I am pleased to say I survived, relatively unscathed, the Michael Buble concert last Friday night.
As far as I can remember, the last big concert I attended was Three Dog Night, back in 1970 at the National Guard Armory in Manchester. And the last time I actually stood where the Verizon Arena is located, I was shopping for Star Trek figures at Ames department store.
So the evening definitely was filled with new experiences for me. First of all, I was relieved my friend Barbara, who owns a VW Beetle, was driving, because the guy running the lot where we ended up parking was squeezing cars in there so tightly, I figured his past career must have been in a sardine-canning factory. Had I driven my own car and tried to park there, I’m pretty sure the concert would have been over by the time I finally managed to squeeze into a spot without requiring the exchanging of auto-insurance information.
When I first walked into the concert area of the Verizon, I’ll admit I felt a bit overwhelmed. The last time I’d seen even close to that many people gathered in one place, the premiere of the Beatles’ movie, “A Hard Day’s Night,” was playing at the State Theater.
Our seats were in the balcony, to the right, so we didn’t have a head-on view of the stage. It was more like a profile view. I’d read that the Verizon can hold nearly 12,000 people, and it looked at if all 12,000 had shown up for the concert.
The opening act, Naturally 7, featured seven men who sounded as if they were backed by a full band, but actually used no instruments at all. All of the sounds came from their mouths. I was fascinated by the drummer, who sounded as if he were playing cymbals, a bass drum, snare drum and even the bongos at one time or another.
I don’t know if they used mass hypnosis or what, but after only 15 minutes, they had the entire audience standing and dancing such classic dances as the jerk, the twist and the mashed potato – dances I hadn’t done since I was a teen...back when my bones didn’t creak when I moved. On the way into the arena, I’d seen two men wheeling a defibrillator around. The longer I danced, the more I began to understand why they kept it handy.
Michael Buble made his grand entrance in a burst of towering flames, the heat of which I felt all the way to my seat. Either that, or I was experiencing a hot flash after dancing.
He not only was a fantastic entertainer, his sense of humor kept the audience laughing all night. For example, when he said he was going to sing a romantic love song, he told all of the couples to cuddle. He then added, “Oh, and for all of you cynical singles out there, I suppose you can always join them as a threesome!”
I think the couple sitting in front of me took him seriously. Not once during the entire concert did they take their hands off each other. I was beginning to think they thought they were in a motel. Even worse, they stood up during 95-percent of the concert – so they could hug each other full-length – which forced me to look between their hips to see the stage. I suppose I could have asked them to sit down, but then I’d have been labeled a grouchy old lady who was jealous of young love (hey, the truth hurts).
Michael also said that at a previous concert, he was swinging his microphone around and accidentally hit himself in the mouth with it, knocking out his front tooth. He got the tooth repaired, but just before he arrived in Manchester, he said the one next to it broke off. He figured he must have weakened it during the initial injury. Fortunately, he managed to find a local dentist to fix it for him. Michael’s smile on the Jumbo-tron screen looked perfect.
The dentist, as a reward, I assume, was seated right down front at the concert and was deemed a hero by Michael. I’d like to know where to find this dentist, because every time I’ve lost or broken a tooth, I’ve had to have impressions taken, which then were sent off to some lab probably in Siberia, and the new tooth or crown would be back in a week...with luck. In the meantime, I had to walk around looking like a Halloween leftover.
During one song, Michael was accompanied by an all-female string section. Afterwards, he complimented the women and announced they were local, from New Hampshire. The crowd cheered and gave them a standing ovation.
Michael then introduced the women, only to learn that the first two hailed from other countries. “How many of you actually are from New Hampshire?” he finally asked.
Not one woman raised her hand.
He laughed, shook his head, pointed to the audience and said, “And they just gave you a standing ovation?”
When he introduced his own band members, for each one he named, he would say, “This is my very best friend,” or, “Now this guy is really my best friend.”
Finally, when he introduced the last man, he said, “This actually is my best friend. To be honest, I can’t stand the other guys.”
The night flew by too fast, and soon, Barbara and I were among the throngs of people all leaving the arena at once. It was kind of like being in the midst of a cattle stampede.
But the worst part was trying to drive on any street within a two-mile radius of the arena. I had seen demolition derbies that were less frightening. Once again, I was relieved Barbara was driving. If I had been, I’d have sat in the parking lot until every other car was long gone, and only then would I have dared to move. Not Barbara, however. She plowed right on through with the rest of them.
So all in all it was a fun evening – as well as educational. I saw and experienced a lot of new things.
And I even had the added free show of “Passion in the Balcony” in the seats directly in front of me.
I’d say I definitely got my money’s worth.