Tag Archives: Madison Square Garden

Basketball Jones

This is one of those moments in life where a joint would be most nice. But of course I am lacking in that department. What started as a fine day almost degenerated into crap and it wasn’t my fault. I do have to thank the makers of Xanax for taking a major edge off the trouble I found myself in this afternoon.

I suppose it’s true, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. In that case, to quote AC/DC I’m on the Highway to Hell.

Last night was quite pleasant enough. Bill came home and we watched The Baroness of Jazz, about a woman, an heiress to the Rothschild fortune who left England and wound up being a major supporter of Thelonious Monk and a few others in that Jazz scene.

I recorded it since Bill has a connection to Thelonious Monk in some regard. Right now, my patience is sorely being tested by the sound card I guess on my computer.

Right now I’m trying to listen to some Kate Bush on iTunes, while also trying to upload the videos I shot of Bill tonight. Unfortunately with every keystroke on the computer the sound goes to shit.

Apparently I cannot do more than one thing on the computer without something going wrong. You get what you paid for I guess. Be ru-un-nni-i-i-nn-ggg u-u-u-p-p t-hhhhaaa-tttt hi-ll-ll is not how Kate Bush is supposed to sound. A 5:01 song gets stretched to 6 and change.

And the one clip I had shot of Bill was somehow turned into 2 clips, so I decided to add the sound check making it a 2:36 clip. I know I would be feeling a lot worse if it weren’t for the Xanax which is merely making me frustrated rather than angry.

Anyhow, The Baroness of Jazz was good and Bill really enjoyed it. After that, Bill and I watched Saturday Night Live. I generally enjoy the holiday episodes of Saturday Night Live. I often wondered if it was Lorne Michaels generosity that lets some truly strange sketches go on air.

I loved the digital short, it was hilarious and definitely weird. No more pajamas for me. Bill went to bed during Weekend Update, I stayed up to watch the rest. Muse were the musical guests and I thought they were alright.

Soon I went to bed as the snow continued falling. I woke up around 8:30, Bill was off to church for the first time in weeks, delivering the liturgy. I soon had my boots on, walked up to Washington Street where the bagel shop was empty. Yesterday the line was out onto the sidewalk.

In and out in under a minute, I made my way through sloppy streets to the supermarket. Cute cashier, reminded me of Karen Kuhl from Gutbank, 20 years ago.

The rest of the day was OK, until I responded to matters regarding Christmas presents. Where I planned and saved to get these presents I was left feeling foolish for getting these meager presents. Whatever good feeling I had was soon gone.

Bill was home by then and taking a nap, I had an early supper. That’s when I had the Xanax which couldn’t activate fast enough for my nerves. Eventually it did and talking to Bill about it certainly helped.

Things will have to be done differently and certain plans will be changed within the next five days. C’est la vie, that’s just the way that it goes.

Bill and I ran into Rand and Lisa as we walked to the Path train, good to see them. They wished Bill good luck with his singing. We also ran into Kathe Charas who is leaving New York and heading to Florida to help out some relatives. Glad to be able to see her on the day she was leaving though it was quite inadvertent.

We were set up nicely at the Garden, had dinner in the Press Room and Bill had a small dressing room. We had passes that allowed me to walk through the bowels of the Garden and shoot Bill’s sound check and the pass came in handy during the actual performance.

Unfortunately, someone bumped into me during the actual performance which left the video slightly disjointed. I posted it on YouTube as johnotoole99 as well on Facebook and also here.

Our singer

Our singer

'Just the facts, ma'am'

'Just the facts, ma'am'

Day by Day

It’s Wednesday I suppose. Overcast at that. Not much going on. The Beatles were all over the place today. Except in Tunes, the local record store where all they had were the old discs.

I wasn’t going to buy any since I had everything already, plus the Beatles have enough of my money already. I’ve owned their stuff on vinyl (both LP & 45’s), cassette and CD.

I was most interested in the mono releases but their only available as part of a boxed set. You see up until the White Album, the Beatles were most involved in mixing their records in mono.

Stereo was more popular in the US and after the mono mixing, the Beatles would go home, leaving the stereo mixing to the production staff.

From what I heard it’s supposed to sound amazing but not being much of an audiophile I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, despite the rave reviews from Mojo and Uncut as well as a few other publications.

Don’t get me wrong, if someone came and gave me a copy of Revolver I wouldn’t turn it down. Tunes did have the re-release of the Feelies first two records, Crazy Rhythms and The Good Earth.

I will probably pick up Crazy Rhythms sooner or later. From what I heard, there’s a live show from the 9:30 Club in DC that Andy, the former sound guy at McSwells recorded and mixed.

Last night Bill sang the National Anthem for the third time before the NY Liberty game at Madison Square Garden. This time it was certainly different. More stringent security, passes needed, a wave of the wand.

