Curt Smith at McCabe’s Guitar Shop (19 November 2010)

Andye Superfan talks about travelling to Curt Smith’s solo at Mc’Cabe’s Guitar Shop.

It hadn’t been 24 hours since I left the presence of Curt Smith at Bardot before there was rumour of yet another show. I think I saw it somewhere on Twitter (of course). Snap Happy Pam (SHP) was determined that I attend. She encouraged me day in and day out to find a way to make it happen even though I had been assigned an Atlanta media week and it would have been literally impossible.  It would also mean I’d be travelling alone for several days in California. I hadn’t travelled alone…ever! But this fear of not having someone hold my hand had cost me a chance to be on set with them during an interview some years ago. So the McCabe’s show was my chance to break this ridiculous habit. Risking the perception of being a stalker I began planning how I’d get away for just the day…even if it meant flying in and flying right back out.

Meanwhile, Team CS had blossomed into a fun online group of 6 (Traci, Janice, The Sisters, Carri D, Alexis and myself) all umbrella’d in (@PapaSFans). We talked about Tears for Fears every single day, befriending each other Facebook and responding to each other’s comments on Curt Smith’s facebook fan page. We were in heaven…all this awesome contact and constant fan club activity. With the TwitChange we got a cool shoutout from Curt thanks to Shaun King and enjoyed following HIM following us.

Mid October, SHP was still asking about the show. “Are you coming?” I didn’t have an answer. I still hadn’t figured out how I was going to get there given that I’d be on assignment right up to the day of the show. He was also appearing at the TedxSF event…he was a guest speaker. I suggested to my media team that we go out there for that and learn something. But again, we already had plans for the week so nothing doin’. But, being the determined superfan I stayed up all night finishing up every inch of the project. I had booked a room in advance, already had a print out of the show ticket and within hours of the approval to leave I got a plane ticket and headed out to L.A. the day of the show…an 830 flight on Delta…all…by…myself!

Miki from Summit Limousines was there at L.A.X. to scoop me up and haul me down to Santa Monica. I checked in and begged for a room within view of the venue. After I lugged my suitcase up the stairs to the 3rd floor (in heels), Alexis and I met on the sidewalk and hugged for as long as possible before troplopsing back to my room and all but screaming with glee that we were about to see Curt Smith again. I was not feeling very well because I hadn’t slept in about 2 days (all that rushing to get through production so I could get out there) but was getting better in that healing California air and just happy to see a familiar face. (Its so funny that now I willfully hop on a plane to California with no need of a soul to guide me)

I remember trying to sleep a little. But I turned the TV on and just “shivered” for hours. I was a live wire! I phoned SHP. She promised to be there at 5pm and then we’d meet up with the rest of the fans outside and wait early for the show. And she kept her promise. Full of jitters and nerves we crossed the street to meet a line that had already formed. It was about 6pm at this time. I think doors were to open at 7 or  8pm. We met CS fan Margie Rivas and her family. Traci showed up later as did a ton of others from his facebook page who had travelled quite a ways to be there. It was like Curt Smith’s fan wall had come to life. We leaned against the building and waited for permission to go in…many of us completely shaking from excitement. A girl walked by and asked what we were waiting for. We told her “Curt Smith…” and her face lit up, “Cooool!” she said and waited around looking for a ticket. Sadly they were sold out…as expected.

Then the doors opened. We rushed into the venue and got our seats snuggled up on the 3rd row behind what turned out to be a few members from the Psych Crew? The pineapple was on stage as well. Wild right? I was thrilled to peaches! I made about 6 trips to the vending area to get a few cds and guitar picks (sp?) for the Atlanta fans who couldn’t be there (Todd, Michael, etc). I also wanted to get an autograph for my magnificent ATL superstar cousin Michael Roland Magno. The amount of things to buy was endless. So many different albums to choose from. I just kept grabbing and grabbing.

The Show

This is certainly the hardest part to talk about…I don’t know where to start…I remember a person speaking before hand and welcoming all of us to this historic venue. He said, “If in case there is a fire…each of you please grab a guitar from the wall and head toward the exit doors.” We roared with laughter and a few of us looked around toward the walls to see which one we would save from the potential burning flames. Then the house lights went down…and band members begin to come down to the stage one by one…sharply dressed in dark jackets and dress pants. Suits! We all clapped…then…His High Highness…The Good Man Curt Smith stepped down from the heavens to the front of the stage and we just lost it with praise. You’d have though G-d delivered him to us with His own hand.

