From: Sophy Goo
May 11, 1999
Palace Theatre
Albany, NY




It started out as a 3,000 ml trip just to see the Goos in Concert...it ended up the trip of a lifetime!...and I'm still reeling ;-

I was so nervous something would go wrong...my transmission would fall out...I wouldn't make it to the airport on time...yada yada yada. But everything was smooth sailing. Because the trip was so expensive, I couldn't bring anyone along. Luckily I came across the "World of Goo Website" where it listed people who were going to the concert and were willing to hook up with others that were going. I ALMOST choose to go to the Olean concert (which was canceled), fortunatly, I choose Albany and immediatly e-mailed Danielle...the only one on the list. People asked me "Why Albany?"...to which I responded..."Well Iv'e always wanted to go to NY and Albany seemed like a nice place to go"...which was true...But honestly?...It was a gut thing. Danielle e-mailed me back the next day...She must've thought I was out of my mind to be going that far...but she too knew that the Goos were worth the trip...at least for some spontanious, crazy person like me anyways. We instantaniously had a connection and e-mailed eachother back and forth almost everyday with updates...what hotel we were staying at and what have you...but because of the time-change, the diff. hrs. we work and such, we kept playing phone tag.

As the plane took off, 'Black Balloon' came over my headphones...It was a beautiful moment that made it all seem so meant to be. Finally, after busting my ass for a month and a half straight at work to be able to come to this concert, I made it to Albany. It was a Sunday and the weather was dreary...but I had high hopes that it would clear up by Tues. (the day of the concert). All that praying paid off and weather got gorgeous! I did TONS of shopping on Mon., trying to pass the time and get souveneers for everyone...boy was I exhausted...So I decided to stay back in my hotel. I started to get bored and turned on the radio and came across this top 40ish station called "Fly 92" (little edorsement-lol) It took me several tries upon which I almost gave up, but I got through and requested that the DJ play "Slide" by the GGD's...I told him of my situation thinking he would be more likely to play it. Well, he did much more than that. He said to me, "Did you know that were having a contest over the Internet for backstage access to the concert to see thier soundcheck?"...I freaked out to say the least. Then he said, "Hold on a sec". When he got back on the line, he did a lil' impromtu interview with me and then put most of it on the radio as "Slide" started to intro in the background. He said that I must've been the biggest Goo fan out there to travel that far JUST to see them in concert. That moment alone was thrilling. Little did I know what would happen next...

I didn't have my computer with me of course...so I called my fiance back home and asked him to enter me in the contest. He did...three times!!! Lol...That was so they could reach me if I was out of my hotel room or whatever. By the way, that was the last day I could enter. I also called and left a message for Danielle to do the same...of course she wasn't home!..lol. I really didn't know what to expect. I was so hyped about going to the concert that I didn't even think about the contest. The next day I get a call...and it didn't sound like Danielle or anyone I knew for that matter. Immediatly I knew I had won...the people at the radio station were so cool (thank you Kristan and Greg-you guys are th greatest!!!) I was in such a state of shock, that I couldn't focus on what to do next, or who to call. When I was finally able to get a grip (lol), I called Danielle. It was cool because not only was this the first time I had got to speak to her over the phone, rather than an answering machiene, but I got to tell her the most fantastic news! She was elated to say the least, kept sayin' "Oh my Gawd!" I told her to call Holly and Lizzy (two other girls who were going) an give them the news. I knew I only had two passes but we were going to do everything in our power to get them to go too. (Kristan said I should do a lot of smoozing-lol) Then I called my fiance to tell him the news. He was on his lunch break so I told one of the girls that works with him to give him the news. She said to me that Robert (my fiance) had also written to the station begging them to make me the happiest girl in the world. I started to tear up, it was the sweetest thing he could have ever done for me, esp. because he was so worried about me...I'm a lucky girl in more ways than one ;-).

