Sherry's Rockapella Trip Report

October 9, 2004 -- Lufkin, TX: Angelina Arts Alliance Temple Theater

I woke up at about 3:30 AM, which was 30 minutes after I had planned, so I was running a little late. So late that I started to doubt that I was going to the wrong airport. thankfully, at that time in the morning, there is very little traffic to worry about. The first parking lot shuttle bus driver wouldn't let me on, because he was about to take a bathroom break. I don't know why he bothered to stop for the next bunch of people to tell them the same thing, since the next shuttle was RIGHT behind him. I mean, like, not even a car's length away. Anyway, so I got on the shuttle and at first, they played the recording for the wrong terminal stop, so most of us were confused. People, please don't do that to us at 5 AM. It's not nice. I think we all pretty much figured it out, though. At least I did.

I guess that I was too late to use the self-service kiosks, because I needed to get in the special 6 AM Flight to DFW line. I'll just stand in back of all these people with big bags. My check-in went quickly & I got through security & the gate hadn't opened for boarding yet, so I got to breathe a little bit. The ground crew didn't have any power, so we boarded just a couple of minutes late. The plane was a smaller one, with leather seats, which was nice. After they closed the door, a man got up & talked to the flight attendant, apologizing profusely, & they let him off the plane. I thought that maybe he was on the wrong plane, but then how did he get all the way in & seated without anyone noticing this on his boarding pass or at the seat assignment? We waited for 45 minutes while they located the man's luggage in the cargo hold. I don't know why it took so long with the smaller plane. I had luggage located on a bigger plane in 10 minutes. Maybe because you can't really crawl into that size cargo hold to throw bags around? So, anyway, we left late and the girl next to me slept very soundly, which annoyed me because I'm jealous of anyone that can do that. I also wasn't free to get out because I was by the window & she had her tray table down. Whatever. I'll wait as long as I can...which was until I got off the plane. She just couldn't wake up BEFORE the captain turned on the seatbelt sign. Ugh.

As we were deplaning (is that a word?), the gentleman behind me explained to a fellow passenger that we were delayed because the man whom got off the plane just psyched himself out & decided that he couldn't fly. Poor guy. But now we're all late because he didn't get therapy or medication (or both).

Angela hadn't left yet by the time we landed, so I waited for her. It gave me a chance to catch up on the phone with my bro and sis-in-law. Angela was stuck in traffic, so we did lots of family bonding. When Angela arrived, we went to her place for a little while before taking off for Lufkin. Oh, we went to McDonald's & they had a whole bunch of chicken dishes in addition to the regular stuff. It was like they added KFC or something.

The road to Lufkin was not as exciting as the road to College Station. They did have orange signs that said, "No Center Stripe," which we never did figure out. We saw lines, we saw islands of grass, but we never saw a part with no line. At least it wasn't consistent. No fun, exciting signs. They did have the triangular signs from God, though they didn't have any messages, except for one with a 911 sticker. So we just entertained each other with silliness stories.

We stopped for a few minutes in Tyler, and wolfed down double fudge cake. It was dark by the time we reached Lufkin, and found the venue before going to the hotel. Check-in took awhile because the people in front of me wanted rooms near each other & there were computer problems. Meanwhile, outside, their kids seemed to be having a Tarzan yelling contest. Crazy kids. We dolled up (although my pants were wrinkled I didn't have time to iron) & rushed back to the venue.

We arrived in plenty of time to see the show. The opening act was Pizazz, a teen barbershop group from Lufkin. They sang "For the Longest Time," "Silhouette," and "I've Never Seen Maggie Alone." Quite entertaining and amusing.

Angela was sitting just to the left of center in the front row, & I sat in the second row on the right side. A lot of seats were empty, including one next to Angela, but I was worked that I'd get kicked out of the seat by the actual ticket holder, so I held off on moving for awhile. There were 5 stools on stage, next to the microphone stands. From my vantage point, I could see the guys start to get on stage, then I heard the pitch pipe & smiled. There they are! They began the show with a new song, written by Scott, named "Tonight," I think. Great song, gets you in the mood, & they're all dancing! Jeff even has a little stage, which, Phil told me later, they used to have a long time ago. Each venue provides the riser as requested by the band, much like the Rockapella stool.

