The sweet spot of celebrity

On November 12th, the day after my hubby’s birthday, when he was in Michigan and I was hanging back here in forced bachelorette land, I met up with my friend Joann and a handful of other ladies (all of whom I hadn’t met before that night, but liked very much — hi ladies!) and went to the Majestic Theater here in Madison to see Bob Schneider play.

I’ve seen Bob before. Twice, I think. Both at the Club Tavern in Middleton. Both were awesome shows. Bob is an incredible performer, and woefully (or maybe thankfully?) underrated. I love his songwriting, his creativity and his irreverence, and I love how varied and eclectic his musical style is. I also love that he’s a little nasty. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s cute.

So, the ladies and I staked out our claim to a spot in the Majestic at the end of the bar, with a nice view of the stage. We chatted with Adam, the boyishly charming drummer for second opener, One Eskimo, for a while. He was adorable, with a British accent and a bit of a grunge factor, and very sweet, even though all our group seemed to be talking with him about was how fun it was to tour with Bob. Thanks, Adam, for indulging us.

Adam excused himself after a while, and we settled in to chat and have a drink and wait for the show to start. Charlie Mars kicked it off with a nice acoustic solo set, in which he tried  (mostly in vain) to engage the crowd in singalongs. Sorry, Charlie, nothing personal. Then One Eskimo played a set accompanied by some anime, which was kind of interesting. Not really my kind of music, but it was good enough.

And then Bob and the band started playing. Oh, and it was just as good as I remember it. Great songs, great vibe, singalongs (in which we actually participated), steel drums, swear words, love songs, rockers, ballads. And one band member in a Donnie Darko-esque bunny suit. It was a SHOW, and I don’t think anybody wanted it to stop.

But, like all good things, stop it did, eventually. By that time, I’d left the post at the bar and gone down on the dance floor, weaving my way to pretty much the very front, dancing my ass off to “Tarantula.” Bob closed the show with that, left the stage to riotous applause and came right back out for an encore of “40 Dogs (Romeo and Juliet).” He finished, the band left again, we all cheered and clapped and whistled, and the house lights came up.

I headed up to the merch table, bought a CD from Charlie Mars and had him sign it, looked around a bit and hey, there was Bob. Out there wandering around the dance floor, chatting it up with people and signing autographs. I made a beeline down there, told him how much I’d enjoyed the show, had him sign “Happy Birthday, Ron” on his latest live CD, and got a picture with him on my cell phone. And it occurred to me that this, THIS, was the sweet spot of celebrity. Where you can hear an incredible show by a really talented performer, a guy whose songs have been in movies, who’s recorded multiple CDs, and who apparently dated Sandra Bullock for a while, and still rub elbows with him for a minute or two afterwards. Now that’s cool.


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