The day of the concert arrives and I had to switch hotels because the hotel I WANTED to stay at was booked Monday (it was the closest to the venue) So I get there and Danielle and Holly were waiting in the Lobby (Lizzy never showed). After we hugged, said our hellos and got settled in our room, we celebrated w/ Champainge and beer...it got to be close to the time we had to leave so we gussied up (Holly had a cool Goo shirt from way back when...lucky girl) and when we got to the lobby, it occuried to me that our Hotel was exceptionally nice. Just out of curiosity, I asked the front desk if the GGDs were staying at the hotel...it turns out they had just checked out. THEY were the reason it was booked Monday...lol...I should've known. I assumed because they had the day off they would go back to Buffalo and visit family and stuff...turns out they spent the whole day off roamin' around in Albany...and we missed them by a hair!

That was ok though, because we knew we'd get our chance. So we get to the venue (a beautiful historic theatre) but only about half the people that won had showed up...which I don't get...why would you enter a contest only not to show up?...esp. the Goos...oh well, that only meant more time to spend with them...and Kristen said we would have no trouble getting Holly in at that point. So were standing there waiting for the promoter to arrive to let us in. Off in the distance, about 500 yds away I saw a tall guy...and I knew it had to be Mike. The girls were like 'No way, it can't be him' but I said, "Come on, it's worth a try". Everyone else was oblivios to it, most of the winners weren't even big Goo fans anyway, just familiar with a couple of thier songs and such, it was sad. So we start walking in his directon and the closer we got, the more sure we were it was him. Holly started to walk faster and faster...lol. About ten feet away, we saw that Johnny was there too. We couldn't believe our luck! He looked so much like a roadie that we didn't even recognize him...lol. Mike said 'hello' and started to approach us before we even got up next to him. He truely is the sweetest guy in the world ;-) We each took pics with him and made casual conversation and patiently waited for Johnny to end his conversation with one of the crew guys. Then Johnny in all his glory approached us. He didn't seem tired at all, he looked very refreshed, very upbeat, and happy. We took pictures and I gave hime a bag of goodies (it included everything to make his imfamous "Lemondrop Martini"....including the Belvadere Vodka, a poem I had written for him, a black and white picture book of Picasso's last days paiting, some multicolored post-it notes for him to write his songs on, a sticker for his guitar that said 'www.byte-me.com' ...since he's not a big fan of the internet...they say a lot of s@#$ about him sometimes, an 'idiot's guide to playing the guitar'...cause he's always complaining that he doesn't know how to play very well...I beg to differ, a chinese good-fortune bracelet in one of his fave.colors-orange, and a card with a chinese symbol meaning "harmony". Holly gave Mike a GOOd-luck turtle so he wouldn't get hurt on the tour...it happens in 3's ya know...and gave Johnny a stuffed happy face to which they both thanked her for her thoughtfulness. They then went back inside to start the sound-check and we went back to the doors where everyone was waiting for the promoter...not long after he came through and lead us into the venue...everyone but Johnny had took the stage (maybe he was sifting through al the gifts I got him...lol) A few minutes later he comes out and they start to play my fave song 'Hate This Place'...I was so happy...Us three girls seemed to be the only ones into it...the people beside us even complained of being bored...how is that possible?...Someday these guys will be legends and how many people get to witness something so fascinating...what goes on behind the scenes. Johnny was doing all the directing...he gets so focused in on his work...he has true passion and true grit, that HAS to be admired. At one point he told them to 'cut' and said to the band, "Did you guys even know I was playing an entirely different song?'"and Nathan piped up, "I dunno, I wasn't listening" to which Johnny put his foot down and said, "That's my point!" Gawd it was funny, Holly, Danielle and I started crackin' up. I wanted to scream out...'listen to Johnny gawd damn-it!'...but I didn't want to be rude. Danielle wanted to go to the bathroom and I went with to scope out the premises and see what the Goos looked like from the balcony (where I was SUPPOSED to sit) but we had a plan to get me down close so I could sit with, or close to the girls. Danielle had bought her tickets earlier than me, before I even knew I was going and gave her extra to Holly). Afterwards, while the Goos were still doing thier sound-check I went up to the promoter and introduced myself, told him my story and asked if he had any tickets left so that maybe I could get closer. Unfortunatly he didn't, but was really interested in why I came all that way just to see the Goos (he IS a prooter after all). His name was Ed by the way, for such a big-whig, he is a really cool guy. Just then someone from another radio station approached me, it was the guy I had originally contacted throught e-mail about backstage passes...he had e-mailed me back and sypathized with me and told me to keep in touch, that he wasn't aware of any passes at the time. That day though a bunch of kids showed up dressed with "Edge 103.3" written all over thier bodies and stuff trying to win backstage passes. I was a little miffed, but I couldn't say for sure if he had lied to me or not, because he was a nice guy to approach me like that and all. Anyways, we went back to sit in our seats and watch the rest of soundcheck, hoping I hadn't missed anything, luckily Holly told me I hadn't. After they finished the sound-check, they walked down to meet everyone, I don't think everyone got to meet them unf. and I missed Robby because the promo guy and Dave the manager I guess were rushing them off to do radio interviews. I was so caught up in my moment with John that I was even paying attention to them...lol. He worked his way down introducing himself an when he got to Holly he said, "I met you outside!"