Orange County Fair
Costa Mesa, CA
July 20, 2007
Earlier in the week, Helen suggested we get together one day for lunch and a quick tour of Long Beach if my schedule would allow it. I decided to take her up on the offer, so the plan was to meet Helen at the Long Beach Aquarium, find a place for a quick lunch, and then Helen would go back to work, and Melissa and I would split the remaining time before the concert checking out the sites in Long Beach and at the Orange County Fair.
I woke up at about 7:00 and instead of rolling over and going back to sleep, I decided to check my email to see if Helen had sent the address we would meet at yet. I fired up my laptop and got the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. After unsuccessfully rebooting several times, and trying to boot in safe mode, I wasn't getting past the Blue Screen of Death, so I panicked and left a voicemail for my friend Wai in New Jersey. He got back to me quickly and ultimately diagnosed the only way to fix it was to find a Windows install CD, and gave me some websites to check out for possible solutions.
As luck had it, Melissa had a Windows install CD, so I spent about an hour and a half running various tests, and I was finally able to get a clean boot. In all this, I lost track of time, so we ended up being a couple of minutes late meeting Helen. We met her in front of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant and settled on that place for lunch. The food was really good, and Melissa kicked butt on the trivia quiz our waitress gave us.
Helen drove us to the Tattoo Museum before heading back to work. Calling it a museum was being generous, because it has some old pictures on the wall and a case full of tattoo guns, but not a ton. However there was a lot of history in that shop, so it was good. We briefly considered renting Segways, but instead opted to walk out over the bridge that looks like a roller coaster, and through the marina to the lighthouse. We passed a film crew setting up what we only could imagine was a music video. We're pretty sure they were shooting a music video because there was a midget and pancakes.
We made a detour to Best Buy, so I could buy some more memory for my digital camera. Melissa decided to buy some for her camera too, but when she showed her camera to the sales guy, he did everything to try not to laugh. He wasn't impressed as apparently Sony stopped supporting that camera a while ago.
When we arrived at the Fair, we had a lot of time to kill. We made our way through some of the vendor buildings to stay cool. We passed through one that was like an infomercial. Everywhere you turned, they were selling products you'd expect to see advertised on really late night TV. There was also one guy with a whole store full of overpriced Hawaiian shirts, and another guy with old and rare money. That was kind of cool to see as he had some really neat stuff, including a $1000 bill.
We also walked through the visual arts building and made a detour to the lost and found to try to recover the Make the Rock Hall "Weird" petition that went missing the night before. The clipboard was sitting on the desk as we entered, but the woman told us she had to destroy the petition because it was illegal on state property. I had my doubts, but there was really nothing we could do about it at that point. In addition, they also removed the bumper sticker Melissa had attached to the clipboard. Whether the petition is illegal or not, that was clearly uncalled for. The whole situation should have been handled differently on the Fair's part.
Waiting outside the stage area, Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz recognized me and came over to say hello. He was on his way somewhere with his wife, but stopped to chat for a bit. He said so far the shows were going really well. I don't remember meeting his wife before, but she swore she met me, so at least one of our memories is incorrect. I also got to meet some fans at this concert that I hadn't met yet, including Alexis, lookatthenumbersinIandlaugh, and Peggy from Santa Barbara.
Again, we watched the sign language translator for most of "Polkarama!" At times, she was just as entertaining to watch as the action on stage. Even the band was getting into it during the show. During Crimes of Carelessness video clip, Steve Jay was having fun pretending to sign along to the audio.
We had fifth row seats during the concert. A group of really tall people was sitting in the row directly in front of us. I could see around them, but it was difficult to take pictures. There were some empty seats in the third row, and when they weren't claimed by the time "Bob" ended, Melissa and I moved up temporarily. For whatever reason, a lot of people were shuffling seats that day.
We were able to stay in our temporary seats until the medley started. At that point, I had to slip out to side of the seating area and wait for Melissa before we could return to our original seats. Because of the tall people in front of me, I opted not to take very many pictures.
The stormtroopers and Darth Vader were back for a third night during "The Saga Begins." At the end of the song, Steve lined up next to the stormtroopers and stood at attention with them.
In "Yoda," "Weird Al" Yankovic and Steve went P. Diddy style and slowly lowered themselves until they were laying down on the stage. At first Steve looked confused as to what Al was doing, but he caught on quickly. When they were laying on the stage, Al flailed his legs. Al and Steve were both extremely active and played to the audience a lot during this show. I also learned the sign language translation for Yoda is to make a fist with your little finger and thumb extended, with your right hand, and tap that against your left shoulder. I fully expect that bit of information to come in handy some day.
About halfway through "White & Nerdy" the video clip froze up and Al stopped and said there was no reason to do this song, and the band launched into "Radio Radio." It looked intentional to me, but Al would admit otherwise later. It was fun to see Al and the band perform the song in their nerd and gangsta outfits.
During the encore, Al came out and performed "Cell Phones" then apologized to the audience for the technical difficulties and rhetorically asked if they could try "White & Nerdy" again. And they did, this time out of costume, without the Segway, and free of technical difficulties.
After finishing the song, Al said one more and they did "Albuquerque." Jim West intentionally screwed up his guitar solo and Al just looked at him and said, "That was awful." Jim retreated off to the back of the stage all embarrassed. When Al got to the point of the song where he forgets his place, he said they should start over and they did! Right from the top! They played through the part where Al's mom force fed him sauerkraut until he was 26 1/2 years old, then his memory was suddenly jogged, and he continued the song from where he left off before. It seems like he brought out all the stops for this set of shows.
You can click on the highlighted words above and below to see more concert photos.