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Jimi Jamison Concert Tale
Oneida, Wisconsin
6 June 2008
(Review written 11 June, 2008)

Well, if going to the Cheyenne show back in '06 was the most impulsive trip I've ever made, this one definitely goes on the books as the longest distance travelled! laughing emoticon

You've probably deduced, from the lack of new concert reviews and photos, that I didn't get to any shows in 2007 at all, and you would be right. That was just not a good year for me as far as travel was concerned; I had a lot of personal stuff going on that soaked up every spare ounce of time and energy, and Jimi didn't do a lot of shows within driving distance of Denver in any case. The one that was, more or less, I didn't find out about until it was too late to get tickets for decent seats--and besides, it was in Salt Lake City. In late June. In a baseball stadium, with no shade to speak of. Um--no. (Sorry, Jimi; I'm not braving heatstroke even for you!)

By the time 2008 rolled around, though, life had calmed down a bit, and I started looking forward to the summer concert season--particularly when a date for Denver appeared on the tour schedule that Jimi's got up on his MySpace page. However, when I went to look for more info on it, like a venue and whether it was free or ticketed, etc. I just couldn't come up with anything. Finally, about a month beforehand, I stumbled across a listing for a Starship performance at a big fund-raising event at the Denver Zoo on the same date, so I thought, "Oh, that must be it. Well, I suppose that might not be too bad, even though I'd rather see him by himself."

The more I researched it, though, the lower my spirits sunk--it was terribly expensive even just to get in, and while I wouldn't necessarily have minded a high ticket price (since all the profits were going to a good cause) it also turned out that this was a real gala event, and had a dress code. Now, I don't know about all of you out there reading this, but I like to keep life as simple as possible--and that includes the way I dress. I pretty much live in jeans and t-shirts, and my wardrobe is not long on the sorts of things that the event organizers at the Zoo wanted their patrons to show up in for this shindig. So in addition to the expensive tickets, I would have had to spend at least that much again on new clothes, as well--and as the price tag on the endeavor rose, the less I found myself actually wanting to go. If it had been JUST Jimi performing, maybe. But where he was more likely to be "special guesting" with the other band and only doing lead vocals on a scant handful of songs, the cost-benefit analysis on the whole thing was rapidly diminishing down to pretty much zero.

As Fate would have it, though, I had also been looking up the June 6 date in Wisconsin on behalf of a very old and dear net-friend who lives in the Milwaukee area. (And who had expressed some interest in going to see Jimi live after hearing me rave about all the shows I'd been to. winking emoticon ) And in a reversal of what was happening with the Denver date, the more I looked at that Oneida show, the better it seemed. It was free, for one thing, and just Jimi with his own backing band, and I'd been wanting to meet Irene (my friend) for practically forever. The only problem was that I'd have to fly to get there and back, and I really don't like travelling by air very much... but it seemed the height of cowardice to let that one fact stop me from doing something I really wanted to do. It would still be expensive, and involve a certain amount of hassle, but no more than going to the Denver show would have, and for a considerably greater reward. So, after a surprisingly short internal debate, I took a deep breath and started making travel arrangements--and I'm so very glad now that I did!

I shan't bore everyone with all the details of the non-concert parts of the trip, but what I will say is that both Irene and all her family are just an awesome bunch of folks. grinning emoticon There's always a certain amount of hesitancy involved when you first meet someone face-to-face that you've only known via letters or the Internet, I think, but from the moment I hit the airport in Milwaukee, it was like she and I had known one another all our lives. And all of her family that I had the pleasure of meeting never made me feel anything but welcome, and considering how shy I usually am around new people, that's a pretty significant accomplishment!

Anyway--the concert. Irene unfortunately couldn't get any time off work on either Thursday (the day I flew in) or Friday (the day of the show) so we weren't able to leave Milwaukee until about a quarter of five on Friday afternoon. Still, we beat it on up the road to Green Bay and found the hotel we were going to stay at for that night, since the show wasn't supposed to be over until 10 PM and neither of us wanted to have to get back on the road for another two hours to go home again afterward. We took about half an hour to have something to eat (we'd brought sandwich fixings and stuff with us, because we knew we weren't going to have time to go to a restaurant for our dinner) and I had to call my husband in a state of mild panic, because it had been so long since I'd used my camera that I couldn't remember how to set it to burst mode. laughing emoticon (Fortunately, I knew right where the manual was, back home in Denver!) Once that was sorted out, we got our stuff together and got back in the car to drive over to Oneida, the little town where the show was actually being held. I kept looking at my watch and worrying, though, because it was obvious we were going to be cutting it very fine time-wise--and I had a total "oh, crap" moment when I realized I'd left my earplugs back in the hotel room! D'oh! emoticon Irene tried to turn around and take us back, but there just wasn't time--I finally told her to keep going and I'd figure something out when we got there. So we went on to Oneida, found the festival, scrambled to find somewhere to park, and then hurried on over to where the main stage was. We didn't get there in time to actually see Jimi and the guys come up on stage, but I could hear That Voice talking to the crowd as we rounded the last corner, and they started "High On You" just as I was powering up my camera and ripping up some bits of kleenex to use in lieu of my forgotten earplugs. I think I managed to attract Jimi's notice right about then, too; I'd bought a t-shirt from his official website and wore it to the concert, and I'm pretty sure I was the only person there in one. And where I'd gone right up to front row to get pics and whatnot, I expect it was only natural for it to catch his eye--though I will confess that I got ENTIRELY too much of a thrill from being so visibly "checked out," even if it was only for my shirt! giggling emoticon

