!" His bass notes made my heart pound.
El sang a verse of "Don't Do It" to Veronica! He made her blush, and I was delighted! I know the felling, V. El has great eye contact when he sings to you.
During "Long Cool Woman," Kev was doing some karate poses, which cracked me up. I love that!
Kevin chose a women named Aaliyah for "My Girl / Pretty Woman," whom he found out was still a senior in high school. Kevin backed away from her. Scott asked, "Did you call your wife yet?" Well, did ya, Kev? For his mini-solo in "Pretty Woman," George sang "Aaliyah want to teach ya." Ah, creativity!
During "People Change," (which -- yay-- haven't heard that in a long time!), I noticed that George was wearing a ring on his left ring finger. Hmmm...why haven't I heard anything about this?
Scott talked about Barry, whom could reach "the low notes that most of us can only dream about. Not that I'm bitter." This led into "Papa Was A Rolling Stone," which I KNOW that V & Bro hadn't heard, so we were EXTREMELY excited! Oh, my goodness, George. I melted. Again.
Alyssa & Jessica got up and danced to "Carmen," so Jade somehow pulled me up to dance, too. My poor, embarrassed brother!
I was very happy during "Wonderful World." Sitting next to me were my brother and his wife, holding hands, while listening to the Rockapella song that they had used as their first dance on their wedding day. A tear of joy came to my eye. Then El laughed. The floorboard underneath him was creaking, and during this piece which was being sung without mics, it was fairly loud.
The guys then had a little discussion about the Buffalo Bills which brought a smile to my face, because the players are in my hotel. They decided to sing a Christmas tune, since the malls were telling Scott that it's Christmas. So they sang an impromptu "Over the River & through the woods to Grandmother's house we go..." Priceless.
George then announced the nicknames he had for the guys. Kevin is Broham, El is Cat Daddy, for Scott, George said, "Is it Jiffy Pop or Nifty Pop?" Jade then yelled that it wasn't Jiffy Pop. Jeff's name is Pootie Bang. The guys' nickname for George? He said in his sexy low voice, "Chocolate." YUMMY! On a couple levels, yes.
They then sang "Dance With Me," which made Jade scream in delight. Gotta love all those dance moves. They also sang one of their actual Christmas standards, "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town."
I was surprised to hear George now has an island accent for his intro to Zombie. Sounds like he's getting the hang of it.
Ryan & I were very happy to hear "Keep On Smilin'." How can you NOT love that VP drumline?
Afterward, I made sure to get a pic with Jade, and then went to the Meet and Greet, while my friends made sure to return my note-taking pen to the box office. I'm sure the people were impressed that we actually returned the pen. I mean, how many people actually remember something like that? We're so conscientious! :)
Dawn absolutely loved the concert and somewhat understood my obsession. For the record, her favorite is George. She and her hubby bought the latest Christmas CD, which, of course, I insisted that she get signed.
When it got to our turn in line, I said "hi" to Scott. He said, "Hi," then did a double-take, realizing who I was, and gave a very enthusiastic "HI!!!" I said to him, "You didn't see me did you?" He said, "No, I didn't!" After our group picture, he asked, "So, Sherry, what are you doing all the way in Buffalo? Aren't we going to be in So Cal next week?" I informed him that we had bought our tickets very shortly before the California dates were announced. My irritation at this was apparent, since Jeff said, "Well, exCUSE us!" We laughed and he informed me of the venue change for the LA gig. It will be a new venue for them, so he was excited about it. El looked tired. He said that he wasn't feeling well. I gave a quick hello, and "I'm melting" to George, and gushed to Kevin about his awesome performance in "A Change In My Life." He seemed pleasantly surprised by this.
I didn't really stay to talk to Phil and Fred, figuring I'd see them next week. I'd probably throw off Phil anyway, and he wouldn't remember my name again. I did say hi to Fred briefly after the concert when he was striking the stage, though, and I think I did the same with Phil.
My companions dropped me off at the hotel, which made me sad. I'm always sad after I see my brother and sister-in-law, because I know it's going to be a long time before I see them again.
On my way up to my room, #627, I met a guy on the elevator, whom was in town for preparations for his boss. His boss, by the way, is the Vice President of the US, Dick Cheney. WOW! We felt like the only people in the hotel that weren't somehow connected to the football game. When I got to my room, I called Ang and we talked for a long time about the day's activities.
The next day, I had some time to kill between check-out time and my flight time, so I found a movie theater (of course, I needed to lose my way first), and saw a movie before going to the airport.
Some flights into Chicago had been delayed, but since I arrived so early (yes, even AFTER the movie), they put me on an earlier flight (which had been delayed), so that I wouldn't be even more delayed on the next one. I sat next to a woman whom was on her way to visit family in Poland. She was really nice, and said that cinnamon killed germs, and offered me some cinnamon Altoids.
When I arrived in Chicago, my flight was delayed, so I had a ton of time to wait until my flight. I think they should have movie theaters in airports just for his reason. After being irritated with a particular food stand employee, I did some shopping and settled down to catch up on my trip reports.
When my flight was finally ready to leave, I realized that my flight #, 627, was the same as my hotel room number. FREAKY.
Yeah, so I was tired when I got home. At least my plane wasn't full, and I was able to stretch my legs on the flight due to the small amount of passengers, and daydreamed more about Da Boyz. They're coming to California! WHOO HOOOO!!!