Another Beatlefest in in the books, and as is my way - here is the full report!
The basic rundown:
The snow and ice caused many accidents on the roads to Secaucus, so the normal post-work 15-minute bus ride in from Port Authority took almost two hours. From the hotel window, we could spot accident after accident taking place out on the Turnpike. Looks like it was a great night for all those tow-truck drivers making overtime.
The weather made a HUGE dent in the Friday night attendance. It was probably the first time that I've ever seen an open seat in the bar on a Friday night (there was about seven people in there when I poked my head in around 10PM)! Still, the sparse attendance made for a nicer-than-usual commiseration experience with the old friends that did make it.
Attendance was more up to its' usual numbers on Saturday. Bruce Spizer's first slideshow (mainly containing material in his new book) was hindered because some of his audio / video material never made it via FedEx due to the weather! So we missed out on hearing an actual song by The Titans and WWDC playing "I Want To Hold Your Hand" for the first time in the US. Bruce covered up nicely (certainly better than Ashely Simpson would have).
Ran into Billy J. Kramer in the afternoon (he was just hanging around - not an actual guest!), talked baseball with him (of all things), got a picture. I also discovered that while the inclement weather may have cut down on the number of participants in the yearly Beatle-freak show, the intensity of the ones that DID show up were definitely kicked up a notch (bam!). Definitely an interesting side show element this year.
The Smithereens were great in the afternoon (when are they not?) and The Bootlegs had a great crowd (as usual) on the second floor. Saturday night festivitites ran WAY late (Martin Lewis didn't begin his goofy panel discussion until after 1 AM in the morning - when, by the by, Liverpool was STILL playing!!!). The Blue Meanies / Mr. Neutron finally got going around 2AM and good fun was had by all.
Didn't stay around very long on Sunday (I'm STILL suffering from some flu-like symptoms, so I spent more time sleeping than partying this year, and felt a little burned out by early afternoon on Sunday). Lo and behold, here I am back at the ole homestead a few hours later.
Other things of note that were obverved this year - for the first time, probably EVER - the hotel security was extremely Nazi-riffic. There was an increased "beefy rent-a-cop" presence throughout the Crown Plaza, and they were very quick to flash their hotel-supplied rent-a-cop badges and talk tough about people making too much noise (excuse me?) and open bottles (wha?), etc. For the most part, Fest crowds are very diligent about policing themselves, so seeing a lot of heavy-handed, ham-fisted cro-magnons making threats to people that really weren't doing anything out of the "Fest norm" (singing, drinking, etc.), and stomping around like jackasses was a tad disturbing.
Other notes - heavy amounts of ice and snow caused the cover on the lovely outdoor Crown Plaza pool to cave in. A somewhat incoherent Mark ("Cap'n Crayola") Hudson grabbed the mike on the second floor Saturday afternoon while The Bootlegs were on break and made a rambling spectacle of himself. Last but not least, someone made a VERY "intereting", um...shall I say, "phallic" snowman out back some time on Friday night that was easily visible to Saturday morning breakfast diners seated near the lake-facing glass in the hotel restaurant. Looked like someone had slipped Frosty a few Viagra!
See y'all again in 2008!
Some good advice from the legendary Ray Stevens.
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