It’s one for the Bucket List

22 12 2009

Being able to go backstage at a rock concert really is cool.  I’m not going to deny it; it is one of the elite experiences that is an earned privilege.  It’s one of the things I would have everyone put on their “bucket list”.  You cannot buy a backstage pass like you can with “special vip” seating and parking at certain concert venues (a smart, albeit annoying, marketing ploy in my opinion).  So I always look forward to when Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) comes to Cleveland and I get to go backstage.

I have “earned” this privilege as WNCX (the radio station for which I am DJ) was the first station in the country to really play TSO, and my boss, Program Director Bill Louis suggested to TSO creator Paul O’Neill that he take the story and do it as a concert.  I have always been a big advocate and believer of the band, doing my best to promote and support them and the individual side projects as well.  The first two years of TSO shows were very “evolutionary” compared to the current, regulated grueling tour schedule; back then TSO would have a show in Cleveland, then 3 or 4 days off, drive to another city, then come back to Cleveland.  The band got to hang out a lot here in Cleveland, and that’s how we all got to know each other.

This past weekend marked the 11th year TSO played in Cleveland, with matinée & evening shows on both Saturday & Sunday. Yes, I was at all four shows and I stayed true to my philosophy: I want to share this fun experience with friends and family who have never seen the band and/or have never had the “backstage experience” before (so they can check it off their bucket list!)

This year my guests were:  Mary Kay Stahley, Executive Director of Malachi House, a wonderful facility which provides hospice for the dying poor www.malachihouse.org @MalachiHouse;  Adam Gercak (@acgercak), the man behind Throwing Quarters blog & podcast www.throwingquarters.com/ and his lovely wife and graphic designer, Jenn (@jmacgercak); Susie Sharp, CLE social media enthusiast and soon-to-be blogger (@SusieSharp); and a last-minute fill-in, Pat McKay, good friend of Adam and a drummer with local band The Poland Invasion http://www.myspace.com/jenpoland, who was blown away by Jeff Plate’s drum kit!  (http://www.jeffplate.com/)

I told my friends to forget about any pre-conceived notions of backstage drunken debauchery; this tour is now a well-oiled machine, with no time for shenanigans.  But there is awesome catering (sushi bar, lamb chops, prime rib & even a full cooler of Dippin Dots!) Plus it just looks cool to see everything works.

With four shows in two days, you know these peeps work hard!  To help them blow off  some steam, there was a special after-show private party Saturday night at the Q – a Karaoke party for band members, crew and friends.  There was a similar party 4 or 5 years ago (the years have begun to blur).  The last party was hilarious as professional singers mixed with, er, “non-professionals”, singing everything from Madonna to Metallica.  I’m not a singer, so I never thought to get up and “karaoke” last time.

HOWEVER, that changed THIS year!

Yup, after quite a bit of prodding from Rob Evan (who, btw, starred in the original Broadway cast of Jekyll & Hyde, playing the title roles for three years and over 600 performances www.Rob-Evan.com ) I got up to sing in front of a bunch of professionals.  I didn’t have any booze for “courage”.  I had never done karaoke before.  It was all pretty scary stuff- guitarist Alex Skolnick (@AlexSkolnick) was watching too!  www.alexskolnick.com.

Sorry, there is no “and then she was discovered” story happy ending here – the fact is, I bombed!  I tried to sing “Pepper” by The Butthole Surfers.  http://www.last.fm/music/Butthole+Surfers/_/Pepper I couldn’t keep up, so I had them start the karaoke machine over again.  My mouth was so dry by the end of the first verse, I could barely swollow.  But I stuck it out all the way until the end and finished the song.

Driving home later that night, I kept replaying my “performance” in my head, berating myself for doing so badly.  Then a smile slowly came across my face.  It didn’t really matter how well I did; just that I had done it!  How many people will EVER have that opportunity in their lifetime:  to sing Karaoke in front of broadway leads, rock stars, and professional singers? I had the opportunity and I DID IT!  (I should tell you that NOT ironically, you could see the giant LeBron Nike “Witness” billboard outside the window – the one that takes up almost the entire side of a building).

Another very cool, elite, and special experience I can check off my bucket list!

I’ll leave you with this thought:  The next time something comes along that seems too scary (or potentially embarrassing) to tackle, take a pause… maybe it’s the universe giving you an “at bat” with something from your bucket list.  Think for a moment; will you walk through your fear, or live with regret?  Nike gets props for this one, “Just Do It!”

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7 responses

22 12 2009
Stacy

Great job. See if I had thought of it that way, I might have been able to explain to my mom that no I’m not going to that party, I’m fulfilling my bucket list! Still would a gotten the skunk-eye. Oh well.

22 12 2009
adam-throwing quarters

Loved this blog! I had a great time too

22 12 2009
Chris Eppich

Fabulous read! Well thought out, informative and I liked the life lesson at the end. Consummate job!

22 12 2009
Vickie

Your blog is from the heart. It reminds me of the weekend I first met you at the 2006 Grand Prix of Cleveland. We both poured our hearts out. I will have to start my ‘bucket list’ since this is the 3rd time in 2 weeks that someone has brought up the subject. Maybe it is that time of year where everyone reevaluates their own personal mission in life. This year has taught me patience and opened my heart to those less fortunate around me. Through our blogs we help each without even knowing it.

22 12 2009
Diane

Nice post, Kasey! And I guess I’ll have to give some thought to my bucket list now…. 😉

23 12 2009
Patrick

Thank you so much for TSO! I had a blast! Also, thank you for plugging my band’s MySpace. I haven’t had a chance to see how many people have looked since then. Have you had a chance to really check it out? If so, are you coming to our show @ the Grog Shop Tuesday 29th? Adam will be there, too.

24 11 2010
A Kase of… A Long, But Rocking Christmas Season « A Kase of…

[…] better understand my 12-year history with TSO, check out my blog post of Dec 22, 2009 “It’s One For the Bucket List”.  For the past few years, TSO has started their tour in Youngstown, OH (often very close to, if […]

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