I've got some bad news for the folks at the Roberts Orpheum theater... As I said in my previous post, the concert was a huge blast and meeting Rob (first name basis now, don't you know it?) was spectacular. But I'd have to say that the newly renamed and rebuilt Roberts Orpheum Theater -- formerly the American Theater in downtown St. Louis -- has got a problem that kind of interfered in making the night an absolutely perfect night. But I'll get to that later...
So, Lisa won the tickets and there was a whirlwind of telephone calls. Her folks, my folks, friends, coworkers. Some of Lisa's coworkers had in fact been listening and knew it was her. One of her friends had won a wedding gift on the same station a month or two back. Envy all around from some of her coworkers and mine, but mostly they were just really excited. Our families were excited too. To my mild surprise, even my Mom has heard of Rob Thomas. Not all of our friends knew the name right away.
Lisa was called by the station on her cell phone and at first they wanted her to come to the office to pick up the tickets. Then they changed it to pickup the night of the show. The night she won the tickets, she and Heather went out to first Target and then finally Wal-Mart to buy a copy of his debut/latest CD - "..Something To Be."
Target was selling a special version that came packaged with an extra 5-song single called "Something Extra", but they were out. Wal-Mart had plenty of the standard CDs left, so she bought it there.
Then all of a sudden it was Friday. We had to meet the Y98 rep in front of the theater at 6pm, but Lisa wanted to be there in plenty of time. So I took a couple hours off work to go home, change and then pick up my Reese from school. I had a short bit of time before I had to get her so I posted quickly and got Reese to Heather's house. Then I met up with Lisa at the house and we drove downtown to the Orpheum.
I've never been to the American or it's new incarnation as the Orpheum. The directions on their site were pretty good at helping us get there. I'd like to mention at this point that we were pretty much the first folks there, nearly two hours earlier than when we needed to be there. It was about 4p.m. or so, and there were still Orpheum employees trickling in. The lady at the door informed us that the doors wouldn't open until 7pm. All we had to do was wait for the Y98 van. The day at this point was turning windy and cold. We were in the parking garage across from the theater while we waited and the gusts were whipping around tossing paper and styrofoam all over the place. It was like Chicago, or at least what I imagine the "Windy City" should be. While we waited, we sat in the car and listened to the new CD we had brought. Then we walked to the fancy hotel next door and used their bathroom when the need arose. Mostly we shivered a lot.
Then up drove a van with a radio station logo on it, but it was 101.1 The River in an orangish van. At about 5:30pm or so, the silver Y98 van pulled up to the curb. Out stepped a nice shortish woman in a dress and windbreaker, and a tall bulky guy with a shaved head. We were still the first fans there, although a moment or two later, another couple of winners zeroed in on the van with us.
Brandi was the name of the sales rep from Y98. She was very nice and negotiated with the security folks at Orpheum to let us in the lobby out of the cold. Winners like us filtered in a few at a time until there were about 20 or so total. Brandi handed out tickets and we waited there for about 30 minutes while soundcheck was performed just through a door. Then members of Rob's team showed up and escorted the group to the back. We snaked up along the seats of the auditorium and we marveled at the huge beautiful room, but only briefly. At this point we still didn't really know where our seats were. Our group went single-file through a set of doors and into an area to stage right and then backstage. We went down a flight of stairs and turned down a hallway. Beyond this there was another set of cramped stairs down and to a small out-of-the-way room that looked as if it were a storeroom or unused hallway to nowhere. The floors and walls were mostly bare cold concrete. There were artistically painted promotional posters for old-fashioned musicals or playbills. Pizza and soda were provided but Lisa and I had already eaten some leftover pizza and were too nervous to eat.
Rob's manager/handler person was a bouncer type guy in a grey sweatshirt and khaki shorts with a shaved head. There was a personal radio attached to his hip but he otherwise seemed just like a normal guy. He kindly laid out the ground rules: no cell phones, no cameras, only one item gets signed.
...to be continued.