November 18, 2021
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Check out the TOUR page for all venue and ticket information for upcoming dates.
A ten-hour drive lay ahead of us from Akron, Ohio, to Virginia Beach, Virginia, so we left Akron around 11:30 pm for our next destination. My evening in Akron had proved very enjoyable, and I was not ready to go, but the road beckoned. The bus and my heart were nice and warm, so I felt prepared to rest as I quickly donned my sweat pants and Meat Loaf baseball jersey before descending once again into my lower bunk.
While I knew it would be a different experience, I was looking forward to this evening's show at Elevation 27. Elevation 27 is a small rock club, and I love rock clubs, well, rock clubs like I grew up on anyway. Fortunately, the small number of rock clubs we have played during my years with ABBA MANIA have been very cool and just the kind I like. Performing in a rock club is an entirely different experience from playing in the large theaters and performing arts centers. A sense of excitement, urgency, and reckless abandon is always slightly hanging in the air, and it makes me feel young again. You are very close to the audience, so the crowd's interaction brings growing, intense energy that gets exchanged back and forth, which helps the band perform much better and helps the audience feel closer to the band. It is also a helluva lot of fun. Back when I was actually in my youth, attending shows or performing in rock clubs always made me feel alive, free, restless, full of energy, and with a strengthened hope for the future of my music. Small stages and dressing rooms, the darkness, the heat, the sweat. Excellent bars and bartenders who free poured. The smell of fog machines and excitement in the air, girls dressed in tight black leather, serious high heels, vintage rock and roll blasting loudly through the sound system, incredible live music, and girls dressed in tight black leather (oh, sorry, I already mentioned that). It never got old. Ahh, the good ole days and the countless stories that evolved from them. It's funny how time slips away. (As Willie Nelson so eloquently put it).
I had some A1A friends and fans I have not seen in quite a few years attending our show tonight. Maryglenn Huffman and her daughter Michelle, Cynthia Hammitt, Jackie Ragan, and Peggy Hall Lee had contacted me some time ago informing me that they were coming, so I made plans to spend time with all of them before the show. I first met Maryglenn and her late husband, Ed, on a Parrot Head Cruise way back in the 1990s when I was performing with A1A. Ed was a larger-than-life character. Everyone loved him. He loved me, and I sure loved him. Ed was a hoot, I tell ya, and we all sure miss him.
I also had a very old sailing friend of my Dad's, Dorothy Hall, and her husband, Bill, who are big fans, both of whom I had never met before coming to the show, and I was very excited to meet them for the first time.
The first thing that hit me hard when I stepped off the bus late this morning was the weather. Holy Mother of God, the warm air felt absolutely stunning!!! Every stop on this tour so far has handed us some unpleasant cold until today. It felt like an early spring day in Florida, so I knew come what may, and at all cost, I would get some walking in today. Unfortunately, I did have some work that I had to get done, so I walked to the nearest Starbucks, found a seat, and got through what I needed to get through as fast as possible to get outside for a quick walk before soundcheck.
After a short walk, I strolled back to the club a little early to have some time getting acclimated before soundcheck. Entering the backstage door, I discovered it to be just about what I thought it would be; the stage directly to my left and one small dressing to my right, which had an adjacent shower, bathroom, and laundry. The club was small, dark, and black, just as I thought it would be - perfect. The only unsettling part was that chairs were set all the way up to the stage. Most rock and roll clubs leave a good part of the area in front of the stage open for dancing and expressing your feelings about the band.
The club did have great food, and they fed us well after soundcheck. The club had a vast patio outback, so I knew that was where I wanted to eat since the weather was so inviting. I noticed that Hana had the same idea, so I joined her for lunch and discussed music, movies, and life in Los Angeles.
Maryglenn and the girls arrived at 7:00 pm, so I spent a good 45 minutes with them before I left to go change for the show. It was wonderful catching up with them, but it did feel strange, for I am usually dressed in a Tropical shirt and shorts when they see me, not white satin and high heel boots. :-)
The show was an absolute blast. As I stated earlier, the crowd being so close to the stage allowed us to make eye contact and become one with the audience much better than we can when performing in large venues. Alison and Hana encouraged everyone to come up, ignore their chairs, get up, and dance. As expected, they happily and quickly did as they were told. Much like with A1A, we are blessed to have the type of audience that we have. They come to the show knowing what to expect and are already in a great mood and ready to have more fun than they are already having. It is almost always a win-win situation. Tonight's performance was a prime example of why it is so much fun to play in small clubs from time to time.
After the show, I was again able to meet up with Maryglenn and the girls side-stage for a little more conversation and some photographs. I also had the pleasure of meeting two new fans, Kari Carter and Tammy English. They came down to kindly ask for a photo with me after MaryGlenn, and the girls had left, then we ended up talking for about 30 minutes. They were big fans and great people. We are now friends on Facebook, and I look forward to meeting up again the next time I am in Virginia Beach. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate Dorothy and Bill. I hung around long after Kary and Tammy left, but they never showed. Later I discovered they were unaware I was coming out, and they went ahead and drove back to their hotel. When I got home, we caught up on the phone and had a great conversation, so now they know that they better hang around after the show the next time I am in town.
And speaking of hanging around, our bus was not scheduled to leave until after midnight, so I spent the next couple of hours just walking around outside (near the venue and bus, of course) enjoying the cool night air and getting some exercise.
Dexter and Wayne lived very close to Virginia Beach many moons ago, and they had some old friends they had not seen in decades come to the show, so it was a very cool time had by everyone. Great show, good food, lots of laughs, old friends and good company. As for now, my Meat Loaf shirt is calling me, as are my sweat pants and my bunk. Night Night. Don't let the groupies bite.