Styx Chyx On The Road

Welcome - I travel all over the country to see my favorite band - STYX - This blog will be a log of all my great experiences with the band, other Styx Chyxs, friends & fans!! Come Sail Away With Me!!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Tulsa Time

May 19, 2006

WOW - What a trip - In the span of 43 hours just about every emotion you can imagine crossed my path. Grap your favorite drink, kick back, and get ready for the ride of my life!

To give you some background, I really hadn't plan on going to this show. But, on the day the tickets went on sale, my sweetheart of a friend, LouAnn, calls me at work and asks how I did on the sale for tickets. I informed her I wasn't planning on going. Well, she saids "I have an extra front row ticket - Can I change your mind?" Well, enough said - I'm going to Tulsa!! Little did I know what would happen that day.....

I should have gotten a hint of things to come when I got an email from LouAnn telling me they had cancelled her flight and rebooked her. So, instead of her coming in 1 hour before me, she was now coming in 1/2 hour after me. No I thought.

Went to bed early the night before, had a little trouble falling asleep. Decided it wasn't worth it trying to sleep, so I would just get up and head out for Washington, DC - National Airport - to make my flight. Just then, I fell asleep. The alarm went off at 3:00 a.m. (Had a 7:00 a.m. flight and a 2 hour drive to D.C.) Turned the alarm OFF in my sleep!! Never heard it!! Woke up at 5:18 a.m. OH NO!!!!!! With a 2 hour drive, there's no way to make it!! Grabbed the cell phone and called LouAnn and gave her the bad news. I grabbed my clothes and headed out the door.

Halfway to D.C., the phone rings. LouAnn had just found out her rebooked flight had been cancelled, her original flight reinstated, but the airline had cancelled her reservation. So the airline was trying to find her another flight - and I've missed my flight, so this is not looking good.

About 30 miles from D.C., I hit the rush hour traffic going into D.C. and 4 lanes of traffic just stopped! So, I made the decision to dump off in Springfield, Va and catch the Metro train to National Airport. Of course, my Metro card didn't have enough credit to ride the train, and the stupid machines you use to add money wasn't taking credit cards! So, here I am, missing my flight, trying to catch the train, and digging for money.

I finally get enough on the card to ride the train. Got to National but went to the wrong terminal. So I had to take a bus to Terminal A (I was in Terminal C). Finally made the ticket counter about 7:40 a.m. Explained my situation and then the fun began. Almost every flight was sold-out and I could only go on standby. The rep suggested I contact the reservation center and maybe I could get credit with another airline. So, I did as I was told, and the reservation center started throwing all kinds of flights and times at me - finally they named a flight that would get me in before the show - GREAT - book that one. Then, the rep calming said "OK - Got you confirmed - that will be $1,200.00 - do you want to pay by credit card?" Well, after I picked up the phone from the ground (and myself too!) I explained there was no way I could or would pay that kind of money for a ticket. So, she suggested I go back to the counter and go on standby. I went back to the ticket counter and stood in line again. One by one, my case was being handed off to another employee and very soon all 4 reps were helping people who were in line behind me. I started to complain, but just then, another couple who had missed their flight, began yelling and screaming and causing a scene. I decided to just stay quite and wait until someone got around to helping me.

Eventually, the NWA Supervisor came over to help me. The news was not good. They could get me on a flight that left at 5:15 p.m. and arrived in Tulsa 8:50 p.m. I couldn’t help it, but tears started running down my cheeks. I explained I was attending a show that started at 8:00 p.m. I had GREAT seats and people waiting on me at the hotel. I told him about the 12:10 flight and that reservations said I should get on the standby list. So, he clicked around in the computer for about 10 minutes, and I wondered why it was taking so long to get standby. Finally, he looked up and said, “OK, I have you confirmed on the 12:10 flight” WHAT???? Decided again to keep my mouth shut. Then, he looked at me and said, “Do you know how much money I just saved you? $1200.00!!! My knees went weak…but he handed me a ticket and directed me to the gate!! I find out that because my original flight was routed through Memphis and the only flight they could find was through Minneapolis, that is what caused the $1200.00 fee. By then, LouAnn had called from Minneapolis and she was being routed through Denver. So between the two of us, we covered about 2/3 of the U.S. trying to get to Tulsa.

