Growing Old With The Sandman

Bookmark and Share

I’ve been to Bills games. I’ve been in Bills games’ traffic jams. I know how to navigate those slowdowns. I don’t have the patience to wait. I see the shortcuts like I see the back of my hand on the steering wheel. Most get overcome with frustration at the sight of these roadway snarls. I buckle down with calm confidence. I know the way out. And I’m not afraid to take it.

The Adam Sandler “I Missed You Tour” wasn’t supposed to be a Bills’ game. Even a sold-out Blue Cross Arena would require only a fraction of the people.

And yet, there we were. Stuck in traffic on 490 West.

It seems like everyone made the same decision. Park at the Civic Center Garage and stay out of the rain. Or sleet. Or snow. Or whatever decides to precipitate from the skies above.

I wanted to make it a relaxing evening. A casual drift down memory lane. A respite from never-ending deadlines, whether from my various writing schedules or the daily needs of reporting closing mutual fund values to a global financial network.

So I did what I never do. The minute the right lane preceding the Plymouth Avenue exit slowed to a stop, I dutifully stayed in the line.

It was the worst decision I’ve made in a long time.

The show was supposed to start at 7:30pm. We left at 6:30pm in hopes of arriving at the Arena at 7pm.

I looked down at my watch. It showed 7:10pm. The GPS said we were seven minutes away.

Ten minutes later, and still on 490, the GPS now said we were three minutes away. Clearly, the math was off.

I went into Bills driving mode. I swerved into the left lane. Don’t worry, I checked first to make sure there was no oncoming traffic. Quickly we sped to the Inner Loop and wrapped around to the first exit. This led to the South Avenue Garage and its famous (since repaired) collapsed spiral exit loop.

We found a spot and walked down Broad Street to the Arena. It wasn’t raining.

The entrance was packed. It seemed worse than a Bills game. But we quickly moved through the metal detector and (eventually) found our seat in Section 123. Betsy said we were in Row K. I heard “Row A.” She waited for the usher to help. I forged ahead.

Getting to Row A, the odd box arrangement confused me. I asked the couple on the aisle seats of Row B where my seats were. They pointed me the way. I thanked them.

Then I looked up and saw Betsy eleven rows up looking down at me. She had those angry eyes. You know the ones I’m talking about. It’s the ones that silently shout, “why don’t you ever pay attention to the directions I give you?”

I cowered to the couple in Row B and said, “I better listen to my wife.” Up I went and nestled into the seat next to Betsy.

It was 7:30pm. That’s when the show was supposed to start. I felt sorry for the people waiting in line at the entrance. I felt sorry for the people waiting in line for the no-doubt filled Civic Center Garage. I felt sorry for the people waiting in the right lane on 490 West.

Apparently, so did Adam Sandler and his crew. The show didn’t start until 8pm.

Rochester was the twelfth stop on Sandler’s twenty-five city tour that began in October. It was also the second stop on the “eastern” swing (Toronto was the first the night before and Washington would be next on the following night).

By this point in the tour, the cast will have worked out most of the kinks of the show (it did receive some sour reviews early on). Different people will play different parts. Some people will be added. Some may be removed. As I watched the show, I wondered who was new, what parts were new, and who might be missing.

The show began with three opening acts, all from comedians who appeared in Happy Madison productions. (If you don’t know, Happy Madison is the name of Sandler’s production company.) Regrettably, I can’t remember the first one.

Nick Swardson came out for the second act. If you don’t recognize the name, he played Howie “the sun is not my friend” in The Benchwarmers. And if you expected an innocent, kid-friendly performance, you were in the wrong place. But, as you would expect, Swardson was a step above the first act. The next act was even bigger.

Swardson did an excellent impersonation of the late Norm McDonald. He told a story that ended with Norm McDonald playing golf with Kevin Nealon.

So, who was next? Kevin Nealon, who played in the same Saturday Night Live cast as Adam Sandler. He appeared in many of Sandler’s movies, including Happy Gilmore. It’s hard to imagine that movie was released in 1996.

Given that, you would have figured that most of the crowd would be late baby boomers/early Gen-Xers. It wasn’t. Most of the crowd was under 50. How do I know? Sandler asked them to identify themselves.

It’s not like Betsy and I were the oldest folks in the crowd. There was a lady over 70. How do I know that? Sandler asked the concertgoers that question, too, and one lady stood up.

Nealon introduced Sandler, (a.k.a. “Sandman”) who didn’t disappoint. Along the way came Kevin James, Rob Schneider, Luis Guzman, Jonathan Loughran, and, wait for it, Ben Stiller. All these comedians have played parts in Adam Sandler movies, and the chemistry is quite apparent.

Also quite apparent on stage was the prevalence of something many have said has been diminishing in modern society: testosterone.

These men weren’t afraid of their humor. Sure, some might call it sophomoric (and, at times, it was), but they never failed to exhibit a confident self-assurance that emboldened the audience.

But don’t think there wasn’t a soft side. The penultimate ending of the show featured Sandler singing an emotional tribute to Chris Farley, who died far too young. And speaking of young, a large portion of the crowd consisted of college student. (How do I know this? Sandler asked them.) They weren’t even born when Farley died. And yet, they enjoyed the memorial (and the show) as much as the older generations.

If you’re a comedian, you can’t leave your audience on such an emotional low. So, for his final song, Sandler sang a tribute to his wife. Those who remember The Wedding Singer will recognize this song: “I Wanna Grow Old With You.”

The audience left with a smile, especially those who have had the pleasure of growing old with the Sandman.

Even the pouring rain on the walk back to the South Avenue Garage didn’t have the power to dispel that smile.


  1. […] when a new generation of youth sees those same celebrities? Read this week’s Carosa Commentary “Growing Old With The Sandman,” to see what it takes to take a trip down memory […]

Speak Your Mind


You cannot copy content of this page

Skip to content