The only way I can accurately describe the second night of the ChaserCon weekend is by saying that it was overwhelmingly incredible. It was one of the most anticipated evenings of the summer for so many people, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Where shall I begin? Where Saturday left off, perhaps?
Amanda and I had left Harrah’s right after the meet and greet the previous night because I had been having issues with my car alarm, and we wanted to make sure we could get back to our hotel without being trapped at Harrah’s too late into the night (not trapped by Chasers, but the fact that my car wouldn’t function properly). Thankfully I determined that the battery in my car alarm’s remote was dying causing the problem I was encountering. With some prodding, I was able to make it perform properly so that we could leave Harrah’s parking garage and head back to the hotel. Unfortunately, by this time in the evening there were no stores open so I could not remedy the situation right then and there. I crossed my fingers and hoped that the remote would work in the morning. That way I could find a new battery and be worry free for the final show.
Luckily all of my bad luck was used up the day before, and my battery functioned with minimal prodding when we woke up. We ventured into Absecon to see if we could find a new battery. I couldn’t risk it not working that night…nothing could ruin this night for us (especially something as little as a 12v battery)! We tried to blend in with the locals as we entered, what is arguably, the scariest mall I have ever seen, and found the Radio Shack that my GPS had promised me would be there. We successfully replaced the battery in my remote and left that scary mall as quickly as possible. On the way back to the hotel, my GPS took us a different route then we used to arrive at the mall. This route passed at least two other freestanding, normal Radio Shacks…still not quite sure why she didn’t bring us to one of those in the first place. My GPS is crazy.
When we got back to the hotel, thankfully without being murdered, we began getting ready for the evening’s festivities. Keep in mind that our morning adventures really didn’t take us too long and it was probably about 1 pm when we began getting ready for the evening. This left us sitting in our hotel room around 2 pm all dressed up with nothing to do. I was ready to head straight over to Harrah’s, but Amanda told me no. She conveniently waited to put on her makeup so that I couldn’t convince her to leave right then and there. I decided to flip on the TV (I needed something to distract me for a little while), and was surprised to find that the Red Sox game was on. This actually was a true surprise seeing as we were in New Jersey. We watched the game for a while, but quickly became annoyed by the TBS announcers (who seem to hate the Red Sox and love whatever team they are playing against…in this case, it was the Texas Rangers). The Red Sox were being massacred by the Rangers, and the score was 9-0 in the 5th inning when Amanda could no longer bear to watch anymore. She quickly finished getting ready, and we headed over to Harrah’s a little bit earlier than planned.
Once we arrived at Harrah’s we headed over to the Eden Lounge for a drink (where the bartender once again told us he didn’t like us because of our MA licenses…he was a Yankees fan). We then meandered through the casino. We decided to hang out in the food court. We determined it to be a great location to people watch. It had a great view of the happenings of the casino, we could be on the lookout for UK Chaser Valerie (who we promised we would meet up with, but had no way of contacting), and was close to Reflections (where we would be meeting some fellow Chasers for dinner). As we approached the food court, we saw Jillian, Denise, Latricia, and SJ. They were planning some shenanigans for that night’s show…and we told them we were more than willing to partake…we love shenanigans after all. We took this opportunity to lei our fellow chasers (we brought 25 rainbow colored leis with us that we decided Chasers had to wear in the spirit of the final show), and then they went off to finalize their shenanigans. We perched ourselves on some nice stools in the food court…I on my big stool, and Amanda on her little stool (she could barely see over the counter…she claims it was a nice resting spot for her head). We watched the hoards of Jersey Shore wannabes (they had crawled out of the woodwork because PaulyD would be gracing The Pool with his presence that evening) and the many Chasers who had come out in full force to support Straight No Chaser for their final show of the summer. It was like two worlds had collided and we were mere spectators watching the events reveal themselves.
As Chasers spotted us in our lookout spot, we had some nice conversations and continued lei’ing Chasers. The time flew by, and soon it was time for us to meet everyone at Reflections for dinner. When we all found a place around the giant table, it was determined that there were 21 Chasers enjoying dinner together (had Thanksgiving come early?). This undoubtedly resulted in many shenanigans and inappropriate behaviors (especially from me and Amanda). Amanda was out of control (however, it wasn’t unlike how we normally act…this time we were just in a social situation) and it was determined that I am her minion. Everyone seemed surprised by the way Amanda was telling me what to do and her (empty) threats, but I didn’t bat an eyelash. We have a unique relationship. As the evening progressed, Amanda and I decided it was a perfect time to start spreading rumors about the guys of Straight No Chaser. I won’t divulge what rumors we were spreading that night, just in case they have been leaked. We wouldn’t want any of the rumors being linked back to us, after all. (Whispers secretively: Seggie loves purple, and Tyler loves a cappella more than his mom. #JustSayin.)
