Sunday, February 17, 2008

Are You Still Down

Well for those that don’t know, I have always and forever been in serious love with the one and only Jon B. I am one of those people that have all his albums and play them to distraction. I am sure I have written about him on here a time or two, but not recently. That has a lot to do with the fact that he has been pretty much out of the spotlight for the last 5 years. So when I heard on the radio that he was coming to town for a one night engagement I was seriously siced. I emailed all my homegirls and let them know that I had every intention of being up in the place to see Jon B and I hoped that if they loved him like I did that they would join me. Everyone was pretty excited but they had all made other plans for Friday night, which I understood considering I only found out about it Wednesday so it was understandable.

My friend Erica wasn’t busy and was very interested so we got the tickets and planned to meet up Friday night for dinner and drinks and then off to the show. Sounds reasonable right? Well, neither of us had heard of the damn venue. It was some club called Life, and it was not downtown, was on University Blvd. I spent two days trying to mapquest the damn place to no avail. I mean seriously it couldn’t be that hard to find right? Come Friday I had my friend John call up and see what was what. He talked to some dude on the phone who gave us a vague idea of where it was, but not really. John was like "oh and they want $150 for VIP". Now, if this place was even close to where I thought it was there was no reason they should be asking for that kind of money to get into VIP. Let me explain. From what I could gather, this "club" and I use that term very loosely, was situated between a decaying strip mall and Tick Tock Liquors. Tick Tock, for those that are unfamiliar with the metro area, is one of the oldest most run down liquor stores in the county. I remember being grossly underage and still purchasing shit from Tick Tock. No one cared and I am pretty sure that’s still the case. The strip mall hadn’t been popular in at least 25 years, and the only thing I ever remembered purchasing from there were a pair of gigantic gold bamboo earrings with my name in them. It was the 80's so cut me a damn break.

Anyway, we managed to meet up and get cute at my condo. Watch a little TV, get our makeup right, catch up on old times and drink a glass or two of wine. It was turning out to be a pretty decent evening, and so I was hopeful, I mean it’s not everyday you get to see your favorite artist in the flesh.....even if it is in a strip mall. So by the time we had dinner and got on the road we were having fun and ready to enjoy our evening. It was about 9:30 and we see spotlights, you know the kind that they haul in close to a club to get folks attention? Well we pull up and my first clue that something wasn’t quite kosher was the fact that the name on the front was completely different than where we were supposed to be going. I guess they figured that the little banner that was sort of covering the old sign would work. So I look at Erica and say, are you ready for this. She nods and we proceed to the door. It all went downhill from there, and fast. The front door was flanked by three bouncers who checked my ID, my purse and then our internet pass. I couldn’t figure out the layout of the place cause the lobby was so strange, there were two doors. One in, one out and a reception desk where they checked my name off. This dude wearing dark glasses let us in through the left door (have I ever mentioned how much I hate sunglasses in the club?) and we stepped into what can only be described as the most tired, low budget club I have ever seen in life.

There was a bar with one salty ass bartender, a dance floor the size of my living room floor, a stage that had a sofa on it, three round top tables with stools (all full) and three or four bullshit VIP areas. Two faux Ikea couch areas with busted looking chipped ass tables, one gigantic sectional sofa with a velour rope in front of it that looked like it was made from my grandma's old curtains, another VIP with a sofa bench thingy and some of those plastic block tables you get from the drugstore, and three of those booth area things that looked like that’s where they put folks who had more than 4 people in their dinner party. This place was a damn restaurant, and not a very good one at that. The bar itself was made from some sort of plywood and Erica commented on its "craftsmanship" immediately. I was totally blown, but not because the place was the size of a shoebox or that the bartender was salty as fuck. No, I was blown because there was not one effing place to sit down that wasn’t already taken, and the so called VIP areas were clearly falling under my wish factor as in "I wish I fuckin would pay $150 damn dollars to sit on that shit!

We finally got bartender homegirl's attention and got two drinks. Goose and Cranberry and Goose and Tonic. The bitch said $16, and I almost lost my damn vision for a minute. She hadn’t first filled the cup up all the way, and $8 in a shitbag club was not my idea of a good deal. Then we proceeded to stand, and stand, and stand until 10:30 when I finally asked Erica, "okay so do you think he is really coming cause if it were me when they pulled up to this joint I woulda told them fuck no and told the driver to keep going" she laughed but she agreed, between the running collage of photos of party goers with who had to be the owner in every.fucking.shot on the two big screens, and the fact that the place had beams that seemed covered in asbestos, and that if one more person came through the door we were going to be grossly over the fire code I couldn’t figure out how exactly they had managed to pass county code. In retrospect I am not sure that place was up to code at all. So, we passed the time making jokes about the photos, making jokes about the people that came in, and getting increasingly angry about this non-existent concert all while shifting from foot to foot.

