What an incredible weekend! I went to four concerts in three days for the Los Lonely Boys, got to hang out with them before or after three of them but the most amazing thing was that they came to the Listening Party that Laurie J. and So Cal La Onda worked so hard on. I mean, who really gets to sit down and have a meal with them??? I really felt like we were a family (on many different levels) and I think this weekend confirmed in many members’ minds that the Boys really do appreciate each and every one of us of La Onda because they took the time to give each one of us a hug, look us in the eye, and basically say ‘thank you’ with such sincerity and a smile. Not that this would happen but if I couldn’t make another concert, I would have definitely ended my streak of 49 concerts on a Mt. Everest-like high.
After the previous weekend’s engagement/housewarming party, I had to get ready for another fun-filled four days with my other favorite Boys and La Onda. OBTB was planning on participating in having a Listening Party on Saturday, March 26th, but three weeks before we had to make decision as a group on how we’d like to move forward as the Boys saved 40 spots for La Onda to be present at a private concert in LA. Uhm, yeah!!! How cool is that? I wasn’t planning on attending any of the LA shows, though extremely tempted, but I don’t think DB would appreciate me taking days off to go see the Boys when we just bought a house, had renovations to make and wedding plans to save for. And he’s always been a little irked that I’d take days off to go to concerts but not spend it with him. Valid point. BUT! I had a Virgin America credit I needed to use by 3/29/11, the same day the new album dropped. And what do you know, the Boys were going to play a CD release show at Waterloo Records in Austin. Interesting. Virgin America flies to Texas. I’ve always wanted to go. It ended up not making sense financially but it did relatively make financial sense to fly to LA instead for this concert that the Boys request our presence at. They asked for us. How could we say no? So Tasina and I got together to talk about it over dinner. Not many folks of OBTB were on board pushing for this listening party that I was working on getting a venue for. Margie was working on the design of the swag and I played Treasurer and gave my printer-contact more business to print our post cards. We did do some work but not a lot for this party that we didn’t know we were going to move forward with. So we tried to have an emergency conference call while we’re in our booth at The Olive Garden (which I remember JoJo saying years ago that their home town, San Angelo now has one.) But that conference call didn’t work out so we ended up talking to each member individually. Some didn’t know what was this listening party was all about or if they could even attend. I decided to take the lead on this marketing listening party with Margie’s help because as an Event Planner and Marketer, this is what I do. And Tasina is always, always on the go so I thought I’d relieve her of some stress. I understand that life happens and I’m not mad about it but Margie and I were the only ones that were gung ho about the event. I thought it was really cool. So we eventually decided to not reject the Boys’ invitation, cancel our Listening Party (and the venue I booked for it) and head South for a concert at the Grammy Museum on Friday, SoCal Onda’s listening party and the private show at La Cita in downtown LA. Next step: Permission. I asked for the green light from the fiancé to leave him and my puppy (though 2.5 years old now) for four days and he basically just pushed me out the door. He knows it’s my thing and he said GO! Suh-weet.
I participated in the conference calls with the seven different regions and a Playing In Traffic representative about the listening parties but since they were taking place mid-afternoon, I was at work and may have missed a few key points. Nonetheless, OBTB wasn’t having a listening party. SoCal La Onda was kind enough to invite us to theirs. Nine of us from Northern California made it to the Grammy Museum, and 13 of us made to the listening party and the La Cita show. In addition to getting access to the streaming Rockpango CD on Saturday between 4PM-6PM, each region were to receive a piñata and swag made by the rest of the nation and because Margie was leaving on Thursday, the package arrived on Friday and we didn’t get to open ours. But that’s OK. OBTB stood back to let SoCal La Onda enjoy their package during the party. After all, we were the guests. We did pay for our own meals and some sent money to help out with SoCal La Onda’s swag. But in terms of working with PIT and working together across the nation, that was pretty cool. If I could work for PIT, LoneyTone Records or Kevin (wink wink), that’d be beyond cool. Can I telecommute? How wonderful would be to for your job promoting something you love?
