Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Dynamo of Volition

Today’s picture shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise if you’ve been hanging around here a while. Hell, even if it’s only been a day and you checked out the links I’ve got over there in the left sidebar you’ll know who it is, seeing as though his is the only musician’s blog I follow regularly. The request is for a ‘picture of your favorite band or artist’. Do I even have to say it? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

So a couple days ago I shared the brief story of the first time I ever saw Jason live. It was at Irving Plaza in NYC back on July 21, 2006. I had no camera, don’t ask me why, but I was all ready to experience the fun live show I’d been exposed to online so many times; his ability to laugh and joke with the crowd and make an audience feel like they were part of the show was something he was famous for.

Okay, wait a minute, I should back up for a second. When I say “famous for” I mean among his fans. And when I say “fans” I mean the up to 200 people who would go and see him play every night back then. He wasn’t selling out multiple dates in Boston at the Bank of America Pavilion or headlining an enormous all day festival. Nobody knew him, so to speak.

Not yet anyway.

Matt and I had moved to New York already when he played Irving and it was really the first time he’d come through town close enough to us that we weren’t totally poor and could make it to the show. (As a side note, there had been a show in Boston in 2005 where he actually opened for Alanis Morissette. No I’m not kidding. Yeah I’d never have put those two on a bill together either but it isn’t the strangest pairing I’ve ever seen him in…Sadly, what really bums me out about not getting to see him open for Alanis has little to do with Jason though, Taylor Hawkins, drummer for the Foo Fighters, was still playing with Alanis in 2005 and I would have been able to catch him in his early career. But this is about Jason, so I digress…)

I’d already been listening to him for four years, almost to the day, strangely enough when we saw him at Irving. In fact, I distinctly remember hearing his first release on the radio on the way out to Springfield, late summer of 2002, right before we got married, right after we’d bought, and started renovating, the house. That was “Remedy” and before “Rocket” even hit the shelves. The song was so catchy I instantly fell in love with the lyrics and bought the disc that fall pretty much the day it was released. “Rocket” got me through a lot of lonely days at the house in Springfield, but that’s a story I already wrote so feel free to read that if you’d like to learn more.

By the Irving show he was already touring “Mr. A-Z”, but he was still playing stuff like “Galaxy” and “Childlike, Wildlife”. And not just for novelty sake like he does these days, those were fan favorites. At any rate, the show was not much better than alright, it was plain to see he was exhausted from touring for well over a year and he just didn’t have that spark. Plus the crowd was awful, loud and obnoxious and shoving and pushing for no reason at all. There were really only a little over 100 people in there, anyone could have walked right up to the stage & licked his bare feet if they’d wanted to but rudeness ensued and Matt and I both left, somewhat disappointed in the experience.

We went about life though, and I started reading his blog. Back in those days his blog was hosted right on his website and it was kind of a pain in the ass to read. If I recall (and bear with me this is a lot of years ago damn it!) there wasn’t any way to leave comments or anything. But knowing his lyrics for being so clever I had a feeling his writing wouldn’t let me down either. I wasn’t wrong.

Within a few months he moved the blog over to blogspot, where it lives now. And a few months prior I had started my own blogspot blog so I was excited at the prospect of being able to use the stalking…er, um, rather, the follow features to read his stuff. I personally had no clue how to blog, how to do anything with blogs or how to make bloggy friends so I just started reading the comments on Jason’s blog and anyone who said something intelligent, I checked out their blog and profile. A bunch of people (okay, a LOT) were private profiles but before any of us knew what was happening, we were connecting.

This is how I became friends with Trayce, Ginger, Bridgete and Bree. This information is pretty important because these ladies all rock and I’ve been lucky enough to meet 2 of the gals in the real world, hang out and can safely call them good friends. The other two gals, well I fully intend to meet them when we start that secret Pentavirate. But as for Trayce, well she was fully present for the next time I had the glorious opportunity to catch Jason’s act live.

Things were a little different at that show.

It was Friday April 11, 2008 (aw, T it’s our meeting-a-versary yea!) and we took the day off to drive down to New Jersey. Why Jersey you may ask? Well the show happened to be at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. Yeah, that’s right. Trayce, even though she’d never met us, was kind enough to open her home to us to spend the night after the show, seeing as though it was only a two hour drive from her place and she was a self professed night owl who offered to do all the driving. How awesome of her!

This was the Music, Magic and Makepeace tour. If you want to read all about it, I wrote all about it already. That show was un-freaking-believably good. And then three weeks later he was playing right in our own state! By this time Bridgete and I had already started talking about wanting to get together sometime and it was the perfect time to do it. Not only that but we convinced Trayce to take a ride up (you know, because jersey’s right around the corner…of course it wasn’t too tough convincing her haha!) and we all went to see him at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA on April 29, 2008. It was freaking freezing and we were all forced to wait in line outside, the show was G.A., and poor Bridgete was in a skirt. I don’t know how she made it through!

The show itself was fantastic (the crowd, sadly, was even worse than Irving, and I won’t even begin to discuss the tall assholes who decided that Trayce & I were easy targets to stand in front of. Pffft, like I’d be having any of that!), but remember how I said above that Alanis wouldn’t be the strangest pairing? Yeah, at this particular show Everclear opened for Jason’s band of merry gypsies. Um, huh? Funny too, the four of us (Matt was there too of course) were pretty much the only ones in the crowd who knew every word to their songs too. Everyone else was looking around like ‘who are these rock dudes? I came to see some rowdy adult contemporary damn it!’ But it was great and we tried to force Trayce to not drive home that night but the girl was insane and she took off.