The flight from D.C. to Minneapolis was interesting; this very nice but clinging older gentleman started talking to me and followed me around the airport like a lost puppy dog. I had to keep waking him up so he wouldn’t miss the flight. I finally got into Minneapolis – LouAnn had already left for Denver. The plane was a little late getting in and I just made my flight to Tulsa. We got into Tulsa 30 minutes early, which was great because I could catch the shuttle that came at 5:00. No such luck. We sat out on the runway for 30 minutes because there was another plane at our gate. We finally got off the plane at 5:15 p.m. I ran to baggage claim and called the hotel. God bless them, they were waiting for me!!! I had gone 7 hours without a cigarette and now I had to wait 15 minutes more.

Downtown Tulsa was a driving nightmare. Some the streets were closed due to construction and many more were closed due to Mayfest – a city street festival. But we finally made it to the hotel and I literally ran into the hotel room straight for the shower. Within an hour, I was ready to go…. a new Styx Road Trip record. LouAnn and I met up with JenRN and Debbie and then it was off to the show we go!

The Brady Theater is rather old and not quite as nice as the website shows, but we were thrill when we got in and found our seats only 2 feet from the stage and the stage hit us about mid-tummy! We ran into several Styx Lounge members and it was good to finally put faces with names. We talked to some people on the cell phones and they were watching us from the Styx Crew web-cam. Pretty soon, the intro music came on and there came da boyz!!!! I completely forgot about all the trouble getting there! From the moment the lights went down, everyone in the Brady Theater got to their feet and I didn’t see a soul sit down the entire show. The boyz caught the audience vibe, and they were on fire!!!

Here is the set list for Friday night at Tulsa:

Blue Collar Man
Grand Illusion Lorelei
One With Everything
Too Much Time On My Hands
Just Be (New Song)
Crystal Ball
Fooling Yourself
Miss America
Come Sail Away

Tommy couldn’t remember how many songs were in the medley. Then we found out why. Styx has changed up the Medley again and they have removed several songs. It appears that the songs that had been cut were Dennis’ songs – I asked someone about it but really didn’t get an answer.

There was one moment in the show where Tommy introduced the new song “Just Be” He began talking about how caught up we are in our busy lives and how computers and ipods and Tivo has taken over and no one has the time to “Just Be” themselves and do simple things like taking walks and fishing. Then suddenly, he explained how his father took him fishing when we was younger and Tommy said he would give up all his computers, Tivo and everything just to go fishing with his father one more time! That statement hit me like a ton of bricks. I used to fish with my parents ever since I was born. My dad passed away 13 years ago and I had never even thought about the fact that we could never go fishing together again. And the tears started – I couldn’t help it. Lawrence saw me and asked if I was OK? No, I shook my head and the tears really fell. I mouthed I couldn’t fish with my father either and it really looked like it touched his heart!! They were going to debut this song in Cleveland, but they couldn’t wait. JenRN was lucky enough to get the words off the stage and was nice enough to share them with me!

“Just Be”
Did you make your bed?
Did you lose your head?
Are you still awake
From the things we said…

You close your eyes
But the sleep won’t come
‘Cause you can’t escape
What’s said and done

Did you draw the line
In the sand again
Did you make a stand
Out on a limb
Don’t be so hard on yourself…….

You drink too much
‘Cause you think too much
It seems so hard to feel
All this is real

You numb your heart
So you feel no pain’
Then you miss the bliss
of the pouring rain.

But there’s a brand new day
It’s a shame to waste
It’s yours to live
It’s yours to taste......

It’s a beautiful song, and I could just hear the CYO Orchestra performing with Styx on that song. I can’t wait for the Blossom show on May 25th, 2006

The funniest part of the evening was that Ricky spent half the concert trying to get a pick to me that I could actually catch!! He tried throwing one, tossing me, kicking a few off his heel but I could never actually caught one. He finally motioned for everyone around me to be still. He pointed at me - showed me the pick – adjusted – and kicked a perfect hit off his heel – and I MISSED IT!!! He was done!! I tried to tell him I had a blind spot in my eye and I wear glasses to see anything up close. Finally at some point in the evening, he walked over, grabbed my hand and put a pick in it and closed my fingers up. Guess he figured that was the only way I could “catch” one!! During “Come Sail Away” Tommy came over by me and handed the girl beside me a pick to play his guitar – She didn't know what to do with it! Then, Tommy handed me a pick, and said “Show them how it’s done!” NO PROBLEM – In a few seconds everyone had it down and we were strumming Tommy’s guitar. Can’t believe the strings didn’t break!! Here is a picture from Styx Crew Cam of me playing Tommy's guitar - it's hard to see but it's ME!