...I told John that Holly had worked backstage at one of his shows yrs ago because I knew she would foget to tell him and he was like "Oh yeah, which one?" I can't remember what else transpired, but he gave her a kiss on the cheek ...THIS I didn't know til' it was all over...I was a little jealous at that, but hey, I was MORE than satisfied with what I got in return. When John got to me, I didn't expect to be so calm...I said, "You know what, I didn't get a hug"...So he was like, "C'm here"...and I tell you, he gave me the warmest, kindest, most gracious hug I've EVER recieved-and NOT just because it was John Rzenik. I asked him while we were hugging if he opened his gift and he said, "Yes I did, and thak-you SO much" He must've been genuinely touched by the poem I wrote cause' when I went to naturally pull away from the hug, he pulled me back, kept rubbing my back and saying "Thank you So much"...To which I replied, "No, thank YOU" as I put my hand on my chest in a heartfelt jesture. Touching his heart was more important to me than touchin HIM alone. If I had not have been so caught up in the moment, I prolly would have started to cry. I then asked him to sign a couple things for me. I had him sign this really cool black and white pic which he mustv'e really liked because he said, "Where did you get this?"...then he signed my 'City of Angels' songbook. That must've been the first one he signed because he was like, "What's this?...oh yeah, ok". Right after that, he took off to do the interviews and took off with my sharpie...lol. That's ok, cause' I brought an extra ;-). After that we all had to leave the venue until they started letting ppl into the concert. I was mad cause' I didn't get to meet Robbie, so we decided to go back to the spot where we met them in the first place. However, we were sure NOT to become nuiscences, so we casually stayed around that area, hoping to run into him. One of the times we walked by, I saw Johnny in the bus fixing his hair and he waived to me, and I of course waived back with a big cheesy grin on my face. We saw Mike again...he took off down the road and diasappeared, no-one recognizing him...how funny, he DOES look like such a reg. guy though, he can get away with that. When he got back, we asked where he went, and he said he just went for a walk. I got his signature at that point and told him Johnny had stole my pen, he said, "That bastard!". It was a riot. We knew Robbie was resting on the bus and weren't about to bug him...and while we waited for him, Johnny walked past us again and serenaded us signing, "This way, that way..." to which I responded..."Every which way..." It was so funny. While we waited, we talked to Ray the main bouncer. He too was so awesome. Imagine Santa Claus wearing leather and a Harley davidson t-shirt on crack, lol, that's Ray. He let Danielle and I sit in his and some other bouncer's chairs. I also talked some more with Ed, the promoter for the Goos...he has been a promoter for Warner Bros. for 33 yrs! I was so interested in his line of work, it seems like it would be an interesting job. Hanging around, we missed getting to go backstage with the winners from the Edge contest...we saw them walk in and were sure they would have let us in too after talking to one of the station's heads, but it was ok cause' we were got to see the soundcheck AND get to meet them a couple of times, we knew they'd prolly just do a walk through with them too, so it was fruitless. I suppose I could have said something, it WOULD have been cool to see what backstage was like. But I didn't want to miss my chance of Robbie getting off the bus. Just then, Robbie came off, and I said to him, "There's the man!"...he had a look of pain on his face...but managed a "Hey there!" I took a REALLY quick pic with him...I hadn't known he had so recently hurt his leg otherwise I wouldn't have asked for a pic...but he was gracious and I'll be praying for his quick recovery. He was acting out of character from the person most everyone else gets to meet, but that was entirely to be expected and when the concert started, he managed to get through with all the enthusiasm and spunk he prolly' normally has. Between him and Johnny, they have more persaverance and gusto than anyone I know...even MORE reason to be a fan. At this point Frogpond had allready played, and Fastball was about in the middle of thier session (I DO like fastball, but I came to see the Goos) when this lady selling tickets had three and was willing to let them go at half price. Without much contimlpating, we decided it was a good deal, we'd all be together, only two rows back from where Danielle and Holly had tickts for AND we were in the center, whereas b/f they were up against the wall. It was cool of the girls to give up two rows just so we would all be together...thx guys ;-)