The attendance at this show was probably the thinnest of any I've been to--even the RPM show in Cheyenne drew a bigger crowd than this one did. But Jimi didn't seem to care; to all appearances, he was having a great time, constantly kidding around with the guys in the band and us in the audience and stuff. And this was even in spite of the fact that he seemed to be having some trouble vocally; every time he'd try to sing something that went into the upper part of his range, his voice would crack. Poor guy, I felt bad for him--and after the show was over, I heard him telling someone else in the audience that he had bronchitis, so now I'm even more impressed that he sounded as good as he did! (And he did sound good... sigh. I was absolutely starved for a live show since I hadn't been to one in so long, and even handicapped as he was that night, he really delivered. cloud 9 emoticon )

Since he was having trouble, though, they sort of had to hunt around a bit for material that didn't put too much of a strain on his voice, and ended up playing a lot of songs from other bands that I didn't recognize. Fortunately, I'd had the forethought to bring a pad of paper and a pen with me, so I was able to write down my best guesses at titles, etc. and research them when I got home, so here is (just about) the full setlist:

High On You
Burning Heart
Is This Love (Woot!!)
I'm Always Here
Rock Hard
Rebel Son
Riders On The Storm (originally by The Doors)
Caught In The Game (Wow, I wasn't expecting him to still be doing that one...)
I Can't Hold Back
Roadhouse Blues (also originally by The Doors--and he got a couple of audience members up on stage to sing with him during this one, which I'm sure was quite exciting for them... I sure hope he never singles ME out like that, though, I can't carry a tune to save my soul! laughing emoticon )
When The Heart Takes Control (I felt rather smug that I actually knew this well enough to sing along to... I've had a bootleg copy of the demo for a couple of years now...)
All Right Now (originally by Free/Bad Company... they only played part of it, though, which upset Irene a bit--she's a big Paul Rodgers fan)
Eye Of The Tiger (You know, I'm sure he keeps playing this at shows because people complain if he doesn't, but for my part, I'd be perfectly happy to see this dropped from the usual repertoire...)
Come Together (originally by the Beatles--this was the encore)

The show was advertised as being an hour and a half (8:30 to 10) but they actually played for quite a bit longer... closer to two and a half hours by the time they finished the encore, if the time-stamps on the pics I took are accurate. (And I'm certainly not complaining--more Jimi is always better in my book! winking emoticon ) However, Irene has back problems and had unfortunately had to go away and sit down partway through the show, so I didn't want to keep her waiting afterward... but when Jimi immediately came to the very edge of the stage and went down on one knee to sign some CDs and stuff for other people in the audience, I just couldn't resist the chance to take a second to say hello. And I was utterly dumbfounded when I did, because as soon as I walked up, even before I said anything to him, he looked at me and said, "Hey, I know you!" shocked emoticon blushing emoticon fainting emoticon melted emoticon Dear Gods, it had been very nearly a full two years since I spoke to him in Cheyenne, and goodness only knows how many other people he's met and interacted with since, yet he STILL remembered me! What a guy, huh? hearts emoticon (I didn't get to do more than just tell him hi and "good show" and remind him of WHY he knew me--speaking of which, I guess his visit to C&S back in '05 after I met him the first time must have really made an impression!--but heck, just having him recognize me after so long was enough to make my whole month!)

So... yeah. Whatever small things may have wrong that night, I had an absolute blast, and I'm so glad that life gave me just enough of a kick in the backside to push me up and out of my comfort zone and into going to Wisconsin and the show. So Jimi, if you're reading this, I owe you one, sweetie--but dang it, this is TWICE I've been cheated out of a hug now, so I had darn well better get one the next time I see you! laughing emoticon (Oh, and to see pics from this show, click over to the Oneida Live Gallery, and the rest of my concert pics are available from this page, as always.)

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