The guys were all wearing black pin-striped suits. Hot, hot, hot! Jeff is growing out his hair in the front & I like it better than when it's really short. John already gets to do some showing off in the first song. Way to get right in there, John! He's amazing. Great pipes, great moves -- Yee HAAA! (Hmmm...must be that drive through Texas influencing me).

Most of the audience wasn't familiar with Rockapella, so they were a bit subdued at first, but got into it later. Resistance is Futile. When they started "Moments of You," I screamed my Whoo HOO! Ooh, they added LOTS Of choreography to this song, utilizing the mic stands. It's way cool & sexy. Swooooon! After that song, the people in front of me moved more toward the center, so I joined them. Scott then introduced everyone, building up the chord to "Off My Mind." Gotta love that George.

During "Dancin' in the Streets," Kev sang "Florida" to me, as if I was from there or something. Whatever -- he sang to me! John now sings the lead on "Stand By Me," and they also have new choreography with that song. Neato, but now I'm all confused on who sings what part. Does Kev sing El's part, and Scott sings Kev's old part? I'll need to listen more. Yeah, twist my arm.

As if I didn't already love "Use Me" enough, they added some Steppin'! Get down, John! Then the other guys joined him and I went bananas with all my screaming. The lady next to me kept turning to look at me. Sorry if I annoyed anyone. I just kinda went nutso. All the steppin' got Kev out of breath for his spiel, so Scott came upstage & brought him some water. Awww.... Kev talked about the hurricanes. His hometown was hit by all 3 of them. He segued into talking about beaches, asking us to close our eyes & imagine ourselves on the beach. Jeff made wave sounds, and then I heard bird sounds (my eyes were closed). Kev asked if anyone wore Speedos. When a guy owned up to it, Kev asked if he was an Olympic swimmer, saying that they're for speed, so that's really the only time they're actually needed. Kev is obsessed with Speedos. So then Kev dedicated the next song to the guy (Chris) and his purple Speedos: "Under the Boardwalk."

Afterward, they grabbed their stools & brought them upstage. Jeff sang, "One of these stools is not like the other..." Scott mentioned that Kev used to sing on Broadway, and now he's slumming it by singing with them. Kev said that he owed his success to Andrew Lloyd Webber, because most of his roles were in the musicals composed by him. Scott said that one day, they'd have to do a tribute, and suggested "Cats," humming part of it and putting up his "paws." Scott had seen the town Nacogdoches on the way to the venue and said, "What kind of word is THAT?!" They then sang "Jenny Come Away," at the request of someone who was at the Austin show 2 nights before. They also sang "Up A Lazy River," which I had never (officially) heard live before, so that was cool.

Then they did a new song, which started with Scott trying to get the audience to do some VP. Siince he didn't get a response to that, he got us to repeat "Do It," leading to him saying "Do the Hustle." No, they didn't do that song. They sang "Rock the Boat." Close enough. Got lots of choreography, & there is a portion with George doing some SugarHill Gang old school sampling. I went absolutely wacko at this point & just screamed with delight. Rapper's Delight! Way too much excitement! I really needed the intermission to calm myself.

Since nobody had taken the seat by Angela yet, I planted myself there. I was happy to be seated by Ang, because I had been holding back too much while sitting by that other lady. Ang & I continued our giggling through the first 2 songs after the intermission. Sorry, guys. Y'all just make us sooooo happy! Speaking of happy the Hppiest Place on Earth: the guys began the second half with "It's a Small World After all." At one point, the guys acted like the dolls on the ride. Can you see why we couldn't stop giggling?

