Portsmouth (N.H.) ‘First Night’ 2014: Rocked. It Was A BLAST! Glad We Went. T.J. Wheeler Alone Was Worth It.
by Anura Guruge
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The last few years we have been going to Wolfeboro, First Night — and we always had fun.
More often that not, we also ended up going to Portsmouth on New Year’s day — that being our Wedding Anniversary to boot. More than once we talked about doing First Night in Portsmouth — but the kids and the distance were considerations.
This year we decided that the kids were finally old enough to handle Portsmouth — and I knew that it would be more boisterous, festive, hectic and adult. I was right on all of those. I decided quite early in December that we will indeed to Portsmouth, rather than Wolfeboro this year. Glad we did. Not sure what happened in Wolfeboro. I bought a family pack of tickets online. Then I saw that they were short on volunteers. So I volunteered. Then Deanna wanted to volunteer too. That meant that we didn’t need the buttons that I had purchased, but I was OK with it.
We even went to the volunteer orientation meeting on Boxing Day — which is when the van slid into a snowbank and we had to be rescued by the gallant Chris Burke.
In terms of the volunteering, given the kids, we wanted to be at the same location at the same time. We lucked out. They gave us the historic, and very central ‘North Church’, right in Market Square, from 9:30 pm to 12:30 am. We were cool with that. I was the ‘House Manager’ and Deanna was in charge of checking/selling buttons. Though our shift was at 9:30 we were supposed to report in at 9pm. That kind of curtailed what we could do and see but we were OK with that.
Given that we were at ‘North Church’ from around 8:50 to 12:30
we got to ENJOY T. J. Wheeler & ‘Company’ (Reunion). That alone was worth it.
T. J. Wheeler. What a GUY!
His ‘Company’, and the drummer (who was very, very, very good) came all the way from Pittsburgh, were beyond good.
Their last session, from 10:50 pm to 11:50 pm was magical. They did a goosebump inducing musical rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Bravo.
People were RAVING about them as they left.
They THANKED ME for the the group!
That was how good they were.
Those who read this blog know that we get about when it comes to bands, performances and acts. We probably listened to 9 bands, at least, this year.
T. J. Wheeler and Company were, indubitably, the BEST.
They made New Year’s Eve for me.
I had to introduce the group and read out the sponsorship announcements for the 10:50 show. I think that is the first time I have spoken at a church. It was fun.
We didn’t get to see our ‘buddy’ Roderick Russell! Pity. It was cold last night. After the fireworks Deanna and the kids needed to warm up at the Volunteer HQ. So when we finally got to the Theater that Roderick was performing it was packed and we couldn’t get in. Given the volunteering we couldn’t make the other two shows.
The fireworks were OK. Finale was good. I found out why they have the fireworks at 7:30 rather than midnight. Even with that folks called the police to complain. Gather that they got a LOT of complaints when it was at midnight. People are strange. I also learned that there are folks that don’t celebrate New Year’s. Amazing.
Phil Smith the magician was good. Non-stop performance. Had the kids enthralled. Even pulled a live bunny from a cage. I will do a separate post just about him.
We wanted to see ‘All Together Now’ since we had enjoyed them this Summer in Wolfeboro. Again a conflict of schedules.
To be honest Portsmouth was more fun, overall, than Wolfeboro. More folks. More young folks. Dancing in the streets. There were women in dresses! Wow. I don’t think I have ever seen a female at Wolfeboro, on New Year’s Eve, in a dress. People were running around the streets. Lot of laughter (and a fair amount of swearing). But, this was what New Year’s Eve is meant to be.
Glad we went to Portsmouth First Night.
Thank YOU Pro Portsmouth. You did a good job.
Thank YOU Portsmouth.
Happy New Year.
May you all be rewarded with what is best in life in 2014.