Wednesday, July 25, 2012

2012 New York City - Day 2 - Letterman!

It was a day that I can only describe as surreal...

Typically, I have trouble sleeping on flights; I usually read. I made an effort to try and sleep on the long flight from Sacramento to JFK. Although I felt like I was not sleeping, all of sudden I felt the plane starting to descend and the pilot announced that we were starting to descend. Whatever sleep I got served me well over the next 36 hours. We hit the gate on schedule a little after 8 a.m.

Walking out of the airport, I surveyed the transportation options. After checking out the bus to Grand Central Station that I have used before, I said fuck it and grabbed a cab. Although the traffic was heavy and the cab driver had a death wish, I was at the W Hotel on Times Square about 9:20 a.m.

I got a cup of starbucks and texted Drew. I wandered into Times Square and found a nice chair and table. I left Drew a voice message about 9:30 a.m and eventually got a text message from him about 10 a.m.

Milo Greene had played a show in Washington D.C. last night and traveled to New York City after the show. They offloaded their equipment at the David Letterman studio in the wee hours of the morning before crashing in the hotel room. Drew said that he was running on only two or three hours sleep.

I met Drew in the hotel lobby and then we wandered down a couple of blocks to find a place for breakfast. It was nice to have him to myself for a while as we got a chance to catch up.

After breakfast, we wandered about 13 blocks to Herald Square to met Morgan and her boyfriend, Beau. We spent about 30 plus minutes visiting with them before heading back to the hotel so the Drew could get showered and changed.

A "sprinter" showed up about 1:45 p.m. to take the group to the studio; I tagged along. When we got to the backstage door, I went in with them. Neither Morgan or I were on the list for backstage passes, but the woman made an exception and gave us both passes. After wandering out to the front to pick up our VIP tickets, Morgan and I headed up to the Green Room.

I had listened to a podcast of Alec Baldwin interviewing Dave Letterman in the last week. One of the things that Letterman said that he loved about the Ed Sullivan was all of the narrow passages in the back. We got a chance to experience the narrow passages. We wound our way up to a couple of small Green Rooms on the sixth floor.

We hung out there with the band, people from the record label and an assortment of family and friends for the other band members.

About 2:30 we all headed down to the stage for the sound check. The band ran through the song--1957--three times while the crew worked on the sound, lights and cameras. After they were done, a page escorted Morgan and I up to the balcony. We got to watch as they finished setting up and prepping the stage for the show.

A little after 3 p.m., they started letting in the audience. About 3:20, they played a video by Alec Baldwin describing what was allowed and not allowed (no photos, no loud horse whistles, etc). After the video finished, someone else came out, repeated the don'ts and told a few jokes to warm up the crowd. His routine was mostly about how people in the northeast have different accents.

He then introduced the band. They came out and played for a few minutes. Just before 3:30 p.m., Letterman ran out without his jacket and took one question from the audience.

I think that Paul Shafter did not come out until after Letterman took the question. The band played one more song and then Letterman came out to do this monologue. Over the course of the show, I was struck by how much Letterman seemed to be enjoying himself. He genuinely seemed to like what he was doing.

The two guests were Jonah Hill and a doctor from a reality television series. I was more impressed with Hill than I expected to be; he seemed to handle himself very well. During the breaks where there would be commercials when the show airs, the band would play a complete song. This had two impacts. First, it seemed to keep the energy of the crowd up. Second, it meant that the live show was a solid block without any real dead time. I had half expected there to be some standing around in the sections where the commercials would air.

Drew and Milo Greene came on at the end of the show. It is impossible for me to be objective, but personally I enjoyed it a great deal. It is amazing to think that I saw the Beatles on television almost 50 years ago perform from the same stage.

After the show was over, Morgan and I exited with the rest of the audience. Morgan took off, but Drew called me and I went back up to the green room to hang out with the group for a while. Drew acknowledged that it was a weight off his shoulders and that he had more tension before the show than he thought.

Eventually, the band worked with the crew of the Late Show to load their stuff back up in the van and their trailer. I walked back to the hotel, while the band headed to the SoHo House. This is a private hotel and club in the meatpacking district.

About 10 minutes after I got back to the room, there was a knock on the door. It was a bellman with two beers and some chips for one of the band members. I texted Drew to tell Robbie that I was enjoying his beers...

Eventually, I caught a cab from the hotel to the SoHo House. The band was having dinner on the roof with a number of New York based people from their record label. It was a beautiful night. The rooftop restaurant had some great views of the surrounding area and the Hudson River. There is a nice picture of the rooftop on the SoHo House web site.

Milo Greene played a set of about 5 songs on the rooftop. Drew indicated that it was mostly an opportunity for the New York based record label staff to get a chance to see them perform.

After the set, the band loaded all of their stuff back up in the trailer. Most of the band was staying a hotel in SoHo. Drew dropped them there and then he and I headed back to the W. By the time, we got the van and trailer parked and got to the room, it was just after 12:15 a.m.

Turning on David Letterman, we watched the last 15 minutes of the show. It was amazing to finish the day watching Milo Greene playing on the show before we both crashed hard.

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