Well, now that i had time to settle down from the crazy and very eventful week, It's time for me to make a few comments about the trip. You can see all of my photos here: http://pictures.retroforward.com
I apologize in advace for spelling and grammer errors.
I flew into chicago april 29th. Kamar picked me up from the airport. Went back to Lindsey's place to get settled. We went to see Erasure later on that night, which was a great show btw. Then Headed down to NEO, where the NOOL after party would place later that week. Afterwards, Kamar took me to this place called White Castle. They sell these Tiny little burgers. Apparently, your suppose to order several burgers at at for one meal. I got 4. My god where these little things tasty. I was freakin hooked.
Next Day, Kamar and lindsey, along with fellow retroforward DJ SIN took me out to do some site seeing around Chicago. It was my first time there so I was looking forward to go around town to do the tourist thing. We went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to check out the art museum there. A little bit of history about myself. Back in 1994, I got accepted into 2 colleges, One being the art school in chicago and the other is Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, MD. I chose to go to Baltimore, where i reside now. I could not help but think about how my life would have turned out if I would have chose chicago. It is an impressive big city. But I am used to the small time city of baltimore. We went back to lindsey's place. We rented a movie to watch. We Got "Harold and Kumar goes to White Castle". Yes, it is the same White Castle with those yummy tiny burgers. Freakin hilarious! If you have not watched it yet, i recommend you do so. One of the funniest films i've seen in a while. If you get the DVD, don't forget to watch the extra about farting.
Kamar, Lindsey, and SIN
After the movie, Kamar and I went out. We met up with Lisa Q, also a retroforward DJ. They took me to this place called Exit. Oddly, this place happened to be showcasing New Order and Joy DIvision that night. It was a nice time. Oh yeah, We had White Castle again.
Monday morning came. We picked up Nic Leblanc from the airport. I already feel short, but next to nic, I felt like a little boy. Definitely a tall guy. Very nice. I was very glad to meet him in person. Kamar then took us to do more site seeing around Chicago. We went to the sears tower. They charged us $15 each to go up there. Only needed 10 minutes to be up there.
We went back, had Chicago pizza. Met kamar's friend. I forgot his name. I think it was Vincent? Then headed to the Smart Bar, where hooky was djing that night. And for the New Order Fans reading this. This is where it gets interesting. We got their fairly early. No one was really there yet. Kamar saw Joe Shanahan djing. He told him about the interview he has with hooky. Joe told him he'd let hooky know when he got there. We hung out had a couple beers. Kamar was getting his recorder ready for the Hooky interview, which was suppose to happen that night. The waitress came bye and asked what the equipment was for. Kamar explained. As it turns out, she was to interview hooky the next day for XM radio. :P . She stopped by later to ask Kamar what questions he was going to ask. So she would not ask the same thing.
Al Halucha and his girlfriend Elizabeth arrived at the smart bar. Al is known as Facseven on the boards and Grukhas on our NOOL fantasy league. He was nothing what i imagined. He was a really nice funny guy! He is a very passionate NO fan as well. He pretty much took care of me that night as far as drinks. AL and Elizabeth kept the drinks coming! While standing around, I thought I saw Johnny Giles across the bar. I think i recognized him from photos posted on NOOL. I eventually went up and asked if he was Mark. It was. I Introduced myself then took him across to introduce him to Nic and the others. Mark introduced me to John and gordy, who was with him. I think around that moment hooky arrived and started djing. NO was was dancing, rather, everyone just crowded up to the booth to stare at hooky. It was really amusing. We just stood there and watch the booth with the rest. lol
Mark, nic, Lisa q, John, Kamar
Al, Me, Mark, and Nic
Me and Phil
Nic went up and got a few things signed. I walked around and I ran into Phil Cunningham. I took a moment to chat with him and posed for a picture, taken by that cute waitress from earlier. Lisa Q eventually joined us at the smart bar, and we all basically hung out and chatted. Nic met Andy Robinson (who was wearing the same ceremony shirt i had on) and introduced him to me. We had a meeting set up for 1pm the next day to talk about the website. Kamar also spoke with Rebecca and set up the interview with hooky at 12. It was very nice meeting the management that night. The Night ended, Kamar, Nic, Lisa, Mark , John and me got together and we decided to go eat. Unfortunately, we did not go to White Castle
We woke up kinda late the next morning, and we were scrambling to get ready so we could make our meetings. Kamar dropped us off at the hotel and Nic and I waited in the lobby for Andy. He came down and we decided to head across the street to this pancake house for breakfast. Once there we discussed the website. It was a very positive conversation. Hopefully things will work out for NOOL as a result. We continued our meal, Andy suddenly says, “ah, there barney”. Took a split second to register in my mind what he just said. I turn my head, and yeah, There was barney all right. Then in my mind I relived the time when I first met Hooky for the first time in DC. I was a total star struck mess. I was not about to let that ever happened again. Barney arrived at the table, surprisingly I was calm. Nic and I introduced ourselves, we told him where we were from, Nic is from Montreal, I was from Baltimore. Knowing me, I knew I could not get through this introduction without screwing up. So I blurted out “and... your from Manchester, correct?” as a lame joke. Oh well. Silly me. Nic then correct me and said Salford.
