December 02, 2004

Nights on the Town, Part 2

The mind is an amazing thing. I was practically forcing myself to stay awake for the last 20 minutes of the drive home from San Francisco tonight, and I was certain I would get in, hit the bed and fall deeply to sleep. Well, by the time I got ready to turn in, I had woken up. Once I checked a few blogs, I was raring to go!

The story of last night's adventure (Part 1) is going to have to wait, because it deserves a full treatment. (No one ever said I had to be chronological.) But tonight's, while fun, wasn't the same kind of experience. Through a friend at work, I got VIP tickets to the annual Concert for Kids sponsored by my favorite local radion station, KFOG. (Which, by the way, is one of the only stations still streaming live over the Internet. If you like what they call "World Class Rock," I recommend you give them listen sometime.)

The tickets also included entry into an pre-event that was being called a "Gourmet Soiree," i.e., free food and drink, at The War Memorial Opera House. And gourmet it was, but I'm not so sure about the soiree part. Standing in line waiting for a nibble of food, tasty as they were, is not necessarily my idea of a party. I have no idea how much people paid to get in to this part, but I hope it either wasn't a lot or they made up for it with all the free alcohol that was a lot easier to get your hands on!

Some of the restaurants whose delights I got to sample included Jack Falstaff, BIX, and Postrio, which served a killer dessert, and wines by Korbel and Cakebread Cellars. But "sample" was the key word there, and I had been told it was dinner. One nibble every 10 minutes, if I was lucky, wasn't going to cut it, especially if I kept going back to the Korbel table, which was serving some good stuff and was the only place to bring tchatchkes.

So, after poking our heads downstairs to see why "Buffet" and "Rest Rooms" were on the same sign, we headed back out into the chilly SF night for a real bite to eat. However, unlike in other cities, there aren't a plethora of restaurants right near two major cultural centers like the Opera House and Davies Symphony Hall. Unless we just walked the wrong way, of course. To make a long-ish, foot-aching story shorter, we ended up at McDonald's because it was there or "The All-Star Cafe," which I'm sure hasn't seen a star in...well...forever.

I had never been to Davies Symphony Hall, home of the SF Symphony (natch), before this, and it is a gorgeous place. Not knowing what to expect from our "Loge" seating tickets, we were pleasantly surprised by being in a box with an excellent view of the stage. We must have been in a box reserved for sponsors, because we were the only ones there for the first half, and only a few more people showed for this sold-out event.

Because we were there early, after ditching the Soiree early, we hung out in the Loge Lounge and found that we could reserve our table for intermission where, if we wished, there would be drinks waiting for us when we emerged from the hall. We wished, we paid, and it was so. It was pretty cool to sit there, drinks in hand, looking down upon the poor, huddled masses lined up at the bar beneath us. Okay, mean but cool and I hardly ever get to do stuff like that so I decided to enjoy it.

The show itself was great. Jamie Cullum was a surprise treat, because the boy is a born performer and he put on a hell of a show. I was familiar with only one of his songs before this, and I liked it, but it's nothing like seeing him live. He reminds me very much of Harry Connick, Jr., without the New Orleans polish. And, of course, Chris Isaak was great. From what I understand, he always is, and he didn't disappoint; a bunch of Christmas tunes, many from his new Christmas album, and all his hits. He's a real jokester and he has great audience interaction, which made for a fun time.

After the long drive back to Silicon Valley -- made shorter by biting the bullet and taking the dreaded Highway 101 home instead of the more pleasant, but nap-inducing, Highway 280 -- and much time spent here, it's now time for Dream Land.