Another day, another show. This time we're back outdoors at the lovely Saratoga Performing Arts Center, more commonly known as SPAC. The trip from Rochester was uneventful and we arrived at our hotel around 12:30. Unfortunately, we couldn't check in yet because a group had just registered and taken all of the cleaned rooms. After killing a little time at a local Dunkin' Donuts, we get checked in and prepare for the evening. The Rochester weather has followed us and we are treated to a glorious evening with crystal clear blue skies, 70-degree temperatures and a light breeze. There's also a full moon.
Dave is local to the area and had been named “point man” and was assigned the task of arranging the pre-show dinner. He chose the Olde Bryan Inn in downtown Saratoga Springs and it was an excellent choice. There were 7 of us for dinner: Scott and I, Dave, Kelly and Chris, and Brad Timerson and his wife. We talked about the show so much that the waiter started getting a little impatient. Eventually we ordered and ate dinner but there was much conversation.
After dinner we followed each other to SPAC, with Dave in the lead. SPAC is very similar in design to Wolf Trap and is set in a wooded park. There are, of course, many concession stands, but one stands out. It's Pixie 106, our fiddler's favorite radio station!
Dave had invited 12 other friends and coworkers to the show and we met a few of them before heading to our seats. Finally it's time and we walk to the bottom of the hill and enter the venue. Our seats were first row pit but way off to the left, slightly left of the piano in fact. They were the tickets I purchased in case the PBS seats were unsatisfactory. My PBS tickets ended up going to Brad who was able to move down closer. Dave was in orchestra right and the others were farther back in the center section. We had our eyes on some other pit seats but they ended up being filled.
From our vantage point we caught glimpses backstage through the curtains and we saw Máiréad and Lynn. Lisa's boys were enjoying the show from backstage, too. After scoping out the place and chatting with our neighbors, we got out our signs and things and got ready for the magic to begin. Soon the obligatory announcement was made and the lights dimmed. Of course, since it was only 7:30 it didn't get any darker and the show started with the stage fully illuminated.
Even though the venue is outdoors the weather made it much more pleasant and nobody, including the performers, was bathed in perspiration tonight. The girls were plenty juiced, although a little less so than in Rochester. My Heart Was Home Again was better than the first two nights but not quite as good as Rochester. There was full-scale VSS at the end of the first act as we were the only ones standing. Dave tried to get the enthusiasm level up in his area but had difficulty, as he put it, ”breaking the porcelain.”
Anthony couldn't enter the stage from the audience for Amazing Grace due to how things were laid out on stage so he stopped at the foot of the stage for the opening, sneaked backstage when nobody was looking and reappeared from stage left. There was no reluctance to stand at the end and everyone stayed standing for Spanish Lady as Chloë instructed.
Máiréad visited our side of the stage early and gave both Scott and me some of those amazing full-face smiles. Lynn seemed to be extra attentive and looked at me while singing the new bits in Orinoco Flow. Both Chloë and Lisa saw us and gave us the occasional smile, too. Even though we weren't in the ideal location, we had a great time.
The Meet & Greet was with Lisa and Máiréad; that's twice for Máiréad in three nights. Not bad! Both were absolutely delightful, as always. I had a few special things for Máiréad to sign (pun intended) and a small gift. I practically had her rolling on the floor laughing when she saw it; there will be more details later, once I get home.
It was a great night, with great friends and a great show. In fact, it was a great four nights! There seems to be a pattern here. Perhaps we have found the solution for the perfect evening. I'll be heading home tomorrow (actually today now) for a few days and then to the Lancaster and Philadelphia shows. After that I'm done until Tucson in September.
The original review is here.