Thing of Beauty

I’m usually not one for cheesy opening salvos. That personal mantra went out the window four years ago when I spotted Jared Allman walking towards me at a red carpet event.  When he stopped briefly for an interview, I actually remember stammering, “Wow. You might very well be the most attractive human being I’ve ever seen in real life. Like, ever. In real life.”

Appalled at my behavior, I then proceeded to throw up in my mouth a little bit. Fortunately, Jared did not … and we’ve been friends ever since. (He might use the term “reluctant friends” or “stalker” … I just say friends.)

Turns out Jared was – shocker! – a model/actor or actor/model – depending on the audition. Nary a day goes by that you won’t find him nestled in a the back of a coffee shop running lines or reading a script. I’ve had five screen tests in my life. For him, that’s a typical Thursday.

Either way, he is – to quote Zoolander – really, really, really ridiculously good looking.  From humble beginnings in Nashville, Jared started to hone his craft and impossibly perfect hair (which we also discussed during that short interview).  If you get to know him, his Southern accent drips out of him like slow-moving molasses. Otherwise he’ll do his very best to sound like a non-descript Midwesterner.

I’m wholly fascinated by Jared because of his prowess to blend in to any group for any length of time. I thought I was the only one with that ability. Forget karma chameleon. I was always the comic chameleon – able to leap tall buildings with a single joke. He’s quiet – or as he calls it “brooding”. (Because of course he does …) He’s like the misunderstood love child of James Dean and Tammy Wynette.  If you’re picturing a Greek god saying, “Aww, shucks, ma’am!” – you’ve just nailed the essence of this kid.

His spontaneity is his calling card. During a recent trip to Athens, GA … I gave him a last-minute call to see if he wanted to join me for a music history tour.  “I frickin’ LOVE history!” he shouted back. “I’m there.” We spent the entire today roaming around Athens getting schooled on The B-52s and R.E.M. Every time I looked over at him – he had a look of whimsy and wonder on his perfectly manicured, scruffy face. It was then I realized I was hanging out with a goofy, overgrown eleven-year old.

We went thrift store shopping and he picked out the most ridiculous Bolero-esque jacket.  If I had purchased it, I would have looked like a deranged bandleader circa 1974. He threw it on and suddenly he was the fifth Beatle in Sgt. Pepper’s.  It garnered plenty of attention that evening when he wore it out for a night on the town.  No matter that it was a stifling 90 degrees outside. His motto? Fashion before function … or apparently heat stroke.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Jared’s little shooting star goes SuperNova in the next year or so. I predict he’ll jump from a national hair care commercial to some indy film with Oscar buzz.  His good looks are a mere 4% of all the other things he brings to the table.

I would never tell him that though … I wouldn’t want it to go to his head.

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It’s Only Rock & Roll (But I Like It)

“He’s like a British jumping bean.”

“He moves like a chicken … on acid.”

“That man has bounced around like a flea for 2+ hours and still has the same voice he did fifty years ago.”

These were just some of the random bon mots I heard last night at the Rolling Stones’ Zip Code Tour. And all of them were equally true. Mick Jagger might be 71 years old, but no one told him. He kept the crowd at a borderline berserk, fevered and frenzied pitch for well over two hours.

From the nano-second he hopped on stage singing “Start Me Up”, the crowd at Arrowhead Stadium collectively lost their ever-lovin’ minds. Even better? The band had a perpetual smile on their face most of the night. It was as if they were feeding off the crowd’s giddy hysteria and sending love right back. Charlie Watts, meanwhile, only beamed when he got introduced and was gifted a KC Royals baseball hat. I would too. I don’t think Ronnie Woods ever lost his grin … even with a cigarette dangling from his lips the entire show.

Ed Sheeran – the opening act – joined the Stones on stage during “Beast of Burden”. According to a few articles, he wanted to sing another song, but hadn’t rehearsed. He was semi-familiar with “Beast of Burden” which turned out to be a barnburner of a duet.

Speaking of duets, long-time back-up singer Lisa Fisher absolutely tore through “Gimme Shelter”. She’s been on the road with the Stones the last 20+ years and has mastered the art of raising the roof. Good thing we were outside, as her powerful vibrato would have ripped the roof off any indoor coliseum. Her lungs have lungs.

I felt my age last night at the concert. First of all, just watching Mick Jagger leapfrog across the stage all night made me tired. Second, the concert was like an overzealous Catholic mass. Just when you’d sit down for one white-hot second, you’d have to hop back up again when Mick and/or the music demanded your ovation. One of my favorite parts? Mick would guzzle a quick swig out of a water bottle and then kick it out in to the audience. Several people went home newly christened.

Mick remains the consummate entertainer. He weighs all of 92-pounds and clearly hasn’t consumed a carbohydrate since the ‘80’s. But he sure can rev the crowd up – and politely defers to give his band mates the chance to shine in the spotlight. Keith Richards sang lead vocals on a couple songs and Ronnie Wood’s blazing guitar solos on songs like “Miss You” made me wonder if he was blessed with a couple extra digits on both hands.

The Stones are one of the last remaining powerhouse legendary rock bands who can illicit crazed response with just one twang of the guitar. I felt like I was playing an extended game of “Name That Tune”. They’re on tour the rest of the year. Stop what you’re doing and go see them … even though the show will never be as good as it was last night in Kansas City.

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