Thursday, September 13, 2007

That Was A Great Show, Eh?!

This was the view of downtown Toronto from Island Park where the Virgin Festival was held (no, it wasn't a pagan party for those who never get laid ). I spent the entire weekend there and had a blast!

Whatchoo Won?!!!
Back in Chicago on the first day, Jill and I were running late due to last minute packing/preparation. We showed up a the airport with 40 minutes before our flight left. The United agent couldn't guarantee we would catch our flight and printed us passes for standby status on the next flight out. The plane was at the very end of O'Hare's Terminal C wing and we could catch them if we hurried. So, we rushed to get into line to be wanded down and screened.

Here's where the fun starts. It's roughly 6:20 AM and we're trying to get to our gate when we come up to the screening area. The workers there clearly did not want to be there. Imagine a bunch of women who look like Regina King smacking their gum, talking quite loudly about their personal lives with scornful frowns, and completely going through the motions of their job. They take a look at our passes and then look at us. Out of nowhere she says in a deadpan, almost monotone robot voice, "You have been randomly selected for a security screening. Please step to the side." Randomly?! RANDOMLY?!! If things in my life were as random as they appeared to be at this moment I would've won the lottery not once not twice but thrice! At this point I know we've missed our flight for sure. They wanded us down with as much vigor as a Britney Spears VMA performance, rummaged through our bags a little, then let us go (yes, they let us go - not allowed us to proceed). I bit my tongue the whole time because I knew that if I said something they'd call SWAT to beat me down and we'd be delayed even more while being featured on Fox News as "Belligerent Passengers Detained at Chicago's O'Hare Airport". We got to the gate before our departure time but the plane had already backed off the walkway. DAMN! We flew standby on the next flight and even got better seats than our original flight.

The point of this anecdote is to iterate my call for firing every person with no concept of customer service. Let me be absolutely clear on my position. If you work in a field requiring customer interaction, e.g., a screener at the airport or a clerk at the counter of fast food restaurant, and feel that you do not deserve to put up with people's sh*t in your job, you're sadly and gravely mistaken. You chose to take the job and the pay scale includes dealing with customers and ensuring (yes, ensuring) that they are satisfied with the products and service you promote. If you do not like it, quit! Refrain from taking out the frustrations with your life or situation on the those people you service! With that said, you got get respect to give respect. If a customer is being unruly or difficult, and after all pleasantries have been exhausted to make them happy, there is a professional level of "letting them have it" that can be exercised. However, take it on a case-by-case basis.

Anyway, after getting to Toronto, we slept about 14 hours the fist night. We had to rest

Waiting For The Riot
On Day 2 we headed out to the island for the show. We got on the ferry along with 200-300 other people and go there around 1 PM. We putsed around for a while. We checked out a few of the side stage bands, food and drink that was being sold everywhere (some by tickets and some with funny money called Canadian dollars ), and eventually found the main stage. After collecting a bunch of free iTunes cards (that can only be used in Canada. DOH! ), we sat around and watched a couple of bands rawk out. Here we are chillin' with mythical creatures of the day:

The Killers took the stage and Jill and I made our migration towards the pit to position ourselves for the Pumpkins. I don't really dig the band's music but I found their show to be entertaining. I can see how people like them and why they're harlots of the latest MTV generation. However, they are not The Smashing Pumpkins .

Despite Of My Age I Can Hang With The Young In The Cage...
After a long 60 minute wait in sweltering heat of a sea of people pushing and bobbing to get the best position for the Pumpkins, we saw SP take stage. The average age of the people in the pit where we were at was around 18-21. I, as usual, got into my zen of waiting to fawk one of them up if they get in front of me without asking nicely. Luckily, it didn't really happen. The crowd was nicer than previous Pumpkin crowds I've been in (must be those darn Canadians! ).

Most the crowd didn't know the material as well as I felt they should've . They played really well and busted out some stuff I felt was unexpected such as By Starlight and To Sheila. I also heard Hummer, my favorite song off of Siamese Dream, for the first time live and was pleasantly bobbing around. The new songs were fun to rawk out to as well. Here's us in the middle of the set:

Getting (Voted) Off The Island
After the show, it took us 2 hours to get off the island via ferry. Being brown I probably could've swam the mile in at least 15 minutes . Luckily our hotel was right next to the dock, thus, getting to the hotel wasn't a big deal. I vote next year that they have at least 40 ferries to get people off the island.

Overall, this was a great trip. I am really happy I got to get away from daily life and hang with the wifey to see my favorite band in the world!
Currently listening :
One by One
By Foo Fighters
Release date: 22 October, 2002

Note: This was originally posted with comments on MySpace at:

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