So arrangement were set. I’d find out if I got into the KFOG concert on Thursday. Then drive to San Jose, get tickets, and stand in line. I was to fly out of SFO the next day, arrive at LAX, spend some time with Roo, my former clerk at the law office, go to the Grammy Museum, room with Margie, possibly meet up with Amber Meade of the Bad Girls Club for brunch on Saturday, then the listening party, then La Cita, maybe party in Hollywood, sleep for a little and then drive back home on Sunday morning with Tasina, my OndaRoadMate. Sounds exhausting. It was but it was also so much fun.
First up was the KFOG show in the studio in downtown San Francisco. What a treat it was to be here for this. I left my house at 10 AM and arrived at noon. It was raining heavy and even sideways! No joke. Tasina and Martha, who was in from Hawaii, was racing thru the same traffic I was in on the Bay Bridge and Tasina said that Martha Andretti was behind the wheel. I asked her is she was making a left turn. They didn’t get it.
I was the first one in the waiting area and many other people arrived as well. Tasina and Martha finally made it and we handed out post cards, had small talk with folks to see if they were going to make it to the San Jose event and many folks weren’t. Not like us, Die-Hards. We were eventually let in the door, directed down a long hallway and I could already smell their cologne in the air and already hear Ringo say “Lakota!” How sweet. I waited for Martha so I thought she’s come a long way so she could go in before me but she motioned to get my butt in gear and get inside. Lakota gave each of them a hug. Henry said my name, I waved and smiled excitingly, I didn’t go over for a hug as there speakers in front of them, wires, microphones,… knowing me, I might have ungracefully ruined the whole event. And I didn’t want the radio stations security to step in, which they didn’t. I gave Ringo the same greeting, then JoJo, hesitated and he said it was ok to come get a little love. So I did. Inside I’m doing the happy dance. I turned around and it appears front row wasn’t taken. Shocker. So I grabbed a seat next to Tasina. There was a spot next to me that was open but a guy was setting up a video camera in front of it.
Webster kicked off the show, did a little interview and the Boys were making him and all of us laugh. I love when they (and artists in general) have a chance to speak and say something to get to know who they are. Yes, we’re here because of their music but it’s the people behind the music that makes it even more intriguing. They
were asked a few questions from the audience and they really got to speak. They always have me cracking up. JoJo explains what Rockpango means and his brothers were impressed that he knows the ‘derivative’ of the term… which they joke about further and carried onto the next day at The Grammy Museum show that only Tasina, Martha and I knew about. They talked about their Stacy Adam shoes that they designed that will be coming out this year, etc. I did record most of the interview but not sure if KFOG will allow posting it. I would like to be invited back.
I was at the same event in 2008 when they were just releasing Forgiven and I again sat in front. Can’t complain with that, right? The 2008 show was the first time I heard the title track, Forgiven, and it really made my eyes water. I just mouthed to JoJo, “it’s beautiful.” I’m sure he can see the tears in my eyes. And it happened again this time around with ‘Road to Nowhere’. I’ve never heard this track before and Tasina, who was sitting right next to me, leaned over and whispered “Have you heard this before?” We both haven’t but when our eyes met I knew I had to quickly look away or those tears will fall. I guess I had to do the same when I met JoJo’s eyes. The song is so beautiful and I immediately raised my left arm as in ‘representin’ when they sing “Wound up in San Francisco Bayyyyy” We made it into the song! Aww yeahhhh.
They sang Heaven, Rockpango and their new single Fly Away.
Then we were allowed to take photos with the Boys. Tasina, Martha and I stood back as other people got together in big groups to take photos with the Boys. SEE! We’re not stingy. We want other fans to be able to get close to them, to fall in love with them. They’re friggin’ awesome. This photo is when Ringo says, “Great, they’re bending their knees and I’m standing straight up!”
When it died down, we asked for just the three of us with the Boys and this is how it came out.