During the intro to "Long Cool Woman," I noticed that Jeff was chewing imaginary gum. Afterward, John said that he liked the type of dancing when the guys would slide across the stage, like the Temptations' "My Girl." They all sang the song while gliding. He then picked Rachel from the audience. Kev introduced her to the guys, during which George upstaged Kevin with that voice of his. They pretended to let her leave the stage before stopping her and singing "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." Hello, George on his knees, pleading! She danced with Scott, whom later labeled their dance the "Toyota Bump." She works at a car dealership. That's a fun song.

They sat back down on their stools & sang "People Change." Hi, George! (He looked at me at one point during the song). I'm glad that Scott remembered all the words. That song makes me sad, though. While the other guys left the stage, George said, "I used to sing high like those girls." He said that high voices are good for (he sang) "Lullaby..." but they just don't sound right on some songs. He mentioned that Barry used to sing (and he sang the intro to 16 Tons). Hmmm...he sounded good. Some songs are just sun better by a bass. For example: "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." Whoa--he looked at me! M -E-L-T!!! They then sang "Carmen" & Jeff said that "Nacogdoches" had good sounds to it, so he used the word as part of his VP solo. Cool!

For the first encore, they sang "Up on The Roof/Wonderful World." It's weird for me not to hear Scott on lead. I'm not sure that I like the change, although John & George are fabulous. At one point, George went off, and Scott looked confused about his note in the chord. I think he even stopped singing. I asked him about it later, and he said that it's confusing with all the changes on parts and there he was, singing George's part. He said that it got so low that he thought nobody could hear him. Anyway, at the end of the song, Scott played with the creak in the floor. Laughter ensued.

They sang "Zombie Jamboree," which was also kinda weird. You see, John was on the riser doing VP with Jeff, so the guys in the front were uneven, and not all of them had a "back to back" partner at the same time. George tried to play it up during his moment alone, but I don't know...I guess I don't like it. Well, people, I've been really good about the changes up to the encore! Ya gotta let me miss SOME things, right?

Some people started to leave after the first encore. Well, a lot of them were seniors, so I understand. They sat down, thought, when the guys came back on stage and sang "Shambala." They closed with "Keep On Smilin'," and I sang to Ang "Kevin's facing the wrong way," and she cracked up. The magic word of the day was, yes, "Nacogdoches."

As we waited for the Meet & Greet, Ang called Jennnn to give her opinion (she loved it), and then we met the restroom attendant. She (the attendant) informed us that her fiancÚ had just run out on her that day, and the concert was just what she needed to lift her spirits, and she actually felt great! I forgot to tell the guys that, though. Oh, as we were going into the restroom, the guys saw us as they were coming out of their dressing rooms, and Jeff said, "Girls! Where are you going?" I said, "The bathroom. Would you like to join us?" He said something about us going to put on make-up and everything and I retorted, "Can I just go pee?!" to which Kevin laughed.

Fred saw us and asked me if I had taken a wrong turn. I hugged him. We got in line for the Meet 'n' Greet, & I talked to Jeff about his imaginary gum. He said that it's there every now & then. I told Scott how much I enjoyed the new choreography, and he pointed to and credited John. So I introduced myself to John. Scott then introduced me to John and vice versa, telling him that we're from CA. I told John that yeah, "I'll be coming & bothering you again next week" and he laughed. I told Kev that I caught him facing the wrong way on "Keep On Smilin;," and he informed that they do it different now, with John & Kev facing one way, and George & Jeff facing the other, so that they're all turned toward the center. Ah, OK. But if he does it the old way next week, I'm calling him on it. He said, "See/ Now there's new stuff for you to watch!" Well, I'm happy to do so, Mr. Wright. I then said hi to George, but he was distracted, so I talked to Phil, whom was also distracted, but at least he still talked to me. I introduced myself to Mo, whom thinks that I look like one of her co-workers.

I forced Ang to take a picture with the guys and me, then I took more pics while they were posing with other people. George caught me. Jeff then walked over & talked to us for a bit, and at one point, slapped Ang's butt with a program. I said, "How come you never stop me like that?!" He said, "Get up, girl!" I was too embarrassed that I had even said that out loud & stayed seated. We noticed that Kev had some cool purple Nikes, but couldn't figure out why "Tn" was on the back. Ang then noticed a cut-out pattern on Jeff's back, & she touched it, commenting, "It's cloth."

