Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Hotel Chelsea (11.02.21)

Rocking more of the alphabet at Hotel Chelsea on a Tuesday night. Photo by Kat.

At my previous show at Hotel Chelsea in Second Life, I decided -- without a lot of planning -- to do my songs in alphabetical order, and chose a song to represent each letter of the alphabet. Being that my show is an hour long and I typically do 12-13 songs per set, I actually got through exactly half the alphabet with songs starting with A through M.

Frankly, I hadn't really thought through the aspect of continuing this at a subsequent show, but as I started putting together my list for this gig, I felt compelled to try the same thing with the much more challenging N through Z zone. While I already had plenty of tunes in my solo music repertoire, which has now bloated to over 650 songs, I found I only had one song that started with Q ("Queen Bitch" by Bowie, which I didn't feel like doing) and didn't have any songs at all that started with X. What a conundrum. Or was it an opportunity?

Life in Late 2021
Before I get to more details on the show, I wanted, as I'm apt to do, to make some random notes about life as we experience it in the current time frame.

  • It's now been about 20 months since we Americans first recognized the event that would literally change all of our lives... the COVID-19 virus. Honestly, I find that I miss 2020. It felt for a little while that we were pulling together and that positive changes would come as a result of our fight against this disease. But 2021 has been chock full of contentious bullshit. I have a bunch of vaccinated friends who've had breakthrough cases of COVID. They'll all be fine, thankfully. But the fact of the matter is that a whole lot of people are acting as if COVID has done and gone, and are going about their lives as if everything has returned to 2019-level of normalcy. Let me tell you: nothing is fucking normal and I'm more certain than ever that it will never return to normal, and not just because of a virus.
  • Speaking of "normal", normally I'm able to enjoy NFL football this time of year. It's something I've done for a long, long time. Following that sport is an escape from the responsibilities and pressures of daily life. My NFL fandom goes back to when I was a child. I participate in pools, and have a pretty good understanding of the intricacies of the sport, probably more than most casual fans. But in the past 24 hours, two things happened that are completely bumming me out regarding football. First was the shocking event of Las Vegas Raiders' wide receiver Henry Ruggs III having killed a motorist at 3:30AM on Tuesday, and going from a star player with massive potential to being a) released from the team and b) facing a possible 20 years for felony impaired driving. The second thing, a story which just broke a few minutes ago, is future hall-of-fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers being diagnosed with COVID-19. My first reaction was, "Well, he's vaccinated so he'll be fine," until I read further and found out that there's a good possibility that he's not vaccinated. This boggles my mind. I can't think of something more irresponsible for a person who is supposedly a role model, and who seems in other ways to be a relatively smart human being. So now, these two situations have really soured football for me in a way I could never have expected.
  • And while we're on the topic of apparent idiots, a crowd of people -- sorry, a crowd of QAnon psychos, I meant to say -- went to Dealey Park in Dallas, TX yesterday because they were under the impression that John F. Kennedy, Jr., a man who died 22 years ago, would appear and reinstate Donald Trump as president for some reason. I'm not going to comment on this. It speaks for itself, or res ipsa loquitur, as Hunter S. Thompson would have said.

Sounds Like 2021 Is Really Shitty, Huh?
I mean, yes, but no. Life has given me a healthy perspective about what the real definitions of bad and good are. I have decent income and roof over my head; my family and I are relatively healthy. We don't live in a war zone. We're not suffering through massive drought or starvation. We're not yet so affected by climate change that our home is unlivable. Many people -- probably a greater portion of the world than I care to acknowledge -- have it way worse compared to us. I don't share the typically American trait of boundless and unfounded optimism, but my reality must allow for the fact that nearly every aspect of my life could be way worse than it is.

How About That Show?
Yeah, so... this turned out to be a really good show. As usual for my monthly Tuesday shows at Hotel Chelsea, I performed directly after my friend Max Kleene, and I was happy to see that once again, a good portion of his sizable crowd hung out for my show as well.

I know for a fact that playing after Max has led to some people discovering me who would not have otherwise heard me. It's always appreciated. Photo by Kat.

Me, alone onstage as usual. Still in a mask? Yeah, I thought that would be done by now, just as many of us presumed the pandemic would be over. But the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and here we are. I'll take off the mask in SL as soon as I am safely able to take it off in real life... not a moment before. Photo by Kat.

As mentioned above, I did the second half of my alphabetical show theme, meaning I began with a song title that started with N and continued through to a song that started with Z. I found it to be really fun, both the act of putting together the set list and then performing it. Not every song was among my favorite to play live, but they all came out reasonably well, with some of them being really good. Surprisingly, I'd never covered a song by Liz Phair before, despite appreciating her as an artist.

If you're ever in New York City and find yourself at 222 West 23rd Street, between Seventh and Eighth, it looks a whole lot like this. Photo by Kat.

Hotel Chelsea set list...
Northern Sky (Nick Drake)
Over My Head (Fleetwood Mac)
Psycho Killer (Talking Heads)
*Questions (Buffalo Springfield)
Rikki Don’t Lose That Number (Steely Dan)
Say Goodbye (Beck)
Tea for the Tillerman (Cat Stevens)
Uncle John’s Band (Grateful Dead)
Voices Carry (’Til Tuesday)
Wichita Lineman (Glen Campbell)
*X-Ray Man (Liz Phair)
Your Song (Elton John)
Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)

*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in SL.

Big thanks to everyone who hung out for my show, with super duper thanks to the following who helped support it!
Still Dinzeo, Ariztheo Resident, Jeff Plumday, MirrziLu Resident, AlexPeaceSoul Resident, noowun Wind, Maximillion Kleene, Kat Claxton, Nina Brandenburg, my terrific manager Maali Beck, and Hotel Chelsea manager Shyla the Super Gecko!

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