So at 11:30, Erica finally went over to the owner who was milling about in the club of course, but not doing a damn thing to get the show started, and asked him when the hell the show was going to start. He told her a half hour, which I thought was bullshit, but I mean maybe that was just the pain in my feet talking. It was clear that we had both wasted perfectly good outfits and shoes in order to come out to this rag tag hell hole. No one in that camp was wearing anything over $30 total, and that is the god’s honest truth. I could have come up in there in my houseshoes and a bathrobe and I woulda fit right in.

The bathrooms, um....well let me tell you what. I didn’t pee, and I needed to go. Erica went to wash her hands but quickly found that she had to share the sink with Randy the Roach. That was it for her, she was ready to go at that point, but now its midnight, and damn it I paid money to see Jon B. We both agreed that we had stood and put up with enough fuckery to leave at this point. We finally went outside for a while, just so we could sit in the damn car, I mean why the fuck don’t you have more chairs? We sat in the car for another half hour and went back inside only to find about 20 angry ass people going at it with the club staff. Of course they all conveniently couldn’t speak English at this point. It was truly about to be some shit in there, and I think the owner finally got the message.

Now, I don’t blame Jon for the niggatry that was running rampant in that camp, I blame that owner, cause if you are pressed to fleece people for $40 at the door and $8 for a half cup of liquor, and $150 just to sit the fuck down, chances are you are probably trying to find a way not to pay your entertainment what was negotiated. Turns out Jon had been there for over an hour, so something was up. No one in their right mind would have wanted to hang out in that camp any extra time unless they had to. Jeanie Jones finally came out in what looked like a still living fur coat and a weave that had seen better days. She finally announced Jon B. at 1:15 am and then she rolled the hell out.

Honestly, I was too irritated to care. I was so fucking blown, and tired and generally over it that it coulda been Barack Obama handing out $100 bills and refunds and I still wouldn’t have gave a shit. I never even got close to the stage and there was plenty of room. I was just to fucking tired of standing. He sounded good, he looked good, but when your feet hurt who really gives a damn. Oh did I mention that these bastards didn’t even bother to remove the empty drink cups from the stage before he came on? I mean, Jon might not be on the top of the charts but seriously, that shit was disrespectful. He fell off but not that hard! Not hard enough to have to dodge empty cups and shit.
So about two songs in I notice two things. One, Jon is sweating like he is on the Amistad and two, is that a damn gold tooth in his mouth???? Seriously, what has the world come to when Jon B. is rocking a damn gold tooth? I am not talking about fronts or a grill or anything, just one damn ridiculous ass gold tooth glinting in the light. Yikes! Then he performed on of his new songs that is supposed to be on his new album that will be released this year. I am not gonna tell you I hated it, but let me tell you this. Its a collaboration with Paul Wall, who may have been the semi-hotness about two years ago, but not so much right now.

This seems to be a recurring thing with Jon though, because everytime he releases and album with collaborations on it, its like they are just behind the popularity curve. Case in point: Babyface on his first album with Someone to Love was great, but that was just about the time Babyface went missing in action for like 5 years. Cool Relax had Tupac on it which was released right after he died. So much in touring or doing a video in support of that. Pleasures You Like had Cuban Link and AZ but that was right as Cuban Link got the boot from Terror Squad and where the hell is AZ? I sincerely doubt he is chillin on Sugar Hill. Last but not least he had Stronger Everyday and I seriously think I am the only person who ever bought that damn CD but it had Tank, Scarface and Beenie Man who weren’t doing jack shit at that time.

My advice to Jon is lose the gold tooth, and get on with T-Pain or Lil Wayne and pronto, cause Paul Wall aint gonna do shit to help you move units. Well after I heard Cool Relax I looked at Erica and we rolled out. It was 2 am and I was beyond tired. It was a disappointing night in a dismal venue with a bunch of people stacked on top of each other who couldn’t sit the fuck down. What a blower. Erica suggested that next time we sit at home and drink our wine and watch VH1 soul, and you know what, I think I will take her up on that offer. I dont know if I am still down Jon, but I'mma need you to pull it together before I make my decision.