Day 21 – June 28th at Jaxon’s in south Scottsdale, plus a repeat visit to Pho Cao
We’re getting close to the end of our journey! Day 22 – of 22 days of consecutive karaoke – is tomorrow. We began and will end our adventures at our regular karaoke venue, Boston’s ASU in Tempe.
Day 21 is our last night sampling different karaoke places. What am I saying? We’ll still do that. Especially now that we’ve acquired a taste for what’s out there. To be sure, it’s difficult to abandon our regular haunts, if just for a week or a night. And it’s so tempting to return to all the sumptuous KJs we’ve come to know during our travels. I cannot be in more than one place at a time, and I can’t continue my run, after completing my task. It’s exhausting going out EVERY night!
Still I know that I’ll keep expanding my horizons, well beyond 22 days. Karaoke-dokey USA!
But that’s looking to the future, let me get back to tonight…
Tonight we go to Jaxon’s. It’s a hotel bar, adjacent to the lobby and restaurant of a Radisson Resort Hotel in south Scottsdale. It’s a new bar experience for us on our karaoke quest. We’ve been to dive bars, rock ‘n roll bars, gay bars, restaurant bars, sports bars, and of course, Pho Cao. Most of you, no doubt, have been in or seen hotel bars before. And like most bars, this one comes with its own set of regulars drinking the night away.
This karaoke spot was like a sunken living room, surrounded by the rest of the bar. On three sides above the sunken area were tables and booths – a part of the restaurant. The restaurant didn’t seem to be in use or open at the time. There were hallways and doorways that led to the lobby on one side, and restrooms on the other. The bar itself is outside the sunken area, all along one side of the main room. It is filled with the regulars, who can watch the karaoke singers carry on a few feet below. It’s an odd scenario, but then maybe not, considering all the other places we’ve been to.
After entering the door to Jaxon’s from the street, there are a few steps to the left. Take them down into the room, and now you are in a fish bowl. There is a pool table on one side of the small room. KJ Kiki and her console were centered on the other side, with the monitor perched right above. As you face the monitor from the center of the room, in front of the pool table, you are also facing the bar full of patrons. Down in this karaoke area, there are a half-dozen tall tables with bar stools, and there we sat. I was joined by Teresa, Suze, her niece Andrea (who also joined us on Day 9), and my cousin Earl.
A word or two about Earl
My cousin Earl had been following the karaoke-dokey journey via my intermittent posts on FaceBook. I had taken to checking in occasionally and posting a quick something about the night’s adventures. I had also been posting invites and announcing where we would be, so friends could come join us.
Then one day Earl commented that he might do just that. Well, my cousin Earl lives in northern California, in Stockton. I thought at first his comment was made just as a gesture of support for my quest. ThoughI knew he also enjoyed karaoke. And then it became clear to me that he indeed was going to travel out to Phoenix, and join us when we went out to sing. I’d like to take it as a compliment, although I’m not certain at all that’s how he intended it. It was special, in any case. He drove the long distance, and stayed with me and my sons for a few days. It was nice to have the extra support and company, especially during our final two days. Way to go, Earl!
It isn’t but moments after we arrive and find our seats that the KJ Kiki puts on Journey’s The City. She asks if anyone wants to sing it with her. Well, of course! Not a huge Journey fan, but it’s a song I haven’t sung before, and it’s a chance to do a duet. So I do. Then I decide to sing Train’s Drops of Jupiter, and finally, Teresa and I sing Gimme Shelter (by the Rolling Stones). A second duet. Nice. Everyone is singing and having a good time. The KJ is friendly and competent. It’s an easy-going place. But…
Okay, we weren’t loving Jaxon’s, I’m sorry to say. It was the heat. Late June and it felt as if their air conditioner had ceased to work. Only nobody said anything. None of the patrons, nor the employees. No one was working on fixing the A/C, not even a “sorry, bear with us”. After a bit, I was ready to pack it in. We had gone to a new place, and I had sung. Oh, but I wasn’t ready to call it quits for karaoke that night. No way!
I had met all the requirements; I had sung my duet, and danced, of course. I also had had a drink, and enjoyed spending time with good company. Trouble was we were still waiting for Suze to show up. I had let her know we didn’t want to stay much longer, but she had to do her part of the project too.
Suze had been taking notes of her own at each karaoke venue, and logging data into a massive spreadsheet about all the karaoke offerings in the valley. We had but scratched the surface. So much more to explore.
After Suze arrived and completed her task, we were off. The night awaits!
On to Pho Cao – just down the street really. South Scottsdale and north Tempe are adjacent, blend together, and have about the same flavor. Let me put it this way – south Scottsdale is nothing like north Scottsdale.
Due to the heat – A/C on the fritz and it’s deep June in the Sonoran desert – we made our way to Pho Cao, less than a mile away. We kind of love Pho Cao (see Day 13), and are glad to be back. The same resplendent sofas, the same commanding stage, and the wonderful KJ Emma. We settle in, and start adding songs to the list.
More songs! More singing!
Amazing though it seems, I’m able to sing another four songs. I sang My Man (the Barbra Streisand version) and Holiday (Madonna). I also sang a duet with Teresa, Under Pressure (David Bowie and Queen). Then Teresa, Suze and I sang our Andrews Sisters trio Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. Whoo! That was a hoot! So much fun.
By the end of the night, I am up to 95 songs! And have become determined to hit 100 songs by the end of Day 22. It’s now so do-able. Thanks, Emma. Thanks Pho Cao, and thanks too to Jaxon’s.