Well, like all great Styx shows, before we knew it, they were playing Renegade. I got a Ricky and Tommy pick and Ricky’s set list, LouAnn got Tommy’s slide, and JenRN got the words to “Just Be”. We hung around the buses for a while and talked to the crew. Eventually, Lawrence, Todd, and Ricky came out for a few moments. I even got a hug from Lawrence!! Finally, hunger took over, so we asked directions to get to some eating-places. Well, the directions were bad, we couldn’t find the highway, and so we doubled back and found ourselves following the band bus. OK – they can lead us to the interstate. Well, we kept taking wrong turns and so did they. First, we were behind them, then in front of them, then passing each other in the opposite direction – it got really funny. We never found the place we were looking for but spied a Denny’s and ordered half the menu. I left all my money in the hotel room trying to hurry and get ready. So I offered to buy breakfast the next morning anyone willing to pay my bill. Thank goodness for friends. The waiter at Denny’s wanted to come along and join us! We actually did manage to find our way back to the hotel and everyone crashed around 3-4 a.m.

Next morning I woke up early and so everyone was still asleep, I walked around the city a little bit and then I remembered tickets were going on sale that day at 10:00 for York, Pa. show. I hurried back to the hotel and found the business center. Just as I was going on the Internet, my cell phone rings. I thought it was my roommate – but it was my friend Pattie wanting to know what ticket I got for York. Well, nothing yet, the tickets haven’t gone on sale. She started laughing – I completely forgot I was in the central time zone, so 9:45 was actually 10:45 eastern time and I had missed the beginning of the sale. But, thank goodness for friends who watch your back, she had a ticket for me on the Lawrence’s side. So all’s well! Finally all 4 of us went downstairs and had breakfast – we were having a great time talking and catching up, when I happened to look at my watch – it was 11:55 and checkout was at 12 noon. LouAnn’s flight was at 2:20 and my flight at 4:27. We had to scurry and get to the airport but everyone made their flight and got home safely. Here’s to number 109 Styx Road adventure for the record books and the memory books.

Well, next adventure is only days away – Wednesday night I’m leaving for Ohio, New York, and New Jersey – Show number 110, 111, and 112 on the runway, ready to take off! I can't miss this flight - I'm Driving!!!

Monday, April 03, 2006

StyxChyx Canadian Road Trip 2006

Well, April 2, 2006, I started my journey on an "International Styx Chyx Road Trip" Here is a day-to-day account of all the fun.

April 2nd - Day 1: Left home with enough suitcases to vacation for a month. First stop was the Cherry Blossom festival in Washington, DC. The trees were in full bloom and were breathtaking. But the number of people there was also incredible. You could hardly see the trees for all the people. We finally gave up trying to find a parking place so we cruised through the area and got out fast!

Once we made our way out of D.C. we headed out for our first stop - Breezewood, PA with wonderful weather the entire way.

April 3rd - Day 2 - started out raining and saw on the Weather Channel of a low pressure system over the mid-west. Oh well, a long drive through 3 states in the rain will be fun! So we headed out to Hardee's for our "free" breakfast. Biscuits burned, no chicken biscuits, but it's free, so we ate it. Got in the car ready to "hit the road" and the key wouldn't turn, the brake wouldn't go down and the car was completely DEAD! Not the battery - the car! After several minutes of complete panic, I noticed the car light wasn't working either, so I checked the battery, and the black lead on the battery wasn't tight - A few turns of the screwdriver and away they went. We ran in and out of rain all day. Once we hit Michigan, it started raining and didn't stop until we got to Gaylord, MI - our next stop! Just before we got to our exit, I saw a cool sign. I couldn't stop to take a picture, but as that point, we were exactly half the distance between the equator and the North Pole! Now, I know why it's so cold up here!

April 4th - Day 3 The day started out early and while checking out the Weather Channel, it showed a system coming over the UP (Upper Pennisula of Michigan) so we thought we better hit the road. OMG - they called for snow showers but we got flurries, snow showers, snow, blizzards, white-out, you name it. Going over the bridge on Lake Huron, the wind was blowing so hard you had to be escorted over by bridge officials to make sure you didn't get blown off.

Along the way, we saw some breathtaking scenery - Lake Superior is awesome! Part of the Lake was frozen, but most was beautiful.

It took what seem like forever to drive around the Lake to Thunder Bay, but after 12 hours on the road due to all the snow at the beginning, we rolling into Town just before sundown. After 3 days on the road, we are finally going to see Styx tomorrow night.

April 5th - Day 4 - Woke up to a beautiful day - blue sky and sunshine. Went over to the venue to pick up my tickets. She pulled out my tickets and then asked a million questions. Couldn't understand that I have bought them through the Styx Lounge. Finally after going back to talk to someone 3 times, she finally gave me my tickets. The show started at 8:00. The venue, Community Auditorium, sat up on a hill on 1 Paul Shaffer Drive.

