Saturday, October 8, 2011

Location Spotlight: Merrill Auditorium

Did you know that you can often get tickets to sold out shows on the day of the performance?  Evidently, the venue sets aside some tickets for family members, friends, etc. that are connected to the performers.  The day of the show, the tickets not being used are released for the public to buy.  My sister discovered this little gem of concert trivia.  Because of that, we've often, at the last moment, said "Hey, let's go see...." whoever happens to be playing that night.  One of these last minute concerts was Rob Thomas.

Sister and I love Matchbox 20.  So when she found out Rob Thomas was going to be at Merrill Auditorium, she called me up at work and said, "Hey, want to go see Rob Thomas tonight?"  I said yes, and then asked around to see if anyone else wanted to go.  We ended up with Sister, her husband, Jimmy, and my boss at the time, Ken.  Because of the spontaneity of this trek, I didn't have time to head home, so Jimmy met me at the office, and we drove in to Portland.  My boss had enough time to head home before meeting us at the concert.

So Jimmy and I met up with Sister and Shaun and went to find our seats.  As it was getting closer to time for the concert to start, Sister and I decided to go to the lobby, do the potty thing, and then just wait for Ken to get there, since we had his ticket.  As we were standing there, I noticed a shifty looking guy standing off behind my sister.  He appeared to be inching closer, so I pulled her closer to me and had her pull her purse around to the front of her body.  And then I just kept an eye on this guy.

While we were standing there, someone with a seeing eye dog came in to the lobby.  This particular dog was being trained.  But, as with most dogs, people always want to pet the dog, but the trainer would say no because she was trying to train him to ignore the things around him.

Eventually the freaky guy made his way all the way to us.  He looked like he might have a hangover or cold... his eyes were kinda puffy and he was sniffling a little bit. Finally the guy says to us, "What's an assist dog?"  Sister and I hadn't yet noticed the dog so we were kinda clueless, and just kinda mumbled and then turned a little away from him.  "An assist dog.  That woman has one and she wouldn't let me pet it" freaky guy says.  We looked over, saw the dog and once we understood sister explained what it was and why he couldn't pet it.

Realizing that we were a little freaked out by this guy, he said "Oh, I'm sorry.  I probably look a little sketchy and freaky to you.  We went out before the concert and I had some shrimp.  Evidently I'm allergic to shellfish.  I could barely open my eyes an hour ago.  They swelled all up and I look pretty rough now."

Feeling a little relieved, I said, "Ahh, that makes sense... you do look a little freaky dude."  At that point he held out his hand and said "I'm Frank, nice to meet ya."  Sister and I introduced ourselves.  Told him we were just waiting for a friend because we had his ticket.  We chit chatted for a few minutes before he said he had to go.  It was not until this point that sister and I noticed that people were pointing and staring.  As freaky Franky walked away, sister turned to me and said "Who were we just talking to?"  Neither of us had a clue.  So as soon as Ken got there, we relayed our Freaky Frank story to him.  Then we all went to our seats, where we then told our story to Shaun and Jimmy.

The four of us tried to figure out who it could be.  Obviously, the people in the lobby thought he was a big deal.  So as the opening act started, we watched very closely to every stagehand, musician... really anyone that looked even remotely like Freaky Frank.  The guys kept pointing people out to us.  Nope, not Freaky Frank.  We had kinda given up our search by the time Rob Thomas was set to come onstage.  We were ready to focus on Rob's smooth voice.

Suddenly, all the lights went out and a single guitar started to play.  Then, one single spotlight came on shining its light right onto center stage.  And standing there, playing this amazing guitar riff, stood the lead guitarist for Rob Thomas..... Freaky Frank.

Obviously Sister and I are not hardcore Rob Thomas fans.  It seemed that we were the only people in the lobby that had no idea who we were talking to that night.  We do wish we had known... maybe we could have finagled a backstage pass.  But nope... instead we are the two women that thought Freaky Frank was trying to snatch women's purses. We may have squandered our opportunity, but we sure have a great story to tell now.

Our adventure for that night was not over.... but we'll save that story for another time....


  1. Laughing so hard right now. This is one of my favorite stories.

  2. Frank Romano ??

  3. I am so weird, I know.

    Was the dog actually from The Seeing Eye? (Doubtful, since they're in NJ, and you're, well, not.) I'm guessing it was a semi-local school, and kudos to the trainer for not letting anyone touch the dog. Some of the doggies that flunk TSE training are actually kept to be used as "distraction dogs" for the other dogs going through the rigorous training program. Heck, they have distraction goes into the "cat room" and the cats, well, do their thing. Janelle's current dog, Aussie, was far more annoyed that he couldn't play with the toys than he was by the cats.

    Innyhoo, long-winded as I am, and loathing political correctness as I do, yet having a blind best friend, and knowing the proper terminology....

    Any dog guide of undeterminate origin (as far as schooling) is properly termed, well, a dog guide.

    Reason for this? Only dogs from Guide Dogs for the Blind are Guide Dogs, and only dogs from The Seeing Eye are Seeing Eye Dogs.

    I mention this only for two reasons. Okay, three. One, a number of blind people are very sensitive about which school their dogs came from. (In my best friend's case--her brother's, too--they're very proud their dogs came from The Seeing Eye, which they feel has top-notch training and is superior to the other schools.) Two, it's your fun new fact for the day. And three, I'm just plain weird.


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