When dinner finally finished it was time to make our final trip of the summer over to The Concert Venue. We were so excited for the events to come that we didn’t have time to get upset about this. Nothing could bring us down. This night was destined to be incredible. When we entered the Concert Venue we noticed that many of the Chasers had started to gather near the stage…and Valerie was there!!!! There were conversations between Chasers all around the Venue, shenanigans were being finalized, and pictures were being taken. It was like a HUGE family reunion!
When the screen descended onto the stage and the lights dimmed, all of the Chasers bustled to their seats and the excitement rose in the theater. The venue was aglow with happy Chasers and their glowing apparel (loved it!)…it was obvious that we were definitely going to be a rowdy crowd! When the guys began singing “The Boys are Back” I noticed Randy point out the Chasers in the front to Charlie (who he was singing next to). You could tell all of the guys were taking in the enormity of the crowd (there were SO MANY CHASERS!), and they didn’t hold anything back while performing. This included when they conducted their own shenanigans on stage. Some shenanigans incorporated into their performances were when Charlie and Jerome brought Seggie a drink adorned with fruit from the Tune Week Edible Arrangement, Ryan and Don wearing 80s wigs under their fedoras, Charlie handing Tara honeydew melon, more fruit on a stick being given away (specifically an orange) to Robin during her serenade of Uptown Girl, and more ragging on Don for his mustache (which he wisely removed prior to this show). The guys pulled out all the stops (as usual) and it was apparent that they were having a blast on stage.
The audience was no different. We too were also having a blast during the show, and as mentioned before we also had a few shenanigans up our sleeves. Many of the Chasers had made signs for their final show (Kary, Tara, Marna, and Cindy had some pretty funny ones that got called out during the show). Amanda and I had also made signs for this show. We don’t usually do this, but we had seats in the front row and Hurricane Irene had left us with some spare time to get crafty. Can you say poster making party? The signs weren’t so much shenanigans as they were more of a way to just show the guys how much we appreciate all of their sacrifices. We used black poster board, neon poster paint, glow-in-the-dark paint, and LOTS of neon glitter (this glitter seriously blew my mind…I love it!). We made a sign for each of the guys and one sign just for SNC in general (so 11 signs total). They said “We *heart* (member of SNC)”…except we used our literary talents and added a descriptive adjective that we felt best described the member but also started with the same letter as his first name. Who doesn’t love a little alliteration, after all? We then added a personal touch of a flower from a lei we dismantled (which we also added glowing paint and glitter too…duh!). We felt like this was sort of like our signature on the posters, seeing as our leis had become so recognizable this summer.
During the show our signs became cumbersome (due to the amount) and we had such terrible seats that they guys couldn’t see them anyway (hahaha our seats were actually amazing…front row, center section, on the aisle…but we had a pesky monitor in front of us that made the signs hard to see). Part way through the concert I abandoned the signs (which had successfully covered me in glitter), but I have to say they still made me happy every time I saw them glowing when the lights went down.
So if you have been following me so far, you should recall that other Chaser shenanigans had been in the works throughout the evening. First off the shear rowdiness of the crowd was incredible in general. We couldn’t control our yells and woohooing (naturally). In addition, Chasers had organized beach ball fun during the 50s medley (I mean, come on, we were down on the boardwalk after all). Amanda and I agreed to wield a bubble gun (which lit up!) during the Beatles/Stones medley. We had strict instructions to not shoot the bubbles toward the stage in case they made the stage slippery. This forced us to shoot the bubbles behind us, which naturally shot bubble directly into the faces of the Chasers sitting behind us. Sorry, Vicky and Marilou! I don’t remember much during this medley due to the sheer fact that I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe. Amanda remembers Mike giving her an odd look while he was singing…he was unsure why we were shooting people with bubbles…and many of the other guys laughed at our bubbly antics. Bubbles are seriously awesome…I’m thinking about purchasing my own bubble gun just so I can have bubbles wherever I go!