Carl Dixon opened the show. He played 30m minutes and told the audience that he is joining The Grass Roots on tour because the band members weren't getting along. Styx started about 9:00 p.m. and played for almost two hours. They were on FIRE!!!! What a great show. Lawrence was definitely enjoying himself - these were his people! Here's the set list:
Blue Collar Man
Grand Illusion
Too Much Time
Suite Madame Blue
Crystal Ball
Criminal Mind
Foolin' Yourself
Miss America
Come Sail Away

Tommy was having a "love fest" with my Mom. He laughed when she was doing the "whooos" and lifting her arm during "Walrus" Tommy gave her a pick and his towel. God love him, he is so sweet!!! And JY gave me his water bottle. 2 hours didn't seem long enough, but I heard a lot of positive comments about the show. They had a few new items for sale and Casey's son said that there is a lot more coming. Well, it's off to bed, got a long drive to Sault Ste. Marie in the morning. Here is a shot of Tommy at his best:

April 6th - Day 5 - I was dreading the drive back around Lake Superior - with all the fun we had going to Thunder Bay. I said a short prayer and asked the good Lord to please hold off on any more snow until we got to Sault Ste. Marie and to get us there safely. Well, prayers are answered because we saw just a few flakes flying just as we left Thunder Bay but then it was nothing but blue skies all the way. We stopped in this little town and did a little gift shopping. The owner was this very sweet lady and her and my Mom have the same breed of dogs. Then I found out her niece works at the Medical College of Virginia (a state owned hospital in Richmond). It really is a small world.

Rolled into Sault Ste. Marie around 3:00 p.m. It was a nice casino/hotel - but just as we arrived, two bus loads of elderly folks rolled in with us. So things were a little crowded. I spent most of the afternoon helping this folks work their room keys.

Finally, it was time for the show. Ran into some True Blue Styx Fans and even got to spend a few minutes talking to George Packer. Everyone rushed the stage but I decided to stay back because the stage was a little tall for me. Styx played the same set list as the night before, so it was good hearing Suite Madame Blue and Criminal Mind again. I had brought my camera but I didn't take hardly any pictures, I was too much into the show!

I decided to pack the car that night because we wanted an early start the next morning. Jumped on the elevator with half my luggage and there was George, JY, Todd, and Jason. We had a great talk about how no ones cell phone would work in the U.P. Internet access was impossible too. Which was too bad, because I missed the emails about the presale for the NY/NJ shows in May.

April 7th - Day 6 - Well, half way through the Styx Road Show! Left the casino looking for a little gas and breakfast on our way to Rama. Wouldn't you know it, the car starting making a terrible noise from the front right. I kept stopping and crawling under the car trying to find out what was making all the noise. Finally determined it was the spring/shock. Everytime you hit a bump in the road, the car would squeak! Since there were no Ford dealership or even an auto repair place, we decided to forge on and hope for the best.

Just as we got into Orillia, it started to rain and the squeaking stopped! YIPPEE - well, jumped the gun - it still squeaked but not as bad. As we were checking into Casino Rama, my Mom's credit union Bank card wouldn't be approved. Immediately, call the credit union and found out something I didn't know. Credit Unions are having a major problem with fraudulent CU debit cards being used in Canada. Since they know we live in Virginia, they were denying all the charges. So we had to clear that up so we could pay for the hotel.

Our room there was wonderful. Immediately started running into Styx Fans and started catching up on our stories. We had heard that camera may not be allowed, so we didn't even take camera's down with us. We were shocked when we walked into the venue. Before, the stage had been about 4 foot high. Now the stage is about 5 foot high. We could barely see over it. Some of us had to stand on our tippy toes. I rushed directly in front of my seat which put me right in front of Tommy. Not a bad place to be. Security became unbearable. They wouldn't let you even rest your hands on the front of the stage. And, if you stepped out the box on either side of the stage you got jumped on! Plus, they wouldn't let us rush when the lights went down. We also ran the poor guy over because he finally realized he could hold the entire row!

After the show, we retired to the Lounge with the Styx Crew. We spent the rest of the night laughing and telling our stories to the crew and the crew tell us some stories. Cookie was going around interviewing everyone for a ipod cast. It was really cool. Unfortunately, he caught me by surprise, and the next thing I knew, he was interview ME! My voice had started fading out from three nights of screaming and laughing and talking so I sounded like a frog. I begged him to delete my interview but he didn't. He wanted the plug for my blog. The bar closed at 2:00 a.m. but some of us staying to 2:30 - 3:00 a.m. I had told Cookie about some things I had on my ipod but he didn't have the program to copy them into his laptop. Since I have a program to copy items off my ipod, I went up into the room and started burning copies of things we wanted. I finished about 4:30 in the morning and then fell into bed.