We sat down again. Barney was trying to figure out what to get. So I suggested that the Strawberry crepes were very good. And he got those. We chatted some more. I tried to avoid new order questions. Just a nice casual chat between the four of us. We did ask the backup singer of WFTSC and asked if he visited NOOL. He told us he has not visited nool. He is surrounded by new order nearly 24/7, so in his free time, the last thing he really wants to do is anything new order related. Rebecca came in, told him he needed to get to the doctors soon. And she found some places where he could find some adidas shows to wear. (Later I find out Kamar actually found rebecca walking around town, and picked her up and guided her to places that sold shoes). Breakfast ended, We got up and took our pictures. Barney got in a car with rebecca, Nic, Andy and I head back to the hotel.
me and Bernard sumner
Kamar was still in the middle of his Hooky interview, so we waited in the lobby. We saw Sarge walking around, Later Phil came down and joined us in the lobby. Eventually Hooky came out of the room and he greeted us. Then, Stephen came out. We said our hellos and they took a moment to sign our CDs that we were giving away at the NOOL after party that night. We posed for a few more photos in the hotel then outside. They Got on the bus to head to their sound check. Before leaving, Andy did say Hooky was interested in Djing our after party event. Man what an amazing offer! But this depended solely if Hooky felt up to it or not after the show. So we did not really mention it to anyone, unless it was for sure. And that was the end of an amazing afternoon.
Phil, Nic, Stephan, Hooky, Andy and me
We then headed to the venue, We ran into Al Halucha and Elizabeth on the way. It was good to see them, because i did not get a chance to say goodbye to them the night before. So i was concerned if they were ok. We hung up some After party posters and went to the Greenmilll. There we met the brits. I met Al Jarvis and Gary for the first time. More people came in and went around to chat with everyone there. Stephanie from Settle, another retroforward DJ and AKA The Pope’s Girlfriend arrived. This is my first meeting with her. Very nic girl also. Later on I meet Travis, ANOTHER retroforward DJ.
We eventually headed to the venue. NIc and I picked up our “special” passes and went in. We wandered around, recognized some people. Then..... We run into the famous Sultan of Bling. It was very nice to meet him finally.Talked to him what he thought about the whole NOOL vs WIM deal. We pretty much agreed that it pretty much some posters from both site that is making a bigger deal of it than it really is. I introduced David to Nic, and we took the historic picture
They said something to each other in French, chatted for a while. We entered the photo pit area. Was that cool or what. Being right there, right up against the stage, everyone behind you. It was just too unreal. I really can’t explain the excitement I was feeling. It’s almost like be 10 years old and going to disneyland for the first time. Heart was pumping, and really could not wait for them to get on stage. Lights went out, Crowd was roaring, then you see a silhouette of the band members taking their positions. Then BOOM it started.
You can see the rest of my live photos here: http://pictures.retroforward.com
Man, it was great, New Order, Live, literally in front of me, the best spot in the venue, taking pictures, really! what more can I ask for!!!!! I was being a bit cautious not to do anything wrong. The last thing i wanted happen was to get kicked out. Unfortunately, we were only allowed to be in the pit for Three songs, then they made us leave. On my way out i saw Lisa Q, We went around, and then I positioned myself by the right side of the stage, and enjoyed what i thought was an amazing concert. My personal highlights of the show was WFTSC, LWTUA and Temptation.
Ended too quick. Really wanted more, but you can’t get too greedy. Met up with Nic then spotted Andy and David after the concert and congratulated him on an awesome show. Andy introduced us to a guy from Object Merch. Andy said that I should speak with him to do some of the things I mentioned I wanted to do with NOOL. So as a result I have a phone call set with the object merch guy this week to talk about NOOL. The security told us we could go upstairs to the back stage lounge area. This was also another first for me. And yes, I was still excited. We walk into the room, First thing I see is Barney in the couch soaking his foot in some ice. I went up and shook his hand. Thanked him for a great show.
Started to cruise around. I think I met some Noolers there. I believe Drugrep was among them. Chatted with David a bit more and the project manager from Object merch. Phil came out and talked with him a little. Totally cool.
Things were clearing out. So we decided to head to the after party. Everyone else was there already. Originally Nic and I were going to cab it, but David had a car. So we all drove together. Not know Chicago very well, we thought we were lost on the way, but it turns out that we were right on track.
We got there, I was amazed to see a long line outside the club. Fortunately, Nic and I got to do a “rock star” entrance, we walked up to the front, and they let us in. And Speaking of Rock star entrances, Nic Leblanc was quite the celebrity during this trip. As soon as people recognized him, they wanted to pose with a picture with him. I dunno if he signed any autographs :P. Seeing that though, I was so very happy for him. He is very deserving of this because of this great website he built. Congrats Nic!
Anyways. We make it in, there was our chicago crew in the corner. I settled there. The Club was packed. The event was totally a success. I think better than Kamar ever imagined. Weeks before the event, Kamar (who worked very hard to pull everything together) was worried that no one would show up. I was happy to see everyone there.
he’s going to kill me for posting this....
Well this concludes my chicago leg of my trip. Saying I had an amazing time is a total understatement. Again, I apologize for the poor grammar and any spelling mistakes.
Stay tuned for my NYC report.