<LONG POST ALERT>
Sorry for the delay. But WHOOOO-HOOOOO!!! Cleveland SO rocked.
(Apologies if I repeat earlier info. I’ll try not to, but I’m vamping here.)
I’m afraid my brain is all a-jumble on this one. At Live Earth I had my little notebook – and usually I am Queen of Details – but all rational thought (what was left) went out my head as soon as we got to our seats at the Q. We were just so close (2nd row, center section, on Andy aisle – awesome view) that I got completely immersed in it all, and the whole experience was like one long, continuous song from the opening of “Message” til the time that SC finally left the stage the last time.
Stewart, you had me from “GONNNNNGGGGGggggggg.”
(Kind of ironic: this was my only shot at getting seats so close. I had my camera and extra batteries all prepped and didn’t touch my camera once the entire night. (Thanks for taking pics, Nancy.) I was just so completely there and present and in the moment and wanted to take it all in and not miss a second – and of course, now I’m having trouble remembering! Idiot!)
I believe it was Jeff Seitz that brought out birthday balloons and set them up next to SC’s kit. The audience had signs and noisemakers and hats. Someone (was it Maggie? Kevin?) had printed out a slew of pages saying “Happy Birthday, Stewart” and passed them around the audience. But as you’ve heard, sadly, no round of singing. The “happy birthday”s in “So Lonely” were quite fun, though.
The energy of the show was just UNBELIEVABLE. The band was busting a gut with energy, and so was the audience. I looked around during “Magic” and the people were dancing like complete loons – just absolutely exploded. Nancy and I were just over-joyed where we were, dancing and screaming and dancing and screaming. And Sting, Andy, and Stewart looked like they were having an absolute blast.
During one of the earlier songs (Voices/World maybe), I remember Andy playfully giving Sting the finger a few times – and then one to audience as well. Sting screwed up some Synch lyrics – and a couple of other lyrics as well – but at one point I remember Andy playing, Stewart playing, and Sting sort of lost, smiling and staring at his bass as if he were hoping for the instrument to tell him what to do. SC leaned forward while still playing and looked at Sting with a “Dude, WTF’s going on over there?” look/smile.
Sting had some vocal issues – and when he spoke, he sounded a bit like he was on helium – but he was working hard. Andy was pounding away and threw in the scissorkicks and what-not. And Stewart was just having a blast. Tons and tons of pained drum faces, with liberal amounts of smiling thrown in while he banged away like there was no tomorrow. SC also had a few of his own “oh shit” moments, including a couple of “doh” faces at the percussion rack and when the head of his gong mallet fell off. Completely hammed it up throughout the show with mugging and hand gestures. Birthday Boy played like a maniac, tore through a bunch of tunes, and the crowd went nuts for it. The drums just beat through your chest like a locomotive the whole night.
One of my fave songs Monday night was “So Lonely.” Even though I couldn’t hear it, I could see SC singing through most of the verses. It was crazy ballistic song-wise and audience-wise – people were just eating it up and pogo-ing away.
OK, The Flag thing.
People have now built this up, so I fear disappointing you all – it’s not like Stewart jumped off the stage and hugged me or anything. Jeesh. And it’s also REALLY hard to describe without visual aids, but I’ll do my best.
Stewart saw The Flag right from the beginning during “Message” – he smiled real big and nodded. Nancy tells me he even gave it a stick-point during “Message” but I somehow missed it. (I don’t know how since I honestly barely looked at Sting and Andy the whole time. They could’ve stripped down naked, and I never would have noticed.)
Later on SC was doing these little flourishy pointing things with his wrists, one of which was in our direction – but considering, I’m not sure if that can be taken as a direct acknowledgement. Throughout the show SC looked our way and smiled, but it’s pretty hard to tell if it was directed at us specifically or if he was looking in our general direction. I mean, the guy is working really hard up there after all, and at some point he’s going to look our way regardless.
But since we were right there, I held the flag up in front of me for the entire show – literally the entire show. (Bit tiring.) At times Nancy had one end and I the other (we did quite a flag-fist-pumping during “So Lonely”); all other times, I held it up in front of me and danced away. Nancy and I were both very careful not to block people, both of us turning around now and then to make sure we didn’t have it raised too high.
The band did a whole bunch of encores – the usual songs plus the “Dead End Job” riff to which Gina cried over text message -- but they left the stage quite often (between every song maybe?). Between encores the crowd was going psychotic. Stewart thanked Cleveland for “the best birthday ever” but I can’t remember during which encore. After the final song, the three took their bows, Andy and Sting left the stage, but Stewart lingered like he does waving and putting his hand over his heart and punching his fists, etc.
[ETA: turns out from the YouTube/boot evidence that SC said "The best birthday ever! Thank you, Cleveland!" just after bowing, just before pointing.]
Because it was the last hurrah, I raised the flag above my head just as a final gesture. Stewart had been walking around the stage doing his thing and had walked past us in the direction of Sting-side but pivoted and turned toward us, lowered his head, looked right at me, raised his left arm, and pointed right smack-dab at the Flag. The fabulous Andrea (chicagogal67 at TPT) actually got this first second on film from the front Andy-side section: http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b85/y ... 6-07-B.jpg
(That halo isn’t Stewart’s aura – it’s where I had to lighten the pic to show him because the original is so dark.) In the picture, he has kind of a “I’m going to eat your spleen” smirk on, which is rather amusing.
It was pretty fabulous.
(What was hugely amusing was that the guy in the front row in front of me pointed back at Stewart, thinking that SC was pointing at him. I kinda wanted to tell the guy, “Sorry, man, but that one’s mine,” but I’m sure he got a good story out of it.)
BUT the especially amazing part – and man, Thank You, Stewart, because there is no other way to describe this as anything other than really sweet – he then extended his other arm in what Nancy described as a kind of introducing gesture (both arms extended out, palms up) right at me with these big krazy eyes and this HUGE toothy boyish grin and just stood there and smiled for a few seconds. I can hardly believe it myself, but Stewart planted his feet, put out his arms, and took this long smiling moment while 20,000 people stared and screamed.
To quote Hannah, HOLY MOTHER OF CRAP.
It was absolutely overwhelming.
I’m convinced that Klark Kent’s super power is shooting amnesia rays through his eyes because I could remember the moment, but for a little while I could not remember what I did in the moment. (I had to double-check with Nancy to be sure.) I had been screaming like a banshee, but when Stewart turned toward us, I was just struck silent. But I really wish I had had the brains to at least nod or bow or say “thank you” even if he wouldn’t have heard me – SOMETHING – but I was so taken aback that I was completely paralyzed and dumbstruck on the spot. All I could do was smile right back.
Sorry, Stewart – I really would have liked to have said “thank you” had you not zapped my brain with that intense gaze of yours.
And then he was gone. Off-stage for the last time.
Fellow SCnetters/TPTers were all excited about it after (and quite a few greeted me with a point, the snarky bitches). I'm still totally overwhelmed.
There are just not enough ways for me to say,
Thank you, Stewart.
Dramatic highlights & a unique musical cosmos. Guaranteed.