April 8th - Day 7. Thought I was going to get to sleep in but Mom woke me at 7:30 a.m. (yes, only 3 hours of sleep) because I told her about needing to buy tickets. Got great seats for PNC Bank but couldn't get anything decent for Darien Lake - then I kicked myself for not trying to check my emails in Sault Ste. Marie. But everything happens for a reason!

I hunted Cookie down and gave him the CD's I had burned. Then had lunch with Mom and LouAnn. We all order the Club sandwich and I guess they had to go kill the chicken and turkey on our sandwich because it took an hour to get our food, and the place was 2/3 empty!

The show went pretty much the same as last night. Security was a little better. Either they were late getting there or decided it wasn't worth their life trying to hold us back! When the intro music started, we rushed the stage and managed to get to the center in front of JY! Again, not a bad place to be! At the end of the show, JY came over and took Mom's hand and said "Hi Mom, Thanks for coming to all these shows" How cool! I couldn't believe it, my Mom stage rushed 3 shows. I tried to talk he into staying in her seat on Night 2 of Rama. She told me "NO WAY! I GOING TO THE STAGE!" We have created a monster - A front row, stage rushing, Styx loving monster!

Like last night, even though everyone had early flights or had to hit the road early the next day, we still closed down the bar. The last hour, Cookie got to hear all of our "Road Stories" and his face was priceless. We don't know what the band and crew go through to travel and perform a show. Likewise, they never know what we (the fans) go through to see that show. So, it's all good!! We all said our "goodbyes" and "see ya in __________ (insert next show you have tickets for! LOL)".

April 9 - Day 8 Morning came much too early. But we made it out of town at a decent hour, and for once, I didn't get lost in Toronto and spending hours trying to find Queens Highway!!! Thought I was going to make it home - but all the excitement, friendship, killer shows by Styx and all the sleepless nights finally hit home and I was too tired to drive all the way home. Plus, I was dying to know who won the election on "The West Wing" so I found a County Inn & Suites somewhere just across the state line in Maryland. Watch the show and then passed out!

April 10 - Day 9 Well, there wasn't suppose to be a Day 9 but here it is! In the morning, called the office and told them I didn't make it home last night! Of course, after driving almost 3,000 miles you evenually will "hit the wall". Luckily, my supervisor understood and told me to "take the day off" YIPEE We got a nice surprise down in the lobby. We were treated to the best free breakfast I have ever seen. Fruit cups, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, muffins, bagels, two kinds of toast, pastries, scramble eggs, bacon, hash browns, sausage, waffles, three types of juice, coffee and tea (I'm going down the counter in my mind!) As we were sitting there eating our breakfast, we looked out the back door and there was a huge shopping mall with all my favorite stores, so we went shopping!! What a way to end a Styx "Road Trip". Finally made it home Monday night. Called everyone to make sure they got home OK. It took three days to unpack and I think I hit the bed everynight that week at 8:00. But, it was sooooooooooo worth it!

Well, that's it!! A 3,000 mile road trip - I loved almost every minute of it - but it was be awhile before I try to pull something like this again. Of course, it doesn't matter - Russ called it right - "3,000 miles - you're out of your mind, no........crazy, no...............INSANE! LOL!

The next road trip will be Tulsa, OK!


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Pechtree City, GA 05-21-05 Part Two

Well, here we are in Day 2. It started a little grey and cloudy, but in the afternoon, the clouds finally went away. It was a perfect day for a concert.

Since it's not a lot to do here in Peachtree City, Cindy, Jerry, and I decided to walk around Wal-Mart and kill some time. We all had on our Styx shirts (Free Promotion is always good!) and while in the store waiting at the deli counter, this guy started asking us about the band and if we were at the show Friday. We started telling him about the show and the "bad seats". Then he told us a little fact we didn't know. The stage at the Fred goes across the venue but curves at each end creating a little area on each side. On Tommy's side, you can't get up there because that's the way to back stage. But, on Lawrence's side, we found out that is a "dance" area and anyone can go up there! We promised him we would check it out!

