Hampton Beach Casino
Hampton Beach, NH
July 6, 2000
Before the show, I was doing some shopping on Thayer St. in Providence, RI. I stopped in this store that had all these wild things. While Christina was looking for some sunglasses, I discovered a Hawaiian print hat! It's neon green with purple and blue and yellow flowers. I figured, besides being such a cool hat, it would look really nice with my Al Team shirt. But I wasn't going to wait to wear it!
Christina and I left in the middle of the afternoon because I wanted to check out Hampton Beach and didn't want to risk being late to my 27th show. We made it there in the late afternoon and found a parking lot right behind the casino. Hampton Beach immediately reminded me of a lower scale Seaside Heights without the boardwalk. It was interesting to visit, but I'm a Jersey Shore guy so Hampton Beach didn't impress me too much. Christina and I dipped our feet in the water and it was COLD! I don't know how the people were swimming in it. They must be nuts. A few people on the beach commented on my wild hat. We gave up on the beach and walked up and down the beachfront stores. Christina found a really cool blue Hawaiian dress at one store. She wore it to the Westbury show. It must have been a good day to find wild Hawaiian prints.
We quickly found out the casino wasn't an actual casino, more like an arcade. Oh well, I guess it's better because that means I didn't spend any money playing the slots. We picked up our passes and a few flyers and a newspaper advertising the concert. While we were walking back to the car to drop it off, a police officer stopped me. In the most serious voice you can imagine, he just said, "I had to ask you this, where did you get that wild shirt?" I was wearing a shirt with a casino theme on it. We chatted for a bit and I told him I came from New Jersey to see the show and how I thought it was a real casino. He kind of laughed at that. He was a great guy and told us to have fun at the show.
On the way back to the casino, we ran into Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz in the parking lot. Jon, Christina, and I chatted for a while, and I showed him my pictures from ALCON 2000 and the May 2000 shows that I went to. He posed for a picture wearing my hat and by the tour bus. There was an old rusty bus in the lot that belonged to a friend of someone in the crew. It was funny that it was parked right next to the crew bus. Since the band bus was around the corner, everyone walking by was mistaking it for Al's bus. It was such a contrast to see the two busses together.
Rubén Valtierra came outside the venue and sat up on the stairs for a while. Christina asked him to come down and pose for a picture, but he was not able to. Meanwhile Jon and I chatted a little more, and a few other people stopped by, Marilynn and her husband and son, and Carol, and Jackie and her friends Terry and Tonya. Jon headed indoors and we all split to see the show.
The show itself was very good. The casino ballroom was different than any other venue I had seen. Instead of rows of seats, there were tables that sat about twenty people. It reminded me of a comedy club. The tables were lined up throughout the ballroom and the stage was very long. There were two video screens set up, one on each side of the stage, and Al had to do a lot of walking in order to play to both sides of the audience. There were doors that opened to the back parking lot, which remained open throughout the entire show.
Al really sounded good this time. The last time I had seen him, he was having trouble with his voice. Not this time. He did the entire setlist, with the exception of "Like A Surgeon." I'm not sure why it was left out, but it was not because of the stage size or his voice. Al sounded absolutely brilliant during the concert-only "Free Delivery." I've never heard him sound so good during that song. Rubén was acting a little goofy during "Fat." Right as the video stops and the spotlight goes to Steve Jay for the bass solo, Rubén was standing there looking over Steve's bass. It was pretty weird. I guess Rubén wanted his moment in the sun since they didn't do "Like A Surgeon." Danny Brant was back again filling in for Jim West. Jim was doing a TV show in L.A. Danny attempted the "Yoda Chant" this time and did pretty well. He was a few microseconds behind everyone else in the hand movements, but it was a great improvement from the May shows when he didn't even attempt it.
Al and the band received a standing ovation and the security at the casino was herding everyone out. There were a lot of people with passes, the most I had ever seen. I waited around with Christina and Carol and Marilynn and her family. They made us move around a few times before we sat at the tables. Luckily they called the table I was sitting at first to meet Al or I would have been waiting all night. While I was waiting in line to talk to Al, Jon came out and sat at a distant table and signed autographs. Rubén came out also, but he didn't talk to anyone. He was being anti-social that evening. Danny came out too, and kind of hid off to the side. You could tell he wanted to come over and say hi, but didn't know if he should.
Christina called Danny over and he gave me a hug and told me it was nice to see me again. He said he checked out the fan club website and really thought it was well done. I showed him my ALCON 2000 and May 2000 pictures and he was having fun checking them out. I had a lot of him in there since I was planning to scan them and add them to the page.
Finally it was my turn to talk to Al. He was happy to see me and I told him it was my 27th show. He congratulated me and said he wished that he had known earlier so he could have done something special. I told him it was special enough just me being at the show. Al posed for a picture in my new hat and posed for a picture with me. Because of the volume of people there, we were asked to only have one item signed and keep the line moving quickly. Since I had nothing for him to sign, I asked Al to sign a poster for Christina, and then I told him I'd see him in Westbury.
There was a fairly large crowd outside. Security was kicking people out of the parking lot, so we headed to a remote corner and told the guy that we were waiting for people inside. This, of course, wasn't true, but it allowed us to stick around and not get harassed. We met back up with Jackie and Tonya and Terry and chatted for a while.
Finally Al came outside and greeted the fans. There was a long line going up the steps so I decided not to go back in line. Slowly we made our way back to the busses and chatted with Jon and Steve for a little bit. Finally, realizing that it was a long ride ahead of us, we said our goodbyes and headed out. It was really a great, special time for my 27th show. I couldn't have asked for anything more.
You can click on the highlighted words above and below to see more concert photos.