Then on Friday, July 28 I got a call from my husband at work. The Letterman show had called him, did we want tickets for the 2nd or 3rd of August, and if we wanted the 3rd would we prefer first or second taping? Armed with the information I had at the time, I told my husband to ask for the first taping on Thursday, the 3rd. I couldn't believe my luck. Not only would we be getting away alone for the weekend, we would be going to a taping of the Letterman show and Todd would be the guest! Too good to be true?
A scant few hours later, we found out that Todd would be the guest on Friday, which meant the second taping. At this point we may have been able to make a change, but the 'Todd may sit in with the band on Thursday's show' possibility was enough for us to leave it alone. After all, there was always the show at Canoe Place Inn in Hampton Bays. Unfortunately my husband had to be back in Chicago on Friday. I started dropping hints that I could go on my own.
If anyone has ever been to a Letterman taping, you know about lining up, getting numbers, get lost for a while, come back, line up, and in you go. You are there for Dave, you must be enthusiastic for Dave. They don't care what you want or who the guest is. The interns don't know who might be sitting in with the band. Todd Rundgren, never heard of him, don't know anything, get in line. As we were ushered in we still didn't know if Todd would be sitting in with the band. A guitar that looked very much like Foamy, or the Green One, whatever, was perched among the band equipment. My husband told me not to be disappointed. No matter what happened we had a nice mini-vacation. The show went on, no Todd.
Outside after the taping I tried in vain to get us into the second taping. Interns still did not know who Todd Rundgren is, crowd waiting in line had blank expressions on their faces when they heard his name. It seemed like such a waste to me, gosh, I would have traded my coveted Thursday audience trivia quiz night ticket with any of them if only any information had been available. So we went and had dinner and my sweet husband told me if I wanted to go to the show in Hampton Bays, it was OK with him.
On Friday morning my husband went back to Chicago alone. I got a rental car, ditched my return ticket from La Guardia and purchased a new ticket home from Islip, then drove out to Hampton Bays. Actually I went all the way to Montauk for old times sake, so by the time I got back to Hampton Bays lodging was at a premium, and I ended up staying in South Hampton for more $$$ than I care to admit.
Canoe Place Inn is an interesting place, apparently it was an Inn at one time, and was built in 1777 or thereabouts. Now it is a bar/dance-hall/concert venue that appears to cater to the twenty-something set. The one publication that I saw advertising the show also was directed at that age group, apparently mostly employees of resorts and such in the area. They didn't come to the CPI that evening. I arrived at about 9:50 for an advertised 10:00 start, and walked past the barricades meant to keep the hoards of concertgoers in line. Paid my $15. and went inside to find a crowd of maybe 50 people. Feeling a bit strange as I was not accustomed to being alone I just stayed right there. In retrospect it probably would have been a good idea to spend some time with Ed the Patronet guy, who appeared to have the Interocitor up and running in the Lobby.
It was probably fortunate that the show started about an hour late, the place filled up a bit, maybe 200 or so people, hard to judge this sort of thing. Mary Lou appeared on stage about 10:45, and the guitar tech guy started getting things ready at about that time too. I'm guessing the traffic was really bad, most of the population of NYC probably heading out to the beaches for the weekend. The set list was pretty much the same as for the first leg of the tour, but no M/BD&B or Temporary Sanity. Todd asked if anyone had a question after opening with ISP, and someone yelled out a rather out of touch question (sorry guy), which Todd pretty much brushed off. I'm not much for shouting out in a crowd, so whatever innocuous question I may have asked will remain unanswered. One thing that really is a mystery to me is why there seems to be a total lack of publicity for this tour. Not brave enough to ask such a thing, though.
I can't really judge the sound system because my hearing was suffering from an hours' worth of way too loud Guns N Roses or whatever crap it was that kept us entertained prior to the concert. At one point someone up front must have complained about not being able to hear vocals, and Todd said to move back if you want to hear vocals, up front was for viewing bulging packages. Problem was, if you moved further than 15 feet back, the annoying 'ham n eggs' din of the crowd took over. Why do people come to concerts to talk to their friends?
Todd made a couple of comments about how we were missing the Letterman show, and how they did well on the show (Kas agreeing), how Dave said the performance was really good and kissed Todd full on the mouth. Should have known he was joking, but you never know with Dave, either. Todd showed plenty of energy, but I felt like the concert was progressing in an almost businesslike fashion. He admitted to being sick of the uke tune explanation and just skipped it altogether.
After the second encore, Todd signed a few autographs, accepted a CD from a fan (WHY did I not bring my son's CD I'll never know), and shook just about everyone's hand that was outstretched. Except mine. It was an out-of-character thing for me to do, but then being there alone was not me either. Just confirms what I learned when my sons entered their teens years ago, I am invisible.
So no chance to thank him, for being with me from the first time I heard 'We Gotta Get You a Woman' on WPGU as a college freshman at the University of Illinois, through marriage, the birth of my sons (who later accompanied us to concerts-Utopia, Who and Neil Young when the venues were appropriate), and changes good and bad as the years fly by. In his music I find encouragement, comfort, joy, I could go on and on. Actually I guess I already have. Anyone who is reading this no doubt knows what I mean. I only wish I could give something back. Suggestions?
Marilyn Baird MBTWOTIMES@aol.com