Everything from this point forward is just a dream…I remember Curt singing “Drive” by the cars…with a story about his daughter and how she is growing up and…well, he’s preparing himself for the day she may be driven home by someone other than himself. If it was up to us fans we’d all be waiting up with he and his wife for whatever fortunate fellow that gets to take her out on a date. As he spoke before the song I imagined us all behind him with squinty eyes peering down at the fellow reminding him 11 o’clock means 10:59 latest. LOL…seriously…it was very precious and he sang so clearly…I can’t even begin to describe it. And from that, a number of stories came… Stories about his family, his current life and why certain songs were on the Halfway Pleased album. It was a very intimate and “moving” experience. And I just cried. I cried so hard…not loudly…just tears running down my face as I listened to him. I cried so hard my nose got all stuffy. I as busy wiping and snottin’ as I watched a man that I have admired and kept with me in a cassette case through the best and worst of times. Through my family’s coming and going in and out of theUnited States, to my first days at University, my adapting to new technology (Curt was the first person I ever emailed) and again at the very media post that I suggested they interview the band regarding ELAHE and the list goes…AND THERE HE WAS!!! …right there…singing…watching us all watch him…in total amazement! And the light shone down on him like a spirit…it was immaculate and I was delirious with gratitude. I just couldn’t believe it.

Curt’s Got Jokes

Every now and again Curt would reach into his pocket, talking about the suit…and his hand would move around. He assured us, “I’m not playing with my marbles.” That got a roar! He’s hilarious! The set went on and he joked about the music equipment additions and why they decided to wear suits…saying they got them when they were on tour with “Tears” but hadn’t had a chance to wear them. So they figured that this night was as good as any. They looked so smart and dashing…one would have had to have been there to see them…so handsome they were! And he played it up by having Charlton do some jazzy style extended instrumentals between songs and leading into songs. There was of course Mad World and some of the TFF favourites but mostly those soul stirring, warm ballads from his latest work Halfway Pleased…songs like Aeroplane and Trees. There was an intermission and I dried my eyes…and bought more merch!  And part two was just as engaging as the first…and again tears engulfed me and I just let them roll as I lip-sang the words and sat through what felt like a glorious ceremony on Cloud 9.

Curt Smith’s solo shows are not like anything I’ve ever attended. Being in the media industry, I have to sit through so much music and dance week after week…My weekends are filled with one band or dance troupe after another but NONE of them move me like a Curt Smith’s solo show. There just aren’t any words to describe it. You have to go, see and hear for yourself.

End of the Night

It ended with the Psych crew singing back up on “Shout.” OHHH, that was a treat! They did such an excellent job adding in their own energy and dedication to this incredible band. It was surreal. We applauded and headed out to the front of the Guitar shoppe. We waited about 10 minutes then Curt appeared in his cool casual clothes (he’d shed the suit) and spoke to us. It got quiet as we shuffled around arranging ourselves a distance away from him. No one said a word. They just looked with big smiles on their faces. Then he said, “Hey Andye.” I returned the hello and struggled with my decision to refrain from touching the ground as one does in my culture for people we honour. And we sort of stood there away from him and just stared for another 3-4 minutes. Clearly we were excited and nervous. Then Curt says something like, “Who would like to go first?” I was standing closest so I stepped next to him. He asked me, “Did you really stay up looking for a flight?” I nodded yes as if “You better believe I was determined to get here.” He gave me a quick hug and then signed a cd for my cousin Magno. I wanted him to sign everything but I knew that would be rude so I stepped aside and Alexis stepped forward second and gave him some bumper stickers for his car and asked for a picture and autograph. The next group stepped forward…and back in the crowd they went. And that’s kind of how it was the rest of the night. He received us with much grace and we all but bowed down at his feet. Sweet Afton took a few pictures of us with Curt. And we left completely changed. It was awesome. Its been a year now and we’ve all changed drasitcally since then. Three of us going on what we like to call the Curt Smith Fitness routine. He inspires us in so many ways. It’s a load of fun!

We stepped outside the venue, riddled with nerves and jetlag but unable to go to sleep. So we hopped in Alexis’ car and drove around til the morning came. That next day I headed off to a media event for which I’d been given tickets to attend since I was going to be in the area. I think Curt went with his daughters on glamping trip J or something like that…It was such an exciting excursion and it was on this trip that I truly began thinking about moving toCaliforniafor good. It’s such a nice place and the weather seems perfect. All of my East Coast ailments melt away when I’m there.

I never did recover from that trip. My sleep pattern was permanently thrown off and I’ve yet to have “shakenL.A.” It’s stuck to me like glue and I can’t scrub it off for anything. I want to thank Snap Happy Pam for the encouragement and constant push to move toLos Angeles. Mahalo to Team CS for making the effort to travel great distances to be there and continuing to do so even if it means great sacrifices. Who knew this would turn into a lifelong habit! In the name of Tears for Fears…Cheers!

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