Last July, I showed the picture of me recording Luke Sienkowki proposing to Sara Trice and this weekend they get married.
Since I first met Luke at Alcon 2000, I have had the opportunity to see many musical performances by many talented people over the years and as appreciation of the work he has done on and off stage, am listing the most memorable ones. (Note: I am not including performances by Weird AL since I would have seen his shows whether or not I met Luke or got involved in the Dementia community. The ones listed are only cover those I saw because of Luke)
I am going to put them in cronological order:
Windycon masquerade. November 2003: As has has done at Gencon for years, Luke performed entertainment while the judges decided who won. He always adds extra backing tracks to his show CD just in case he needs more time than given. This time, the judges could not make up their mind and he was on stage for over 90 minutes instead of the 20 he was expected. I had to rush his back up CD of music to the person playing it and then with the playlist in my hand tell him what number since I could tell what he was going to play by either the audience request or his hint. Now with his background music on a portable device, that would not happen again but the chaos that happened on stage along with how well he handled it caused the show to make my list. If I ever write the book about my experiences with music and fandom, that night would be the first chapter.
The Nick Atoms. March 2004: Luke told people you have to come to a convention called Marscon located in Bloomington, MN. 7 of us packed into a van and we headed there. I was going to the parties but decided to listen to their show. I was amazed by their unique sound and style and though they have gone their seperate ways now, appreciated what they had.
Da Vinci's Notebook. March 2004: I heard some of their music played on the trip to Marscon but was not impressed. I was still talked by Luke into driving to Madison Wisconsin the following weekend to see them on their farewell tour. From the first song, I was mesmorized by how well they performed together with no instruments. Upon seeing two of them a couple of years later as a different act, I mentioned that show and they both wished that someone was recording it.
Penguicon filk circle. April 2004: Filk circles are a staple of most science fiction conventions and they consist of people sitting in a room and in turn performing a song. Some are funny, some are serious. Most of the time when this is happening, I would rather be in one of the party rooms. This one was different as by 2 AM it consisted of comedy music artists rather than filkers. In turn they each performed a song to the dozen or so people watching. The finale was when ShoEboX from the group Worm Quartet decided to perform a brand new song which is his attempt to write the most evil song every written. The room was broken into three groups and each had a word to chant on cue. The song performed "What Your Parents Think (all your music sounds like)" is still enjoyed by everyone who listens to it and many people, including me, move to a specific part of the room when they realize it is time for that song so they can chant their favorite evil word.
Sudden Death. April 2004: On the weekend Weird Al's parents died from Carbon Monoxide poisoning, there was a small convention in the Chicago area. I had heard Sudden Death perform a couple of times before most notably to the backs of people who were in line to get an autograph from Weird AL and his wife Suzanne in 2002. With his projector, his show made fans of many there. He got a rare standing ovation by other artists about his song concerning work meetings. The folowing year he had the number one song on the Dr Demento show and in 2007, had numbers 1,2, and 4 and his album was considered for a Grammy.
Dragon*con masquerade September 2005: In early 2005, Luke started work on a special song to perform with Carrie and she could not wait for me to hear it once it was done. When she accidentally told me the name "Grease Wars" a month before it was finished I knew exactly what it was going to be; a series of song parodies from Grease telling the story of Star Wars episode 4, A New Hope. When I first saw it performed, I knew it was special. After hearing it many times in 5 different states, it was time for Dragon*con. They were able to get a spot in the masquerade and since I was filming it for them, I was able to join the room of over 5,000 people hoping they would react to the song the same way I did. The reaction was so positive, he must have sold over 150 CDs that night after the masquerade ended and more during it by people who saw it on tv and headed to his table to get the song now.
Gencon August 2006: Though Luke was the halftime entertainment at the Gencon masquerade for many years, he only in recent years also got time to perform regular shows there. Devo Spice and ShoEboX joined Luke and Carrie for 3 hours of total mayhem on stage.
Jonathan Coulton October 2007: The two members of Da Vinci's notebook who still wanted to do music formed a group called Paul and Storm. On a rainy Monday night, I drove to the House of Blues to see Paul and Storm perform in the upstairs bar and not the main stage. Before them was a stoic, bearded performer sitting on a chair playing a guitar and singng in a calm tone. I was aptiently waiting for Paul and Storm but while talking to the person at Coulton's merch table to find out more about him I heard a lyric that got my attention, "Kennesaw Mountain Landis was a bad mother fucker". Knowing who he was I stopped talking and moved toward the stage to listen to the rest of his set. After finishing with "Re:Your Brains" and "First of May" (done with Paul and Storm) I was back at the merch table to get two CDs. The next time I saw both groups perform Paul and Storm was first and with the popularity of Portal and the song "Still Alive" they played to overflow houses and had to move to two larger venues to accomidate everyone who wanted to see them.
Paul and Storm March 2008: After a long time, Luke finally got Paul and Storm to appear at Marscon. Half way through the show, they stopped the show to take a phone call from Jonathan Coulton on stage. Though they knew it was going to be over the time allowed, they had to perform their final song "The Captain's Wife's Lament". As expected with the crowd, everything went well over the top, and by the time they were done one person was laughing so hard he could barely breathe.
Luke and Carrie Gencon 2010: The Gencon audience for Luke's show has always been the best con one that does not feature a lot of hardcore fans. Since Luke's wedding plans made it too difficult for him to make a complete new album, he did not need to play all new songs but decided to play material from his past as well as present material with Carrie who also played new material. In one song, the crowd, without having heard it before, was able to chant Wil Wheaton as the line before it led people to that rhyme. When the introduction to Grease Wars played (a song they had not performed in almost two years at that time) started, the reaction from the crowd gave me chills and though the song has become redundant for me as I have heard it over 250 times and seen it performed 45 times live, it was awesome to see it done.
While doing this, two other performances which are personally special to me need to me mentioned:
Rush June 2008: Yes, the group with Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeton and Neil Pert. Sara (who has a picture with her siblings and Geddy Lee on her wall) is able to get comp tickets and that year, she asked me to go with her. Sitting on the floor of the United Center ten rows from the stage is something I will never forget. I can't believe they have never even been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Carrie Dahlby March 2010: In 2007 Carrie wanted to parody the Eminem song he did with his daughter and used my kid for that role. Though she had performed on stage with my kid before, it was special to see them on stage at Marscon.