When we got to the venue, I ran into a really nice security guard I had made friends with the night before. He was teasing me that I had forgot to wear my Styx shirt. I explained I had already wore all the shirts I bought with me, so I didn't have one to wear. So, he pointed over to the merchandise table and told me to go buy one. I told him "I already have bought everything Casey has over there." He smiled and said "Oh No, Casey has something over there that I bet you don't have." Sure enough, Casey had a new item. Ready for this - a tennis skirt! It's really cute - navy blue with Styx across the back side. Unfortunately, I probably would need two - one for each side of me! But, my girlfriend LouAnn has a 16 year daughter named Rami and we knew immediately that this skirt had Rami's name on it. So a quick cell phone call and Rami now has a Styx tennnis skirt!

The setlist was exactly the same from the night before.

We asked some the folks at The Fred about the "dance" area and sure enough, anyone could go down there. So we made a beeline down there. Have you ever got to stand on stage with Styx?This picture gives you an idea what is like!

That's what it is! There is one security guard there to keep you from running on the stage but the boyz could actually walk right up to us!! It was like a dream! When the boyz came out on stage, I was so surprised. Ricky saw me immediately and pointed right at me and smiled! I almost died! The best part, towards the end of the show, JY walked right up to us and gave Cindy a BIG HUG!!! The look on her face was priceless! What a great way to end three great days of Styx Shows!

Here is a link to my pictures from Peachtree Night 2:

Well, it's time to pack up and head back home or reality as we call it! But this time in Styxworld has been awesome with a capital AWE (as Tommy says!)

I want to thank everyone for all the positive comments I had received about the site. It's been a joy composing this site and it's still a work in progress! A big "thank you" to the Best Western here in Peachtree City for the free high-speed internet!

Next report: Charlotte (if I actually recover from this trip!)


Friday, May 20, 2005

Peachtree City, GA 05-20-05

The trip from Myrtle Beach to Peachtree City on Thursday was long but uneventful. Once I got past the famous Atlanta rush-hour traffic, the going got better and I found the hotel, places to eat, the venue and Wal-Mart in that order. LOL

Peachtree City is a beautiful town. However, they should be nicknamed "Golf Cart Tree City" because the whole town is made up of golf carts and trees! Places here are not easy to find because everything is hidden by trees! But, on the good side, you can walk the trails and golf cart paths just about anywhere you want to go.

Thursday morning dawned grey and windy. Not the kind of weather you want for an outdoor rock show. Luckily, I found the picture of Gary singing "Bend Me, Shape Me" in Merrillville, IN so I dashed off to Wal-Mart to get a 8 x 10 enlargement.

When I got back to the hotel, I saw Cindy and Jerry's car - but no Cindy and Jerry! I asked at the front desk and I learned they had gone down the street to eat. I went back to my room, the TV was sounding warnings of severe weather heading our way. So, I fetched my car keys and set out to find Cindy & Jerry. After a mad dash around the local fast food establishments, I went back to my room to get the cell phone - I learned later Cindy's cell was in their car recharging - so I could warn them about the storm. I decided to go back out in the car to look for them. Opened my hotel door and actually got blown back into the room - it was too late - the storm was here! We had it all, rain, lighting, hail, wind - and no electricity! Here is a picture - take a look at the sky - the white spots are hail:

After the main storm passed, I finally did find Cindy and Jerry and we all got back to the hotel safely. Several more storms passed and we were worried about the show going on but the venue told us the show was going on rain or shine!

Luckily, all the storms passed over us by 5:00 so it looked like we were going to have a "dry" night for the show.

When we got to the venue, we meet Kelly Anderson from Gainesville, GA. He is a Lounge member and we talked for quite a while. At Casey's stand, we began talking to Ken and Edie Grogan who were also from Gainesville. They are also Lounge members so we had a mini FanFest going on.

Everyone knows how I love to tease people but I got paid back in spades Friday night. Someone asked who the opening band was, so I pulled out my ticket and said "It's The Freds" Then I commented how there were little signs all over the venue promoting the band and I said we needed to put up some Styx signs. Well, Kelly, Ken, and Edie bent over double laughing. I'm standing here dumbfounded not knowing what was so funny. They finally explained that we were at the Frederick Brown Amphitheater also called "The Fred". Boy, my face got so red. So anyone that walked up and asked who the opening band was - they would look at me and say "Not The Freds". Hey, if I can hand it out, I can take it back with grace.

Since the weather had been so bad and we didn't have decent seats, we just dress down and wore jeans and band tee shirts. Wouldn't you know it, a very good friend came by and put something in our hands - BACK STAGE PASSES! Great - I look like .... well, you know.