From my seat and in between taking photos, I asked JoJo what the next single was going to be. He seriously looked at me and said, “There isn’t going to be one.” Oh. OK. Being the gullible person I am, I didn’t realize that he was joking. OK, man, it’s your deal, do as you wish. But if it were me, I also wouldn’t mention what was the next single as I’d really want “Fly Away” to take off… no pun intended.
I made my way around to properly say hello to each of the Boys. First was Henry, I just stood by as he was signing autographs (our Rockpango cards) and he signed mine. Oh, OK. I’ll take an autograph. I usually don’t really ask them to sign anything as I’m so thankful just to be in the same room with them. Of course, Henry smiled and said hello back. I moved toward Ringo, I put my left arm around his shoulder and said hello as he signed away as well. He looked at me and softly said ‘Hello, Bernadette’ with a smile. So sweet. I made eye contact with JoJo and he said something to me but I couldn’t hear exactly what and he put his hand out so I put my card in his hand think he’s offering to sign my card. Again, I think I misunderstood. Yes, I’ve seen them so many times but you never know how much time you have with them and you never really know what to say exactly besides small talk because you may be holding up the line, thinking they have to move on, or that they don’t want to talk about what you want to talk about… or perhaps I’m just over thinking things. I have had the pleasure of having discussions with them and I wish I could have more, but they’re in high demand and on the road and they gotta go… They gotta do their thing: making music and making people happy. JoJo is the most approachable only because he’s outside the bus often but this trip, all three of them were extremely approachable. Very cool.
Tasina, Martha and I chatted a little bit with JoJo. I was saying how they and their promotions team did a great job at keeping the songs under wraps. We usually know all the songs and the lyrics by the time the album comes out and this was definitely not the case. I posted a comment on their Facebook site saying just that and JoJo said he saw it and he reads all of my posts. Awwww. FINALLY! A way to talk to them whenever I wanted to. YAY! But in reality, like Twitter, you just can’t read every post! But perhaps with 220 days out of the year on the road, you have some time to. Regardless, I am truly honored. From there he mentioned my default picture with ‘the dog. Is that in front of your house?’ “No, but we did buy a house.” “What, are you married now?” I didn’t exactly say yes, I just pulled out my hand from my coat pocket and showed him my engagement ring. “Wow! Congratulations!” and he gave me a big hug, wonderfully engulfed in leather and cologne. He said he was happy for me and that he (DB) is a very lucky man. So, so very sweet. I just stood there, bashful, not knowing what to say.
I pointed to the tall, older gentleman standing by the door and asked if that was Mike. JoJo confirmed it was and said he was a cool dude. I didn’t realize until the weekend was over that that was the same guy we interacted with for the first time at Cache Creek last summer. I came across a video on YouTube of Glenn, they’re former Road Manager and my buddy, on how the internet and mobile devices play such an important role with his job. I said no disrespect to Mike, but thanks to Glenn for all his hard work in taking care of our Boys and that we miss you. Other La Onda members commented as well. He was so good to us.
Eventually they had to go. And we did too! We had to travel south in this crazy weather to San Jose where we had to get in line to get free tickets and then stand in another line to get in. We said our good-byes and “See you tonight!”s, got our hugs, and walked out. We caught Henry on the way out and gave him a hug, ‘love you, guys,’ “love you” in return and Henry, Mr. Cool, complimented me on my coat and my hat. Awesome. And JoJo was taking a photo of some poster of three cholos with his iPhone in the hallway and gave him a quick drive-by hug. We had to get moving…
I jumped in my car in a neighboring parking garage and noticed that I carried their cologne into my car. Thank goodness they wear good cologne. I crossed the Bay Bridge out of habit to the east bay and headed for San Jose State University where I was originally going to go to school and major in Advertising if I hadn’t landed a job in the field already at the age of 19. The roads were extremely wet and the visibility was ridonkulous. I now have to have wear my glasses at night and while driving in the rain. It’s part of getting older. I should’ve eaten more carrots!