Another year passed and Matt and I had just moved to the place we’re living now when another opportunity to see Jason presented itself on July 24, 2009. Although by this point the man had become flipping huge due to the success of songs like “I’m Yours”, he was only scheduled to be an opening act. Yeah, for Dave Matthews Band. At Hershey Park Stadium. Yes, I said Stadium, the place holds up to 30,000 people, and believe me, it was completely sold out for Dave. It was the largest crowd Jason had played for to date that I’d seen him play. Anyway, this is another show I wrote about already because Matt and I spent an entire weekend in Pennsylvania seeing some truly amazing things from the show to an abandoned town burning underground to a huge wind farm and more. That was written in three parts; Navigator’s Log: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Good pictures in there, check it out whenever you have time.

Then just eleven days later, he was playing in Boston at the Bank of America Pavilion, in South Boston, right on the water. Matt threw up his hands in the time out position and begged for mercy. So I took my mom. We had phenomenal seats on stage left but the place is pretty huge and it was sold out. (What is it about me & my mom getting to see big acts in the sixth row?) She knew all of about 2 of his songs and they were both from “Rocket” (nice mum, way to be an early fan…high five!) so he certainly didn’t play them on August 4, 2009 but that didn’t stop us both from singing and dancing the night away. Okay I was singing, and when he actually pulled “0%” out, it was only me and about 100 other people who yelled “Foxy” at the appropriate time. Ah, to be an old school fan!

And now everyone knows his name. He’s his own Cheers Bar. He’s been in commercials promoting California tourism, his songs have been used for T-Mobile and the Hilton chain of hotels, he’s had a bunch of songs in movies (50 First Dates, When in Rome, Happy Feet), and TV (Ugly Betty, Everwood, American Idol), covered a few classics (Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Peg, All Night Long) and “I’m Yours” made him famous before it was even released.

I guess one could say ‘Life Is Good’ for Jason these days. Probably why he headlined the festival of the same name, which Matt and I had the pleasure of attending on September 12, 2010.  That was only the fifth show I’ve been to but with all those concert calls over the years it really feels like so much more.

Although I tend to flick him on and off the proverbial pedestal from time to time his strong attention to the awesomeness of life, catchy/witty lyrics, soul-searching writing, fun back up band (s) and overall inspirational spirit have kept him firmly planted at the top of my favorite artist list for nine years now. And I can’t see him tumbling off anytime soon.

Catch up on anything you missed  30 Photos, 30 Days


Bridgete said...

Haha, no wonder you've seen so many more of the recent shows than I have. You hadn't seen him like, 5 or 6 times back in the days of "Rocket" and such.

When I first saw him, I didn't even really know who he was. My friends were fans, they were going to this huge festival mostly to see him. I tagged along because I like music festivals even if I don't know most of the bands (the headline band was Coldplay, I think they were the only band I was familiar with), and when Jason was coming on, I offered to hold our spot (a blanket on the grass) so my friends could go down closer to the stage. Then he came on and started singing. I was in love.

i am ginger said...

If I ever stopped loving Jason (like that'll ever happen!) I would always Have a soft spot in my heart for him introducing me to you, Bridgete and Bree. Gotta love that!
Hey, how long of a train ride is it from X
Denver to Arizona, I wonder? Can't be too long. :)

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Yup Bridgete, we were renovating the house in Springfield when he first hit the scene, even if he had toured it would have been to Boston and not the ghetto where we were living at the time. We were kind of cut off from all forms of civilized life out there. But as soon as we had a couple pennies to rub together we got to the show & I've never looked back!

I know right Ginger?? The fact that I've made so many great friends from connecting initially over Jason just warms my little toes :-) I have no idea how long the train ride would be but Matt and I have already talked about doing a CO road trip vacation in spring 2012. Wish it could be sooner but my 20 yr HS reunion is in Nov this year so as soon as we move we're flying back lol. That'll use up the rest of the vacation time so next year it is...I'll keep you posted my friend!

Love you both ♥

Almost Precious said...

Today's challenge was an easy, no-brainer for you. Don't you just love those? :D

draagonfly said...

I was at that Irving Plaza show too - I think they won for rudest crowd, and there have been some really bad crowds over the multitude of shows I've been to. Sorry that had to be your first show. :( Glad you hung in there tho!

That Boston show was the Best. Show. Ever. I have a blog post about that too altho I'm too lazy to look up the URL. A very surreal night. :)

I am SO GRATEFUL to Jason for introducing us (indirectly of course)! Can't wait til you two get to Arizona! I see some awesome weekends in both places in our futures! Woohoo!

Julie said...

That's how I "met" you all too. Though I guess I've always been more of an outsider of that circle. Regardless. Jason always makes me happy. I first met him back in 2004 at an in-studio show at a local radio station. I also won tickets to his show that night. Which I gave away. To an ex-boyfriend. Man, was I stupid. (Not that I just gave them away flippantly, I really couldn't go.) Still, that in-studio show was awesome, and I got Mr. A-Z to sign a copy of Rocket for me. :)

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

That's so right Julie, I forgot because I remembered that our early convos were about the paneling in your basement :-) How cool to have met him back in the day, I've never had the chance but he's still the coolest!

Trayce yeah, I feel the same way :-) How did we not talk about Irving before? Or maybe we did and its been so long now that I just lost that memory. But of course you were there, I mean it was prob one of the closest shows you've ever been to lol. Too funny tho, we were destined to meet :-) That crowd sucked, he was tired, but I'd heard enough on archive that I KNEW it wasn't representative of his usual so we just kept going back. SOOO glad we did!