Chip and Jo's House Concert
Tuesday November 11, 2003
If you have photos and/or more information about this show, including thoughts and posts, please contact me. I'd love to include them.
Happy Rhodes - Vocals and Guitar
Bob Muller - Drums, percussion
Bon Lozaga - Guitar
Hansford Rowe - Bass and Vocals
Various photos (warning, they may take a while to load depending on your connection speed)
Chip's write-up of his house concert
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 14:27:52 -0600
From: "Chip Lueck"
Subject: What an incredible Whirlwind--review of Kenosha/Chicago (LONG)
Whew. What a couple few days! I can't even begin to describe how incredible the last three days have been, but it's only fair to document the events for those in Happy's collective heart who weren't able to be there.
Roll back the clocks to Monday at noon. The phone rings. The caller ID says "Rhodes, Happy T". Bang chest to get heart beating again. She says they are about 6 hours away, and they would call when they get closer.
All is cool -- Jo and I have already finished most of the chores to make the house concert happen, so we're relatively relaxed. Skip over mundane tasks of guest beds, etc., and zoom to 4:00. Everything good to go. Jo wants to go get fresh flowers, and I have time to get a work out in. Jo leaves, I start exercising. 4:30. Phone rings. Happy Rhodes on caller id again. "They must be around Chicago by now...great still an hour to get showered, etc", I'm thinking.
Happy says they're 10 minutes away.
EEEEEEEEEEEEEKS! Here's me all sweaty and unpresentable. She explains that she forgot about the timezone change, and that they were really about 5 hours away, not six when they called originally. I explain that I'm unpresentable, but will open the door anyhow.
Frantically I call Jo's cell phone telling her to get home ASAP! I need to share the freak out moment. Luckily, Jo's close, and beats the band, but she too was looking forward to a shower and some make-yourself-presentable time. Not going to happen.
Doorbell rings. There, in the flesh is Happy Rhodes. At the door. Our door. Wow.
With her are Bob Muller and Bon Logaza. They had already dropped off Hansford Rowe, who had other overnight accommodations.
We spend time going over logistics of the house, guest rooms....more mundane stuff. After unpacking and some visiting & planning, they decided to meet up with Hansford for dinner. Hit the showers!
By the time we got cleaned up and fed ourselves, Happy and Bob returned. Bon dropped them off and headed out to a sports bar to watch a game with a bunch of cheese heads.
We were able to sit and chat with Happy and Bob for a while. Even though I already knew it, it was great confirmation to see that Happy is indeed a wonderful person. She's funny, warm, and fun to talk to.
They had had a long travel day, so they were soon off to bed. Bon showed up later, watched more of the game at our place, and then we all went to bed.
The next morning we had breakfast in shifts -- nobody in that group wakes up at the same time! That was cool for us because we were able to have breakfast with Bon, then Happy, and then Hanny (who arrived somewhere in there). Bob woke up in time for lunch. :-)
Skip over more mundane details...email reading, concert logistics planning, etc.
The band is ready to set up their equipment and do a sound check. For those of you who were at or saw pictures of other concerts on the tour, it was pretty much the same setup: Bon had his electric guitar, Hanny his bass, Bob a scaled-down drum kit and lots of hand (and ankle!) percussive instruments, and Happy's acoustic guitar. It was fun to watch them set up and interact -- Happy asking for the chords for songs that she wrote, and singing little snippets of her songs, presumably checking sound levels at each of her 28 octaves. :-) The cool part (and I wish I had been recording!) was a complete a capella version of "My Bonnie lies over the Ocean".
After the sound check, Happy was asking about what we could do for ambience. She thought candles, and then I remembered that we had a bunch of rope lights we got on sale after Christmas last year. She loved that idea, so she outlined the "stage" area and her mic stand with rope lights. I also dug up some red flood lights, and we spent time getting the lighting levels and angels just right. It looked really cool! The Pictures really don't show the lighting at all.
It was getting close to "doors open" time, so they made themselves scarce, and the guests started to arrive. Steve Hughes from Kentucky was the first to arrive, followed quickly by the Chicago contingent (Alberto, Vickie, Chris and Carolyn). Mitch would be arriving by train, so I volunteered Steve ( *THANKS AGAIN!*) to pick him up at that station. Vickie went with him to navigate the map, and to identify Mitch. All's going well. People visiting, snacks being eaten, excitement in the air.
Then I noticed that my musician buddy Ray isn't there yet. It's 6:00, and he's supposed to be bringing high quality microphones to record the concert I call Ray, and he says he's not coming. HRMPH. Add Ray to S**T list.
Find Chris, audiophile and geek (said lovingly) extraordinaire.
