I always try to write a post for Thanksgiving, because it’s a way to remind myself how much I have to be thankful for. This year was even more special than any other. Just imagine yourself dreaming up the most perfect day, and then actually having it become reality. Well, that’s what I experienced this past weekend, at the University of Buffalo.
I’ve been listening to the music of Better than Ezra (BTE) for over 2o years and the only time I had seen them in concert was back in 1995 when they played Lee’s Palace in Toronto. After writing this blog post back in 2014, I connected with a fellow BTE fan named Dave. He tipped me off that Better than Ezra was going to be playing a concert within driving distance from the Toronto area in Buffalo, New York. The best part was that it was an all-ages show and over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend so the whole family could go!
The VIP Game Day Experience package included lunch, front of stage access to the concert, a ticket to the Buffalo Bulls football game, as well as a fountain drink and chips at the game for the low price of $36.
With it being Homecoming Weekend, we had no idea what to expect in terms of crowds so we arrived on campus a few hours early. As we rolled into a parking spot, I could hear “King of New Orleans” playing on a loudspeaker. Exiting the car, we realized that the music was live. We followed our ears and found ourselves watching Better than Ezra doing their sound check. Dave and his lovely wife, Paula, showed up a few minutes after we did. We watched BTE play some old favourites and a new song that Dave knew but I had never heard before. Right after the sound check, Michael Jerome Moore, BTE’s drummer, came over to say hello to us. So cool!
We wandered around the University of Buffalo North Campus for a bit, and then joined Dave and Paula for lunch at the VIP tent, which consisted of pizza, boneless Buffalo wings, and garlic bread knots from Santora’s Pizza Pub & Grill. I am admittedly a very messy eater, and as I wiped the grease and sauce off my fingers with a napkin, I considered heading over to one of the nearby buildings to wash up. This thought was interrupted by a smiling young woman who approached me and asked, “Would you like to go backstage and meet the band before the show?” There was no official Meet and Greet planned for the event, so this question came completely out of the blue. I hesitated for a moment, purely out of shock, before squeaking out an excited, “Yes!”
Meeting the entire band was amazing. We weren’t allowed to take photos (the university staff did) but the experience was not something that I will soon forget. Kevin, Tom, Michael, and Jim are very nice people and even though Meet and Greets are usually kind of rushed and weird, they took the time to actually chat with us. Immediately after, we made a beeline for the front of the stage, and ended up smack dab in the middle of a pep rally, complete with marching band, cheerleaders and the entire Buffalo Bulls football team. Oops!
I could hardly contain my excitement during the show, and being there with my family nearly made my heart explode with joy. I jotted down a set list on my phone hoping that it didn’t look like I was texting.
- King of New Orleans
- A Lifetime
- Feel Good (cover)
- Crazy Lucky
- Extra Ordinary/I Can’t Feel My Face (cover)/What I Got (cover)
- The Great Unknown
- Rush Medley
- Desperately Wanting
- Laid (cover)
- Miss You (cover)/Juicy/Rapper’s Delight (cover)/OPP (cover)
- In the Blood
According to the kids, these were the highlights of their day:
- Meeting Better than Ezra.
- Catching BTE guitar picks flung by the band into the audience.
- Watching the stage security guard. He scooped a guitar pick off the stage for himself, then danced and sang along to “Desperately Wanting” like no one could see him, even though he was facing the audience.
For me, a picture is worth a thousand words and this one says it all…