Monday, May 17, 2010


May 16, 2010

I had no preconceived notions about what I would hear when I went to Lincoln Hall on Sunday night. I went because I could, because a night out with friends, dinner, cocktails and live music is always better than sitting around watching TV; dreading  Monday morning .

It’s a nice, intimate venue. You walk inside and there is a bar and a few tables. They serve drinks and dinner. The big doors that bookend the bar led into the performance area. It probably seats 50 people comfortably. You walk in and there is a DJ booth that shares the wall with the bar. A few steps lead you down to the main floor that faces a small stage. The floor was lined neatly with rows of resin folding chairs. The show didn’t start until 8pm but my friends, knew to gravitate to the front row. We were a trio that usurped 4 chairs.

We had been told that the opening act would be Rachele Eve, she would start at 8pm and Jill Hennessy (the headliner) would start at 915pm. I’ve been to indie sets before, when as many as 6 bands would play in one night, each partitioned to start as soon as the first group finished. The art of putting up and taking down equipment never equaled enough time to keep a schedule precisely finished.

We were sitting at the front row by 730pm, by the time 755pm came along, I was well into my 2nd drink. I had a Stella Artois with dinner and now I followed with a Long Island Iced Tea. I stepped out at 755pm and made my way to the restrooms.

Talking to my server; stood Jill Hennessy. I didn’t even see her face, all I saw was the massive hair on her shoulders and stopped, then I heard her voice speaking and I knew. Here stood Claire Kincaid, Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh, the actor who played these characters on shows I had watched and thoroughly enjoyed for several years!

I stood close, but not threatening, she had her back to me, but I did want to say something to her. I had gotten a tweet on Friday from a twitter friend who told me about Jill’s concert, I made a few phone calls and before I left work on Friday, I had bought tickets. Jill had tweeted:

       Chicagoland here I come! And I ain't to proud to beg... PLEASE come to my gig @lincolnhall THIS Sunday May 16th at 8PM

As she turned, I asked tentatively, my hand inches from her elbow. “Jill?” She turned to me, said “Yes” and gave me a 100watt smile.  She took my hand still in mid air and we shook hands. We talked about her tweet, she thanked me for coming. I asked if she was selling the CD she said yes, as well as T-shirts and she promised she’d sign anything. I told her I looked forward to it. Then I asked to be photographed with her. I pulled out my iPhone and the server took our photo. Jill was so sweet to pose, jamming her face close to mine. I think it’s an instinctual move, we see this small tiny thing and we just naturally jam our faces together because we think it’s not going to be able to fit. I notice that when someone pulls out a cell phone, we all do it. It was just a bit unnerving to be doing it with a celebrity. Taking a picture I mean.

Then in my nervous habit of saying too much, I turned to her and gushed. “You’re so pretty and so very skinny! You need a sandwich!” I barked at her. She looked a bit stunned, she smiled, but thinking of it now, I know I had my foot firmly implanted in my mouth.

“A sandwich?” She asked. I, playing the nincompoop very well, nodded moronically and repeated my comment of how skinny she was. Don’t all actors, models and pretty people love being told they look skinny? Again, it’s a size 10 hanging out of my jaw.

She laughed, said how she can’t eat before a performance because, when you eat, you can’t control your muscles and less lung strength, etc. Something that sort of made sense to me, not being a singer, but I knew enough to know, I needed to shut up and let the woman go.

I ran back regaled my friends with my stupidity and settled down for the opening act.

Rachele Eve played an acoustic guitar, another guy played an electric guitar and another guy who sat on what looked like a wooden box drum, called a cajon, a Cuban box drum. They reminded me of a Corinne Rae Bailey, my friend said Norah Jones. She sang with a sweet voice, I’m no expert of music, I just know what I like. Her set was about 45-50mins long. I enjoyed their music, listening to her sing was like enjoying a sweet, sunny, summer afternoon, lingering in a bucolic moment of careless relaxation. It reminded me of childhood afternoons when I was made to take naps and the breeze blew the lace curtains to and fro, mesmerizing a child into slumber.

She left to enthusiastic applause. The small audience had started to swell. I had ordered a 2nd Long Island iced tea a few minutes after she had started singing. But before Jill Hennessy’s set began, I had order my 3rd iced tea and my 4th alcoholic drink for the night. I’m trying to set up the rest of the night.

Listening to Rachele Eve was like listening to the afternoon, then Jill Hennessey came in and descended like night, she was all the midnight moments of questioning moments, dark doubts and reflective regrets. She was beautiful, articulate, engaging, she spoke to the audience, at ease and unabashed.