Our assigned intern, Mike led us through the passageways of the Garden setting us up in the Press Room. Previous years we had a dressing room so Bill could change his clothes and do some vocal exercises beforehand.

Intern Mike had left us so Bill asked if there was a space where he could practice. It turned out Mike wasn’t supposed to leave us in the Press Room and a guy named Rick brought us to where we were supposed to be.

An empty room close to the basketball court.

There was someone’s things in there already, but Bill and I didn’t pay it any attention. He changed his clothes and did his warm ups. We were pretty much comfortable there when I heard a knock on the door.

I opened it and there were a few women. Groupies? I thought, but no, they were supposed to be in there and not us. So we were shuffled along to yet another room, and waited to be called up.

I once again recorded Bill singing on camera. That was done in a low key manner since Cablevision likes to control everything that goes on under their roof. I had an all access pass so I was able to walk around the basketball court.

Bill sang quite well once again and got an nice round of applause. As we headed back to our seats a few people stopped him and told him was a good job he had done. We sat with Bill’s boss and a few co-workers.

The NY Liberty were getting trounced and Bill and I made a hasty exit at half time. Just in time to miss the Jon Benet Ramsay types on the court screeching Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

A nice ride home, ordered some pizza from Grimaldi’s and just chilled out for the rest of the night. That’s it, plain and simple.

Here’s Bill again from last night, singing the National Anthem.

Some of Them Are Old

Yeah it’s later than usual I know. Bill and I just got back from a WNBA game, NY Liberty hosting San Antonio Silver Stars. Bill sang the national anthem once again. We were prepared for it this year, not that we weren’t last year. I walked across town after a crappy day at work, enjoying a Padron.

I was in a suit and tie as per Greg Stevens request since we had a big wig in who may or may not bail out our company. I don’t know whats going on, but I do know that now we are down to 4 employees, not including myself. Another one falls by the wayside. Butted heads with Tom Chin as well. He can be so penny wise and pound foolish. But that’s a bullshit story and I just don’t want to get into it now that it’s after 10:00 PM.

So I walked from 50th Street and Third Avenue to 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue. It was muggy and I was in a suit and tie so by the time I met up with Bill outside Madison Square Garden I was moist and damp. I rallied to put on a good face and not ruin Bill’s time to shine.

Sound check

We were ushered into the arena, Bill did a sound check then shown to a dressing room which was smaller than last years. I guess this is the dressing room that the opening acts get. We were even fed this time, but I had already did my fight against the McDonalds boycott so we had some salads in the press room and this being the WNBA it was a bit skimpy.

Then we went back to the dressing room and waited for the appointed minute. It came and we were escorted to the basketball court. Last year I was able to walk across the court and take some snap shots of Bill singing.

This year, our escort had me run alongside with her in the back stage area of the arena, in 40 seconds. From one side of the court to the other. She was in sneakers, I was in dress shoes and I held my own. I guess when I HAVE to run I will. My niece Meghan would have been surprised, if nor proud to see her uncle sprinting.

I kept pace with the escort and we made it with a seconds to spare. She told me I could only stand in one spot so I planted myself and started shooting. Then a WNBA official said I could move up onto the court so I did.

Show Time!

Unfortunately with the running and being told where to stand I started shooting Bill’s introduction, then I stopped. A few seconds later I find myself looking at the LCD and notice that there aren’t seconds flying by on the bottom of the screen. No red light either. I wasn’t recording anymore.

So I started recording again, half way through. I got half of the anthem which was pretty good. A dodgy note change to my ears, but Bill said it’s what he was trying for. And the crowd loved the high note so it all worked out for the best my unfortunate video shooting not withstanding

I think I could have gotten the whole 1:30 seconds if I didn’t have to run the 220 in full suit and tie and dress shoes. I would have liked to have seen that on video. Of course it was, since I was at the Garden running alongside an employee but I’ll never see it.

Bill was able to have one of his mother’s neighbors take his mother to the game so she could hear Bill sing. She sat in the seats, or rather probably stood while her son sang the national anthem in front of a couple of thousand people.

She loved it, the neighbor loved it, and a lot of people applauded Bill as we walked back to the seats to join his mother and neighbor and some of Bill’s coworkers. We left at the half, NY Liberty and San Antonio Silver Stars tied 31-31. Bill and I walked his mother and neighbor to a taxi outside Penn Station, seeing them off with blowing kisses.

A nice Path train ride home, I had Bill in stitches on the sidewalk describing my bus ride into work in the morning with Casey. Nothing against Casey of course, just what was actually funny was my slow responses to Casey’s animated conversation.

I was doing both parts of course. It was funny because it was true.

I’m still not a morning person but I’m getting better. Ask me about it after lunch.