FLY to music store to get microphones, cables, etc. Now, I had wanted my own equipment, so it's not like I was buying equipment for a one-time use, but I wasn't expecting to go shopping for it while I had a house full of people expecting a concert in less than an hour. Thanks to Chris' ability to describe exactly what we need in a concise and efficient manner, we purchase the equipment, get home and set up with time to spare. I even had a beer! Whew.
Concert begins. PURE MAGIC. Forget the fact that this is my living room -- which really doesn't even look like my living room because our furniture is all gone, and there's a band set up, and a bunch of folding chairs. Just being in Happy's presence, having her perform just feet away is totally mesmerizing. The ease at which she switches between her various octaves is truly amazing. Even though I knew she had the range, I had always assumed that she had a trick for recording -- like spending time in a smoky bar, and then laying down all the "low" tracks. Or something. Nope -- she does it as effortlessly as I blink my eyes. The whole band was amazing, and they balanced the sound so well.
I'll leave the set list for someone else to post. I didn't write it down as it happened, and my memory isn't that good.
Towards the end, Happy announced that it would be pointless to do an encore because she would just end up going to stand in the bathroom for a second and come right back. So they finished the last song, thanked everyone for coming, and instructed them to mingle, eat, etc.
Earlier Vickie had handed out little glow sticks for everyone, assuming that Happy would do an encore, preferably "And Dream of Sheep". So when it was clear that Happy wasn't planning one, Vickie started her glow stick, and everyone followed suit. Happy was confused, and after a bit of explanation, Vickie explained. Happy felt gentle pressure into the cover saying "Vickie has way too much control over me."
She performed Kate. More magic. Wow.
Then it was really over, and the mingling, photo taking, snack eating, visiting begain.
Happy and crew needed some down time, so they left the crowd to continue visiting. By about 10:30 almost everyone left. Whoever was left got to help clean up, fold chairs, move furniture, and make the house look more like a house again.
Much later Happy, Bob & Bon return after not finding a decent martini in Kenowhere. I could have told them that. We had a selection of vodkas, but only sweet vermouth in the house, but Happy was able to concoct a pseudo-martini using Absolut and a jalapeno-stuffed olive. Everyone seemed to think it was awful, but she seemed to enjoy it. Or she was desperate for some semblance of a martini. I know how it is when you get a taste for something.
Anyhow, we spent about 45 minutes chatting and winding down. Then we all went to bed.
The next morning (Weds) was pretty much like Tuesday -- staggered breakfasts, more conversation. By now I had to keep reminding myself how awesome it was that Happy was having breakfast with us because she is so genuine, and down-to-earth that it really was just like having breakfast with an out-of-town friend.
After breakfast, it was set-up in reverse. They packed up and left the house. :-( Luckily we knew we'd be seeing them all again in a few hours.
Jo and I got ourselves together, brought the dog to my Mom's for babysitting, and drove down to Chicago.
We drove to Chris & Vickie's new place. Impressive, as usual! I brought down my brand new mics, a mini mixing board, and associated paraphenalia. Chris and I hooked it up to test the recording, and we left to get to the venue. We arrived to find Alberto, and being bold ectophiles, we totally rearranged the furniture of the venue. Thank god the wait staff was accommodating. :-) Chris (with minimal help from me) set up the video and audio recording equipment. We then sat down and ordered food and drink and started visiting with folks as they arrived.
Fast forward to concert. Bon, Bob, and Hanny come out, and Bon whispers to Vickie that she should do the intro. After much encouraging, Vickie went up on stage and weclomed Happy to Chicago. Then the magic (Part 2) started. Again, I'll leave the set list to someone who keeps better notes than my memory. She did do "Noone Here" -- a song she said she probably hasn't performed since she first recorded it. I already knew she was going to do it because she had asked me for a copy of the lyrics before they left the house (!). To Happy's surprise, though, I didn't let that cat out of the bag.
It was all over way too fast. We hung around and visited. Then Happy came out to visit and sign merchandise, etc. I noticed that she finally got a REAL martini, complete with jalapenoless olive.
We got to visit a bit more with Happy, and said our good-byes. I don't know if it was the martini talking or not, but she seemed to hint that she might do this again "sooner than we think". We can only hope!
Jo and I dropped off Chris and Vickie, and then Mitch, and headed to my hole-in-the-wall "apartment" in Chicago, where I spend 3 nights a week due to work. We went to sleep with exhausted grins.
Woke up today with the realization that the whirlwind is over (not meteorologically -- have you seen the weather report for Chicago?!). Back to work, and normal life.
We did get some great pictures last night, but I won't be home to get them on the web page until this weekend. I might walk Jo through the steps, but no promises.
It was great to see old-time ecto friends, and to make new ones! Here's hoping to many more Happy events!