Hershey Park Amphitheatre
Show #1 and Show #2
July 10, 2000
We all had a refreshing night's sleep and got up about 8:00 a.m. to get ready for the show. Sue, Jackie, Christina, and I were at Hershey by 9:30 and made our way up to the front near the gates. We saw lots of Al shirts and same people from the day before including the Yellin family, who were first in line at the gates. Allison showed up with her father shortly after and it was decided that Christina and I would be designated runners to try to grab first in line at the theater. There wasn't much chance that even if we didn't grab front of the line that we wouldn't be in the first few rows anyway, but we all just thought it would be fun to say we were first.
Christina actually got in well before I did and started a sprint. As soon as I got in I noticed lots of people sprinting. I think some were headed to the theater, but most were probably headed for the rides. I didn't take a chance and kicked it into high gear. I ended up making it to the front of the line at the theater, ensuring us front row again. It was a good thing I ran hard because a few other people closely followed me. Right on my tail was Joanne and her daughter Kelly. Since they had been at the show the day before, when the rest of my group finally arrived, we adopted them and Kelly sat in the front row with us.
When the show started, the theater wasn't full. In fact, there was an empty spot in the second row right behind us. A kid sitting there had his shirt down as if he was saving a spot, but the theater has a no seat saving policy and when we asked him, he said he wasn't saving for anyone. It worked out well for Tara Lyn and Amy who arrived late. They just sat down in the empty spot in the second row behind us and were able to watch the show with us. By the end of the show, the theater was full. I'm not sure why attendance was down that weekend at Hershey, but it worked to our advantage, with the great seats at the first two shows and the short lines at the rides.
I was a lot closer to Al this show, in fact I was right in the center. The show was the same setlist as the first show, and it was really high energy again. If anything, I think everyone in the band was a little goofier than usual. They aren't really used to playing at noon. Rubén Valtierra was the most noticeable during the show. Before the show started, he was out with the cheerleaders on stage, and out of sight of most people, but they were waving to people and goofing off, and taking pictures of the crowd. Then, during "Smells Like Nirvana," Rubén came out with a camera and started taking pictures of the cheerleaders. Even one of the stage crew was crouched behind a box on stage taking pictures of the cheerleaders. Hopefully he was out of view of most of the audience, but from where I was sitting, he was very obvious. The goofing off between Rubén and the cheerleaders was funny at first, but then it started to distract from the show. For the rest of the show, Rubén and the cheerleaders exchanged actions behind the keyboards. At one point, he had both cheerleaders, one in each arm, swinging and singing with him.
Other than that, the show was really entertaining. I inhaled a giant flake of the fake snow during "The Night Santa Went Crazy" and Al inhaled one about the same time I did. I started coughing and had the luxury of water available to me, but Al finished the song without missing a note. He must have been dying. The soap mix was very strong during the two days for some reason. When Al was singing, "Do you know what I'm saying?" in "Smells Like Nirvana," he went running over to a security guard who was leaning against the stage and sang right into his ear. The guard turned around and nodded yes. It was pretty funny. Al threw the water out into the crowd, and I was splashed a little bit, but the cup went way over my head into the crowd this time.
After the show, we headed out to get some food. We wanted to see if we could see any of the band members by the back door, but security pushed everyone along. Shortly after, Al came out on a cart with Danny Brant, Rubén, the cheerleaders, and a few other people. I assumed that they were heading for some rides. Allison and her dad had to take off, so before she left, I had all the women gather around me and pose like the inside cover of the "It's All About The Pentiums" single. We said goodbye and I grabbed some lunch. While I was eating, Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz came out and a very small crowd gathered around him. He talked to everyone and then I headed over and said hi to him. He was the only band member I talked to at Hershey. Jon stayed out and chatted to everyone for a pretty long time. He signed a drum tattoo on Tara Lyn's back and posed for a few pictures with people. Matt Garvey was at the show and gave Jon a shirt with a giant 27 made out of album covers.
The third show was going to start soon, and Jon ducked inside for a minute. I went back to finishing my sandwich, and I noticed that this Amish family had wandered into line and into the theater. Our original plan was to skip the show and hit some rides, but once the Amish family went in, we knew what we had to do. We went into the theater and staked out some seats right in front of the Amish family. I was really hoping the Amish family would stick around long enough to react to "Amish Paradise." I was dying to see them do the hand waving. As you might have expected, they barely made it through "Gump." I bet the radical lyrics of "His girlfriend Jenny was kind of a slut" were too much for them. The poor kids will probably now be severely disturbed and spend the rest of their lives shouting insults at people with zippers and entering wet bonnet contests. (No offense to any Amish who are reading this, but, hey, let's face it, you guys are entertaining!)
Since we hadn't planned on going to the show, and we wanted to sit near the Amish, we were way in the back, off to the side, about five or six rows from the top of the theater. We could see most of the stage, except for Rubén. The videos were blocked out by the sun and scaffolding. And for once, Jon's face was visible and not blocked by cymbals. The show was fun to watch from that angle, but there was no breeze, and it was pretty hot. It was also obvious that there were a lot of people who had never seen an Al show around us. Most people seemed to enjoy the show, particularly one gentleman in front of us.
Al put on the same high-energy show as always. There was a little funny moment at the beginning of "Smells Like Nirvana" when the "Moo!" sound was triggered right as the song started. Later in the song, when it is normally played, the cue was missed.
There's not much more to say about the show itself that I haven't said already, so I'll move onto the rest of the day. Everyone decided to hit a water ride and cool off, except for Tara Lyn, who became the designated bag-watcher and held our stuff for the rest of the day while we went on rides. I did have articles about Al in my bag, and she kept busy reading them. We went on a bunch of roller coasters and even got Amy onto a few looping coasters. Must have been the adrenaline still flowing from the Al shows.
We left the park for dinner and made plans to head to the Wendy's restaurant right outside the Park. There was some miscommunication somewhere and Tara Lyn and Amy ended up at a different Wendy's, but Sue, Christina, Jackie, and I had a nice much needed dinner. We headed back to the hotel and Jackie and I went swimming while Sue threw pennies at us. We were enjoying our swim until the entire state of Tennessee showed up, every single person named Billy Joe Jim Bob III, even the women. I swear they were multiplying in the pool right in front of us. I was afraid I'd be shot and skinned for dinner, so we left the pool area and headed back to the hotel for the night. (No offense to anyone from Tennessee, who can read, and who is reading this. It's a joke! Sheesh!)
I had a great weekend in Hershey, seeing old friends inside and outside the band, making new friends, and unscrewing the bolts holding up the roller-- I mean, riding all of the cool roller coasters in Hershey. Al, come back to Hershey soon!!!
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