Sunday, February 2, 2014

Howard (Stern) and Me

Howard Stern is my guilty pleasure. As soon as he announced his move to satellite radio, I bought a subscription to Sirius, listening for months before he finally arrived. I’ve had at least one Sirius radio ever since.

Over the weekend, my loyalty was rewarded as I attended Stern’s 60th birthday party in New York City as a winner of a SiriusXM listener contest. Kim and I were treated to four hours of top-notch entertainment, along with free booze and a little swag. Following are a few of my thoughts from that epic evening.

That’s cold. It was a long, cold wait outside the venue for those not on the red carpet, one of the evening’s few hitches. Sirius must’ve known this since it pretty much abandoned its stated security policy to speed things up.

Caw. Caw. Screeching voice aside, legendary Stern caller Mariann from Brooklyn is actually a pretty attractive woman.

Tuning In. Sirius provided attendees with an earphone like device to amplify the sometimes sporadic sound in the Hammerstein Ballroom. That thing worked like a charm. I wish I would’ve used it earlier.

Clowning Around. Stern guest “Yucko the Clown” supposedly hung up his red nose earlier this year. Yet, there he was at my bar area in full clown regalia. I guess the hottest ticket in the city can make you want to clown around.

Shredded. Who knew Adam Levine could shred a guitar like that? He was a beast, both vocally and instrumentally, on a “Purple Rain” cover with Train.

The most interesting man in the world? Forget that drunk old guy. It has to be Dave Grohl of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters who performed awesome acoustic versions of “Everlong” and “My Hero” before stepping behind the drum set for the concluding “Walk this Way,” along with Steven Tyler, Slash and a few others.

Not as interesting. With so many superstars packed into such a tight, high-energy agenda, performers had to capture the imagination quickly. David Letterman just didn’t. Maybe it would’ve helped if I had used my amplifier sooner. Host Jimmy Kimmel tried to pull the plug, but Stern wouldn’t let him.

A piano, but no piano man. They rolled a piano on stage and Tyler made the most of it during a terrific version of “Dream On.” I figured Stern friend and piano virtuoso Billy Joel was bound to be next, but it wasn’t to be. Too bad because I was definitely in the state of mind for “New York State of Mind” after recently seeing this YouTube clip.

Regardless, it was a terrific evening of entertainment. For a night, I was a part of the Stern universe. Now, it’s back to just listening to it.

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