We weren't able to get rid of our extra tickets, but that's ok cuss the Goo's were worth the extra 10 bucks ;-). From winning the soundcheck contest we also got free autographed DUTG cds...mine has Robbie's thumbprint which I think is an added bonus!...and also got 2 MORE free tickets!...but the tickets were so far back...so I gave them to our waitress, who was really cool. After the soundcheck, we went to the bar accross the street to have some drinks and lunch...she had asked if we were going to the concert and I said..."U know it!" I asked her is she was going, and she said she wasn't really familiar with thier music and had to work, but she would have liked to go. I asked her if she would be able to go if I gave her the tickets and she said, "Yeah, right after the rush, but I'll prolly miss the beginning". I told her there were two other bands playing so that wouldn't be a problem and she gave me a big hug and was so appreciative....ANYTHING to make a new Goo fan I say....the more Goo fans the better...the ones that aren't are surely missin' out!

The concert was phenominal to say the least, not only do they sound better live (if that's at all possible) but they are so good at entertaining the crowd and getting them going. Johnny, since Robbie was left to sit in a chair, I assume was putting on TWICE the amount of flair and energy as he normally does cuss' he was all over that stage and when he got down on his knees and was playing the guitar, I about lost it-BOY CAN HE MOVE! During the second song, Johnny's guitar wasn't working...you could just sense the tention, he was irate...but he kept on singing! They backstage crew tried to get it working for him again, but once more it failed...by this time, John spontaniously walked over to Nathan (whom we never got to meet) said, "Watch this..." took his guitar and started to do this awesome solo. I tell you...that had to be the highlight of the show...he made the best of a bad situation and it sent chills up and down my spine. Then, Robbie was singing January friend and John went to push his chair so that he would go wheelin' accross the stage but instead the chair got knocked out from underneath him. For a moment John panicked thinkin' he had broke Robbie's back, but luckily he was ok and Robbie kept singing as John stood over him playin' his guitar. It was scary and hilarious at the same time. Johnny talked quite a bit at this show telling his usual jokes, talkin' about thier recent injuries, making reference to how they made some good friends and saw some beautiful ppl while they were in town (wink wink) and that the town they were in previous, looked like everyone had got beat by an ugly stick...lmao! Johnny is freakin' funny, I expected him to be much more shy and introverted...he wasn't THIS time, that's for sure...He wore a ski type hat for the concert and when it wasn't fallin' in his face, it was fallin' off...and each time it did, every woman and teenage girl would start to scream...even me I think....as messy as it was, it looked sooo good! ( I think maybe the messier the better-lol) He knew what was going on too, so he started to tease us...puttin' the hat back on and watchin' the crowd go silent...then quickly takin' it off to roaring excitement of the crowd. Then Robbie said, "I wonder what would happen if you took your pants off!"...to which Johnny replied (after the screamin' came down a notch), "I don't even think the front row would notice...they'd have to bring out the microscope!"