The guys looked great even if I didn't, but here is the picture:

I didn't catch the name of the opening band but they were locals and played all covers. Styx came on stage at 9:00 p.m. Here is the set list:

Blue Collar Man
Grand Illusion
Summer In The City
Too Much Time On My Hands
I Am The Walrus
Crystal Ball
Foolin' Yourself
Miss America
Come Sail Away
Locomotive Breath
I Don't Need No Doctor

I was surprised to hear the medley again, but the crowd was basically older folks with their children. Most everyone stayed in their seats until Come Sail Away. Since I can't sit during a Styx show, I left my seat and watched most of the show from the top of the amphitheater. Plus, the lady behind me didn't like me standing even to clap at the end of the song!

After the show, we caught back up with Kelly and talked until security made us leave. We couldn't find any food estabishments open at midnight, so we settle for Amaco Fast Mart and raided the ice cream bin. Oh, BTW - it never rained the whole evening!!!

Well, off to bed and get a good night sleep because we get to do it all again tomorrow night!


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Greetings from Myrtle Beach

Where: House of Blues - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - May 18, 2005

The Styx Adventure Begins: Wednesday morning dawned early on May 18th 2005. My alarm was set for 3:00 a.m. to begin my 370 mile trip to Myrtle Beach, SC for the first Styx show since the release of Big Bang Theory. I had a feeling that this show would be special - it turned out to be a understatement!! I feared the worst after finding out the show was General Admission AND that it was also Bike Week in Myrtle Beach! My fears were groundless!

Got to the beach early, decided to go over to the hotel and check in before lunch - big mistake - traffic was backed up and I found a bypass! What I thought was a great plan didn't work out because I missed my exit, realized it many miles later and instead of a few minutes to the hotel it took 30 minutes or more!! Bless Cindy and Jerry - they waited at the hotel for me and we took off for the House of Blues!

We got there at 12:00 noon and breezed right into the restaurant. Food was really good but we were ready to find the "pass the line" line and start waiting. After a few misdirections, we finally found the spot we needed to wait. A short time later, two wonderful local folks, Tim and Gwen, got in line behind us. They were a God send. They had just saw .38 Special there the night before and know the whole layout of the club. Later, we were joined by Sara and Angela. It was so great to finally meet them.

Casey (Styx Tee Shirt Man!) kept us entertained most of the afternoon until Security had to secure the building. We did hear the sound check and heard several songs from the new album. So, we crossed our fingers and hoped we would be treated to one or two of the new songs.

Time pasted quickly, and soon it was 7:30 and time to run to try to secure a decent spot. We had heard the night before, they had made the "pass the line" people go in a another door. So all the "crash the barricade" folks got in first. Luckily, that didn't happen. They only opened one door so we went one by one. No one was able to run past us and Cindy, Jerry, and I got front row center stage. It was a dream come true and worth the 7 hour wait. The first surprise we found was there was a barricade but it was padded at the top, and a large space at the bottom which enabled us to easily get picks and pictures that didn't get thrown hard enough to make it to us. Another nice surprise was we had waitresses to bring us drinks so we didn't have to worry about losing our places.

Shelly Fairchild opened the show. She was very good except the audio was bad so she was really hard to understand, but her band was solid and put on a good performawnce. Her genre is country rock and a couple of her new songs have to do with Harleys bikes so she was a hit with the bikers in the crowd.

Finally, at 9:30 p.m., Styx exploded on the stage. None of us were prepared for the mind blowing, heart stopping, spine tingling, eye popping, knock you out of your shoes and having them thrown out a window going 200 miles per hour show Styx had in store for us. From the first guitar chord of Blue Collar Man to the last drum beat of Renegade - da boyz went full out, no holds barred. I have been trying for the last 24 hours to think up a proper adjective to describe this show - one hasn't been invented.

During Too Much Time On My Hands - Tommy got so caught up in the show that during the line "Is it any wonder that I'm not a Criminal", he hesitated and forgot the line "with a criminal mind". At that time, Tommy was looking straight at me and I pointed to Larry and yelled "with a criminal mind" Tommy smiled then said the line - pointed to me and said "That's Right!"

While we were hoping for one or two new songs from BBT - we got FIVE - and Styx worked up a cool intro to the first new song. Todd began with a awesome drum solo and Tommy asked the crowd if they could do a song from BBT. Of course, the crowd gave their permission and so it began. Tommy started singing - "we gonna do a song from Big Bang Theory" - and the band would respond back - We're GONNA do a song from Big Bang Theory"!!! Then they launch into the song "Summer in the City". This was the first performance of this song in public and it sounded just as great as the album version. The other new songs that performed was I am the Walrus, Manic Depression, Locomotive Breath, and I Don't Need No Doctor.

