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Remember Your First Audio Show? Relive LAAS through Someone Experiencing it for the First Time!

Remember Your First Audio Show? Relive LAAS through Someone Experiencing it for the First Time!

Posted by
Monday, June 26, 2017 - 21:22
LAAS Fiona's Album Release Party -- Troyce Walls Photo

Remember your first audio show?  It was probably overwhelming and exciting.  We hope you enjoy Troyce Walls retelling his memories of his first show that he recently experienced...  The Lost Angeles Audio Show as a guest of Blue Coast Records.  Thank you, Troyce!


A Neophyte's Attempt to Attend a High-End Audio Equipment/Format Show

By Troyce Walls


On Friday morning of the LAAS 2017 I shuffled into Starbuck's in the lobby of the Sheraton, queued up with the rest of us needing it, got my brew.  Next, I wandered around on the first floor a bit lost while clutching my cup's corrugated warmer, not quite sure how to go about being at an audiophile show, my first.  Thinking I'd give it some thought I plopped into a nicely stuffed chair there in the spacious hotel anterior. 

Some moments later, as I practiced the ubiquitous stare at my Android, a pair of attractively sandaled feet hove into view, the owner burbling something in an Aussie accent about "I'm not sure where I . . . . " or such.  A glance upward revealed Fiona Joy (Blue Coast Music artist) tossing through her handbag for something or other. 

I replied, "Hello, Fi, good to see you.  You look great." 

To which she replied, "OK, we need to go out to the Magic Bus and meet with Jon and . . . “ I forget the rest, but that's the gist of it.

We went out and met with Jon Whitledge at the Magic Bus.  Introductions, then a quick view of the noted Magic Bus.  This is not the Kinsey one, nor the one from The Who song, but an astounding mobile digital music player with something like a couple decimal points more watts than most vehicles have horsepower.  See it - no, hear it and feel it - to believe it.   Jon and I launched into a discussion of things engine, sound, and so forth while Fiona went off in pursuit of things relevant to her upcoming event for the show, the release of her splendid new album, "Into the Mist." 

As the day slid on by I moseyed around up and down the first several floors and through the hallways therein, poking my nose into rooms all occupied with all sorts of audio gear.  It's a disservice that I'm forced to admit I rarely knew what it was I was seeing, but I can report it all sounded awfully good.  I really liked those things that looked like the guts of olden day amps, big fat tubes all glowing and stuff. 

Soon I found Fiona again or vice-versa and we made our way to the Blue Coast room.  There I met several nice folk, among them, Cookie Marenco, the Head Honcho.  Again, introductions where I met the crew and a few more of the Blue Coast artists.  I was way out of my element there, mostly just nodding agreeably.  I hope that did the trick, as it would not be the last time. 

Friday evening arrived about the time I did in downtown.  I had used Uber myself for the first time the night before in getting to my room from LAX, found it remarkably convenient.  A cool fellow with great stories hauled me to The Seven bar on 7th street where I met up with Trysette Loosemore, and her friends (and soon mine) Jeanette Elaine Dubois and Jeff Dellisanti.  Interesting conversations – that were to become much more so - over drinks for about an hour, then a short hike to our next destination.  I’ve not a notion of how it is elsewhere there, but walking that part of downtown LA was very pleasant.  Quite a few folks out and about – not as in Manhattan I was told – but still alive.  Much less than tourist destination Music Row in Nashville, I can say.  On the way, we toured the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.  Astonishing, for this country boy.  There was one large photograph from the Jazz Age that just almost had Jack Nicolson right up front. 

We soon arrived at the elevator to The Perch restaurant.  It’s called that for a reason.  A couple of weeks prior I had made reservations via Open Table, but we had arrived a bit early.  The Perch crew graciously seated us anyway, almost immediately, at the perfect table.  The view was open – no glass - to the night sky.  To three sides were downtown Los Angeles’ skyscrapers, us up in there among them. 

We wined and dined for about three hours, resolving pretty much all known issues with relativity, quantum physics, string theory and the other similar things.  Like why cats just don’t seem to listen.  By the way, the meals were all, in a word, outstanding.  Mine was a beef filet, and near-perfect: just a few seconds past the requested rare, but still just fine. All in all, a fairly magical evening up there in the stars. 

Good nights all about, and I Ubered – that’s bound to be a vowel by now – back to the Sheraton, got a good sleep and awakened to Saturday, right there where it belongs after Friday. 

Saturday morning, I met again with Fiona and Jon as we proceeded to prepare for the big event that afternoon, the release of Fiona’s noted new album, “Into the Mist.”  In between I found time again to wander the halls of the audio show, almost beginning to get a hint of what was going on. 

The seminar on DSD was eye-opening, and that’s without understanding most of what was said.  The bottom line seems to be this.  There’s a burgeoning crowd of listeners out there that either never found, or have begun not to find the current popular choice for digital music, the Mp3, all that satisfying.  Cookie and the rest of them are presenting us with choices now of a much higher quality.  It’s an acutely interesting thing, with many yet to be answered questions, but sure seems to be on the right track.

Having left the seminar with at least a slightly better grasp of what was happening around me, I toured the halls yet again and damn near asked a couple of questions that displayed said grasp.  But, I didn’t ask them.  

Not much later Beth Ann Hilton made her entrance, backing her laden SUV right up to the Magic Bus.  We helped unload; the release event was formally afoot. A bit later Trysette Ubered down from downtown to join in the festivities.  

It quickly became clear there was not enough horizontal surface area, so Fiona and I, somewhat brazenly, borrowed a hotel folding table.  A nice layout of pink cupcakes, pink lemonade ensued.  All the while Jon was putting the M.B. through the its paces to a steady queue of avid listeners.  To a person, they were commensurately amazed.  A fine pink balloon archway festooned the entrance to the area.  The famous “Pink Dress” was out front dressed onto a mannequin, along with a placard relating its history. 

Three o’clock arrived; “Into the Mist” was formally released to great fanfare.  Well received.  A wonderfully entertaining afternoon. 

Après-event drinks and grub began sometime thereafter in the hotel’s restaurant/bar.  Artists, mostly, started showing up, the group swelled to a couple dozen; the repartee went on for hours.  I thought I mostly listened, learning a lot about the Blue Coast scene and other stuff, but found I was hoarse the next morning.  No idea how that happened.  The prolonged conversation with the gracious Beth was especially enlightening.  Things began to slow down a bit around midnight, I excused myself with many handshakes, hugs, and fare-the-wells. 

Sunday morning, I Ubered to the airport for the flight back to East Tennessee.  What a weekend.