The show ended like normal and the theater was abuzz with excitement. The show had been incredible and all of the Chasers were talking about little moments they had enjoyed. As we lingered in the theater, we noticed that glow sticks were being thrown across the stage by, we assume, the stage crew (the shenanigans just never end)! I had to resist the urge to climb up on stage and play with all of the glowing glow sticks. We reluctantly (okay, maybe not so reluctantly) made our way out of the concert venue. Like I said before, there was a LARGE group of Chasers. Combine us with the many people who had seen SNC for the first time, and that makes for an enormous group of people waiting outside the Concert Venue. You could tell that the ushers were nervous about coordinating everyone to make the meet and greet go smoothly while ensuring that paths were still clear for the other casino visitors. They did a great job in organizing us and also facilitating everything so that we could have a group picture with the ENTIRE group of Chasers and the guys.
Due to the amount of people waiting in the meet and greet line, and the fact that everyone was so gracious to allow us to do the large group picture, we were informed we had to be quick in the meet and greet line. Amanda and I had decided that we would be giving the signs we made to the guys, and we had also brought bright, neon orange leis for each of them (we couldn’t bring leis for the Chasers and not the guys…plus they had all said how much they liked our leis so we wanted to give them their own…and might I says, they all looked REALLY good in their leis). Amanda and I decided that the best way to go about the meet and greet with our leis and signs, while being quick so other Chasers could enjoy the guys company, was to split up the gifts. Amanda took the leis and I distributed the signs. This caused us to get separated while going down the table (again!) resulting in different conversations…I apologize now if some of it seems out of order or misplaced…conversations were probably going on at the same time (or we were time traveling again, it’s hard to tell sometimes…Amanda does love her Tardis).
|Amanda shooting bubbles! (Thanks, Dottie!)|
To start off the meet and greet experience Amanda was still wielding the bubble gun Jillian had let us use during the show. It was sort of like we were announcing to the guys that the Chasers had arrived with the arrival of bubbles (because of course we act like 5 year olds and had to shoot bubbles from the gun during the meet and greet). Mike gave Amanda a funny look when sighting the bubbles and Jerome instinctively covered his drink (we wouldn’t want it to taste soapy, now would we?). Mike then thanked us for his birthday card (multiple times…he was very appreciative) that we had given him the night before. We of course told him it was our pleasure and then got down to business (this had to be quick, remember?) We sent our ChaserCon badges down the table to be signed and then began to hand out the leis and posters.
As Amanda handed Jerome his neon orange lei, he genuinely asked “how am I supposed to sign this?” Amanda and I both laughed (that was seriously such a great reaction, Jerome) and told him that he wasn’t supposed to sign it, it was for him. He then examined his poster and thanked us again for everything.
The leis (obviously) also led to a lot of inappropriate comments from the guys. Seggie made a comment to Amanda about being lei’d, and DR turned to Tyler and said “You just got lei’d by a Chaser”. Many of the other guys made similar comments about the leis…I mean come one, who would let this opportunity pass them by?...but they seemed to really like them, and like I said before, they looked fantastic on them! Amanda also had a funny moment with Charlie after she handed him his lei. He decided he wanted to use the bubble gun, but couldn’t get it to work (it was a little finicky and he was trying to shoot the bubbles while pointing it straight up…it doesn’t like that). Amanda took it back from him and shot some bubbles. Charlie yelled “HOW DID YOU DO THAT!?” She’s just that good, Charlie…you must not realize her awesomeness yet. Walt insisted that Amanda put the lei on him, and in doing so she accidently hit him on the head…okay, lightly tapped…with the bubble gun (Sorry, Walt…I bet you didn’t realize bubble guns were an occupational hazard). Don and Ryan also had some fun playing with the bubble gun, shooting bubbles down the meet and greet table toward Charlie. The bubble gun was a little leaky, so Don casually wiped his sticky hand on the table cloth, even though Amanda had kindly offered him a tissue. That works too, Don.
I also had some fun moments while handing the guys their posters. They all seemed to really like them and smiled as they read the descriptive adjective we had chosen for them. When I handed Tyler his poster, he said, “Thank you, Megan.” That may not seem significant, but it STILL surprises me whenever any of them greet me by name…I guess it’s the little things. I then made sure to point out a little something we added to Tyler’s poster…it was a little purple kitten in the lower right corner.
Megan: We made sure to add a purple kitten to your poster.
Tyler: Why a purple kitten?
Megan (seriously): Why not?
