Thursday, February 19, 2009

Letterman, Man

My name tag for the Letterman show. Did you know my first name is Laura?

I’m sitting here in the back of the baby bus, one week into our adventure. I’m vaguely rested in a way that I’ve become accustomed to being rested. It’s not an eight to ten hours worth of sleep rested. It’s more of a couple hours in the hotel room, couple hours in the back of the baby bus kind of rested. But I will say I feel better than I have in a while. I can speak without pain. My sinuses are no longer a phlegm factory. I’m doing good, in an everything is relative kind of way.

Before I get into the verbiage section of the blog I’d like to hit you with a little video. First, here’s the story Michelle Valles did about the baby bus:

And here is the show we did on Letterman:

Both of these were digitized in HD and made uploaded to You Tube by my good friend and resident Apple guru Brian Bass at Armadillo Tech. Brian is an amazing guy, and I highly recommend Armadillo Tech to anyone who needs Apple help and support. He’ll take good care of you, I promise.

Letterman was awesome. I still kind of can’t believe we got to play that gig. It went down kind of like a dream. Come with me, to Monday February 16th…

First of all, let me send a shout out to two of the country's raddest presidents: the Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln and our very first president George Washington! Guys, if it wasn’t for both of you, our trip to Letterman would have been way tougher. As it was we played Letterman on the day when the country celebrates y’alls birthdays by taking off work, which meant New York City was as easy navigate as I imagine Peoria, Illinois is. There were just a handful of cars on the street and a sprinkling of pedestrians. We were able to drive right in and be dropped of right in front of the Ed Sullivan Studio with no stress whatsoever. Thanks guys!

We found the buses on the side of studio. I heard a rumor, which I never confirmed, but I like to believe is true, that the city gave Letterman the street next to the studio. Like, Letterman owns the street. It’s the street where they do all those stunts where some guy dunks a basketball while jumping on a trampoline over 10 people. And two huge buses were able to park there no problem so I believe whoever it was who told me that rumor.

I immediately went with our bus driver, Mack Neal, into the theater to check out the scene. We of course went straight to the set and started taking pictures.

Dave (Sanger not Letterman) interviews me

You just don't turn down an opportunity to sit at the desk

Ruby Jane, Mack and Jobelle

Let me interject a little wardrobe advice here. You see the hat, scarf and coat I'm wearing. It ain't just a fashion thing. If you’re going to the Letterman show, whether to play or to watch, wear a coat. And a scarf. And a hat. And gloves wouldn’t be a bad idea. Dude, the Letterman set it COLD! Not cool mind you, but downright COLD. The number I kept hearing was 48 degrees, meaning that is the temperature of the Ed Sullivan studios at all time. 48 degrees!!! Everyone is alert at that temperature, for sure.

After we checked out the set I went up the dressing rooms where. No one was there, but I was able to take some pictures of the pictures on the wall and watch them rehearse that day’s show on the monitor. Pretty rad.

A picture on the wall of the dressing rooms at the Ed Sullivan Theater

Then, it was time to rehearse. Rehearsal was all for the camera's. The show is completely blocked before it's filmed, so we did the song a couple of times while the camera's figured out who they'd be focusing on. It was a little mind blowing, the whole deal.

The horns!
Willie, Ray and Jason figure it out

Now here’s where I tell you about my one regret of the day. I had to get some lunch, and I didn’t get it at the Hello Deli. I know, I know, I passed up a prime Rupert G meeting opportunity. But I wasn’t thinking, see! I was cold and sick and hungry, and I walked right past without so much as blinking an eye. Dave however did eat a Shaffer sandwich, (a breaded chicken cutlet) there so the family honor is somewhat salvaged.

Rupert G. Picture not by me, obviously. I found it on the interweb

Fast forward past my lunch of bagel and lox, and time spent reading OK magazine (Did you know that Miley Cyrus wears her sweat shirt off the shoulder!?) to right before the gig. I was offered the services of hair and makeup. I took them as I have minimal hair and makeup skills myself. John, the stylist, did a great blowout on my hair. At this point my voice as killing me, and I was trying to hold onto whatever scraps were left for the gig, so John and I didn’t do a lot of talking. I did however check out the pictures about his chair. The one that stuck with me was of him and Tom Cruise. “Man,” I thought, “I’m getting my hair done by someone who had touched Tom Cruise’s scalp. Cool”

I then went to get my makeup done by Janet. Janet, if you ever read this, I want to sincerely apologize for my behavior in your chair. Specifically for the massive and uncontrollable coughing fit that I had right when you were lining my lips. I tried, I really tried, to stem the tide of hackage. Instead I fear my out of control coughing coated you and all of your lovely makeup with my germy germs. I felt like I might die of embarrassment. I don’t think Drew Barrymore or Selma Hayek or Tom Crusie for that matter would ever have let it get that out of control. (Jumping on Oprah’s couch is one, thing, but this! How unprofessional could I be!?!) Thanks to John for finding me a lozenge. You really came through.

Sorry Janet. I really am.

I then went upstairs and waited with the rest of the band to get to signal to go on. Thinking we had plenty of time, I took a trip to the ladies room. While I was in the middle of, um, my business, I heard a familiar song. It was the Letterman band playing "Route 66."

“That’s interesting.” I thought, “They’re playing one of the Wheel’s signature songs.”

Then a millisecond later

“Holy shit! They’re playing one of the Wheels’s signature songs! That must mean we’re almost on.”

I then proceeded to run down six flights of stairs, in heels. No one in the band knew where I was (I could have sworn I told someone). Unprofessional move number 2 of the day! I had visions of me missing the gig, crying on the side of my stage, my tears ruining the wonderful makeup that Janet had risked her health to put on my face.

I made it with a little time to spare. They finished Route 66, then we all played "Boogie Back to Texas" and then we were on.

(See above video for what happened next)

Now, I don’t want to whine, but I will say one teensy little thing. Would it have killed them to give me one measly closeup? There. That’s the only time I’ll look this particular gift horse in the mouth. I mean, Dave got plenty of face time, so I’m happy.

So, I didn’t get any close-ups. It ain’t no thing. I did employ what is known in the band as the Jon Mitchell technique of television appearance. Jon was the bass player for the Wheel in the eighties and since bass players typically get overlooked, he had a surefire way to get on camera. He would just move himself and his upright bass into the shot. Easy as that. I tried my best to keep an eye on the cameras and try to pop in where I could , and I was slightly successful. Next time I’ll be more practiced.

We played one song, a couple or three minutes long, and then it was over. Quick as that. Which is why I said it was like a dream. The actual gig was over almost as soon as it started. And then we were off to the next adventure.

The rest of that night, and the next day were brutal. We had to get to Roanoke, VA for the next gig, about 7 to 8 hours away. We had decided that my folks and Lisel would drive halfway to a hotel near the BWI train station. Meanwhile Dave and I would hop an 8 o’clock Amtrak down to BWI. It was a three hour ride, so we got in about 11. We watched the Letterman show then went to bed and got back up at 5, and got on the road for Virginia.

I felt so bad by the time we got into Roanoke that I decided it was time to break bad and try to get some medicines. I finally had to be honest with myself. This thing was not going to go away on it’s own. We secured some antibiotics and some Emergen-C, and I feel much better, thank you. Between that and rest I think I’m on the upswing.

Lesson learned: Nip all illness in the bud on the road. Do not let it go so long. Please McQueen!

Tomorrow: The crowd goes wild

1 comment:

Abi Tapia said...

Awesome! Thanks for the details. You are so inspiring, where do you find the time to write?!!