I’d have to dig liberally through my archived emails to find the fossilized beginnings, but at one point or another, Paul, of Paul and Storm, managed to dig up a jpg that I’d forgotten about. He was already high on the prospect that I was finally convinced to resurrect the much loved embroidered bacon design when he tweeted about this one. What he found actually wasn’t a tinyrun design, it was a batik of mine from what seems like another age. And he lurved it. Being a bit of a softie for people that likes my stuff, I said that I had no idea when, but eventually I would do that one as an official tinyrun.
Months passed, my daughter was born, time marched on. A Chicago show for Paul and Storm was announced, and it was thought that the long awaited design for them could be ready in time for it, and that an official hand off would be arranged. This was made all the more excellent by a annulled meeting opportunity to hand off the bacon shirts many months previous.
I was later than I intended in getting to the venue, arriving right before they opened. I would have to wait till the break to hand off my finished deliverables. So I kicked back and enjoyed Paul and Storm work the rather full room. The audience was like so much kitchen in a experienced chef’s hands, and they proceeded to bake us into a tasty multilayered cake, frosted with our blended geek sentience, sprinkled with irreverent glee and sweetened tunes. That doesn’t even make sense, but it’s what happened.
After they finished cooking, I met Paul by the merch table and was taken to the inner corridors of the most lucky. In the green room I then met Storm and Jonathan Coulton. Hands were shook. I proceeded to hand over the shirts to P&S, who changed right off to wear them during the TMBG Flood set. I caught sight of the song list for the set, and I had thought from tweets seen that they were doing only a few songs from Flood, but saw that their intent was to do them all. I think it was Storm who said, “we’re a little out of our comfort zone on instruments…”
They were all professionals, this is what they do, but they were doing something that they had precious little practice time for, material they didn’t write, and had not performed in front of a full venue as of yet. Wow. I soaked in that feeling. It wasn’t nervousness, but there was definite palpable energy. This was going to be awesome. I had a feeling that I might soak up too much, or throw something off, so I excused myself and let them do whatever “final huddle” they needed to do. Retreating back downstairs I found a new seat next to a kid who looked like he had brought his Chemistry textbook. He was doing chem homework inbetween sets of a concert? Awesome.
Then came the Flood. The whole damn thing. One song to the next, no banter, boom boom boom. I not going to say much more about it, other than that the videos you might have seen only contain about 15% of how amazing it was. I’m not going to be able to capture much more with just words. And I could see my shirts from there! Ok, barely, but still!
Then straight into the Coulton set. The chem student exclaimed “YES!” with every song introduction. I had thought at this point I had reached saturation for the evening. How could it get better? How many times can you conceivable go back up to the buffet? The set and encores ended, and the lights came up, and I got to see the crowd. Ah, dorks.
I headed backstage to congratulate the dudes, and try to express the gratitude I had about the awesomeness. And to tell them about the chem student. I hoped to try to give them as much information from ‘the floor’ as possible, to try to fill out what everyone not in the green room experienced.
They embarked down to the floor themselves afterward and met a few lingering fans. This part was a great treat for me as well, to see them interact this way, from the safe distance of having a backstage pass of my own. And it also occurred to me at this point to take more pictures.
Then the last fans left, and the stars were left to striking their business of the evening, and gathering their goods to move on. After trying to help a little bit I took my leave, and said over my shoulder as I went, “you gave a singular gift to everyone tonight.”
And the more I think about it, I was right. They gave a gift to their fans by playing the show for starters, and for doing Flood second. They gave me a gift by allowing me to come in and talk to them, feel the energy right before it happened, have them wear and pimp my work, and to see them interact with their fans. They gave a gift to themselves by stepping out of that comfort zone, giving themselves permission to do this, doing something that they weren’t entirely comfortable with, and charging the front line of battle waving their cutlass from horseback.
That doesn’t even make sense, but it’s what happened.