My iPhone was dying and decided to turn it off in case of an emergency. I thought I had a car charger in my car but it was no where to be found. I found my way to SJSU, parked, got lost on campus in my boots that were already killing me. I found the hall it was going to be held and YES, no li
ne! A student there asked me if I was here for the concert and directed me towards another building around the corner to get in line for free tickets. Ugh, more walking. On the way over there I ran in Maritza and her family. I lead them to where we were supposed to go and the line wrapped around the room. Wow! I’ve never had to wait in this long of a line before… only because I got to the line early enough. But hey, the KFOG and one-on-one interaction was well-worth it. We got in line and I helped Maritza put her tour stickers on the post cards and we handed them out: our job as the Street Team. People gladly took them. As we walked down the line street teaming, I noticed Laura and Emil were already there! Good for them! Then we saw that Ellen came in and hugs went around. So good to see Ellen. I haven’t seen her since our mini-OBTB-Holiday dinner at Eddie Papa’s in Pleasanton. She’s been sick and her father-in-law has been very ill in Las Vegas so it’s a possibility she won’t make it down to LA that weekend. We later found out that he passed and she definitely didn’t make to LA. So sad. AND, Maria Q. was supposed to come to the KFOG show but she also had a family emergency. If you don’t know, Maria is a brilliant event photographer and has taken photos of the Boys and her other love, Ozomatli. She was home in San Jose and up late excitedly prepping all of her gear for the upcoming shows when she heard her father fall or was in pain. She ran to his side, called 911 and he was taken to the hospital. She says that if she wasn’t prepping for these Los Lonely Boys concerts she may have been asleep and wouldn’t have saved her father. She says the Boys have saved her father’s life. How wonderful that they touch each one of our lives in such a crazy way. It’s sad that we were missing our Ellen and our Maria but they were where they needed to be.
The concert at SJSU was a free concert benefitting Mexican Heritage Bellas Artes De San Jose. I totally forgot to go to the ATM so I only had $6 on me so I gave it to the organization and only took one ticket hoping someone else can use it. It was wet out and my feet were still killin’ me! But I didn’t let it stop me and I led the way to the venue so we can get our spot in line. My phone was still off so I have no idea where Tasina and Martha were. We found the venue and there were about 8 people in front of us. Strange that there were about 50+ people in front of us in line for the ticket distribution but only 8 in line to a free concert? I stood there for awhile with Laura and Emil and here is Tasina knocking on the front door’s window and waving at me. WHAT?! How’d you get in? Good thing she was OK. Stupid phone. Back in line, someone brought over two Subway foot-longs and I really didn’t have anything to eat besides that half bagel I ran out the door with. Tempted for another BLT I had the week before, Laura held our place in line and Emil and I followed the nice gal’s directions to the food court to get something to eat. My feet would have to endure more pain to satisfy my hunger but boy were they bitchin’! We found the Subway, ordered, and I sat there in the cafeteria like room thinking I do not miss college. On our way out, I saw broken down cardboard boxes and I grabbed two for us to sit on while we ate back in line but I was the only one that partook of its dryness. My feet said ‘thank you.’ We had about an hour and a half until the doors opened. My foot-long was devoured and my umbrella had to shield me from the light rain. My gloves were on and I rocked back and forth to sorta keep the blood flowing because it was a bit chilly. Emil was taking it like a man and just chatting it up in the sprinkles with a woman about art and photography.
Eventually the doors were opened and Martha, Tasina and Laura had already saved us front row seats on JoJo’s side. I love having good friends. So I finally got to warm up and sit and chat. I looked around the beautiful venue and was again amazed that the seats weren’t filling up. I turned on my phone to check in with the fiancé and to see if I had any texts. Mela did and wanted to come. I didn’t know she was going to make it because she got off work at 6 pm. Emil still had an extra ticket and so I told her to hurry. I took a photo of the campus map of where we were with my finger pointing to where she needs to go. She lives in San Jose so she knows downtown very well.
