I had heard of the Great American Music Hall, but I had never been inside. When I go to concerts, I am often lining up to stand along with my fellow music fans in some basketball arena or other sports facility. Great big tours with superstars and dinosaurs with smoke and "lasers." Sometimes I wish for a more intimate venue, like the Kerr Theater in New York City. A bunch of lucky folks who have access to a really fast computer and wads of cash will be enjoying an evening with Bruce Springsteen on Broadway. I won't be one of them, lacking the second half of that equation. I was able to get a seat at the Great American Music Hall to see Haley Reinehart.
You might be one of those who, at this moment, sit stroking their chin and staring off into space, "Haley Reinehart? Who is Haley Reinehart?" I was one of those a week ago, when my wife invited me along with one of her friends to head out on a Friday night to take in a show. Her friend, it seems, was not part of that school. She was the one who explained Haley and her stariness to us. Haley was on American Idol. You remember American Idol, right? One of those singing shows, with judges who decide who gets to be famous and who has to go home. My wife's friend told us that Haley was not the eventual Idol of America, but she came really close. We were made to understand that third place was still pretty awesome, catapulting her to near-Idol status. She was the headliner, bringing along some opening acts who would not be of the Idol caliber, but every bit as scintillating.
When we showed up at the venue, we got in line. Then we were politely ushered out of what we came to understand was the VIP line. These were the fans who had paid a premium for the opportunity to come in early to meet and greet Haley. Maybe get a photo or an autograph. Then they were ushered back outside where they stood in line just a few feet from us, the great unwashed non-VIPs. Once both lines had found their way inside the Great American Music Hall, the three of us found a table just behind a group of people we recognized as VIPs. They were wearing their VIP wristbands. We had nice sight lines, a nice waitress who took our food and drink orders, and we waited for the show to begin.
And the show was fine. Mike Annuzzi played his love songs. Then Savannah Outen came out and sang her angsty tunes. At last, it was Haley's turn to take the stage. Which she did, with her band, and played a mix of sixties covers and originals. Most of which were played too loud for the room, but that didn't seem to diminish the joy in the crowd. Except for us. Maybe we weren't accurate judges of Idolatry, but we had heard enough after about six songs. We walked back out into the night air, wondering if we had missed something.
After all, we had just been in the presence of an Idol.