Last Saturday I was supposed to see JR Richards in Santa Barbara. I was REALLY looking forward to it. I even had a small notebook packed in case inspiration struck. So… there was a butt load of traffic going into SB. I dunno why. The road was clear. Idiot drivers most likely. And then the wind was blowing. I mean BLOWING. You could see the sand traveling along the beach. And if you were fool enough to sit there and watch the waves like I was then you got nailed by it. Yes, I had sand down my shirt which I later discovered at bed time. Of course I suppose that is better than sand in your shorts. But I’m getting off track.
Dinner was decent mexican food and a alcoholic beverage at Sharkeez after which we strolled the streets a bit and ended up at the beach. I really love the beach, despite the wind. I have a thing for the waves and I love to feel the squishy sand between my toes the waves swirling around my feet. I don’t really even mind that the water is cold. I feel at peace when I’m near the water. But this night there was something off. I knew it almost as soon as I got into town.
I remember SB being a nice community. Now I don’t know if this is a reflection of the economy or what but everywhere I looked there were vagrants. And the place smelled bad (like vagrants and urine). Considering that when I was hotel shopping for the weekend one of the sites claimed that SB was California’s version of the Riviera it was very disappointing. If I’d never been there and had gone expecting the Riviera I would have been mortified and demanded a refund on my hotel stay. I didn’t find a room btw… they wanted $200 a night for a small place near the beach that looked like they might host bedbugs. The nice place near the beach wanted $400. LOL
The concert was at The Savoy Theatre, which is not really a theatre but a retro look lounge. It says it’s a theatre so that’s what I was expecting but don’t be deceived. It’s NOT! And it’s also NOT organized at all. They had playbills posted along the street announcing the nights performance, they read: 7:00 doors open 8:00 performance. Sounds reasonable right? I thought so. We were in front at 6:45 where we noticed a few really dressed up late 40’s/50ish women already waiting. Oookay. So we stood around for awhile. After 7:00 a man came out and said they would be letting us in at 7:30 and to form a line. So we did that. At around 7:40 they opened the doors.
Once inside I could see what they were trying to do. The place as I said is retro with couches arranged in seating patterns conducive to conversations. There are three levels to the place which is odd. The first floor has a bar, seating and the stage with an open area in front. The second level is a bar with more seating (but not much) and a balcony where you can stand and watch the stage. The third level is closed, you can’t see the stage and the music is piped in. It also has a bar and plenty of seating. And unless you want to spend $200 the third level is where you end up. So you’re at a live concert but NOT. They’ve generously (sarcasm much.. who me?!) placed flat screen TV’s around, which I assume are used to telecast the concert.
I was shocked. The tickets didn’t cost much $15 a piece and I assumed that there would be a two drink minimum but I never expected to be asked to spend $200 to be able to actually see and hear the concert. I’m not working right now. $15 with a drink or two is in the budget. $200 is NOT! So after standing outside for more than an hour I wanted to sit somewhere for awhile. It’s after 8pm by this time and that was my second clue that the concert wouldn’t be starting on time. So I’m sitting on the third floor wondering what in the hell I am doing there. The place had a strange vibe to it. I look at the drink prices which are $12 a drink. Okay that’s only double what we just paid at Sharkeez but I’m not shocked. Yet. Then I ask a cocktail waitress when to expect the concert to start (before ordering a drink) and she doesn’t know. Excuse me, seriously?! How can you not know. Wouldn’t they tell the staff before they opened what the schedule was for when customers asked… See… NOT organized. So she leaves for about 10 minutes and comes back to say that they have an opening act that will be on around 9pm and that JR Richards won’t be on until around 1030pm. At this point I’m wondering how we went from 8pm to 1030. I may not be a mathematical genius but I know that doesn’t compute. Even if we had an opener which is always nice (discover new music) THAT should have started at 8pm as promised. Which would mean JR would be on at say 930.
I left. I did. I felt out of place. And undervalued. Having paid the $15 got me nothing but a list of what I couldn’t have. And a delayed concert. Truthfully I wasn’t even sure at that point if there would be a concert with the way things had happened prior. I couldn’t shake the feeling that after ordering your drinks they would come out at a bit past 9pm and apologize for the delays and state that things were cancelled due to something; tech problems, singers voice, traffic, or who knows what. It was sad and disappointing. I LOVE live music. In my opinion, live music is inspirational to the writer. You can get lost in the rhythm of the music and sometimes plots take interesting twists and turns. I was hoping for this truthfully. I need a little help with the fix of Julien and Laurel and was hoping this would be just the thing.
Okay, I’m done pouting now. The moral of this story. Don’t give The Savoy Theatre in Santa Barbara your money. They ain’t worth it. Now I don’t blame JR Richards and given that his voice sounds like a full bodied red wine, I will eventually see him at another venue.