We had a FANTASTIC time! Where do I start?
We left the house in time to sail, virtually unhindered, to Boston around quarter after four. We parked (pahked) way the hell up on Commonwealth Ave, so we took a leisurely stroll past the big, old brownstones of a lovely (read: expensive) Back Bay neighborhood on our way to Kenmore Square where we got a table at a nearly-deserted Bertucci’s.
We had a nice, long dinner (we shared a chicken picatta, in case someone really does care what I had for lunch) and really enjoyed a chance to actually talk to each other. Considering that Mr. Chili and I see each other every day – and we have a really good marriage – I’m often surprised by how little opportunity we get to focus on each other; or attention is usually zeroed in elsewhere – either a child or a household task, whatever. Anyway, we had a really nice time together – that may be my favorite part of the night.
Once we’d paid for dinner and fought our way back to the exit (there were a LOT of people in line for a table when we left, and I was glad that we’d arrived as early as we had), we crossed Kenmore and headed to Fenway Park.
I’m going to post a Ten Things Tuesday tomorrow about the things that I love about Boston. One of the things I DON’T love are the panhandlers. Look, I understand that life is tough, and I know that people are very often found in tough – almost impossible – situations not of their choosing. I’m just not sure that sitting on a milk crate with a boom box next to you shaking a Dunkin’ Donuts cup with coins in it is really the best way to find one’s way out of that tough situation. I’m probably being bitchy and judgmental here, but after my first reaction of sympathy, my second, less charitable reaction is ‘no.’ I really love what Kizz does for homeless people in her city: any time she goes out to eat, she boxes up everything that’s left over and gives it to the people she passes on her way home. If I had done any thinking at all, I’d have done that with the little bit of picatta left over from our dinner. It didn’t occur to me, though, and I’m a little ashamed of that.
Anyway, we made our way, with the growing throng, past the cup-shakers and the ticket scalpers and the Jesus-freak (singular, but he was freaky enough all by himself) to Fenway. Our gate was all the way around the park, so we moseyed up Lansdowne Street (“Sausages! Get ya sausages!”) and around the corner to Gate B, where Mr. Chili was patted down and my bag was searched and tagged.
Once inside – still about an hour before the ticket time – we spent some time taking it all in. We’ve been to Fenway before – several times – and we’re always amazed by how little it changes. Ever. The signs are always the same, the vendors are always the same, the lighting, the sounds, and the smells are always the same. Well, this time, the vendors were a little different, as the folks selling Police memorabilia were set up in small stalls around the concourse. I bought a tank top. I’m embarrassed by how much I paid for this tank top, but hey – there’s a better than even chance that I’ll never get to see the Police together again. (I can’t get a good picture of the tank top, but the Ghost in the Machine cover art it on the front…)
After parting with the money – and securing the tank top in my bag- we headed to our seats.
Let me tell you something about my husband. When he does something, he puts a lot of thought into it. He’s careful and considered and thorough and, though this sometimes causes a delay in action that can occasionally drive me to the brink of reasonable behavior, I have to concede that he almost always gets it right. We found the sign directing us to the section where our seats were to be found, and Mr. Chili confidently strode straight to the wall that separates the seats from the ball field. Yes, boys and girls – he’d secured, essentially, front row seats.
We were seated right near this sign. It says “Fans who attempt to interfere with balls in play will be ejected.” The temptation was just too much for Mr. Chili, who asked me to take a photo of him with, erm, balls in play. “You can post THAT on your blog,” he said. So I did:
My husband is a very, very funny man.
Fenway is a baseball field (I’m sorry – I’m pretty sure that most everyone in America knows this, but I had to say it) and, as such, is angular in shape. Picture, if you will, a typical ball field. The stage was set up in the outfield (for those of you familiar with Fenway, the stage was essentially where Manny hangs out when the team’s on defense). The field was entirely covered in metal protective flooring, upon which several thousand folding chairs had been set up; these were the field seats. The bleachers were empty, but all the seats in the rest of the park were filled, and Mr. Chili had secured our tickets for a section along the first base line. We were about eight feet from the Pesky Pole. Here’s our view of the stage:
The ONLY complaint I had about the seats (and it’s something Mr. Chili had no possible way of knowing) was that the concession people had set up a bar right in front of our section. While they weren’t supposed to, the servers had taken to selling beer over the wall, and a lot of people clustered around our seats trying to get the bartenders’ attention. Once, Mr. Chili almost ended up covered in the beer that an already drunken asshole had dropped. Missed him by this much. Gah.
The opening act was a band called Fiction Plane and is fronted by Joe Sumner, Sting’s son. The boy has a future, though, I think, sadly, not for his originality. He sounds a LOT like his dad, and I suspect this could turn out to be a blessing or a damning curse, depending on which way the Universe tilts. I couldn’t really understand any of the words to the five or six songs the band played, but they had a good, recognizable beat and they piqued my interest in buying the album. I’m going to iTunes later to see if it’s available there.
After the warm-up act, the roadies came out and set up the stage for the Police. There was a brief intermission, then the lights went down and the crowd went wild.
Let me tell you a quick story. About two or so years ago, Maroon 5 came to play at the University here. I was pretty excited about that, and bought tickets for Mr. Chili and me – and Dudley, who was visiting at the time – to see them. While we were standing in line waiting to get in, we were doing the usual people-watching thing that we do and we noticed that, with us as the only visible exception, no one over the age of 30 was there to see the show; they were there chaperoning their teenaged children. At one point, an “older” person in line actually asked us where our kids were – our reply, “at home with a sitter,” took the guy a little aback.
There was no such problem here. It was actually unusual to see anyone under, say, 25 – I think I only saw a handful of teenagers. For the most part, the demographic was firmly in the 35-60 range, and we were all there to have a good time.
The band came out, the stage lights started up, and strains of Message in a Bottle sent a wave of excitement through the crowd. They ran through a rockin’ series of their hits – Synchronicity II, De Do Do Do, Walking in Your Footsteps, King of Pain, Roxanne – they hit all the high points, and they did it extremely well.
I’ve heard a lot of bad press about this tour. Complaints have run the gamut from “the band only played for 35 minutes” to “they completely mess with the arrangements of old favorites until they were essentially unrecognizable.” On the way to Boston, Mr. Chili looked up a review for the tour on my mobile phone, and found a site which claimed that the Police put on a too-short (though rocking and exciting) show – no opening act, no encores, and they played for only 34 minutes. He looked over at me, I looked at him and said, “you know what? I DON’T CARE! I’m STILL psyched to go!”
None of those complaints could be fairly applied here. They jammed for the better part of two hours, they came out for two encores, and every single song was well and enthusiastically played. Sting sang the same line twice for one of the songs – but it mattered so little to me that I can’t even remember which song it was. His voice is still fantastic, and his presence on stage is mesmerizing. Andy Summers’ guitar work was deft and precise, and Stuart Copeland is a master percussionist.
We had, in short, an amazing time.
**The pictures I’ve posted here were taken of the jumbo screens on our side of the stage; the zoom on my camera was insufficient to actually see the men without the help of re-broadcast. Still, I got some good ones. I also got a few minutes’ worth of video, but I haven’t figured out how to format it to YouTube yet; I’ll get Mr. Chili to help me with that later.
(p.s. – Tense, WeedWoman, and all the rest of you out there with arms folded and toes tapping, waiting for my update – DAMN! Give a girl a minute, wouldja! JEEZ! You should all know me well enough by now to know that I wasn’t going to post a thin, piddling little entry here – I needed some time to compose (and to upload the photos)! I hope it was worth the wait…)