The Town With Two Names

Kirby Center
Wilkes-Barre, PA
November 3, 2000

I had the day off from work so I spent most of the day running errands. When my errands were done, Jackie and I left for Wilkes-Barre. The directions from the website were wrong, so we ended up taking the wrong exit. As soon as we got off the highway it was immediately apparent, so we were able to get right back on again. We found the Kirby Center and parked on the street and walked around to find people.

As we walked by the hotel across the street, Matt "Subman" Marks, Denise "Fred" Olderr, Luke Ski, and Stephanie Wild were calling my name from a balcony. I found out Matt's room number and went up. "Trivial Todd" Wilkinson was inside with Fred and Matt, so I chatted with them for a bit. I found out that Beth Gothro was across the hall so I went over and said hi to her and we chatted and looked at pictures. Without knowing it, Sue Kelleher and Lynn, my other roommates for the night, were across the hall. We bumped into each other in the hallway. Our room had a great view of the loading area where the crew and buses were.

For dinner, Jackie and I headed out to get some Chinese food. The city of Wilkes-Barre has no logic as to how it's laid out, so it confused me, and I couldn't find the hotel or Kirby Center again. After we found the Kirby Center, which was directly across the square from the people we stopped to ask, we drove around the square many more times before we found the entrance to the hotel parking lot. We went around the block so many times, I was afraid we would get ticketed for "cruising." We dropped off some stuff at the room and headed to the Kirby Center.

On the way over to the theater, I found some local papers with Al in them. So I picked up a few and walked them back to the car. In the lobby, we ran into Luke and Stephanie and chatted and bought some T-shirts. There was no one else around, and the T-shirt crew was playfully laughing at us, especially because they knew how many T-shirts I had bought in the past. The opening act let out and Richard E Green joined our group and chatted with us for a bit.

Todd, Matt, Beth, and a couple of other people were off to my right in the front row with lots of props that they used throughout the whole show. Steve Jay was really enjoying watching the props and came over a few times to get a closer look. Among their many props, Todd, Matt, and Beth had Santa hats and Christmas lights for "The Night Santa Went Crazy," candles for "Amish Paradise," and light sabers for "The Saga Begins." They probably had something for every song. They even ran up to Rubén in "Like A Surgeon" and stuffed dollar bills in his bra.

For "Like A Surgeon," Rubén really stole the entire song, as usual. He came out with a funnel and a bottle of water. He put the funnel down his pants and started pouring water into it. The audience really loved it. Al did some serious moshing with Jim West and Steve up on the stage during "Smells Like Nirvana."

At the very end of the show, instead of waving and walking off stage, like the band usually does, all five members came to the front of the stage, joined arms, and faced the audience. Then they all turned around, and had their picture taken in front of the audience.

After the show, I hung around inside as long as I could and took some pictures with some friends. We got told to leave, so we went around to the buses. By the time we got there, the crew was already breaking down and loading tucks.

Most everybody that I knew was out by the buses. I asked a lot of people to pose for pictures with me because I didn't have a lot of pictures of the usual fans and I that I see at the shows. Steve came out and had his autographed shirt on. He was signing stuff for everyone and having everyone sign his shirt. Everyone out there mobbed him, but he stayed around the entire time and talked with the fans.

Jim West somehow snuck around the crowd, and was standing across the street. A few people, including myself, saw him standing there. Since I hadn't seen him since the Camden show at the end of 1999, I went over to say hi. He didn't recognize me at first since I changed my hair length and grew a beard. Finally it clicked with him, and he said hi. I asked him if he wanted to see the tattoo of him, and he said he had seen it on the MSNBC special, but he'd like to see it in real life. I showed him the tattoo and he was kind enough to pose for a picture with Richard and me. Jim was on his way somewhere, so he left shortly after that.

Meanwhile, Steve was still out signing stuff for people, when the announcement was made that Al would be coming out, but because there was so many people, and everyone was tired since it had been a long tour, Al would only sign one item, and no posed photographs.

We all got into a single file line, which wrapped around the corner. Amanda and Beth gave everyone a Ding Dong and we were supposed to all go up to Al as a group and say "Yo, Ding Dong man, Ding Dong, yo." When we finally got up to the front of the line, we all did that, and Al laughed.

The bald security nazi was taking his job way too serious and rushing everyone along. My entire conversation with Al went like this:

(Dave waits in line patiently.)
(Dave walks up to Al.)
Security nazi: Do you have something to sign?
Dave: No.
Security nazi: (now physically pushing Dave out of the way) Ok, keep it moving.
(Dave makes error in judgment and stops moving to say...)
Dave: Thanks!
(Security nazi tackles Dave to the ground and beats him into a bloody pulp.)

Okay, I'm kidding about being beaten senseless, but he could have been a little nicer to those in line. After getting through the rest of the line, Al hopped into a waiting car, and headed back to his hotel. Most of the fans left. We decided to walk with some fans over to the hotel where the band was staying.

Outside the hotel, the bus was parked. By the bus was Steve talking to a bunch of fans and gathering his CDs and guitar to bring inside. He stuck around and chatted with everyone for a little while longer and gave out some CDs to people who didn't have them yet.

Now it was getting late and I was getting tired, so we went back to the room. I didn't get much sleep because we stayed up acting silly and laughing for most of the night anyway.