I just laughed because we were still touching his shirt. Scott talked to me about venue possibilities in the L.A. area, as well as next week's concerts. We were both disappointed that they weren't singing at the Galaxy on Saturday, but there were rules involved. I gave him a list of venues for his agent to try, so now I need to write to those venues to encourage them to book the guys. If any of you would like to write to the same venues, they are the Wiltern Theater, the Barclay (at UC Irvine), Haugh PAC @ Citrus College, and Thousand Oaks Civic Center. If you have any other ideas, let me know & I'll pass the word on, since I had forgotten to name some others & need to give him another list. We then noticed that he was wearing a white Nike bracelet. It said "Baller." Scott said that it was from his son, whom is really into all of that type of rubber snap bracelet. Scott said, "I'm a Baller. A Shot Caller..." Then he kept going & I said to him, "Baby, I don't even know what you're saying to me." He said that a lot of people are wearing the bracelets, like John Kerry & Lance Armstrong, and I said, "Yeah, but you're so much cuter to look at." He smiled, clenched his fists, and said, "Yes! I'm cuter than John Kerry!" like it was his goal in life. He cracks me up. Then he went into the Baller/Shot Caller thing again. I swear, he said it at least 3 times. We were interrupted by the ringing of his cell phone, so he reached into his pocket, and there I was, staring at his pants again. Stop that, Sherry!

I was hungry, and ready to just go eat the food in the dressing room since Scott & Jeff weren't going back there right away. So Angela & I took off and found Applebee's, where I got tipsy on a Perfect Margarita. We called Liz and she agreed with Ang that they needed to get me tipsy before a Pella concert so that I'd say all the stuff that I was saying at that point. Ummm...that might not be such a good idea! We went back to our hotel room & sent free Internet greeting cards to people from the hotel TV. "Call us if you get bored."

In the morning, we had our continental breakfast, and some young guys flirted with us. Aw, I like that! We stopped in Tyler & I bought some stickers for the scrapbook. We listened to Barry Manilow on our long drive back. Then we went to see Ang's future home & I ran away from a mosquito & jumped back in the car as quickly as possible.

Ang dropped me off at the airport at Gate E1, and my gate number was E32, which, if you've been to DFW, is a trek. I tried to at least get into the gate area, not remembering that I needed a boarding pass. The guy looked at me like I was an idiot & didn't even crack a smile. I then realized that I wasn't even in the Delta check-in portion & went back outside. I needed the walk, so I was OK with it, and I had plenty of time. I just wished that it wasn't drizzling. Then I went to the self-serve kiosks, but I didn't have my credit card which I had used for my ticket. So I went to the counter. She said that I could have used my IQ, but I told her it didn't say that on the monitor. "It doesn't?" Oh well, I'll do that next time. I went to the sorry gift shops & bought a couple of postcards. Then I went to Burger King, where the manager was yelling at his staff to hurry up. You know, I'd rather have the food cooked first, if you don't mind. Then he realized that one of his employees was missing, and nobody knew where she went. I sat down to eat & write this report & I would have stayed until boarding time, but the radio overhead started playing a Barry Manilow song, and I'd had enough of that already.

So I went to the gate & called Ang & we laughed for an hour. During my flight, a couple of kids asked for hot chocolate, which they don't serve, but the flight attendant had some packs in her private bag & was able to attend to them. So the man next to me asked for hot chocolate, just to tease the attendant. We also had a couple of guys that wanted more than 3 bottles of Scotch. Each. Those Texans. Drinkers, huh? Oh, speaking of Texas, I only saw 5 Bush/Cheney '04 signs on our 7-hour trip through Texas. What's that about?

Got home safely, and happily. We made it through the rain, Ang. Call me if you get bored.

--Sherry

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