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Concert Review: State College, PA- November 12, 1999

Al adventure number three....beautiful State College, Pennsylvania. This was certainly an experience to remember. I was accompanied by my pal Mike (whom I had not seen in over two years), my mother, and as a last moment addition, I was able to drag in Tera (The wonders of an extra ticket!). My mother, Mike, and I began our pilgrimage to the Bryce Jordan Center at 2:00 PM and arrived, after grabbing a quick bite, at around 6:00 PM. We met up with Tera and entered the center to escape the cold at about 7:00 PM.

As soon as I spotted the merchandise booth, I ran up and emptied my wallet for some shirts and a CPFOA hat. We then went to find our seats, which weren't the greatest but not too bad either: Third row off ground level, Jim's side of the stage. After waiting an eternity, a really lame comedian came out. Oy vey, this guy was horrible. I can't express how happy I was when he left the stage.

Finally, after some more waiting, the video screen came to life and "Fun Zone" began. Joy! This was my first full Touring With Scissors show, and I was blown away. I was yelling, screaming, clapping, swooning, and singing along the whole time (except for when my voice started to give out). I was glad to hear my favorite song from the new album "My Baby's In Love With Eddie Vedder." That thoroughly rocked. Everything rocked - the snow for "The Night Santa Went Crazy", the "Dare To Be Stupid" Devo suits, the awesome intro to "One More Minute" and Rubén being shot twice for his obnoxiously loud keyboarding, the wonderful Trent Reznor imitation for "Germs", all aspects of "Like A Surgeon", John "Skip" Lisk ambushing Santa during "Fat" and being shot three times in retaliation, and the "Yoda Chant" as always (just to name a few highlights).

After the show, those of us with passes were herded to the backstage area. I pulled the art work I had done specially for this show out of my backpack and anxiously scanned the crowded room like a woman on a mission. Steve entered the room. I worked my way in his direction as best as I could with my portrait of him to get his attention. I looked way up at him and said, "Steve, I have something for you," and gave him my drawing. He was very gracious about it and said, "Oh, cool- stippling." I asked for his autograph, and Mike and I chatted with him for a few minutes. He's a swell guy.

I then spotted Jon and Rubén, so I made my way over there. I approached Rubén with my portrait of him - I think I frightened him. I believe his words were, "No wonder women hate me." I told him I was sorry about that and promised that everything would be okay. Mike and I then asked him for an autograph. He proceeded to "write" his name on my forehead and Mike's back with the wrong end of his red Sharpie - He really had us thinking he'd written on us! Rubén said I was turning red, which was probably true. He stopped fooling around momentarily to give us real signatures. Mike then inquired if he could ask Rubén a personal question. Rubén hesitated and said, "Personal? Well....okay." Mike whispered in his ear, and Rubén replied, "No, I just play one." I later found out Mike's question was "Are you really a psychopath?" What a joker! I was then greeted by Jon, who took the remaining band member portraits off my hands. I told him I'd already given Steve his, and he said, "Oh, now I'll never get it away from him." I found that to be quite amusing. I obtained Jon's autograph and thanked him for everything.

I saw Jim lurking in the doorway, so I walked up to him, introduced myself and shook his hand. I asked him if he would sign my picture. He didn't have a pen, so I gave him mine. He soon forgot he had it, and although I felt a bit awkward, I asked, "Could I have my pen?" He replied, "Oh. Yeah. I'm just used to carrying one." I thanked him for letting me bug him and wandered around to the back of the room with Mike and my mother. I learned from Tera that the back of the room is the best place to be; from there one can wait for a good portion of the crowd to clear.

As we got closer and closer to Al, I continued to get more and more nervous - I was chomping Tic Tacs like a madwoman! Soon, it was my turn to have a moment with Al. I was petrified. Tera had to give me a hard shove. I stood there for a few seconds and finally said, "Hi." Then I held out my portrait for Al. What happened next completely blew my mind: Al smiled and said, "So, you're Allison?" I immediately began to stutter and mumble incoherently- "Y-y-yeah! How did you know?" He had remembered my past art work. He proceeded to amaze me by refering to the "Pentiums" drawing I'd done for his 40th birthday scrapbook.- He liked it! He then signed the photo that contained the sigs of the entire band. I stood there, collecting my nerve, and then asked, "Can I have a hug?" He said, "Sure," and hopped out of his chair. I carefully walked around to the other side of the table (My head was spinning, and this was no time to stumble!). I wrapped my arms around him, closed my eyes, and just held on to him. He hugged back with just as much heart as I did. It felt good. I almost started to cry right then. My mom slipped in beside us for a quick picture; he still had an arm around my shoulder. I had wrapped my arms around his tummy and buried my face in his soft hair. I could have died right there and been happy. My mom stepped away, and I was still holding him. I told him, "I really don't want to let go." He smiled and laughed.

Finally, I let go and let Mike have his chance to speak with Al. I stood close by and then just completely lost it. The tears just started coming, and I could do nothing about it. I managed to compose myself enough to take a picture of Mike with Al- Surprisingly, the photo turned out all right. We stood around and chatted with Al about stuff for a few minutes. Mike set his ticket stub down and asked Al, "Could you sign this like a check?" Al looked pretty confused. Mike explained, and Al signed "Al Yankovic." It was pretty cute.

Then we moved back to talk with everybody else who was still hanging around. Everyone was so nice....except for security- They were rude! Anyway, before we left I had to say "bye" to Al and get one more picture. I stood in the corner apprehensively until Tera shoved me over to him again and snapped a photo. (I owe ya one, Tera! :)) Everything was a big, happy blur to me when we had to leave. Why can't every day be so great?