File this under the best thing about living in Downtown Portland!
On a rainy Wednesday afternoon in March, I walked to the Skype Live Studio to see my favorite band, Old 97's, perform a free set.
This was my first visit to the Skype Live Studio. From what I can tell, tickets can usually be reserved in advance on their website. but I didn't find out about the show, until less than twenty-four hours prior, so I was no-longer able to reserve in advance. Instead, I was informed that some stand-by tickets might be available, if I showed up no-later than thirty minutes before showtime.
The Skype Live Studio is less than two blocks from my apartment. I like to be places extra early, so I walked an hour before the show was set to begin. As a California girl, I usually hide from rain, but living in Portland has taught me that living here, avoiding the rain is impossible. I'm slowly getting used to it and besides, screw the rain, I was getting into that show. I felt confident, with only a handful of people in line ahead of me. As I waited, the queue grew and eventually curled around the block.
Just minutes after two-thirty, a friendly blonde woman ( whom everyone else seemed to know), came out with the guest list and a box of tickets. It turned out that everyone in front of me, was already on the list. Internally, I panicked that I had been waiting in the wrong line. Was there a separate stand-by line? She started to explain that she would put me on the standby list, but wasn't sure that there would be room...but then a miracle happened: The man who had been in line in front of me overheard the conversation and asked if he could give me his plus-one ticket, since his friend wasn't able to make it. Not only did I get in, but I got an amazing seat in the second row. A huge THANK YOU to the mystery man and the super nice employee in charge of tickets.
I was over-the-moon with excitement!
Here's my ticket -
We were allowed into the venue immediately and greeted with free beer and wine. It was the Skype Live Studio Happy Hour! The studio is intimate, holding approximately a hundred audience members. The live stream was hosted by a local radio DJ, whom everyone else seemed to know, but I was clueless. She introduced the band and hosted a short interview.
The Old 97's played four songs from their eleventh and most recent studio album, Graveyard Whistling. They played -
1. All Who Wander
2. Jesus Loves You
3. She Hates Everybody
4. Good with God
Missing from the band was drummer Philip Peeples, who had been in an accident in Los Angeles. Without going into detail, Rhett Miller explained that Peeples was expected to recover and might even be well enough to rejoin the band during the west coast leg of their tour. Sitting in for Peeples, was Mark Stepro, who impressively learned a whole concert worth of songs and joined the tour on a few days notice. No tour dates were canceled as a result.
The set was short, but sweet. It was definitely enough to keep me going, as I had to keep working on a writing deadline, causing me to miss out on the Old 97's concert at the Wonder Ballroom that was happening later on the same day. I was "adulting." It's overrated.
After the set, the Old 97's took a picture with the audience for Keep Oregon Well, one of the sponsors of the event. Check on the picture on their Instagram. My head is poking out on the far left.
The band stuck around for a meet & greet. I have a love/hate relationship with meet & greets. I always want to say "hi" and somehow express how much I love whatever artist I'm meeting, but inevitably, it's an incredibly awkward experience. I've met the Old 97's many times, so I opted out. If by chance they are reading this, I love you guys! Thanks for giving me one of the best afternoons I've had since moving to Portland. The sun was shining when I left the Skype Live Studio.