(Tyler and Seggie seemed to like this response and laughed… I know…I’m so funny. I moved on without actually telling him why it was there, so for clarification the purple kitten was added because of the paper airplane we had at our first Hyannis Sound concert that seemed to state “Trepp sends purple kittens.” We were just returning the favor and sending them back to Tyler…aren’t we nice?)
|Dottie caught me talking to Randy...and Don getting lei'd|
Charlie told me that he tried to read his sign during the show, but he didn’t want to stare over at it for too long. (You could have stared as long as you wanted, Charlie. We don’t mind.) Randy then got excited when he read his sign.
Randy: I’m radiant!
Charlie: No, you’re not. That says radio.
Megan: No, you are definitely radiant, Randy.
When I handed Walt his sign, he asked me if I wanted him to sign it or if it was for him. I told him it was for him, and he said, “Nice! Wicked awesome Walt” (reading his sign in a Boston accent). Don and Ryan took this opportunity to say some key phrases in Boston accents as well (I love when they do that). Ryan even read his sign in a Boston accent (which said Rockin’ Ryan) which is an accomplishment in and of itself. I don’t think I can even do that…he must be studying. Ryan then asked us to sign his sign because he signs all of our things. When we tried to just sign our first names, he insisted that we add our last names…that’s how they do it after all.
|Richard: I love being bubbly!|
We then moved away from the meet and greet table to where Richard was standing. Amanda was still playing with the bubble gun and Richard took the opportunity to play with the bubbles too. He waved his arms in them and said, “I love being bubbly!” After that little bit of bubble fun, we went to wait on the ramp with the other Chasers who were gathering for the group picture. I took this time to take some pictures of Chasers going through the meet and greet and chat with Chasers as they joined us on the ramp.
When ALL of the Chasers had made it through the meet and greet line, the ushers began to coordinate us for the group picture. Richard had decided we would take it at the bottom of the stairs where the merchandise table usually is. The picture would be taken from where the meet and greet tables are, to ensure everyone could be seen in the picture. The ushers got us to line up by height…tallest to shortest…and then arranged us at the bottom of the stairs. This was quite a process, but we made it happen. As the guys finished up what they were doing, and the Chasers got into place, Tyler pretended to conduct us and the other guys joked around near the meet and greet tables. They all seemed surprised when they realized we wanted them to join the picture. It was the Chaser family picture after all…it wouldn’t be complete without the guys who had brought this group of people together. The Chasers then started chanting for Richard to get the picture…it sound a little something like this: “Korby! Korby! Korby!” He reacted by giving us a little strip tease, and then joined us in the picture. After the picture, Ryan pointed at me and told me to stay right there! I do what I am told and waited patiently. He wanted to take a picture with Amanda and myself with our leis on. It is probably one of my favorite pictures to date…thanks, Ryan for making that picture happen!
We then moved our festivities over to McCormick’s where Chasers took over the entire bar area. It still seriously surprises me how many of us there were! As we were mingling, Walt came into the bar carrying what looked like a Mickey Mouse bag full of goods. It didn’t take long for all of the Chasers to notice and we let him know by cheering for him…quite loudly. At first he shook his head and then gestured for us to cheer more. He then looked around the bar and endearingly asked if any of us had seen his mom. None of us had, so he continued his search in the casino (I assume).
Seggie, Tyler, Jerome, Don and Mike wandered into the bar not long after Walt left. A few Chasers roamed over and greeted the guys, but for the most part we left them alone as they mingled with family, friends, and Harrah’s staff. As the night progressed, the Chasers began to move about the bar more as we socialized. A few of the guys also began to mingle with us as well. While Amanda and I were talking to Valerie, Mike came over to thank her for the scarf she had given him for his birthday. He was so sweet! He was genuinely excited about the gift. Amanda and I felt privileged to be able to witness such a personal moment between the two of them. While Mike was talking with Valerie, Jerome came over. He started talking to us about how he loved the ChaserCon buttons (pointing to the one I was wearing). He then asked us how he could get a button made…he was convinced that this was our thing (even though we told him no). We told him we thought Kary made them on the computer. He told us he was bad with technology, and he does everything on his iPhone. He then began talking to Jillian. This left Amanda and I sandwiched between Mike and Jerome. We didn’t really know what to do with ourselves (at one point I think I was literally touching Jerome and Mike at the same time), so we awkwardly stared at each other for a moment then started our own conversation as if nothing was out of the ordinary. I may have been having an out of body experience. It was seriously amazing and so weird all at the same time.
