Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays 2012

We were in New York for a few days a couple of weeks ago, as you might remember. Or maybe not. Before we got there, there was a little airport shenanigans on both ends.

Not ours, oddly enough.

First, we were at Raleigh-Durham International waiting for our flight, and I pulled out my notebook to do a little writing. Before I could get it all the way out of my bag, this little female person rushed me so fast and unexpectedly that I startled and looked up at her. Then, she just stared at my notebook for several seconds, turned around and rushed back to her parents.

The notebook, which my brother gave me, has Phineas and Ferb on it, and, for a second, I think we both thought she was gonna grab it and run. Boy, would her parents have been surprised when they discovered the reading material was no way near as kid-friendly as the cover.

After that, we had a rather eventful flight – not quite like the LA-to-Cleveland flight we were on once where the plane suddenly dropped about ten feet, which I never need to experience again, but it gave us all a pretty good brain-rattle – before we landed at JFK. Then, came the cool, not-at-all cool thing.

As we were making the painfully slow journey between Terminal 5 (the BEST terminal) and the AirTrain, we took the escalator down by this wall of windows, and the ground outside was nothing but bicycle parts and outdoor decor and balls of all sports that had been deposited there by Sandy. Super-real or surreal? Hard to say.

Everything was a slow-go, because my ankle was still very much sprained. Still is, in fact. I’m no doctor, but I diagnose this as stupid. On a positive note, though, my left leg, which is always weaker than my right, could now be used as Thor’s hammer. It feels much like a steel beam in a skin suit.

As you might expect, the people of NYC loved getting behind me on subway stairs. It was a treat really. For all of us.

While we were in the city, apparently so was Jesus, which is the only thing that could explain the hotel prices for the week. This left us looking for cheap options outside our normal areas/digs. We ended up at a guesthouse in Harlem, basically a room rental with its own private bathroom in an old brownstone. The building was wow, and, despite reading how scary (i.e. colorful) the neighborhood was, it… you know… wasn’t. The lights outside were bright, though, and the curtains were bad. There was also a loud fight at roughly one a.m. that wasn’t exactly sleep-through-able. These are the only reasons I wouldn’t recommend it.

Cool place, though, and a super nice owner named Bert, who moved from the Caribbean and talked about warmer weather with a far-away look in his eye.

That night was our main event, Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays. It was so damn good, I could almost completely ignore the people around us. Somehow, we ended up in the “I’m only here because my company donated money and they gave us free tickets” section, meaning our flankers spent most of the time talking, breaking only for someone they wanted to hear ( pretty much Adam Lambert), and there was one guy who spent the entire concert smoking an electronic cigarette and getting into fights, then stumbled from his row so drunk at one point that he took a nose-dive into a guy across the aisle.

Despite this – or maybe because of it? – it was one of the greatest overall concerts I’ve ever seen.

There were the Sarah McLachlan, Rosie, Cyndi Lauper, Adam Lambert, Roberta Flack bits that were wholly delighting. Then, there was the moment that Terri Nunn walked onto the stage and actually sang, you guessed it, “Take My Breath Away.” At which point, eyes blinking in awe at the unexpected wonder that was an 80’s goddess singing one of the soaring-est ballads in the history of ever, I whispered, “Did you ever think you would see this?”

There was no response.

It was that awesome.

Other highlights:

Adam Lambert and Cyndi Lauper duet on “Mad World”

Sarah McLachlan and Cyndi Lauper duet on “Time After Time” (throughout which Sarah looked so excited to be alive it was thrilling in the balcony)


Jason Mraz showing up

Melanie Fiona showing up

And then –

Carmen Electra appearing onstage in a unitard to sing a number from her upcoming dance album.

I don’t know… but I couldn’t make that up. At which point, I heard Shawna whisper, “Is this real life?” (you know, like from “David After Dentist“) and I honestly wasn’t sure.

So that happened.

Then, Sunday was a day of extraordinarily slow moving all over the damn place to see pretty windows, aka lollygagging. And Monday was a free play reading, a few minutes with Redhead, and then off to the airport for a three-hour delay.

Because there is no such thing as an on-time departure out of JFK. Or LaGuardia. Or Newark.

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