November 4, 2000
Jackie and I left Wilkes-Barre a little after 11:00 a.m. Before we left, we stopped to find a newspaper that had an article about the concert and ran into some people in the lobby and the parking lot. If I had known there was so little to do in Bethlehem, I would have taken my time and spent a little more time looking around Wilkes-Barre, or planned an alternate route.
It took a little over an hour to get to Bethlehem, and we found the Stabler Arena rather quickly. It was at Lehigh University and when we arrived, people were just arriving for a football game, or some other sporting event. We decided to get some lunch so we drove back through Bethlehem looking for a place. I followed signs to "Historic Bethlehem" figuring there would be something to do and someplace nice to eat. Well, wherever we ended up wasn't historical at all, and rather devoid of food, so I turned around and went to a Wendy's.
After Wendy's we took a detour to downtown Allentown and drove around there for a while. We stopped to walk down the main street and went into a few clothing stores, some that had some pretty nice Hawaiian shirts. We also stopped at a church that housed a replica of the Liberty Bell. That was a pretty neat little place.
After Allentown, we went back to the Stabler Arena and passed time reading some papers Lynn had given me in Wilkes-Barre. Once a small crowd came near the busses, we joined them. In the crowd were the Yellins, Nicole and Lee, Joanne and Kelly, and a few other fans. It was nice to see that Kelly finally had gotten her spatula signed by Al. Way to go Kelly!
We stopped by the front gate just in time to see the crowd start to file in. Adrian and Anne were there and the four of us passed some time before we sat. Once we got to our seats, everyone was there. I know that I have never known this many people at a show since, well, the night before. Even then, there were so many more people at this one. Before I knew it, everyone started congregating near the front of the stage. A few people came to introduce themselves, and a few people asked to see my tattoos. A lot of people asked to pose for a picture with me. And a couple of people even asked for my autograph!
The opening act was Joey Callahan, who was also the opening act for the Deptford show. He was funny, and didn't just do the same jokes over again. Some were repeats, but he threw in enough new ones to keep me interested.
Al's show was absolutely fantastic. Despite rumors, there was no end of the tour surprise. I had figured as much, but I wasn't at the show to see one; I was at the show so I could say I saw the first and last show on the tour, and to say goodbye to my friends in and out of the band.
As far as the show itself, it was pretty good. The stage was about 6 feet off the ground and the seats were far back from the stage. Everyone in the band was really loose on stage. There was a lot more snow than usual during "The Night Santa Went Crazy." Some people had brought Christmas lights and Santa hats.
Al jumped on Steve's back during "Smells Like Nirvana" and both fell over onto the floor at the end of the song. A lot of fans brought lightsabers for the encore.
After the show, I got to talk to everyone in the band. I had made congratulatory cards for everyone in the band on the successful end of the tour. While I was waiting in line, Rubén and Jay Levey came out to talk to a few fans. I didn't want to lose my spot in line, so I didn't get to talk to them. Rubén disappeared quickly, and Jay stayed around for a while mingling with fans.
I waited in line for Al, and when it was my turn, Al stood up and I gave Al a big hug. He said, "So, do you think you're not going to see me for a while?" I gave him his congratulations card, and he asked if he should read it now or later. I told him he could read it whenever he wanted. He laughed at the joke on the front of the card, and then said thanks. He stood back up again and posed for a picture with me. Then when I started to gather my stuff, he made a really sad looking face and pretended to cry.
After meeting Al, I gave Steve his card. He opened it and thanked me and made a joke about what I wrote. We talked for a little bit, and then posed for a picture. I asked him where he would be touring in Canada and he said he didn't know yet. He mentioned that he'd let me know. If it's not too inconvenient, and my schedule isn't too busy, I'd like to go see a show or two.
Right about that time, Jon came in. He made his way over towards me and said hi. He wanted to make sure that I was happy with our trade, and I told him I was. I gave him his card, and thanked him in person for all he did. We talked a little bit more and he gave me a hug and posed for a picture.
Somehow Jim ended up standing next to me. He was signing autographs for people. When he got a free second, he said "Hi Dave," and commented on my beard again. He said it looked nice. We posed for a picture and then he got sidetracked once again.
I hung around a little longer, but since I was planning on driving home I didn't want to stay too long, and I still wanted to say goodbye to a few people. Meanwhile, there was huge line now to meet Al. I went out by the bus and ran into Sue, Lynn, Amy, Richard, Serge, Adrian, Anne, and a few other people. I was able to say goodbye to them, but everyone else I was hoping to see must have still been in line. I waited a bit, but it was apparent that they wouldn't be coming out soon, so I started my journey home.
I was a little sad to see the tour come to an end, but all good things must end sometime. And the band and crew really deserve a break. They spent over a year of their life on this tour moving from city to city on a bus, night after night playing the same songs, and greeting fans. The whole time they were balancing life and touring. Together they played 232 shows in 46 states, recorded a new song, and released a live video and DVD. Al hosted a new Al TV, a new Much Music special, and took over VH1. Jim released an album and Steve released two. Everyone had many projects that kept them very busy. So, Al, Jon, Steve, Jim, Rubén, Danny, Jay, Skip, Neil, Rachel, Louis, and all the others behind the scenes, thanks for some great shows and a great tour and I'll be first in line for the next time!!!
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