Michael Deeds: Wanded at a Piano Guys show; My 102.7 FM

mdeeds@idahostatesman.comDecember 20, 2013 

Um, Taco Bell Arena, were you expecting a Bone Thugs-n-Harmony show Tuesday?

That’s what Piano Guys fans must have wondered. Jason Picker of Boise submitted a letter to the editor afterward complaining that security “was wanding every guest, confiscating pocket knives and preventing folks from bringing iPads.”

Metal-detector wands?

Wrote Picker: “I have been attending events at TBA for 20 years and I don’t recall ever having to be wanded to enter, and a Piano Guys concert no less. What gives? Do they normally have gang fights in the middle of Piano Guys concerts? I realize cellos and pianos can get people riled up but the security seems like total overkill.”

Amused, I contacted Taco Bell Arena Executive Director Lisa Cochran. She said that, for safety reasons, wanding is “implemented at a variety of concerts and genres.”

“While metal detectors may appear to some to be unnecessary in certain instances, it is an unfortunate reality that threats cannot always be anticipated nor easily identified, and use is not based upon the appearance or perception of an audience. It is a safeguard measure; it is our goal to apply it in an expedient and fan friendly process.”

Blame the Piano dudes for the iPad rejections: “Audio and/or visual recording of the performance was not permitted by the show without prior written consent of the artist,” Cochran explained via email. “The show did not specify devices, so by default we follow common industry practice and interpretation.”

Venues struggle to accommodate impossible-to-enforce bans on recording and photography. Remember Steely Dan’s smartphone debacle at the Botanical Garden?

But blame Taco Bell Arena’s fear of the outside world for the airport-style security. (Pocket knives, by the way, are going to be considered weapons at plenty of venues, sadly.)

What’s next? Removing our shoes and waltzing through an X-ray machine? And will it just be at concerts?

“I’ve never once been wanded at a basketball game,” Picker, 43, told me. “The fact that they don’t have that at the basketball games, and they have a whole lot more people going to those games (than a Piano Guys show) is ridiculous.”

Agree? Was Taco Bell Arena behaving in arbitrary fraidy-cat mode? Or is it like Mom says — all fun and games until someone loses an eye?

RADIO: If you can resist drilling a small hole into your skull to relieve My 102.7 FM’s occasional, between-song “my this, my that” twaddle, it offers something unusual among terrestrial stations: commercial-free music. Tune in to the newest player on the crowded Treasure Valley airwaves, and you’ll hear Imagine Dragons approximately every 7 seconds, plus acts including Taylor Swift, Robin Thicke, Lady Gaga, The Lumineers and, um, Florida Georgia Line. Licensed in Melba, My 102.7 is targeting Mix 106 and Lite 108, as well as sniffing at 94.9 The River’s playlist, among others.

Assuming this is your kind of Hot AC music amalgam, it’s appealing — until that pre-recorded ditz chirps in with her “my my my” Treasure Valley shtick: “This is my grocery store,” she even says, name checking the Boise Co-op. (This is MY radio dial, babe. Remember that.)

The absence of commercials is tempting, if temporary. The music format won’t change, but KZMG-FM is in the midst of being sold to FM Idaho. Once FCC approval comes, so will the commercials on My 102.7 — sometime in early 2014.

GOODBYE: Golden Phoenix Oriental Express, 110 N. 11th St., Boise, will close at the end of the year. Always-cheerful owners Jimmy and Chau Yuan plan to keep operating their food cart in summer. But it’s time to retire, Jimmy says.

Oriental Express opened in 1996. Back in the day, I would order my kung pao chicken “as spicy as you can make it.” Jimmy would bring it out of the kitchen dramatically, then watch me eat while shaking his head. To this day, I’m not sure if he was impressed or just goofing. Or both. It didn’t matter. The Yuans’ friendliness and zest for life is why their customers love and will miss them.

Another closure: Old Spaghetti Factory, 610 W. Idaho St., will say goodbye Saturday.

NEW RIDE: Wahooz and Pinz, 1385 Blue Marlin Lane, Meridian, is debuting a new “XD Dark Ride” today. The “7D” shooter/movie experience features eight motion seats. See a video on my blog.

DUCK DYNASTY: Now that Phil Robertson has been suspended from A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” for his remarks about gays, do you think he’ll still be coming to the Idaho Center to speak about “family values and America’s heritage”?

Duck yeah! No indication otherwise about the March 29 “Evening with Duck Dynasty,” being brought to you by “(Lawerence) Denney for Idaho.” Denney is running for secretary of state.

Michael Deeds hosts "The Other Studio" at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.

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