What a night! We started off going to the Firefly for dinner, where the chef had prepared a special meal for the contest winners. It was sumptuous and quite decadent and included 3 appetizers, a main course and dessert. (Warning: if anyone is not interested in food descriptions or if you are worried this will make you hungry, skip to the next paragraph.) The first appetizer was sundried tomato lobster ravioli with two shrimp. It was amazing. Then, we got crab legs, which were a bit difficult to crack open and still maintain dignity, but worth the effort--so tender they melted in our mouths. Then came the appetizer that was the most beautiful: it was a bed of greens with a layer of egg salad, a layer of Australian prosciutto, and a layer of kalamata olives all wrapped in a wall of melted parmesan that had hardened; the plate had designs of balsamic vinegar painted on it. Very hard to describe, but Bil said he wished he had taken a picture of it. The main course was pecan encrusted pork loin, creme fraiche mashed potatoes (can I just say heavenly? Wow, I think this has ruined me for plain potatoes forever), and a vegetable medley of swiss chard and a vegetable that resembles choi sam (a Chinese vegetable I used to eat in Hong Kong all the time) with pine nuts. By the time dessert arrived (banana cake with cream cheese frosting for me and homemade sorbet for Bil) we were already pretty full.
OK, enough food descriptions. Sorry, it was such a glorious meal, I had to tell someone about it. When we arrived at the theater, we found out that our tickets were platinum, which entitled us to free drinks, more food, free parking and entrance to a special room for VIPs. We also had front row seats right smack in front of the most enormous speakers I have ever seen. I am really glad Bil recommended we buy some ear plugs for the event. I know that seems a bit dorky for a rock concert, but I left way too many parties and concerts in my 20s with ringing ears and impaired hearing to want to endure that again.
Before the concert started we got to go to a Meet and Greet, which was basically the band standing in a room and a bunch of fans lined up to say hi and get a picture with them. Here is our picture with the Gin Blossoms. (Every so often I am surprised at how short I actually am. These guys must all be over 6 feet tall.) It was pretty awkward meeting them, but they were nice. The guitarist standing next to me, Scott Johnson, was nice and was about to put his arm around me for the picture until Bil walked up and he changed his mind. I guess he was worried about "Hey, Jealousy." Sorry, dumb joke.
The concert was really good. The lead singer, Robin Wilson, is really good with crowds. He often gave his tambourine to an audience member to play for a song and even sang into people's cell phones for them. I was impressed by how nice they were during the concert. At one point, Robin Wilson said, "Since this is a new concert venue and we are the first rock band to play here, they probably don't have rules yet, so why don't all you people in the front rows who paid $80 to be here, come up to this section in front of the stage." So, we all went and jammed right in front of the stage. We were so close we could see the drops of sweat on the bassist. For one song, he started playing so close to the edge of the stage, he was practically in Bil's face. In fact, here is a picture Bil got while Scott Johnson was jamming right in Bil's face, basically.
Anyway, it was a really fun way to celebrate my birthday, and since it only cost us a babysitter and a tip at the restaurant, it was quite a steal. One of my birthday presents was an iTunes gift card and I am thinking I just may buy some Gin Blossoms songs.