Our Matinee Idol
Pittsburgh, PA November 22nd 2003
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Ok, I finally got a few hours sleep and feel a bit rested after my adventure, so this is as good a time as any to post this before I forget it.

First, I want to say that the show was fantastic. However, it was also very painful for me to watch. I'll tell you why: Rufus was extremely tired the night of the performance. He came onstage looking fantastic and doing all the typical charismatic Rufusy things that he does.


When he was singing the chorus of "Vicious World," his voice cracked, and he made the little "I can't believe I just did that" face, but kept going. I assumed that he just hadn't warmed up very well and was unprepared for the higher parts in the song. However, it seemed as he did more songs that his voice was just very tired. He struggled with all the upper ranges in all the songs. I don't think anyone really noticed anything until "Go or Go Ahead," in which he was straining to hit the repeated phrase at the end of the song. He looked like people look when their throats are really scratchy and when they talk, it makes their eyes water from irritation. I felt so bad for him. He was trying to be very cool though...still making jokes, etc. I wanted to run up and hug him because, at the end of "Go or Go Ahead" he said, "Ahh, Go or Go Ahead.....and just kill me." Aww! God, I felt so bad. The audience was cracking up, but I just wanted to buy him a cup of tea.

His mood just got worse throughout the night, although I'm sure no one but the serial fans noticed because he still hit all of his notes. I think he really got upset after "Natasha," which he struggled to sing. After the D.C. show, when he got visibly choked up after singing it (and mentioned that it was a "hard song to sing"), I realized that the song must be very close to his heart. I think doing anything but a spectacular performance of it broke his heart.

At the end of the night, he left the stage, saying "good night" as though they were not coming back. To be honest, I didn't want him to come back; not because he was bad, just because I felt bad for him. But the audience screamed and cheered and pounded the floor (much to my displeasure -- let the man rest for god's sake!) until he came out again, this time visibly pissed off. They did a whirl-wind version of "Grey Gardens," "C&CM," and "Nuits de Miami." I could tell he was so angry because we were sitting piano side where his hands were visible on the keys, and he was just pounding them. Also, do you know how when you can't do something, so you try twice as hard to do it and end up hurting yourself in the process? That's what it seemed like he was doing on "Grey Gardens." I was just praying his voice wouldn't completely give out after his forced singing.

Overall, it was not a bad performance at all. I don't think he's capable of a bad performance. However, it was really uncomfortable and upsetting to see him struggling to much with himself, wanting to do his best and not being able to. It seems like Rufus is the kind of person who would want to do something perfect or not at all, and I hated seeing him be so hard on himself. To me, the whole performance seemed so tense that the air could snap like a rubber band. Even Teddy and Jack seemed to have a little problem going on, as Teddy shot Jack a few really dirty looks when they were supposed to be singing in unison. Teddy ended up just dropping out and letting Jack sing the part, retreating to glaring down at his guitar.

After the show, there was a huge crowd of people outside waiting for Rufus. He was so dear, coming out and giving hugs, autographs, and photos even though you know he felt like shit. The old MBers kind of stood back to give him some air, and I ended up kind of getting screwed, but I don't mind. I brought him a present that I didn't get to give him because he was kind of trying to break away from the crowd. He didn't want to be bothered, and I didn't want to chase after him and tackle him to give him a gift. So, it will have to wait until the Want Two tour, although it broke my heart to leave the venue with it still in my hands.

But, enough of my bellyaching about Rufus. In my opinion, it wazs worth the obscene amount of money I spent to go to Pittsburgh just to see Teddy. He did new material, and oooohhh boy, it was so good. I love that man. He never falters a bit, never cracks his voice, never is slightly off key, never strums a wrong chord. It's wonderful. He did two old favorites, "Shine So Bright" (reworked into this really beautiful ballad) and "Sorry to See Me Go," both from the L.A. LP. He had mny shining moments when his sarcasm and dry humor really came out. Namely:
--When he mentioned that there was nothing to eat in Pittsburgh and that was very depressing. He told the audience to write down their dinner suggestions on a napkin and leave it on their seats for after the show, lol.
--When he introduced a song from the new album, saying "Are you ever in a relationship where suddenly you realize that you hate the other person? Like, you're sitting at dinner, and you just want to stab them in the head with a fork? That's what this song is about."
--When he told the audience he had CDs for sale in the lobby. He said something along the lines of some Nazi corporation owning the rights of his debut record, so he had to bootleg his own CD to sell again. He commented, "Hey, it's not like they'll ever find me" to laughter. He told the audience that if they already had the debut, not to buy the other one because it was the same thing, but that if they hadn't bought it, "Why wouldn't you? It's only $10. And if you don't have $10, why are you here? Rufus only likes people with $10 or more to spend." Ha! I love him. After he made this announcement, he started playing the next song, and during the first chords, a girl (DelicateRain from the mb) got up and walked out. He stopped and said, "See? She can't even wait. She's going to buy the album right now!" She said later that she had gotten there late and had to use the bathroom! LOL.

This show was much better in terms of sound. Teddy and Martha were finally louder so you could hear them, and the drums were not overpowering like they were in D.C. Umm, I'm trying to think of other notable events. Oh! After the show, Martha was carrying stuff back and forth from the venue to the bus, and Alisha and I were standing back from the crowd, right behind the bus. I wsa smoking a clove, and she stopped and asked what it was. Alisha and I both offered her cigarettes (we had 4 kinds between us! -- Camel Ultra Lights, Camel Filters, Cherry cloves, and Vanilla cloves.) She ended up bumming a Camel Filter, and Alisha was thrilled to light her cig. She thanked us and moved on, but later that night, she stopped by us again and asked if we were from Pittsburgh. We said no, but asked what she needed. She wanted to know where Penn & 7th streets were, and we happened to know since our hotel was on Penn and the Andy Warhol museum was on 7th. (Which, by the way, is an awesome museum. THey had a JFK exhibit going on to commemorate the anniversary of the assassination that was fantastic.) So, we gave her directions, and in thanks she took a pic with Alisha. She was so sweet.

So, that's about it. I can't think of much more to say. We didn't see Teddy at all after the show...I think he snuck away unnoticed. It was all good though -- totally worth the money. Want Two tour, here we come!