Quote of the Day from Crazy Lady at the Gym (spoken to David while I’m using a weight machine with my blissful earbuds in): “She’s wearing two of my favorite colors: red and turquoise.”

So, this is the view from our hotel room this weekend, at the Hyatt Tamaya Resort at Santa Ana Pueblo. We went down for the Barenaked Ladies concert hosted by the Santa Ana Star Casino. We decided to make a mini-break of it and stay over Saturday night. That way we could have some drinks and not have to drive home.

We had the best time.

David and I drove down midday Saturday. We passed the Santa Ana Star Casino which, quite disconcertingly, has large signs on it that say “this is YOUR casino.” Past the bright lights and big signs of the casino, the road wended deep into the countryside, to the Tamaya resort. Beautiful, gorgeous, you so should have been there.

We ate lunch on the patio, enjoying the gorgeous blues skies and golden afternoon. I took that pic with my camera phone, so it’s all wrong. But I thought it was worth posting, just for the blue. While we ate, a guy came in with a tote bag from the BnL Stunt tour and sat down to eat lunch. We speculated whether he was a fan or with the band. Then the waiter asked the guy at the table behind us how everything was and he declared that everything was beautiful! I laughed at his broad-voice enthusiasm, then realized he was Tyler Stewart, the band’s drummer.

Yes, we *are* that cool.

After a fab lunch, which included drinks and brushes with celebrity, we went to hang at the pool. Isn’t this photo somewhat reminiscent of Darynda Jones’ cover for her upcoming debut? Totally not on purpose.

The hotel shuttled us over to the casino for the concert. This was the third time I’ve been to a BnL concert and the smallest venue by far. I loved being in a smaller room. The casino also provided a bar for the concert-goers, with beer, wine and margaritas. We queued up to get our drinks (note the Canadian vibe permeating the experience) and I noticed the guy in the scruffy black sweatshirt talking to some people nearby was Ed Robertson.

While we waited for the concert to start, I saw this couple, reading to kill the time. These are classic BnL fans: the geeks of the world. I mean that with all the greatest affection. They’re probably my readers.

So the question I know you’re all asking: are they as good without Steven Page? (He left in February 2009.)

Yes and no. The interplay between Steven Page and Ed Robertson is legendary. The two enjoyed the amazing synchronicity like the kind that made Steven Tyler and Joe Perry so great together and so much weaker apart. Yeah, that’s missing. Page brought a major presence to the stage. He and Robertson wrote many songs in a style that allowed them to bounce back and forth off of each other.

I missed that.

However, an interesting thing is happening. Because the songs require it, the other three members of the bands are stepping up more to provide that interaction for Ed Robertson. The show came out quieter in some ways, deeper and richer in others. Old songs received a new spin. The humor still comes through. In the mandatory rendition of “If I Had $1,000,000,” Robertson asked if we’d come to the treehouse and bring OUR casino. Because after all, if it’s OUR casino and the House always wins….

The also talked about flying into Albuquerque on Southwest Airlines and riffed about seat-lottery strategy.

This was not the arena-event of their Stunt era. The one where I couldn’t hear anything because of the teenage girls screaming in my ears. This was a group of tremendously good musicians sharing their art. Are they wounded? Oh yes. And it comes through. For an encore, Robertson took the drums and Tyler Stewart sang a vicious, prancing parody of “Alcohol.” Though Page left the band amicably, I wonder about his 2008 cocaine arrest. The remaining four guys sing songs that remind of dysfunctional relationships and what it’s like to live with an addict.

Like all good artists, they’re using that pain and turning it into something extraordinary.

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