Thursday, November 02, 2006

I'm a groupie!

I almost never get mail - and I mean "real" mail, aside from my three regular monthly bills (credit card, telephone and cable; truth be told, they should be saving themselves the cost of a stamp and sending them to me electronically). So what a surprise to come home today and see a package sticking out of the mailbox (newly painted blue, I should add) addressed to me. Yes, it was so big that it couldn't fit in the box! Even better, it came with a US customs sticker on it (although it didn't appear that it was opened by our fine Canadian customs workers), which means it came from all the way across the border! "Who could be sending me such a wonderful gift?" I said to no one in particular.

Actually, I was sort-of expecting this package: I was alerted to it via an e-mail about a week ago from (wait for it) the fan club I belong to. Yes, I'll come clean: I'm a member of a fan club. It's taken me over 30 years ago to finally be a part of something! Even stranger, it's a club whose primary demographic is both half my age and of a different sex. In short, I'm a new member of Local-83, which is the official John Mayer fan club.

Some background is needed, I think. First off, I like John Mayer's music. I make no apologies for that. "Your Body is a Wonderland" aside (I really don't like that song, which is the song that Mayer haters will immediately point to; and to his credit, he no longer plays it in concert), I think the guy is a great songwriter. He's sort-of a throwback: he writes tuneful tunes that also contain interesting and complex chords (a Mayer tune is not populated with the standard D-G-A chord progression). Ok, perhaps his lyrics border on the trite, but I've never been one to dwell on song lyrics. If I want poetry, I'll read poetry. He's also a kick-ass guitar player, and his new album, Continuum, is a great leap forward in terms of his musical progression.

Anyway, before I belabour this story to death and lose the few readers I have, I should get to the point. The reason I joined the fan club was to score tickets to Mayer's show a few weeks back at the Mod Club. He announced he was doing a show solely for fan club members - one could only purchase tickets via the fan club web site. So I figured, what the hell: I'd join and hopefully score tickets to the show. It's always great to see one's favourite musicians in small, intimate settings. (Joe Jackson at the Phoenix, for example, ranks as one of the best shows I've ever seen.)

To make an increasingly long story somewhat shorter, I didn't get tickets. Which basically makes me feel that I wasted my hard-earned $25 (in US currency no less, although thankfully the Cdn. dollar is strong as hell these days against the mighty George Washington bill). So what did I get? Let's start with what I didn't get: the advertised six-month subscription to Rolling Stone magazine - only US citizens are entitled to that benefit (not that I've read Rolling Stone in a decade, mind you). What I did receive was one of those trendy bracelets made popular by Lance Armstrong (this one is not yellow and charity based, however, but a blatant and shameless plug for the new album), a key chain and an autographed photo, which now has an honoured place on my fridge:

Although I'm looking at the signature and thinking to myself that it might actually be signed by the president of the fan club since I can't spot the name "John Mayer" in that signature.

In my musical defence - and I agree it's a flimsy one at best - is that I'm currently listening to the new Keith Jarrett, The Carnegie Hall Concert, which is uncompromising, challenging and wonderful.

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