Friday, May 27, 2005

Seattle - Pizza with Eddie Vedder, con't

Okay, I realize that last post was just me babbling. I was really struggling uploading those pics to my new server and wanted the benefit of the photographs I took the first night in Hollywood so I could relate the story as it unfolded. But because Julie and Eric won't be home until tomorrow and I can't wait, just pretend this is that Seinfeld episode where it's all backwards...I'll start with Day 2 in Seattle and work my way back to Hollywood tomorrow.

Just as in L.A., Picturehouse Films arranged for drivers to meet us at the Seattle airport and take us to our hotel. We stayed at the W, which is just about the most gorgeous hotel ever. It's such a hip place; outrageous artwork, ultra modern decor with free standing sculpture as railings...and nice little touches like a lobby with a roaring fireplace and fresh unsweetened juice with orange, lime, lemon and grapefruit slices (and sprigs of mint) in a glass dispenser sitting on a table with a large bowl of green apples -- all complimentary. Terry cloth robes in the bathroom...and a view of the waterfront. I could live there forever.

When we pull up at the hotel, we're immediately met by staff from the Seattle Film Festival. That's where we get the news that Eddie Vedder would like to have dinner with us before the show.

You can't imagine what it's like -- as a long time fan -- to hear those words said so casually.

"Yes, you're going to meet him at one of his favorite restaurants - they have the best pizza in Seattle".

The kids were more subdued; I acted like a complete idiot practically jumping up and down and screaming "We're having pizza with Eddie Vedder; we're having pizza with Eddie Vedder!"


We had a bit of down time later in the afternoon and Julie and the other girls: Madison Flego, Julia Rainer, and Teddi Tarnoff - the three most talented vocalists and guitarists EVER actually asked me if I wanted to go out and see the city with them. I tried not to act too much like a dork thanking them over and over for including me (oh, it's so pathetic getting older) and I had a blast with them. They are four incredible girls - so smart and beautiful and fun to hang out with. We went into some boutiques, walked down by the water, and totally fell in love with Seattle. It's easy to see why people are so enamoured of the Pacific northwest.

We had just enough time to get back to our rooms and change. Our driver was so awesome - his name is Holden and he used to be a singer in a punk band and now he's connected with the Seattle Film Festival. He takes us to the restaurant where we are whisked upstairs to a private room. There's already two pizzas on the table and we were met by a very pretty woman named Kate Jackson who introduced herself to me as Eddie Vedder's assistant. With her was his equipment man, George, another really cool guy who sat next to Julie and asked her all about her equipment...what kind of basses does she have, what amps does she play through, etc. Kate's phone rang twice - both times it was Eddie who was running late and stuck in traffic. She said "Oh my god, Eddie is really sweating - he's so sorry he's late". In other words, he's no prima donna; this is an honestly down to earth guy, one of the nicest men I've ever met, who was worried we would think he wasn't coming.

About ten minutes later he walks in, wearing jeans, a Ramone's t-shirt, and an open plaid shirt. If you think he is beautiful in photographs, to see him in person is to die. Oh god, it was so hard not to stare at him like a crazed groupie. Anyway, he sits down, takes a piece of pizza, and immediately starts talking with the kids. He's really easy going; he didn't mind we were snapping pictures; he said he wanted to go to soundcheck/rehearsal with us after dinner and just hang out and talk and maybe sit around and play.

It was so fucking incredible.

We get to the venue and there was some trouble with the sound. It's so frustrating when that happens. But they finally straightened it out...and the kids got some rehearsal time. We heard the event totally sold out and it took so long for everyone to fill the room that the show started around 10:00 or 10:30.

The kids were amazing. They started off with Black Magic Woman as is their trademark. Eric on drums, C.J. on guitar, Brian on bass, Larry Allen on keyboards, and Madison Flego singing. It doesn't get any better. The crowd went absolutely nuts.

I can't remember the order of the songs but they did a couple by Radiohead, Pigs, City of Tiny Lights, Rebel Yell...and then Paul made an announcement there was a special guest and out walked Ann Wilson of Heart. She played Barracuda with Eric on drums, Julie on bass, and Louie and Julia Rainer on guitar. Do you think it was amazing? IT WAS!

Ann sang in her bare feet, she was so obviously wowed by the kids that it was a real sobby moment for me, and then she had to rush off because she had another gig.

It was just so, so cool of her to come and perform and she really wailed. Her voice is better than ever, and I managed to snap the following picture of Madison watching her from the wings. Madison sang Barracuda the night before in Hollywood and aced it. What's so surreal is that Heart was one of the first CDs her mom bought for her when she was five years old and she's been singing along with Barracuda for years. Ann Wilson is her hero. So can you imagine what that was like for her?

Here are some more Ann Wilson photos:

Then the kids came out and played a couple more songs and here's a few photos -- they did Heart of the Sunrise which always makes me cry, White Lines, Rock Lobster...just a really great set.

Julie and Teddi Tarnoff:

Then Paul makes the announcement that we have a special guest joining us for the last two songs, Mr. Eddie Vedder. The crowd went crazy as Eddie took the stage (hahahaha - sung to Sally Simpson by The Who) and below are my Eddie pics, which, if my kids wouldn't think I was the world's biggest freak, I would print out, frame, and hang on my bedroom wall.

Just kidding.

Julie and Eric watching as Eddie plays his first song, Corduroy, with Joey on drums:

Then Eric joined Eddie for I Wanna Be Sedated, and I've already posted that pic but I think I'll post it again:

Anyway, as amazing as all of this was, the show ends, people are screaming like it's the freaking Beatles at Shea Stadium; and I decide to go backstage and check on the kids. I'd assumed Eddie had already left the premises.


I walked in just in time to see Eddie, my son, Eric, Joey Randazzo, a/k/a Joey Reno, and Larry Allen doing an a cappella version of The Who's A Quick One While He's Away.

How lucky am I -- my daughter videotaped the whole thing. It went on for 10-15 minutes, with Eddie singing and laughing and Don Argott, director and producer of Rock School doing harmonies. I cannot believe I own this film. We watched it as soon as we got home last night and you have no idea how terrific it is. Joey and Eric, both drummers, beat out the rhythm while everyone sings. My son played his iPod with drumsticks, Joey beat on his knees and stamped his feet, Eddie was so into could tell he was having a blast.

Then Kate brought out a big carton full of Pearl Jam books and EPs because Eddie wanted the kids to have a souvenier and then he stood there and autographed every one of them personally as well as let us all take our pics with him. He's the nicest guy in the entire world.

I'm not kidding; he stayed backstage with us for over an hour, just was like he was having the best time hanging with kids who loved rock (apparently an oddity these days, huh) and didn't want it to end, either.

Oh, one other thing about Eddie which is the coolest, most touching thing. He walks around with one of those old fashioned black and white composition books and on the first page he has a picture of his beautiful one year old daughter glued in with her name written under it...he is so in love with her and so obviously thrilled to be a dad...I guess he uses the book to write down ideas and thoughts...I don't know, as a writer, I love the idea that he does that and doesn't walk around with a laptop like most people. It was old fashioned and sweet.

Okay. That's all for now. I'm still really jet lagged and need to try and upload more pics.

And I haven't even written about Hollywood yet!