When JY was doing Manic Depression, he let loose with this incredible guitar solo that just didn't stop. I swear Jimi came back that night and found a host body named JY. Tommy was in the background smiling from ear to ear and a couple of times had problems playing his own guitar because he was also couldn't believe what he was hearing. Tommy also did the same thing when JY played Locomotive Breath.

Here is the set list:

Blue Collar Man
Grand Illusion
Summer In The City
Too Much Time On My Hands
I am The Walrus
Manic Depression
Crystal Ball (Tommy followed JY's lead and added several minutes to his guitar solo)
Foolin' Yourself
Miss America
Come Sail Away
Locomotive Breath
I Don't Need No Doctor

Before the encore, Ricky walked out on stage with his "styx" towel and he acted like he was going to throw it way out into the crowd. Little did I know, he had other plans. Ricky acted like he was going to throw the towel overhanded but suddendly changed directions, and heaved it underhanded right into my face!!! So now, I's a proud owner of a Ricky towel!!! AND Lawrence threw me a great picture of JY which I will post once I get back home to my scanner.

I also want to acknowlege the efforts of two of the "behind the scenes" crew members. Libby (lights) and Gary (sound) were great. The stage had some fantastic lighting and Libby took full advantage and displayed some of the coolest lighting I have ever seen. Gary had the sound just right and you could heard every note, every whisper the boyz utter. Cindy had found an original The American Breed album with Gary's picture on the front. Gary was very surprised and autographed it for her. I told him how much we enjoyed him coming up on stage in Merrillville, IN and performing "Bend Me, Shape Me". I told him I had a great picture of him on stage and he told me to get it printed and bring it to him!!! What a sweeet guy.

We went to say goodbye to Casey and got to meet Shelly's bass player Mark. We talked about their performance on the Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday night and their fast trip down to Myrtle Beach after the taping. Mark then gave us a publicity photo of Shelley and autographed it for Cindy and I. I then noticed my cell phone was playing "I am the Walrus" which means I had messages. Julie, my girlfriend from Las Vegas had been watching us on Styx Cam and we were still so excited I could bearly get the words out.

Lawrence was the only band member to come out and give autographs. He took the time to do autographs and pictures for everyone standing there - what a sweetheart. While we were waiting, we began talking to George (tour manager). He told us that "Big Band Theory" debuted at #46 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. He thinks that is the highest debute of a Styx record ever! The are still checking!! He wants the trend to continue. So, if you haven't purchased your copy of BBT, go out ASAP and buy a copy. Already have one - then go buy another and convert one of your friends and make them a Styx Fan like you. George also wanted us to let everyone know how grateful they all were to all the fans that have made BBT a huge sucess.

I want to give a "shout out" to the Security personnel at the House of Blues. They screened everyone prior to the doors opening so there were no delays. They were professional, friendly and helpful. Just before the show began, this giant of a man appeared and introduced himself but told us "just call me BIG DADDY" He was a giant - a giant teddybear! He warned us about climbing over the barricade, trying to get up on the stage, etc. We told him if that was all he was worried about, it was no problem. We told him how we love Styx and would never do anything to hurt them or disrupt the show. He must have believe us, because we were told security would be standing all the way across the stage but once the show started, we never saw one single security guard all night long. They just stood at the ends of the stage.

Cindy, Jerry, Angela, her husband John and I found an all-night pancake house and pigged out! We said our goodbyes and made our way back to the hotel. It was about 2:00 a.m. when we reached the hotel so after being up for 23 hours, I dove head first into bed fully clothed, trying not to think about the 8 hour drive facing me the next day to Peachtree, GA.

Well, this is the end of my first Styx adventure since lauching this blog site. Sorry for the long review, but with a show like we witnessed on May 18th, a short tale wouldn't start to cut it!!

Next Report - Peachtree Georgia


Styx Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Welcome to my STYX BLOG

Welcome, Styx Friends and Fans. Things are starting to heat up here in Styxworld. On May 10, Styx released a CD entitled "Big Bang Theory". It's a collection of 13 songs that influenced Styx before they were Styx and includes a cover of their own song - Blue Collar Man - recorded at Chess Studios - the site of the Willie Dixon Blues Foundation. Tommy Shaw reports that 10 tracks off the new CD made the top 75 in the MediaBase Classic Rock charts. Could this be a new record? Time will tell!

And, the spring and summer tour kicks off May 18th at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, SC and then moving to Peachtree City, GA for 2 shows May 20-21st. I will be there and post reports and reviews from the road!