...Oh gawd, I was dying with laughter. Right before the encore they of course left the stage and hoards of ppl (who I assume had never been to a concert b/f) started to leave. I took up the chance to snag thier seats and said to Holly and Danielle, "Let's go!". Before we knew it, we were in the center and about four rows back...PLUS I had my mini-binoculars with me, so THAT was a plus. Holly was nice enough to hide both mine and Dani's disposable cameras in her bra and even though there was staff right next to us, we managed to get in some pretty good pics I think...even though I kept putting my finger on the lens...lol. The guy behind me must've sensed how much of a Goo fan I was cuss he tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if i wanted my pic taken with the Goos playin' in the background...that was sooo nice of him (everybody in this town was nice), so I let him borrow my binoculars and he too was thankful. I think he had been pissed off in the very beginning cuss I held up my sign that said. "Hey Johnny, r 'U' Happy?" and he couldn't see (I should've thought of that) I had made another sign that said, "I'm So Ga Ga 4 Goo Goo, I flew 3,000 mls 2 C U!" but I didn't hold it up cuss I allready told them that. I think Johnny was really impressed that I had flown all that way, it hopefully made them feel good, after all, there were some times they would get booed offstage. He asked me where I was from and I said, "Wash. St"....he said, "O yeah, what part?" and I told him it was about three hrs southeast of Seattle...so maybe that means he'll come our way next tour, who knows....actually, I hope not cuss' the ppl here are roudy and obnoxious so I'd rather travel to see them. After the concert, we headed back towards Dani's car and thier was a swarm of ppl waiting outside (Oh sure, NOW they wanted to meet them...lol) We decided to wait to see them come out and one by one they exited...unf. no-one did anything when Mike came out....true fans....yeah, whatever! Dave kept pokin' his head out of the building but each time he poked it back in b/f I got a pic. Finally Johnny came out and a swarm of girls rushed passed the bouncers...it happened so fast and he had this look of panic on his face for a moment...quickly he got on the bus and as it drove of, I blew them a kiss good-bye...we saw that they were headed out of town to thier next venue and it was all over ='-( and even though we had planned on and wanted to go out really bad afterwards, Dani an Holly were way too tired...they had been up for almost 24 hrs. We got back to the hotel and after I packed up I decided to go down to the bar and have a drink. I had never had a Lemondrop Martini and decided to try one, the bartender looked puzzled and said he had never made one b/f but it turned out to be really good...so good in fact that I think that is curently my fave. drink. Anyways, it was the perfect ending to a perfect day, a perfect trip. I chatted with the bartender for a while...We talked about music and how the Goos had been in that very same bar the night b/f...it was all so surreal...he said he didn't get to meet them but talked to other ppl in the Hotel that had and said that they were really cool and how Mike met up with a former classmate of one of the Goos and they went out jogging together the next morning. After that I went back up to my room and konked out. I woke up the next morning having had a strange and funny dream about Johnny...that my mom and dad had a thrift store in thier house and I was tanning (lol) downstairs and he bought almost everything in the store...he packed up his truck and I blew him a kiss as he waved back with a big smile on his face and drove off into the sunset. ps...if anybody can anylize this dream, please give me your input...lol.

That morning Holly, Dani, and I said our fairwells...they are really cool people...people who make me want me to be a better person...And I think we will all remain good friends from this experience. And Dani, if your reading this, you BETTER stop by on that roadtrip of yours g/f!

That morning as the plane took off...I put my headphones on and listened to 'Hate This Place'....it was so cool, again, surreal. Then when I got back to my car to drive three more hrs. home I couldn't get good radio reception on any of the stations because I was so high up in the elevation and mountain area...suddenly this station came in loud and clear and the dj was talking about funny named bands...and what else comes on the radio, but 'Slide'...it was a clear sign to me that this whole trip was meant to be...almost too good to be true. Thank you to all of those ppl who made this trip a memorable one ;-)