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Methodical Life

2010 Essence Music Festival – Day 3: The Best Day EVER!

The awesomeness of my weekend in New Orleans was magnified by a particularly sweet plum. After receiving that wonderful text message saying that I won passes to an advance screening of Takers, I was elated! Then I came back down to earth and realized I had to choose between my BFFs. Or did I? It turns out I only had to stand back and let my friends decide who would be joining me at the screening. Decision made, we left the hotel and made our way to The Theatres at Canal Place.

What a movie theater! I had never seen anything so “chi-chi”. We checked in, were given a voucher for free popcorn and soda, given a menu, and we were directed to the appropriate theater. I thought it was pretty small compared to other movie theaters I’ve been in (there were, maybe, thirty to thirty-five seats). We found two seats and chilled for a moment. While we sat in our comfy leather seats, I looked through the menu and realized that this was the definition of “dinner and a movie”. Appetizers, small entrees, desserts, drinks, etc…real gourmet fare.

Anyway, I peeped that there were a few servers taking orders and swiping credit cards on these cool PDA looking things.

For me, the FREE popcorn and soda were more than enough *smile*. But I was eying the Zebra Corn…

One of the servers came over to where we were seated and took our orders, while showing us how we could get the attention of any other server. We just had to open an armrest and there was a little button to press; it notified the servers that a particular seat had a request. Pretty snazzy to this small town lady! Well, after a few minutes the server came back with our popcorn and soda and we waited for the show to begin. While waiting I swear Lil Duval was sitting in one of the seats behind us…I found that to be real random…but anyway…

It took at least (and this might be generous) twenty minutes before Will Packer appeared at the front of the theater to begin the introduction.

And it was totally worth the wait…I felt like I would vibrate out of my seat, I was so excited! All three were dressed casually, seemed relaxed and cool. Micheal Ealy was doing the bearded thing and I was not mad in the least little bit. I was saddened that I couldn’t see T.I.’s eyes; there’s something about being able to look into a person’s eyes that…I don’t know…makes you “trust” them. That said, I loved hearing him speak…I enjoy his voice. Idris. He is awesome, his whole being. His accent, his style, his confidence; he just seems like a really cool person. Idris Elba, Michael Ealy, and T.I…it made no sense to have all that gorgeousness a few feet away. The fellas congratulated the ticket winners and thanked the audience for the support. T.I. made  a point of saying how thankful he was to have the opportunity to work with Elba and Ealy, even though he (Ealy) stole his role in Barbershop (his words). Laughter ensued and the three went on to say a few words about the movie and how great it was working in the cast. In all honesty, they could have been sounding like the grownups in the Charlie Brown cartoons. I was in total awestruck fan-mode, lol…

After wrapping up the intro, it was time for the movie to start so the three actors said their goodbyes and began to leave the theater. One lady, in the front row, swooped in and latched onto T.I. for an autograph and the two led the way out of the theater. Idris and Michael were walking toward the exit, shaking hands and whatnot. Now, I don’t usually do this, but I flung my hand out and smiled as brightly as I could…and they, Idris and Michael, came over to me and shook my hand and smiled right back. I could have fallen out, right then and there. Especially from Ealy’s smile; he seems kind of, um, moody? So when he smiled that beautiful, gorgeous smile, it brightened my day. When they eventually left the theater, and all the hoopla was through, I looked at my BFF and she looked at me, and I slid out of my seat and onto the floor. I was too through. Once I slid back into my seat, I told my homegirl “I don’t need nothing else…my trip is complete…” The only thing that would have made the moment that much more great, is if I had been able to take pictures. They didn’t allow anyone to have cameras and they “bagged and tagged” your cell phone before entering the theater *sad face*…

Of course, we stayed through the movie; it was great by the way and I have a post coming up regarding the movie.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

We left the theater and went in search of someplace to eat before the concerts started for the third, and final, night. After a phone call, we decided to check out Bubba bump Shrimp Co. As was the case for most of the weekend, we drove around trying to find a decent parking spot. The best we found was several blocks away, but at least the area was scenic and that made the walk interesting. Small shops and boutiques, people selling their wares on the street, others singing and performing for the crowds of people on the street, horse-drawn carriages carrying tourists  around. It was a nice sight compared to the blandness of my town. After a bit of a wait, we were seated and entertained by a happy waiter. We order our food and drinks and talked mess. I ordered the “I’m Stuffed” Shrimp (stuffed with crab, baked in garlic butter, with Monterey jack cheese as a topping); it was served with jasmine rice and my goodness it was so yummy! I would definitely suggest that anyone who visits the restaurant try that dish. I also ordered a Caipirinha, which was perfect for such a warm day. I enjoyed the atmosphere and will return the next time I’m in New Orleans.

