Helen's Dave-o-rama

Helenís DaveCon 2007 Trip Report

I. Before the Show

This year's DaveCon was scheduled for Thursday, June 14. Since Thursday is audience participation night, I had prepared a song, and even practiced singing it at home, in case we happened to hit Stump the Band. I booked the crack-of-dawn flight for Thursday morning, this time on JetBlue into JFK instead of my usual USAirways or United flight into Laguardia.

I never sleep well the night before a trip, so I figured I might as well stay up and watch the show nearly live (with a slight DVR delay so I could still skip past the commercials), something I don't do very often. I got about three hours of sleep before the alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. Ouch.

This was my first time flying JetBlue, and I must say it was much nicer than the other airlines, not to mention dirt cheap. My round-trip cab fare (including toll and tip) between JFK and midtown was as much as my round-trip plane fare. Other benefits of JetBlue besides the cheap price: it was an actual jet, instead of the usual turbo-prop we get flying out of Burlington on the other airlines; it had far more legroom than any other plane I've been on; they have Direct TV at every seat, with free headphones provided; and they even have good snacks (I mean, who doesn't like Animal Crackers?).

Traci had e-mailed us a couple of days before the taping to tell us that the taping time had just been moved up to 3:30, and we had to be in line by 1:15. This didn't allow much time for travel delays, but fortunately my flight was right on schedule, and I got to the hotel around 10:30. I checked my bag (it was too early to check into a room), and was about to leave the hotel when David Yoder saw me in the lobby and came over and introduced himself. This was David's first DaveCon, and in fact his first trip to the Ed Sullivan Theater.

At 11:30, I met up with Traci and some of the others at Angelo's, right next to the Ed. Carl wasn't there yet, because his car had just been wrecked while parked outside of Traci's building. Carl arrived soon after, however, and was remarkably calm about the whole thing.

Most of the rest of the group (26 of us this year) straggled into Angelo's over the next hour or so, and after lunch we went down to line up for tickets. The pages passed out Stump the Band questionnaires while we were in line. I filled out my name, hometown, occupation, cell phone number (etc.) and the lyrics of my song, and answered an enthusiastic "Yes" to the question "Would you be willing to sing your song on tonight's show?" Unfortunately, the guy who was supposed to collect the forms (and make prospective contestants sing their song on the sidewalk to see if they could do it in front of people without freaking out or breaking out laughing) never came back for our forms. We finally gave them to a page when we got our tickets, but by then it was very close to show time, and I doubt that anyone even looked at them. Oh, well, maybe next year.

There wasn't much time before we had to get back in line for the show, so we loitered out on 53rd St. for a while, and some of us went in to say hi to Rupert and tell him we miss seeing him on the show lately.

Bill Lehecka, whose train had been delayed, made a dramatic arrival just before we were led into the theater. He was initially told he was too late and would not be let in (despite the fact that the staff said they would hold his ticket), but eventually he did get in and joined us in the lobby.

After the usual pre-show instructions (the pages were great, BTW), Marilyn passed out mints. For some reason she had Ice Breakers instead of the traditional Altoids -- well, close enough.

Next page: II. The Big Show