During this time we also noticed that Randy had snuck into the bar through the back door. He surveyed the scene. I wasn’t sure if he was going to walk right back out or stay and socialize. He analyzed the situation and decided to stick around. He joined a group of Chasers at one point who were all intently listening and laughing at what he said. As an onlooker, it looked like he was telling jokes to his adoring fans.
There came a point in the evening when Amanda and I got antsy and began meandering about the bar. Tyler saw us and concernedly asked us if we were leaving. We told him no, that we just felt like we were in everyone’s way and were moving around. He laughed and told us, “Well you can’t stand there then.” We were standing right where the waitresses would access the bar. He told us to move closer to him, so we obliged. He said that that standing spot was much better (and I have to agree with him). He asked us how things had been going and if we had attended the final Hyannis Sound show. We told him we did, but he didn’t quite prepare us for how sad it was going to be. He then yelled, “I TOLD YOU IT WOULD BE SAD!” Tyler, you are correct, you did, however I don’t think anything he told us would have truly prepared us for how emotional the final show would really be. We told Tyler we brought tissues to the show and that we still get quite emotional when we listen to some of their songs (especially Little Lion Man…we’re going to miss you, Joe!). He told us that during his last final show with Hyannis Sound he had to talk about his good friend, Andy. He said he could only get out about two words and then they had to move on…he just couldn’t do it. He asked us if they managed to get through the final song. We told them they did…sort of. He laughed and then asked if it sounded like this…he then proceeded to pretend to sing while crying and emotional. It didn’t quite sound like that, but you were pretty close, Tyler. Our conversation then shifted away from Hyannis Sound. He asked us where we lived in Massachusetts, we talked about how excited we were for fall even though that meant summer was over (he was excited for football to start, we were excited for pumpkin beer…I love our priorities), and how he had learned his lesson about flying home too early in the morning (his flight home the next day would be in the afternoon). It was really cool to hang out with Tyler and have “normal” conversation. Thanks, Tyler!
(Here's the video of the final song of the final Hyannis Sound show of the summer...I think they held it together pretty well! Amendment: Amanda reminded me that Tyler was probably talking about the Irish Parting Blessing...which is ALWAYS their last song. There's no video of that from the final show, but it was definitely very emotional. This video will give you a good idea of how sad the evening really was.)
Soon we decided that we should probably head back to our hotel and get some rest. We had a long drive home the following day. Valerie was talking with Randy, so we wandered over there. We wanted to make sure we said goodbye and wished her safe travels home to the UK. It ended up being quite an emotional goodbye…we were all a little overwhelmed by the events that happened that night, and the realization that it was coming to an end hit very quickly. We’re looking forward to seeing Valerie again when she comes to New England this November!
|Amanda, Valerie, and Megan|
Randy then snuck up behind us and thanked us for all our support. He then hugged Amanda and I at the same time (other Chasers claimed it was very cute). It was the squeeziest hug ever, and it makes me smile every time I think about it! Thanks, Randy! He then told us he loved the PBS blog, and he was looking forward to the blogs about this weekend’s adventures. I told him it was going to be good (I hope we didn’t disappoint, Randy). We then went to say goodbye to Tara and Marna. It got a little emotional for a minute when Marna asked us when we would see them again…and we didn’t have an answer (that’s not okay)! That quickly dissipated, however, when Tara informed us that we weren’t leaving. It was Ben and Jerry time! Randy kindly serenade us with his rendition of “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” as we left the bar.
At Ben and Jerry’s we continued talking about the night’s events and what shows we would be attending on the fall tour. We had a nice view of the Pool and everyone who had come out to see PaulyD. It was a nice way to unwind before heading back to the hotel. We said our goodbyes to our great Chaser friends and found our way back to the hotel. We collapsed in our beds fairly quickly…this night had been exhausting. The following day we left for home, leaving the joys of summer behind us.
This summer has been truly exceptional. When the summer began (after the Gettysburg show), we had attended seven Straight No Chaser concerts. Over the course of the summer we were able to increase that number to fourteen. With a little math computation, it becomes clear that we saw the same number of shows in the months of July, August, and September as we did from April 2010-June 2011. We couldn’t be more grateful for the Straight No Chaser for bringing such great friendships into our lives, not only with the amazing Chasers that we have had the privilege of getting to know, but also with the guys themselves. I’m not sure when it happened exactly, but we definitely made a transition from just being fans to being true friends. I can’t wait to reunite in November. It is going to be a difficult wait, but the adventures will begin again soon enough. Let the countdown begin!