Everybody wants to be a rockstar...right? Last night in Aspen, I almost got my chance. Almost.
The Revivalists, a very popular roots-based rock band from New Orleans were in Aspen for a sold out show at the Belly Up. The buzz on the gondola was that The Revivalists is a "do not miss" show. I've conquered FOMO, but I still like to rock....so I set out to find a ticket, but there were no extras floating around. The show was SOLD OUT.
The Revivalists are hot. Click their site.
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As it turns out my new Aspen friend, the super-hot Elexa Ruth had a connection to the band. She invited me to a private meet and greet before the show with The Revivalists to benefit The Roots of Music, a non-profit in New Orleans. The Roots of Music in an organization that offers music education to students in the Crescent City and fills a void in music education for 100's of aspiring young musicians every year. As I learned, Elexa and The Revivalists are big, big supporters of The Roots Of Music. (Click to learn more). The small group raised more than $10,000 last night.
Meet and greets are my specialty. I made the scene, met the band, had some cheese and crackers, took a few pix. Then I set out in earnest to score a ticket to the sold out show. No luck. When lead guitarist Zack Feinberg learned that I was a "big-time" blogger...he offered to put me on The Revivalist's guest list. "Really??" I exclaimed. Zack said "no problem" and introduced me to the band's tour manager and told him to "put this guy on the list". The manager explained that they were already 13 people over their guest list capacity and "there's nothing I can do". I was bummed. Zack said "don't worry...I'll walk you in". Wow !! Not only was Zack rumored to be a great guitarist, he is a very nice guy...and he was going out of his way to accommodate me. I immediately liked him..a lot.
As the meet and greet wound down, Zack signaled me to follow him and we walked over to The Belly Up together. Keep in mind, I've been to over 100 shows at Belly Up...so I knew that they can be kind of uptight in many ways. Belly Up makes the rules...and the everybody is required to follow them...or else. Running a small venue like Belly Up is very difficult and I respect the fact that they run a tight ship. While I've never really had any problems at Belly Up in the past...I've never felt completely welcomed there either. Some local businesses embrace AspenSpin, Belly Up has never really been one of them. Over the years, I've manged to get on the artist's guest list a few times, I even had all access passes a couple times, and even medicated in the green room on one occasion. But I know Belly Up is very tough...so I figured "walking in" with Zack (no ticket, no sticker, no wrist band) was a tenuous situation at best.
As we approached the door Zack said "act like you've been there before". I nodded. Zack did not realize, I have been there before. It was go time. Zack flashed his all access laminate and said "he's with me". I smiled and purpose-walked past the entry and security. Poof...just like that...I was in the door. I was "with the band". As we strolled through venue towards the stage, Zack and I shared a self congratulatory hand slap and he said "see, you're with the band." For about 30 seconds I had my "almost famous" moment. There was a brief sense of relief. I was in...niiiiice. That was until a giant bouncer with a walkie-talkie ear piece tapped me on the shoulder and said "you can't just walk in like that". I looked at him in silence. Zach attempted to defend me by pleading "he's with the band, he's press". The security guy asked "is his name was on the list?" I remained silent. Zach looked at him and bro-ed him out and said " c'mon?, he's with me". The Belly Up guy said firmly..."if he's not on the list, he's out" and he officiously walked me toward the door. Zack shrugged his shoulders and said, "sorry, dude...I tried".
I was was out on the street with no ticket. Luckily with a little hustle and a few extra bucks I managed to scalp a ticket out front. Boom!!! Yah, dude...I'm legit...a full-on ticket holder.
As is my custom...I set up shop in the front row in order to snap a few sick pix. Zack was tuning up on-stage, he seemed glad to see me and gave me a high five. The show started and I began doing my thing...making magic happen with my lens. I've shot pix at every single show I've ever attended at Belly Up...over 100. All of a sudden a different giant Belly Up guy tapped me on the shoulder and ordered "no cameras". I replied "I'm not using a flash". He stated firmly...."no cameras...only phones". I have a very powerful camera...but its not a phone. Its small, smaller than a phone. We walked off to the side and I politely shared that I had been shooting pix in Belly Up for 10 years with a camera, without inccident and I never had an issue before. "Is it a new policy?" I asked. He called his manager over...who happened to be the same guy who had kicked me out before. I explained to him who I was and shared with him the viral power that is AspenSpin. He was very polite and said I needed clearance before I could shoot. At this point I was grasping for straws. I shouted "Goldberg knows me!!!". He said "I'll check". I'm not sure how, but within a couple minutes...I was good to go. "Go ahead, take some pictures" laughed my new bouncer friend and we shared a fist bump.
The show was awesome. The band was tight. Zach is a virtuoso guitar player. Lead singer David Shaw led the crowd into a frenzy with his soulful voice. The horns, the keys, the steel guitar all join together in a beautful, Revivalist-style symphony. The Revivalists are hot. The southern-style rock and funk fusion was a total jam. It's always great to go into a show with zero knowledge of a band's work...and leave that show as a true fan. I highly reccomend seeing The Revivalists if they come to your town. You can also listen to their new album Men Amongst Moutains on spotify or pandora or I-tunes...but take if from me seeing them live is truly the way to go. I reccomend the front row. Turn dat sh*t up to 11.
It was a good night, a tremendous rock show from The Revivalists. Thanks to The Roots of Music, Elexa, Zack and even to the guys at Belly Up...who only kicked me out once.
It was my almost famous moment...almost.
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