What the hell is this?

I Can't Stand [Meeting] You is a collection of all the ridiculous things I've written to and about drummer and composer Stewart Copeland.

I actually did meet him for about five crazy seconds in 2007, again for a few exciting moments in August 2009, and my most recent (and most thrilling!) encounter took place in October 2009, where I proved myself capable of being, yet again, a total dork in the man's presence.

I can't believe what I get up to. And neither should you.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our day in La Jolla

Yesterday, Patrick and I drove down to San Diego for SummerFest. We both had some things to do in the morning - I got my hair done, and he had to work for a couple of hours, but when he got home, we ate a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (do you think you'll require this level of detail as I continue with the story?), and then got on the road at about 1:00.

The concert wasn't until 7:30, but there was to be a pre-concert lecture with two of the other composers who were debuting music, and we wanted to hear them. Also we wanted to get something to eat.

At around 2 p.m., though, Patrick suddenly found himself getting very, very sleepy. He pulled over at a vista point and we napped for an hour. I know this sounds weird but whatever: I guess we were tired.

Back on the road by 2:30, picked up some coffee and then headed straight for the Sherwood Auditorium. We got there around 3:45. There were a lot of cars on the tiny streets of La Jolla, and because of the traffic, we scrapped our plans to hit a Mexican restaurant that turned out to be 11 miles away. Instead, we drove around aimlessly, admiring the view and the scenery (it really is pretty), and found a Plan B Mexican restaurant: Verdes El Ranchero. The food was delicious and we got plenty filled up.

At 6:30 we went to the pre-concert talk with Paul Schoenfield and George Tsontakis, the other two composers. It reminded me of the flute convention, hearing people talk about music, and I thought both gentleman were very interesting. I was very curious about Mr. Tsontakis' compositions because his personality seemed so energetic.

After that was over, we went back into the lobby and I bought a t-shirt. Then it was time to find our seats, which turned out to be the best seats possible. We were on the right side of the auditorium, directly in front of Stewart Copeland's drum kit, in the 5th row back, on the end. Really great seats for $40 each. I'm glad I didn't buy the more expensive tickets. There was a ton of other percussion instruments all over the stage, marimbas and who knows what all else, as well as a grand piano.

First up was George Tsontakis' "Stimulus Package," which was his commissioned piece for this concert. It was performed by a group called "Real Quiet," a trio. There was a percussionist, a cellist, and a pianist. Their performance was amazing, and I was really impressed. I loved in particular the way they blended the sounds of their instruments. The percussionist, David Cossin, was particularly impressive. I know I'm a sucker for percussionists/drummers, but I couldn't take my eyes off him. He was wonderful.

Here's a link to a video of them performing in 2008. Different piece than we heard but I think I might be a fan, now.

After that, we heard Paul Schoenfield's piece, "Sonata for Violin and Piano," also commissioned for this concert. It was performed by Cho-Liang Lin on violin, and Jon Kimura Parker on piano. Totally different style. We really enjoyed the second and third movements - Intermezzo and Romanza. Beautiful.

After that, there was an intermission. We realized during the intermission that the crowd of people in front of us was mostly people from a Stewart Copeland fan club, and that felt weird. Yes, the only reason I originally wanted to go to SummerFest was because of Stewart Copeland, but after hearing the other composers talk, and hearing their music, I realized that live music, expertly performed, is a treat. I was having a great time without him, even.

This is not to say that I wasn't still excited about seeing him perform, because I was. I don't know what I'm trying to say.

Anyway, after a fairly long intermission, finally he came out. He had four things on the program, and performed them in this order:

"Celeste," for violin, piano and drums
"Retail Therapy" (new piece) for violin, piano, percussion, bass, bass clarinet and trumpet
"Kaya," for violin, bass, bass clarinet, trumpet, piano, and percussion
"Gene Pool," for percussion

"Celeste" was fun. The performers (Kyoko Takezawa on violin and Joyce Yang on piano) were really, really good. I enjoyed their playing very much. Stewart played drums with them, and it was exciting to hear (and see) him interacting with classical musicians. I heard an interview with him from the day before where he said that at one point (I don't think it was in this piece, though) that he had encouraged the pianist to improvise and he said that she got a very "panicked look on her face." I'm not sure if he was characterizing her right - she looked quite capable. I think maybe he brought some rock and roll musician biases with him?

"Retail Therapy" was interesting, too. I liked hearing the bass clarinet and horns, and we got to see David Cossin play again. For this one, Stewart played octobons, a variety of percussion, and a big bass drum. Patrick suspects it was a gong bass, but we're not sure. He moved to the other side of the stage for this one, and our vision was obstructed a little.

"Gene Pool" was my favorite. There were, I think, 3 marimbas on stage, and again, David Cossin was in the thick of things. Stewart played his kit and directed things, but the other percussionists, David Cossin and the guys from red fish blue fish were awesome. It was fun to watch and to listen to.

Afterwards, we milled about in the lobby with the other Stewart Copeland fans. It had been announced that the composers would come out after the performance to meet the fans. I didn't buy anything other than a t-shirt (they were selling "Everyone Stares" and some CD's), so I decided to have him sign my program. David Cossin came out into the lobby, and I told him how much I enjoyed his playing. He was nice and smiled and thanked us.

I was the 4th or 5th person in line (which was a lucky turn of events and only happened because no one really knew where to line up). Patrick was ready with the camera, I had the page in my program marked by my ticket, I had a fresh coat of lip gloss on... and then it was my turn.

I said more than "wow" to him this time, but nothing much of importance. I thanked him for his performance and told him, I think, that I enjoyed it. I asked him to sign my program, and then I asked if my husband could take a photo of us. He said yes, so I put my stuff on the table and he stood up and instantly put his arm around me. No "may I put my arm around you" - he knew what to do. I should've fixed my hair and sweater but then Patrick was taking the picture, and I gathered up my stuff so we could go.

We walked by the three guys from "Real Quiet," and Patrick complimented them, too, and then we got in the car and drove home.

Nice day, that.


foobella said...

Excellent, Irene! I'm still waiting for my meeting with the man. =)

Irene said...

Thank you! My husband was telling a friend about this meeting, and he claimed that Stewart's face fell a little when I asked if "my husband" could take our photo. I think Patrick was probably playing it up for my benefit (because just look at my jacked up hair!) but still, if it's true or not, it was a nice thing to say!!

foobella said...

I'm inclined to believe it's true. I was already thinking he dug you just for the fact that he actually GOT UP to take a picture with you instead of the usual "fan leaning over the table" picture. =)

Irene said...

I think he was doing that for most people? But hey, whatever, I'll take it.

I'm also now smiling.

Ah, Stewart...