Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jonathan Coulton at the Moore Theater with Paul and Storm and Molly Lewis

Friday night (02/26/2010) I took the boys to see Jonathan Coulton. I’d been kind of wanting to go but was being wishy-washy about buying tickets. At first I thought I missed the show. For some reason I thought the show was on the Tuesday of this week. Just to be thorough (not Thoreau) I checked his web site http://www.jonathancoulton.com/ and saw that the show was Friday.

I was sitting at my desk on Friday afternoon thinking about the fact that I could still go to the concert but didn’t have anyone to go with me. I checked with the online ticket site and they still had tickets available. I called and asked Calvin if he wanted to go see a concert with me and he said yes. Duncan said he would check out his videos online and get back with me. He called me back a few minutes later and said that he was in. I then went back to the ticket buying web site and the event was no available for ticket sales.

Fifteen minutes and they it went from “sure we’ll sell you tickets” to “go away kid, you bother me.” At this point I called the phone number on the web site and tried to order tickets over the phone; but was again told the event is unavailable. So I called back and indicated I wanted to speak to a real person. This is when I went on the hold from hell. Luckily I work only about 5 blocks from the Moore Theater, where the show was to take place. I hoofed it on over there only to find the box office closed. Next to the box office was an automated ticket machine. I did the correct touch-screen actions and was about to purchase the tickets when I was informed that this machine was out of printing supplies and it would be unable to finish the transaction.

I’m reminded of a thing they tell us in writing where you have to keep throwing obstacles in the path of your hero to generate interest and suspense. I’d had just about enough interest and suspense and just wanted the tickets. I wandered around a minute trying to think of something to do and started reading some of the things posted in the window of the box office. I ran across a notice that I could also buy tickets at the Paramount Theater at 9th and Pine. I was currently at 2nd and Stewart about a half mile from the Paramount. Luckily my normal bus stop is about a block from the Paramount. So off I go, over to Pine and then down Pine to 9th.

Now I’ve been on hold this entire time. All of these actions have occurred with my cell phone up to my face listening to sappy music with the occasional assurance that my call was important and would be handled in the order it came in. I was about half way between the Moore and the Paramount when I finally got to a real-live human being – a real live human being that told me they no longer had access to the event so they couldn’t sell me tickets either.

I finally get to the Paramount and there is someone in the box-office and a woman in front of me waiting to buy tickets. But the guy in the box office is on the phone; not selling the woman in front of me her tickets. I stand there and wait. He talks on the phone. I stand there and wait. He moves to the back of the box office and starts rifling through a drawer, probably making sure someone’s will-call tickets are in the right place. I stand there and wait. He finally gets off of the phone and starts talking to the woman in front of me. She wants to go see Chicago (showing at the Paramount) and goes through a complex ritual of finding the right seats in the correct section for the appropriate price. I stand there and wait. Eventually she is happy, money changes hands, and now I’m standing before the ticket selling guy. He asks what show. I tell him and he offers me tickets that are much better than what the online store offered. I do a little hysterical jump-for-joy dance (in my head) and hand him my credit card. I have the tickets.

Now I have to get home, get the boys, get dinner, get parking, get to the theater and enjoy myself; all easier said than done. It’s at this point I’m reminded of Dante’s trilogy of epic poems; Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise. The evening kind of proceeded like that and I feel like I just finished the Inferno part. This kind of worries me in that if I go on and on about the rest of the evening it will get read about as often as the 2nd and 3rd parts of Dante’s trilogy.

When I got home, I let Duncan know when we were leaving and he was not happy. For some reason he felt that if the concert starts at 8 pm then we should be able to leave the house at 7:30 and make it there with plenty of time. I knew that we needed to get dinner, get downtown, get parking and get to the theater. Not a 30 minute deal. So he’s giving me all sorts of grief that only a 14 year old knows how to give. I get them in the car and we go to get dinner. Calvin wants to go to McDonalds so he can get and iCarly toy. Duncan finally said he didn’t want much for dinner so that would be OK. I suggested he get a McChicken sandwich because it’s not that big. He corrected me that a “not that big” dinner at McDonalds was a quarter pounder with cheese, large fries and large drink.

At McDonalds we hit a pet-peeve of mine. When McDonalds has two toys at the same time, like they do now (Star Wars: Clone Wars and iCarly) they always refer to them as boy toys and girl toys. Calvin wanted the iCarly toy and I told the drive-through person that and he repeated back: one six-piece happy meal with girl toy. The perpetuation of that kind of cultural sexism just annoys me – girls can want Star Wars toys and boys can want iCarly toys.

We got through the standard traffic-jam that is I-5 southbound into Seattle and got parking at 3rd and Stewart. After we walked over to the Moore, Calvin noticed that he forgot his Nintendo DS. Duncan was griping that we were too early; the doors to the theater weren’t open yet. I said we should go back to the car and get Calvin’s game. Duncan did not want us to do that. I told him that he should stay in front of the theater then because Calvin and I were going to go and get the game. He decided to come with us.

By the time we got back they were letting people in to the lobby but not the theater. I found a place for Cal to sit on the floor and play his DS, told Duncan to watch him and went over to the merchandise table to see what they had. I eventually bought Calvin a Skullcrusher Mountain shirt and a RE: Your Brains shirt for me along with a live CD/DVD for Jonathan Coulton. Duncan then asked if there was a way we could leave early so he could get back and do some gaming on Xbox Live. I said, “Let’s wait and see how it goes.”

After about 30 minutes in the Lobby they let us into the theater. The seats at the Moore were designed for children or anorexic models. Calvin fit fine but Duncan and I were wedged in pretty good. We were quite the geek family; Cal on DS, Duncan on his iPod Touch and me surfing the internet on a Windows Mobile phone.

The opening act started pretty much at 8 pm. The duo known as Paul and Storm started off with the song “We’re the Opening Band.” There was lots of comedy between and sometimes during the songs. They thought nothing of stopping a song two or three times to do some comedy or comment on something happening in the audience. Calvin really liked the song “Cruel, cruel moon” about a man and his girlfriend, who is a werewolf. In the end I think Cal liked Paul and Storm better than Jonathan Coulton. I can’t remember the whole set list but you should look them up and give them money.

After a short intermission where we stood in a long line for the Men’s bathroom, Jonathan Coulton came on stage. I’m really bad about remembering the set list but I can name a few songs I remember him doing; Ikea, shop vac, code monkey, creepy doll, skullcrusher mountain, Mr. Fancypants, the future soon, and the last song was re: your brains. Then he came back on and did First of May as the encore. I saw Duncan laughing many times at the songs and he didn’t ask once to leave early.

For some of the songs he brought Paul and Storm back out and also a ukulele player named Molly Lewis. She’s not the ukulele player on the DVD I bought but if you look up when Jonathan Coulton sings his song “My Monkey” to Will Wheaton at the 2009 PAX then you can see her playing ukulele. Just look up “Jonathan Coultan serenades Wil Wheaton at PAX2009” on You Tube and you’ll see it. Of course you can look up the user sweetafton23 and see all of her other videos and vlogs.

Calvin just pooped out about three songs short of the end of the concert. He snuggled up and dropped off. And then the loudest thing all night happened. The entire auditorium sang really loud, “All we want to do is eat your brains. We’re not unreasonable, I mean no one’s gonna eat your eyes…” and Calvin slept right through it. And when the encore was “First of May” I was kind of happy he fell asleep. Just look up the video on You Tube and you’ll understand why.

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