Then she sang stories of struggle, grief, heartache and regret. I was a bit stunned. This was no dilettante actress foraging through musical terrain. This was a musician who knew how to act. She dominated the stage with her personal charisma and her voice that echoed the pain of the stories she told. She stroked an acoustic guitar accompanied by Robbie Gjersoe on a slide guitar. It was sparse but beautiful

I really hope you, dear reader, will take the time to listen to her songs, she is now listed as singer-songwriter rather than actress. I did no homework prior to seeing her live, I would rather be surprised. But now I sift through the internet and find numerous listings of her performances and wonder, "Where the hell have I been?"

This is Jill holding up notes she was given, reminding her to mention that she would be selling CDs and had T-shirts for sale and she would be signing autographs.

The crowd had grown to a full room. We were also loud and boisterous but Jill seemed to enjoy it. I won’t try to describe what I heard, song by song. But I’ll say this, I know how to hold my digital camera steady as it video recorded Jill and my left hand tweeting sound snippets. I was a multi-tasking fool! But I wanted to share the moment and garner Jill some attention. 

I must apologize, my digital camera is closing in on 4yrs old, in the tech world, that is geriatric, so the sound & quality of the videos might be a bit off.

After the show Jill stood in an alcove just off the front door of Lincoln Hall, a small table in front of her and a T-shirt hanging on the wall behind her. There was already a line of people waiting to buy her CD, posing with her. I had joked that I wanted to see if she would allow me to interview her for my twitter friends. As if I were so damn special!! Four alcoholic drinks doen’t turn me into Maria Menounos.

I had my friends waiting for me, we also had work the next morning, but the wait wasn’t long. I should have taking the time to form some questions, but I didn’t, I was too damn excited to buy her CD. I handed off my digital camera to a friend, making sure the flash was set and told her which button to take.

When it was my turn, Jill looked at me and said “Hi Babe.” I was too happy! “Hello,” that little voice inside my head said “she just saw you sitting in the front row all night and you DID harass her before she went on stage. You’re lucky she’s being nice. And she probably calls everyone babe so STAND DOWN!”

I was a total nimrod.

I was trying to tell her that she should have more followers on twitter to help spread the word of her music. Instead I kept telling her I had more followers. What I meant to say was “I have more followers than you which doesn’t make sense.” And I wanted to say that I would tweet buzz up her music so people can hear her wonderful talent. Instead, with the late night and the crush of people it came out twice “I have more followers than you…” Then I got cut off and Jill looks at my friends and said laughingly “And she had to tell me twice!” My friends are now laughing at me, which actually encourages me more, oddly enough.

I buy two CDs, one for myself and one for Tamara, my twitter friend who told me about this in the first place. I pose for another photo w/Jill, this time with a flash so that you can actually see it’s her! Then I tell her I want to do a twitter interview. The iPhone app I use is Twitbird, the free app let’s me tweet audio. You can listen to the ‘interview’. I sound bossy but obviously don’t have a clue. I never really asked her a question, I just directed her. Take a quick listen, here . She must think I'm a boob.

Then as she signed & dedicated the CDs, I dialed Tamara’s phone, then instead of asking Jill if she would mind, I jammed the phone to her ear! She asked “What’s that?” I said it’s my friend, to whom she had just dedicated a CD. “She’s not answering, so just leave her a voicemail.” Again, never asking, I just took.

*hanging my head in shame*

Jill thanked me endlessly for coming, wished me well. I just stood and grinned like a buffoon, basking in her attention. Then I walked away. I don’t think I ever thanked her for a really great night of music. It also drew my friends and I closer, allowing us to spend time with each other without the restless clamor of a workday pace.

So, in a belated attempt to champion Jill’s music and more importantly to thank her, I dedicate this post to Jill Hennessy, may she find more stories to tell, get the recognition she deserves and most of all, may she be happy in all her endeavors.

Thank you, Babe!


  1. you make me laugh. I think I would do the same thing. When I get nervous I talk - rapid fire.
    Glad you got to experience it and thanks for sharing!!!

  2. wow i can't believe you got that close to her and calling you babe! maybe a second muse for you lol if you didn't embarrass yourself you wouldn't have a story or a fantastic memory to think of.

  3. The combination of alcohol and awe is always so risky - one day I will share with you my story of my own fan geek moment (that resulted in a broken limb!) but she sounds really very cool - I didn't even realized that she sings (but I live in a cave, so that's to be expected!)

    Thanks for sharing your story - it totally made me smile!

  4. Jill always gives the best concerts. I have seen her three times thus far (MD, PA and CA)and enjoyed each set. Jill rocks!