We drove back to the hotel and chilled for a while, since we didn’t really have to see any of the earlier acts that were scheduled for the night. The only act I had to see was Earth, Wind, and Fire (they’ve been on my “must-see” list for a long, long time). We left sometime around nine that evening and drove to the Superdome. In order to skip the insanity that was parking, we paid twenty bucks and parked in a garage across the street.

While at the parking garage, I experienced a “Duh” moment. We were walking away from the car, heading for the elevator, when this guy, who parked next to us, says “Excuse me, but do you know where the Superdome is?” He asks this question in an odd way, like he was testing us. I pause, make sure we have a decent amount of distance between us and him (I don’t know this man, so I’m in Stranger Danger mode). My friend and I look at each other, then we look at him; I reply “Yeah…” and since my feelings tend to show well on my face, I know I gave him a strong side eye. My friend on the other hand went a different route and gave the man directions. He and I looked at each other funny while he thanked my friend for the directions. I can’t suffer stupidity and this guy was stupid as heck. You remember me telling you that the garage was across the street from the Superdome, right? You drive pass the venue in order to get to the parking garage…so…that man deserved every bit of the side eye. I don’t know what he was up to, if anything at all, but I didn’t trust him. Sue me…

We were in the nosebleeds...

We got to our seats while Mary J. Blige was performing *shrug*…she doesn’t move me much anymore. I haven’t been able to deal with her since that foolish “Get it crunk in this dancery” song. No ma’am, not for me. But when she did some of her throwbacks, I was happy. Not as happy as this one guy sitting in front of us, though. He made this part of the night too funny! He was just boppin’ and swaying; he was feeling MJB down to his toes. He had his “I’m still a manly man” way of dancing, but I know, I JUST KNOW he wanted to scream like a little girl! I was in the back, rolling! Then there was another guy who looked like he was gonna sail away when she started to perform “No More Drama”; he stood up and threw his arms in the air, like he caught the Holy Ghost! It was some of the funniest stuff I had seen all day. The crowd lost its mind when T.I. walked out on the to perform “Good Love” and the same thing happened when Trey Songz was on stage with her, performing “We Got Hood Love”. MJB, of course, did “I’m Going Down” (one of my faves) but I couldn’t enjoy it the way I wanted to  because this drunk lady sitting next to me started screaming the heck out of the song! If thoughts could kill, she would have been a pile of dust. Lucky for me, the drunkard left after MJB performed…so I was able to enjoy Earth, Wind, and Fire!

The fact that Phillip Bailey is still able to hit those high note should be a testament to taking care of one’s gift! Some of these singers out here (won’t name any names, but I’m sure you already know) need to take note. “The Elements” performed non-stop; from Boogie Wonderland to Keep Your Head to the Sky to Serpentine Fire, everyone was dancing in their seats or up on their feet. You know folks were electric-sliding all over the stadium; it was such a feel good time! When they did Can’t Hide Love, my all time favorite song from them, I felt like that man who caught the Holy Ghost during No More Drama! Unfortunately, I started to wind down due to cramps and being cold (they tried to freeze me out, lol). But I hung in there and enjoyed the show as best I could. They performed September, Devotion, Reasons, just about every song I needed to hear in order to feel like it was worth hanging in there and juking through the pain. Verdine White made me happy because he seemed so amped to be up there on stage! He was shaking and shimmying and playing that bass guitar like there was no tomorrow! I ended the night happy because I saw another group that I had been longing to see for years! Earth, Wind, and Fire were amazing! They were the cherry on top of a great weekend.

It was a weekend of moments that I will always remember. Provided that the line-up is a great one, I will definitely be at the next festival…

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Oh what a day…

July 2010
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