Six months ago this past Saturday, the lady friend and I went out on our first date. Always open for things to do, she found out that our favorite Australian comedian, Tim Minchin, had a series of performances in Chicago, the last of which was, coincidentally, this past Saturday. We jumped on getting tickets and then started making plans to put them to use. We left early Saturday morning, stopping for breakfast with my mother on the way, checking into the hotel that afternoon, and spending the rest of the night near the theater. There was a parking spot right across from Lincoln Hall which worked out quite well. We killed some time walking around that area and grabbing a snack at a donut/cookie shop down the road. Dinner was at this place called Fiesta Mexicana which was an upscale-ish (square plates) Mexican restaurant. LF got a taco salad with pulled chicken (well-spiced) in a home-made, flaky tortilla bowl. I went with a pasta dish that featured bacon-wrapped shrimp and a chipotle garlic-parmesean sauce. Yummy.
Lincoln hall has a small bar/restaurant in the front with the small auditorium (with balcony) behind it. They had a decent beer selection so we hopped across the way to get there early for a pre-show drink. The line-cutters were out in force, so the seats near the front were full by the time we got inside. There were only about 8-10 rows of folding chairs on a flat floor, but there was also a row of padded (tall) bar chairs against the back wall, in front of the raised camera/control platform. Thanks to the higher chairs, we had a perfect view of the stage. Even sitting in the back wasn't a handicap; the venue was so small (~250 people and 8-10 rows of seats) that the back row was still close to the stage.
The show was amazing. He did the unofficial theme song for LF and I ("If I Didn't Have You") among other favorites, along with a few songs we had never heard before ("Cont" was pure brilliance: Comedy Central Link
). It was one of the first times I got to hear his little stand-up bits which were also hilarious. Youtube does not do the man justice. If you get the chance to see him live, do it; it's worth every penny. His beat poem "Storm", recently added to youtube with an animated video, was the highlight of the night, possibly my favorite of his compositions to date.
After the show, thanks to us sitting in the back, we were among the first to leave the auditorium to find seating. The bar was full, but a table near the theater doors was vacant so we pounced on it. Tim Minchin emerged a few minutes later not far from that table to meet and greet the fans. He approached, but turned to face the other way before he reached us. LF was chatting to the folks sitting behind her and didn't notice. I tapped on her arm to get her attention and turned to see Tim Minchin with a beaming smile facing the two of us. We were both, I might add, wearing shirts purchased just before the show bearing the man's face. After some short banter and a photo op, he set his canvas bag and wine on our table and used that area as his base of operations. He was within an arm's length for the next couple of hours, taking the time to continue chatting with us once and again. It was awesome.
We got back to the hotel around 3 or so (CT mind you) and went right to bed. We slept in the next morning to give our next stop a chance to open. Three Floyd's has been a favorite brewery of ours and their brew pub was just 15 miles or so down the road. We got there as it opened and stayed there to try some of their on-site-only beers (Shark Pants, Eben-Agaen(?), and Thick White Freeks). We picked up a growler of their "Evil Power" imperial Pilsner for this Tuesday's beer school at Yogi's. We made it back to town around 7 last night, having spent the entire weekend celebrating the 6-month-iversary, but it was so very worth it.