Weekend in Santa Barbara (conclusion)

Jackie travels with a smaller captured crew these days, which would make sense. Having a full orchestra drop whatever they were doing and learn all of Jackie’s songs for a single show was asking alot. But, she did do that for a while. The setup this night was just fine though, with a small ensemble of orchestra players (I think there is name for that), and a conductor who doubled on the piano. He had a couple of laptops around him as well which apparently was used for the enhanced sound. That is, sounds that weren’t coming from anybody onstage. He essentially ran the show. Well, he wasn’t running everything.

Now it was time for Jackie. She came out in a long flowery dress, with that smile that lit up the theatre and began with one of the songs from her latest CD, and as usual, sang it flawlessly. The little girl I had discovered five years ago was now all of 15, and looking very much grown up. It was a different experience from the show I had seen in 2012. She was only 11 then, and just a kid. A kid with a set of pipes any adult would envy, but still, just a kid.

She is much more engaging with the audience now, and her vivaciousness was on full display that night. So close. Great seat. When sang, sometimes she would walk back and forth, making eye contact with those in the crowd. She-was she looking at me? She’s looking right at me. My heart jumped. Not the same that it did in the morning, but in a different way, although…It felt almost like I was asking if it was okay if I was at her show. Her eyes finally turned away and she continued on, no doubt mesmerizing some other lucky soul in the crowd. Apparently it was okay, because she was smiling and delivering a spectacular performance.

Since it was December, Jackie added some Christmas songs to the set. Ho, ho, ho, that’s when things went a little haywire. There was a problem with the P.A. system and the sound went out. Well, it went out for most of the crowd. From where I was I could here Jackie speaking. It was actually nice to hear her unplugged, if only for a few moments. The conductor looked a little perturbed by it all, but Jackie handled it like a pro. There’s a pretty good chance that in the last several years this kind of thing has happened before. The sound problems lasted just a few minutes though, and the show continued.

As with every show, there is an intermission of about 20 minutes in between where the crowd could do-whatever it needed to do. I didn’t need to do anything. I was right where I wanted to be. The guy next to had been taking either pictures or video clips during the performance.
“Anything worth posting to YouTube?” I asked.
“Nah, didn’t come out that well,” he replied. He never looked up from his phone. Oh well, I tried to be friendly. There were others though that were more engaging. A little old guy was handing out buttons with Jackie’s picture on them. Turns out he made them by hand and just wanted to give them out. I got mine. Nice guy, and so was the couple next to me. Not that the guy on the other side of me wasn’t nice, he was just in his own world.

The intermission ended and Jackie was back, in a new dress as always for the second half. It was black, but with some kind of flowery pattern on it. Nice, but it seemed like the kind of dress that was designed for a closeup view. I wasn’t getting any closer that night, but who knows, someday.The second half was just as good as the first, but it was the encore that was the biggest surprise. For the first time, I was hearing her sing Nessum Dorma. If you don’t know the song, look it up. It was written for a male, but Jackie had made it her own over the years. Now she was doing it live, before my unbelieving eyes. And she nailed it. All the high notes, all the subtleties-she nailed it. What a show. Of course she couldn’t sing all night, but that was where I wanted to be. I didn’t want it to end. But it had to. The house lights went up and I bid my adieu to my temporary neighbors and made my way out.

The finale of the night was going to be a nice steak dinner. That was the plan anyway. Not being familiar with Santa Barbara, I was having a difficult time finding a restaurant that was open. I-Hop, closed. Every other restaurant in the immediate area, closed. Really? Downtown Santa Barbara and nothing to eat? I walked back to the motel and jumped in the car, certain that I could find at least a Denny’s or something. I was wrong. After aimlessy driving around about 45 minutes I stopped at a gas station, to fill up-and get dinner. Not the ending of the day I had planned, but not knowing where to go it was that or nothing. After loading up with junk food I headed back to the motel to relax the rest of the evening. The dinner thing wasn’t going to ruin this day. I could think of all kinds of ways the day could have been better-but put them right out of my mind. It was a spectacular day, one that I will remember always. Skydiving, Jackie, no bugs-it was awesome.

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