Saturday morning we got up early. I did a bunch of housework and loaded up the car. We hit the road a little before noon and made it to the hotel around 2:30. Checked in, unloaded, and decided to go scope out the theater so that we would know where it was for later on that evening. When we got there, there were tour busses parked next to the theater and a group of people by the side of the theater. Someone told us there was a rumor that Tori would be coming out for a meet and greet, so we parked the car* and went up there. Sure enough, Tori came out and signed some things and said some hellos, but there were too many people, tall people, and all we could do was try to see over peoples shoulders, take pictures blindly over everyone's heads, and look at her through the viewfinders of other peoples' digital cameras. I guess we'll see if any of my pictures came out. I was holding the camera as high as I could above my head and guessing as to the direction to point it.
* There was a machine in the parking lot. The idea is you feed it six dollars and it spits out a receipt that allows you to park in that lot without getting a parking ticket. Well, there was an out of order sign on it and some guy who said he was collecting the money. I should have known better but I was distracted with trying to get to the meet and greet and I gave him my money. When we came back for the concert, the out of order signs were gone and I had to spend another $6 to park in the same lot. That made me feel like a dumbass small town yokel.
At this point it had started to rain lightly. We drove around just looking at downtown for a while and took a couple pictures. After that, we decided to go find somewhere to eat. That took an extraordinarily long time since we don't know KC very well and we got kind of cranky. Finally I happened upon the K.U. Med Center, and I knew that a cajun place called the Jazz was right near it. We found it and were able to eat there, so I felt somewhat better about that. We headed back to the theater and saw the concert**. Rhett Miller was the opening act - one guy with one acoustic guitar. I guess he was good. I only remember his name because it's just like Miah's last name, almost. Evidently this guy also heads up a band I'd never heard of. Whatever, I didn't care about that. Tandra got a poster and a ringer t-shirt. Then she started getting sick about ten minutes before the concert. How much does that suck? Really sick, throwing up and stuff. She had to run to the bathroom a couple times, but she was a trooper and was able to enjoy the concert anyway, so that really made me happy that she was able to do that.
** It has occurred to me that every time I go to a concert, I come away from it thinking "that was one of the best concerts I've ever been to." I've said it so much that it seems cheap. However, if I could take that back about a number of concerts, I would still say it about Tori Amos. Absolutely amazing. This realization, however, has led me to decide that I ought to begin to categorize concerts. In my mind, the "best concerts I've ever been to" break down into three categories. First, there is the concert where you just let loose and scream and yell and have a freaking fantastic time. I've seen The Crystal Method twice and Orbital twice, once at the same concert. Those shows would fall into this category. Freaking insane and I loved them. The second category would be a close, intimate type of show where I really enjoy the music in a mellow way. The Samples and Hooverphonic would fall into this category. Getting to meet Hooverphonic and especially Sean Kelly of the Samples were unparallelled experiences. The third category of concert would be the kind of concert that, although they don't have the same degree of intimacy or fun, are concerts that just seem to soar over the rest in terms of sheer class. Yanni and Tori Amos fall into this category, Tori being the better of the two. The Tori concert really caught me by surprise. I'm not a huge Tori fan like Tandra is, but I do enjoy her music. I knew about half of the songs she played, and of the ones I did know, she performed all my favorites. One thing that surprised me was how much the music moved me. I mean, Caught A Lite Sneeze almost made me cry, and that doesn't seem like that kind of song. Music just does that to me, especially live. But when she performed China, that's when the tears came out. I was surprised by my reaction, but I enjoyed it. What a great experience, to be moved to tears just by a piano and a voice. China is probably my second favorite Tori song. When she did my number one favorite, Precious Things, I didn't cry although I really thought I would. I still haven't figured out why that was. But the performance of that song was amazing. As with every live performance I see when they do my favorite song, it was over way too soon.
The inside of the Midland Theater is absolutely gorgeous. We weren't able to get photographs of it (no cameras allowed) unfortunately.
After the concert due to Tandra not feeling good, we chose not to stalk Tori but rather to get Tandra back to the hotel so she could get some rest. Unfortunately this meant I couldn't get any nighttime shots of KC like I had wanted to do, but I think it was a good choice that we made. She felt better in the morning and that allowed us to go ahead with our plans for Sunday, and that's good. The main thing I had planned was to go meet up with Adam and visit with him for a while. Adam was my best friend in grade school. I only still talk to one person outside my family who I've known longer than I've known Adam. He grew up in Wichita, went to college in Manhattan, KS (Kansas State University), and a couple years ago moved to Kansas City. I had a really good conversation with him. We got caught up on a lot of things and it was good to talk to him and meet his new wife. She seemed very nice, if a bit shy at first.
One of the things I asked Adam was to compare living in Wichita, Manhattan, and Kansas City. He made some interesting observations which completely ring true with me. He said that Wichita (population of the greater metro area - about half a million) was much more comparable to Manhattan (population - about 25,000) than it was to Kansas City. He quoted a friend of his as having said that "Wichita is the biggest small town you'll ever see", and it's true. It really is. Another thing Adam said that I really enjoyed, and I told him so, was that living in Kansas City made him "feel connected to a bigger world". Those two quotes really capture my feelings on the differences between Wichita and K.C., and solidified my desire to move the fuck away from here.
Speaking of which, Tandra got bitten by the bug too. She now understands why every time I visit KC I want to move there. So I'm looking.
After meeting with Adam on Sunday morning, we returned downtown as it was now sunny and took a few more pictures. We wandered around and found our way to a War memorial and paid the $2 each to climb to the top of the tower. This memorial was on one of Kansas City's highest points of elevation, if not the highest, so to climb another 250 or so feet and look out over the city was pretty cool. I'd love to see it after dark. We of course took some photos from up there. After that, we went to Union Station because I had a hunch it might look cool inside. It was alright. Some interesting stuff. There's a closed off section of the station which apparently isn't used that I would love to explore. Speaking of which, there are a LOT of abaondoned buildings in downtown KC that I would love to explore. We also spent some time in what appeared to be the projects, right next door to downtown. Kind of scary.
For dinner we headed back down I-35 to Lenexa and ate at Mimi's Cafe right by the Oak Park Mall. Then for dessert we went to the Rainforest Cafe in the mall. I'd been telling Tandra about this place for a while and so I wanted to take her and show it to her. As I said to her then, "this is what cities with money have." She loved it of course. She was such a kid while we were in there, it was great.
Made it home last night about 11:00 and after unloading the car, feeding the pets and taking a quick bath, I finally sacked out around 12:15AM. It was really hard to get up this morning and after taking a nap on my lunch break I'm still exhausted, and I have class tonight. That's the only problem with weekends like that - you go back to work Monday not feeling the least bit rested. Still, it was a great time. We hope to go up again in a month or so in order to get the nighttime pictures I want, and then again in the summer to take the kids to Worlds of Fun and Rainforest Cafe. Of course it wouldn't be such an excursion if we lived there.