May 14, 2000
We got up early to celebrate Mother's Day. My grandmother came over and my mom cooked us a nice breakfast and we ate out on the back deck. I gave my mom her Mother's Day gift, her very own Al Team shirt with the number 2.18. She really liked it and wanted to get changed and wear it. Amanda, Christina, and I headed off to my Aunt Linda's. She lives on a 10 1/2 acre farm and has chickens, sheep, and llamas. One of her llamas just had a baby, and another one had a baby a few months ago. We got to see the babies and pet Capers, the tamest llama.
We stayed for a little while, but then drove to Seaside Heights so that Amanda could see the boardwalk and play in the water. We actually were able to go into the water since it was not very cold. We walked on the boardwalk and went on the carousel and I had clams for lunch. We stopped in one of the game places and I played Skeeball and won spider rings for Amanda, Christina, and Sue Kelleher, who I was going to be seeing at the show. It took me a while to save up enough points for spider rings because Amanda and Christina kept stealing my prize tickets.
I planned plenty of time to get to Wilmington, but I didn't know about road construction on I-95, which made us bypass the exit we wanted to take. We would have made it with plenty of time, except for construction. We had to take a detour down I-495 then back to I-95. It was a mess. We arrived late, but still got in right before "Dare To Be Stupid." I was later told by Steve Jay and Sue that the band didn't play "Gump" so we didn't miss as much as I thought we did.
Our seats were front row, right in front of Danny Brant. We were so close that we could pick his nose if we wanted to. There were two other people sitting next to us, who told me they were George (female) and Bob. They were happy to see someone else in the front row singing along and having a blast. During "One More Minute," Al jumped right off the stage and gave scarf to George. I guess it really does work to be sitting close to me.
I think this was perhaps the most energetic that I saw the band that weekend. Al came over and stood directly in front of us and sang to us lots of times. Bermuda nodded a hello from behind his drum set. Even Steve came over from his side of the stage and posed for pictures for Amanda. This was during "Amish Paradise," and Steve was having fun playing with his hat. He kept taking it off and putting it back on again. Every time Al said the word "fool" during "Amish Paradise" he stopped what he was doing and stared directly at me! It was so funny! I just hope he wasn't trying to tell me something.
During "Yoda," Al walked right over in front of me and just threw microphone into my lap. I thought about singing "Lola" or "Albuquerque" or something, but I just took the microphone and leaned towards Christina, George, and Bob and we all sang into it for a refrain of "Yoda. Yo Yo Yo Yo Yoda. Yo Yo Yo Yo Yoda." I tossed the microphone back to Al and he finished up the song and the rest of the show. Getting tossed the microphone was really a highlight for me. I really enjoyed that!
Al's voice was still bothering him, and in addition to not doing "Gump," he also didn't do "Like A Surgeon" or any of the concert-only songs. On the way out, I asked one of the theater workers if I could have a box of programs from the theater that mentioned Al. Since Al was the last show featured in the program, they had no use for it, so they agreed.
The after show area was very informal and the whole band was there. Al's tour manager, Skip, came into the room and took one look around and joked, "For the one or two of you who haven't been here all week, Al won't be talking...." There was a lot going on. I presented Sue with her spider ring, and she really seemed to like it. I also met up with, and said hi, to Gina, a fan that I have seen at a few shows. Somebody ended up handing me the sign off the room that the cheerleaders had set aside for them, and Amanda stuck it on my chest. Jon commented on it and then headed out of the room and came back with the signs that were on Al's room and the band's room. He gave Al's sign to me and the band's sign to Amanda. The band sign had a drawing of Jim West on it with Danny's head pasted over it. It was funny!
Jon posed for a picture with me in this contraption that looked like a giant toaster. Steve came in and asked Amanda if he was ever going to get to see the pictures she took at the show. He gave us a business card and then showed everyone a photo of a man in Africa that he had ripped out of the newspaper. This poor man walked for 3 days with his 3 kids on his back for 2 bags of grain. On the first night, one of his kids died and he hand dug a grave and buried the kid. On the second night, the second child died and he hand dug a grave for that child too. On the third night, the third child died and he had to bury that child as well. Finally, he got to where he could get the grain, and then he had to walk back with the grain for three days, each day passing another of his child's graves. It was very sad to hear, but it touched me, and it really made me think how fortunate I am. I won't forget that story.
Steve and Jon and I were getting ready to pose for a picture when Danny and Rubén came into the room. Jon called them over and next thing I know everyone started getting really goofy in front of the camera. Jon even asked Skip and Al to join in the picture, but they were both to busy to do so. By the end of the whole fiasco, Amanda and Christina ended up in the picture too. It was a high adrenaline day for everyone. I was very happy to get a picture of the smelly rock band and me, since I really wanted one, but always was afraid to ask. I'm glad it just happened that way.
I didn't catch her name, but there was a woman who graduated high school with Al. She brought her old high school yearbook and junior high yearbook. The high school yearbook has a lot of pictures of a very young Al in it. It was really nice of her to let me look through the book. In high school, Al was head of a club that he called "The Volcano Worshippers." There was a group shot of Al and everyone in the club. It was a funny picture of Al standing on top of something and people in trench coats around him. I asked what Al was like in high school and she said he was very weird in high school too. She had some classes with him. It was a cool book and whoever you are, I thank you very much for letting me look through it.
I made my way over to Al and thanked him for the show and the great weekend and tossing me the microphone. It's really weird to have a conversation with someone who is under a gag order and can't talk. There were a lot of hand motions on Al's part. I asked Al to sign the sign that Jon had given me. Al was wearing the Hawaiian shirt that I gave him in Hartford again. I'm glad that he is getting some use out of it.
Jon walked us out of the theater and when I got outside, Steve and Danny are out there talking to a bunch of people by the bus. Steve sees me walk by and he comes over and asks me what is in the box. I showed him the programs and he took one and then started talking to me. I don't know how it came up, but he was in a weird mood and starting making all these farting references. I must have been talking to Steve for a long time, because from way down the street, I hear Jon call my name. He was waiting for me to show him where I had parked and he got tired of waiting for me, I guess.
We stopped by my car, dropped off all those programs, and then we all walked back to the bus and Danny and Steve were still outside. They were hamming it up for the small crowd. I talked to Steve about his African CDs. He told me that they are re-re-releasing the African stuff again. That's really cool, since no one has really even attempted to record any African stuff since Steve did in the 1970s.
Rubén came out and signed autographs for anyone who wanted one and Jon hung around too. Danny was really attracting a crowd around him and he was telling stories and chatting with everyone. Danny didn't even seem to notice when I took his hat. Amanda handed Christina the camera and she was having fun taking lots of pictures. I talked to Jon about putting up "Danny's Disciples: The Official Danny Brant Fan Club!" and Jon told me he would send me some pictures for it and act as a messenger to Danny for some questions I wanted to ask Danny to answer for the page. Danny hung around outside for a really long time talking to everybody. You could tell he was beginning to become a fan favorite. I don't know how long he stayed out and chatted with everyone, but he was still out there when we decided to go.
That was a great way to end my concert experience for this leg of the tour. When I hit my next concert in Hampton Beach in July, it will be my 27th Al show ever. Even after 26 shows, Al and the band still amaze me and make me laugh every time. Great times like this are the reason I'll go all over and all out for a show.