Sometimes, you just need an adventure.
And, I believe Thursday night qualified as the biggest musical adventure of my life.
Instead of boring you with elegant prose about being impressed by two upstart acts at the House of Blues (Erin McCarley and Matt Nathanson) and at ease with a blissful 100-minute performance from Death Cab for Cutie at Hard Rock Orlando, here is a tick-tock of my crazy night trying to cover two acts at the same time:
7:05 p.m.: The House of Blues is packed, a sold out show to see Erin McCarley and Matt Nathanson open for headliner, Jack's Mannequin. There is still about 25 minutes to showtime.
7:31 p.m.: Erin McCarley gets the crowd riled up by taking the stage and winning her new fans with her cute personality and killer vocals. She is a cross between Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos, with drop-dead gorgeous looks.
7:39 p.m.: My three songs to photograph McCarley is up, but, unlike most opening acts, I get a good spot to watch the rest of her set. She is likeable and down-to-earth.
7:53 p.m.: McCarley breaks out her hit, "Love, Save the Empty," which saw time in the Top 20 on VH1's video countdown. Impressive and there were plenty of folks singing along at the top of their lungs.
8:19 p.m.: Back in the pit, this time to photograph Nathanson, who has stormed onto the scene this year after touring with big acts such as Lifehouse and Sarah Bareilles.
8:23 p.m.: Nathanson has the crowd in his palm after breaking out "Car Crash," which could easily be his next radio hit (hint, hint).
8:34 p.m.: It is almost as though Rick Springfield was in the building as Nathanson breaks out "Jessie's Girl," telling the crowd that he would help everyone work through "the limitations of our love."
8:43 p.m.: I've got to take off if I hope to catch Death Cab for Cutie at Hard Rock, leaving behind the latter portion of Nathanson's performance and the Jack's Mannequin act. But, in every adventure, you have to make decisions.
8:47 p.m.: My wife messages me that a fan in the crowd heckles Nathanson, whom jokingly mocks him and says he will take him out back and teach him a lesson. My money is on Nathanson, don't let the sexiness fool you.
9:15 p.m.: Moments after being lectured by CityWalk security guard Brian, I get a whiff of Cinnabon. Can. Not. Stop. Can I? Nope, have to get across the "pond."
9:24 p.m.: Ticket and photo pass in hand, I now have some time to take in the sold-out crowd at Hard Rock. It is a very interesting mix of people in their 50s down to teenagers. But, all of them are ready to party.
9:48 p.m.: Still waiting. Death Cab, where art thou?
9:57 p.m.: Waiting
10:02 p.m.: Here we go! The band starts guns ablazing with a great light show and back-to-back-to-back hits before ever saying a thing to the crowd. Shooting the show is tough, but a fun challenge to have.
10:49 p.m.: A standout version of "I Will Possess Your Heart," including an impressive jam session from the entire band. The group seems to be hitting a second wind after a slow 15 minutes or so.
11:20 p.m.: The band walks off-stage, but the crowd wants them back. In one of the most deafening encore calls, it doesn't take long for the band to re-emerge and play four more songs.
11:31 p.m.: It's over, but not before the best song of the night, "Transatlanticism." An insane drum performance by McGerr and a stellar vocal from Ben Gibbard ended my night on a high note.
And Cinnabon was closed on the way back. Sigh.