Monday, October 29, 2007

New family member!

My cousin Ed and his wife Sara finally had their first child.
Andrew James Nichols (to be called Drew) was born at 3:00 AM this morning weighing in at a robust 9 lbs!
With Ed's sister Jenn having a 2 year old daughter Sophie, and brother Tom having a 17 month old daughter Grace, Drew becomes the first boy of the generation.

Congrats Ed & Sara!

Two years, six months, two weeks, one day, 18 hours smober.
37151 cigarettes not smoked, saving $9,752.17.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Porcupine Tree @ Beacon Theatre

Went to see Porcupine Tree again last night. I think it was my 5th or 6th time...not sure. What I do know is that after I see them this coming Saturday in Atlantic City, they will have passed the likes of Frank Zappa (5), Jethro Tull (4), and Kansas (4) as artists I have seen the most number of times live.
After a nice dinner at Gabrielle's in Piscataway, the four of us (Val, Megan, Stephen, and myself) started the trek to NYC. As expected, we sat in horrible traffic that started immediately after the 16E toll on the NJ Turnpike, and didn't end until we turned left onto 42nd St. What this did was eliminate the time I would have spent looking for street parking. Instead, we parked in one of the nearby garages for a mere $47.

We walked into the Beacon and first checked out the merch booth. I picked up the new "Tour of a Blank Planet" hoodie as well as the limited edition digipak of the Nil Recurring EP. I'll probably keep it sealed, since I already bought the download version as well as the DVD-A of Fear of a Blank Planet which includes the Nil Recurring tracks. You may wonder, "Why buy the CD only to keep it sealed?" Check Ebay for any Porcupine Tree CD that is currently out of print and get back to me on that. ;-) It was a $15 investment.
I bought Val a Lightbulb Sun t-shirt (she paid the parking), and she bought her kids a shirt each.

Then we went to find our seats. In doing so, I found my way over to Adam and Andy from the ProgCafe list and chatted with them for a bit. We were soon joined by Fred...another list member. While standing there with them, some guy noticed my Zappa shirt and started chatting about Frank and told me that the last time he was at the Beacon was to see Zappa in 1988. He said it was the show where someone spilled a drink on the soundboard (that would have been the 3rd night...Feb 6th, 1988). He was also at the Nassau Coliseum show...the last ever U.S. Frank Zappa concert. I was at that show as well. Small world, huh?
Then someone else got my attention and it was a couple of members of the Porcupine Tree forum "Residents of a Blank Planet". A young man and woman who were very nice. They had organized a preshow meet (for a Dream Theater fan board as well as PTree) at a local brewery which I had forgotten about. In any case, I was happy that they recognized me and came over to say hello. Then I went to my seat nearby since the seats where I was standing started filling up. No sooner did I sit down when yet another member of the PTree fan board saw me and said hello. Turns out he is also a Dolphin fan (although he keeps that on the DL lately).

The opening band was Head>>Fake, which is the bass player (Doug Wimbish) and drummer (Will Calhoun) from Living Colour. It was actually quite entertaining for what it was. I realized that you can actually do a lot with a bass and a laptop. They played about a 30 minute set.

Porcupine Tree came on just minutes before 9 PM and played until about 10:50 PM. They were in good form and seemed to be in good spirits. It was another great show and I'm looking forward to seeing them again in AC this Saturday. The setlist for tonight was a very good mix of old and new. They played 4 songs from Fear Of A Blank Planet, 3 songs each from the new Nil Recurring EP and Deadwing, 2 each from In Absentia and Stupid Dream, and 1 from Signify. It was great hearing Dark Matter for the first time, and while I heard A Smart Kid for the first time, I would have preferred Hatesong. I've never heard that one either, and I like it better. At most of the shows so far this month, they've been playing She's Moved On as one of the encores. While I do like that song and have never seen that performed live either, I was thrilled when they went into Even Less instead, which I much prefer over SMO. It was also the first time for me seeing that one done live.

Here's the set:

What Happens Now?
Fear of a Blank Planet
The Sound of Muzak
Cheating the Polygraph
Open Car
Dark Matter
Nil Recurring
A Smart Kid
Way Out of Here
Sleep Together


Blackest Eyes
Even Less

After the show, Val and I got out first and while we were waiting for the kids to come out (they were sitting in the middle while we were on the aisle), another guy came over and started chatting with me because of my Zappa shirt.

Then we decided to all wait outside the back door by the tourbus so Megan could try and get her setlist (which she got from a roadie after the show....I think it was Wes') signed by Steven Wilson.

While they were waiting, I had a nice chat with Jim Robinson and Robert "Bony" Marone from the NJ Proghouse and the Progressive Music Society. I told Jim I was dissapointed that I couldn't go to see Advent this Saturday and he discussed a lot of the upcoming shows coming to the proghouse, including a few "as of yet unofficial" ones. Funny, now that I think of it, I missed a pretty cool show in May because of seeing PTree at the Nokia the same night. I think it was when the Red Masque played. I should have told him to stop scheduling shows on the same night as a local PTree show. :-)

Then we saw a guy with a couple of pizzas go in the back door, and we figured it was going to be a while, so we left without waiting for the band.

So overall it was a really nice Saturday night out, with the only undesireable part of it being the traffic coming into the city.

Two years, six months, 17 hours smober.
31980 cigarettes not smoked, saving $8,394.90.