Stay for just a while. Stay and let me look at you. It’s been so long, I hardly knew you…
With Oliver* now scheduled for production in England, I’ve been thinking about what I want for a license plate. Minnesota offers a ton of special plate options, along with the original personalized option. You can’t combine the two, though, which is probably what I would do if I could (i.e. – a loon design with a custom name). The costs vary a lot too – a standard personalized plate is $100, while the various “contribution” plate styles range from $10 to $60 annually (plus fees).
Growing up, I always thought personalized plates were pretty cool (and expensive). The state says there are almost 82,000 of these currently in use and I’ve seen quite a few clever ones over the years. I wish there was an online site where you could check to see if your desired name is available, but right now it’s just a paper form with spots for your top three choices. Don’t really want to gamble $100 unless I know I will get the one I want, so that option is out.
My mom always had the loon plates, which I also had on my first Mini in 2005. I was thinking about another loon, but then heard about the Minnesota State Parks & Trails option (pictured above). It’s $60 annually, but also grants you access to all of the state parks without an additional permit. I see that one a lot on the road (almost 25,000 issued) and it seems like a win-win. Here are a few other plate stats I find interesting:
- U of M Twin Cities ($25) – 2,839
- U of M Duluth ($25) – 412
- Critical Habitat: Loon ($30) – 60,462
- Critical Habitat: Pollinator ($30) – 9,088
- Minnesota Golf ($30) – 5,440
- Veteran: World War II ($15.50) – 170 ❤️
- Veteran: Pearl Harbor Survivor ($15.50) – 1 ❤️❤️
Oliver is scheduled to roll off the assembly line in Oxford on December 12, followed by a boat ride across the pond. Should be in Minnesota just in time for a big red bow on Christmas morning…
* proposed name for our 2024 Mini Cooper S Hardtop
After writing my Eagles post, I realized I started a draft for the Pearl Jam show back in September, but never finished it off. Colleen has been in the Ten Club for a very long time and Setlist says we’ve seen them ten times now, tied for the most of any artist. Every time they go on tour, fan club members are offered the opportunity to buy tickets and we would’ve gone to both Saint Paul nights if it hadn’t been for our conflict with Duran Duran at the state fair grandstand.
On this tour, Pearl Jam was doing two shows in each city, with a night off in between. Since we couldn’t do the first night, we ordered two tickets to the Saturday show (reviewed by Jon Bream of the Star Tribune). Tickets are supposed to be assigned via seniority in the club, but we’ve never received great spots in the past. This year was not a great experience – they moved us *three* times before telling us that was our actual spot (each time we got farther and farther from the stage, unfortunately).
After reading Ron Hubbard’s review of the Thursday show, I had some serious FOMO that I missed this:
The volume and adrenaline gradually rose with each song before lead guitarist Mike McCready kicked his folding wooden chair aside during the fifth number and rose to launch into a soaring guitar solo on “Black” from the band’s 1991 debut album. Soon Vedder was up, then guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament, and the rocking had clearly begun.
Black is my favorite PJ song and of course they didn’t play it again on Saturday. Our show overall turned out to be just fine (as they always are) – just different (setlist and pics after the jump). I’m sure there are lots of Saturday fans that were happy we got Jeremy, Better Man and I Am Mine that the Thursday crowd did not. Wasn’t crazy about the Purple Rain cover, but a lot of people liked that we got that one (I believe for the first time in Minnesota). My highlight was definitely McCready playing the solo in Alive behind his head. I guess the lesson is to just go to both shows in the future – competing shows be damned.
The other lesson is to buy your merch ahead of time (even outside before the shows, as was offered for this tour). We got there when doors opened, skipped the outside trailer and got right in line. They had date-specific shirts, posters and stickers for each night and our shirt was already gone by the time we got to the front of the line (I did get the sticker, pictured above). It was sad to see them listed on eBay after we got to our seats (and not available for purchase on the PJ website like other bands do). The Saint Paul hockey jerseys looked cool, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger at that price. Props to the band for selling “authorized bootlegs” of every show, though – just downloaded that tonight…