She made it there in a jiffy and looked so professional in her Wells Fargo banking attire. As mentioned in my previous post, Mela and I have been friends for quite awhile now and this would be her second LLB concert. Her first one was when I asked if she spontaneously wanted to go to LA and see the Boys perform at Jimmy Kimmel back in 2006. She’s a fun girl and is down for pretty much anything so we had our first road trip! Here we are standing in front of Jimmy Kimmel’s building on Hollywood Blvd.
We stayed with my talented friend, Lauren Tarantino, in Hollywood and had a blast. Mela arrived at the venue and we got to catch up. Tasina told us that the venue was going to allow people to stand up and dance in front of the stage. I dragged Mela up with Tasina and I and how funny that my feet weren’t hurting as I stood and danced throughout the whole set. I don’t have the whole set list but they did sing Road to Nowhere, Rockpango, Roses (which is Laura’s favorite) and of course Heaven. This was also the first time we heard “Love in My Veins” and it was great! Tasina yelled out “This is my new favorite!” It’s definitely one of my favorite tracks on Rockpango. After Road to Nowhere, JoJo apologized for the slow love stuff and that ‘sometimes the sad stuff happens!’ Very true. I’m dancing away, singing along, trying to get Mela to shake her butt, she’s laughing at me because I know all of the words (except to the new songs) and she’s lovin’ watching the older lady in front of us in a reggae beanie just rockin’ out! Then there was a tall, heavy-set drunken Latino that just couldn’t hold his liquor near us, shoving and reeking of B.O. and booze. Not sexy whatsoever. Perhaps he didn’t get the memo. Maritza arrived with her family and friends and I introduced her to Mela and we danced the night away. I turned around to check out the rest of the venue to see if people were on their feet and yup, the venue was packed now!
The Boys threw out their guitar picks and Ringo gently tossed out drumsticks and off they went. I said good-bye to Mela, to give my regards to Felix and thanked her for coming.
Later on Facebook, her friend said she would have gone to the concert if she knew she was going. Sorry she missed out! Then as usual, we had to take a group photo at the stage. Security was very nice to let us linger for a bit. Then, we had to Street Team again and pass out swag. Tasina was on top of it and I was only able to get about 20 people to go home with a post card.
There was a tall, friendly Latino (not drunk this t
ime) who took a post card then kind of followed me and asked me to take a photo with him. I can’t remember his name for the life of me but I obliged. SURE! “But we have to hold up these post cards.” I thanked him for coming, that it was nice to meet him and to buy the album! Then I had to say goodbye to OBTB as I had a long drive home just to sleep and then get up at 5 AM to start my travels to The City of Angels.
I always reflect on my solo ride home on how it just never gets old for me to go to these concerts. To travel in crazy weather, to meet up with friends that I mostly just see around concert time, standing in line for hours, taking time off work to be here. But I love it. Seeing them, hearing their music live, singing along, and just knowing that they know I am and WE are there, that they want us to be there is so amazing. It’s ‘my thing.’ Some people scrapbook, some people travel to gun shows, some jump off cliffs – I go to Los Lonely Boys concerts. My license plate frame says it all: I’d Rather Be at a Los Lonely Boys Concert. Thanks, Martha, for getting me that. DB got me the matching “LNLY BYS” license plate that we get to pay an extra $100 for every year. I guess I kinda got sad on my way home because they and their music has been a part of my life for six years now, through the many stages, jobs, boys… They’ve always been around even though I see them maybe 5 times a year. I doubt that number will decrease as life happens, but who knows. The thought of it makes me sad, of missing out on seeing them when they’re so close.. just so many memories I wish I could relive, developing and growing friendships and unexplainable emotions like being so in love you can’t get enough and you just envelope yourself with it all. I don’t want it to end. BUT, I tend to worry about the what ifs prematurely and I’ll face it when that time comes… For now, onward to go home and sleep for five hours.
To be continued…