February 3rd, 2008

two hours of pure awesome

Yesterday morning before leaving work, I was invited to a poker game to be held by one of my friends. I decided that I'd go, even though it'd probably mean skipping the Kristen and the Noise show at Parris in Boston. However, as dinnertime rolled around, I still hadn't been called with any sort of firm plans on the game. I thus elected to roll the Minivan o' War south. Just as I was beginning to make my preparations to leave, Ray rolled in and informed me that the game was taking place right then. I decided that I'd go there, and maybe I'd get knocked out early enough to still go - after all, I'm not good at poker at all. I get to the barracks on the shipyard, and they really aren't ready to start, nor were they for over half an hour. Finally, at 8:00, we get the game going, and I concede that I may not make it to Boston in time. I was playing honestly, but a weird thing happened about twenty minutes into the game - Ray went all-in on the flop. I had ace-queen suited, and with a queen in the flop, I elected to stay in the hand. The turn card is the king of spades; I'm now one card away from a flush. Had the river been a spade, I'd probably win and be in very good shape; if it wasn't, I'd be out, and could divert back to my original plans. The card flipped? The king of diamonds - giving Ray three kings and a very large pot. I stayed to watch one more hand, and then exited.

It took me exactly one hour to drive from the shipyard in Kittery to the center of Boston. I park the car in a garage on State Street, right near Quincy Market; knowing that I'd be there past 12:30, I wasn't going to leave myself a long walk back. I throw on my regular gray fleece as I exit; I'd worn my Giants jacket to the poker game, but having that on my back the night before Super Bowl XLII, in the middle of the opponent's territory, would be an invitation to incite violence. Just before reaching Ned Devine's, standing in the middle of Quincy Market, I dial Ryan with a standard jealousy call. When I reached the door, I'm informed that the sneakers on my feet were not suitable for wear inside. After a second of thought, I realized that a stroke of fortune had conferred itself upon me; I still had a full working uniform in the car from when I was on leave in October. Included with this uniform was a pair of black dress shoes. They'd be uncomfortable, and they totally clashed with my white socks, but they'd get me inside, so I changed and headed back. By the time I returned, the line had gotten a bit longer. This was just before 10:00. I didn't get inside the place until 10:53 - and it was another twenty minutes before I was able to get upstairs. While in line, I heard many people debate the relative merits of staying in the line vice going somewhere else. For me, there was no such debate - either I'd get in, or I was back to New Hampshire with my tail between my legs. For one, I'd come to Boston to see a specific band, and for two, by 10:15, there were at least twice as many people behind me in line as in front of me. At its longest, the line was at least one-third the length of Quincy Market, and possibly even closer to half.

Once inside, the two sets of Kristen and the Noise I saw made both the drive and the wait in line worthwhile. It had been eleven months since I'd last seen these guys, and I unquestionably made the right call by getting down there to see them this weekend. I've mentioned K&TN several times here, but I've never really explained in detail why I love them so much. They're a group of five really good musicians; when Ryan, Dave and I saw them last January, Ryan mentioned that to his ear, their technical skill was above average.They are the epitome of a "cover" band; they can closely mimic the style of a great number of artists. They play every one of their songs to completion. They seem to have a strict no-Bon Jovi policy, a marked contrast to nearly every other cover band I've heard. And perhaps most important is their incredible energy. They bring it, the crowd feeds off it and gets amped up, which spurs them on to even greater power. I've been to shows where I've got nothing left after a single set. Not so last night. I went strong for the entire night - a night that concluded with another hour's drive back here to Portsmouth.

Here's a recap of the night, "sponsored" by MasterCard:
Buy-in to poker game: $10.
Toll payments to the State of New Hampshire: $3.
Fee to park on State Street in Boston: $13.
Cover charge to enter Ned Devine's: $10.
Price of two beers plus tips: $12.
Coat check: $2.
Time spent in line to get into the show: 75 minutes.
Two hours of pure awesome: priceless.