Big Spokanites news: The band is expanding yet again…

Most of our posts have moved from this site to http://www.roberthylton.com, but we thought we would share the news here that we are once again expecting a new band member.  It’s another boy, and a bit of a funny story.  Check it out here: http://roberthylton.com/2012/02/25/lets-hope-the-sequel-is-as-good-as-the-original/


Zoo Basel – Basel, Switzerland

Sonya loves a great zoo, and for a small city Basel has a very good one.  Here are a few highlights from our last visit…



Here’s a link to the slide show: http://cid-dc7ebd00b8f9309b.photos.live.com/play.aspx/Zoo%20Basel%20-%20Aug%202010?ref=1 


Robert und Sonya – The Spokanites


Montreux & the Swiss Alps by Train

Just a quick post to share photos of our recent trip into the alps.  Hopefully the first of many…

Here’s a quick link to the slide show as well:




Start Me Up – Basel, Switzerland

2010-07-27 030Just a quick note for the moment.  We’ve moved to Basel, Switzerland and with any luck we will start writing again.  Look for more here on the Spokanites Blog

It’s been a crazy few months since the global wedding extravaganza, but hopefully things will settle down and we can get back into it. 

Lot’s to tell for sure.  Stay tuned…

Safe travels!

Robert und Sonya


The Spokanites Finish Big in Seattle!

Note: Go here to see all of the Spokanites Tour Photos from Seattle.

2010-03-06 Seattle, WA - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 094

Well kids, we’ve almost got this tour wrapped up.  It’s been a long and taxing journey, but the hard parts have almost faded from memory as the fun we’ve had easily eclipses the trouble we’ve gone through.   83,000 air miles later we find ourselves in Seattle for the last gig (or almost – more on that later)…

2010-03-06 Seattle, WA - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 036First, all of our other “gigs’ have had between 20 and 50 people at them.  Very manageable.  For Seattle, we knew it might be a bit bigger and we were expecting around 60.  Crowded for the Home Dome (our house) but doable.  Then we sent the invitation and watched as the number climbed.  What?  Do we know this many people?  Suddenly the number was above 90 and we knew we had real estate constraints up the wazoo.  The week of the party reminded us of that scene in Jurassic Park where they were looking at the water glass on the table and saw it vibrating as the dinosaurs approached from a distance.  90+ people were approaching, and we had no where to put them.

We had catering set up, backstage was ready, and we set off to Costco to acquire some fluids for the show.  $1,300 later and twenty or so trips up the stairs to the Home Dome and we were as set as we were gonna get.  Also, we only had about 80 t-shirts left.

2010-03-06 Seattle, WA - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 064 Once we got started everything fell into place, just like all of the other shows on the tour.  Sonya’s parents arrived from the band’s home town and immediately got their tattoos on.  Andy set up shop manning the door with clipboard in hand, making sure that backstage passes were on and acting tough in the face of guests he didn’t recognize from the list (and those he did as well).

So how’d we end up?  About perfect we would say.  We had around 75-80 actually show and thanks to some creative furniture arranging we squeezed everyone in without it feeling like a Tokyo subway ride.  2010-03-06 Seattle, WA - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 086What an amazing turnout of friends and to say the least, we were humbled to see that all of these people came out to celebrate our wedding world tour (and to get free food and drinks).

Once the party slowed down to a dull roar, a core group of Sonya’s college friends, a neighbor or two, and Chris the guitar wizard kicked it up a notch and kept at it until around 2:30 am.  Not unexpected from a group of former Wazzu students and a stray Sun Devil.  Good times.

Now for the clean up.

Oh, and for those that think we are done.  Don’t write us off just yet.  There are more posts to come and it looks like the Burley, Idaho VIP-only show may happen in May.

Stay tuned.

The Spokanites  

2010-03-06 Seattle, WA - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 050 2010-03-06 Seattle, WA - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 107


Blizzard or Not, The Show Must Go On… Hello, New York!

Note: Go here for photos of the New York Spokanites Show, or here for all of the Hitched 2010 World Tour Photos.

Spokanites NY - Blizzard Map

The tragedy and the triumph – The Spokanites in New York 

(It’s a long one – apologies in advance)

That’s right, things were a bit too easy on the Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour up until this point.  This is a feat, btw – the total trip took us about 83,000 air miles total (41,500 each) so to have that go smoothly is a near miracle.  New York was the last “away game” so-to-speak so we were almost done and feeling great about the whole thing.  Mother nature had other ideas – she decided that we should have to earn the last leg of the tour…

2010-03-14 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 051 We were leaving Seattle a day early for a few reasons.  Most notably, trying to do NY from the west coast for two nights just plain sucks, we wanted to spend more time with friends, and some SF-based friends had bought us tickets to “Rock of Ages” on Broadway for the Friday night (thanks Matt & Beth!).  On our way to the airport Thursday morning we get the first notice from Robert’s phone – United has called to say our flight has been cancelled due to East Coast weather.  Strike one.

Robert gets on the phone and in no time we are confirmed on a red-eye later that night.  Now we are getting way too old for red-eyes but its only a small setback, and we get another day at home which is great for Sonya given how busy she is at work at the moment.

2010-02-27 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 025Skip to Thursday night.  No problems, we not only get on the plane on time but they even got us seats together at the last minute.  We have to go through DC because we are burning air miles, but everything goes smoothly except zero sleep for Robert on the way.  We arrive at Dulles at 6am where the fun really begins.

Our first flight to JFK gets cancelled around 8am.  Luckily Robert still has status with United and he gets on the phone to get us on the next flight, this one to LaGuardia around 10am.  The weather map looks amazing (the whole NE covered in a massive blizzard).  They say the 10am looks good though.  Fingers crossed.  Around 9:30 we get another message – the 10am is cancelled now.  Back on the phones, Robert get’s us on a 12:50 to Newark, but confidence is low at this point.  It’s already late morning on Friday and we need to be on Broadway by 7pm at the latest.

2010-02-27 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 015 Sonya calls friends, asks for help, etc. while Robert continues to manage the airlines.  The feared call comes around 11am – the Newark flight is cancelled as well.  Even worse, the next available flight is Saturday morning!  Ugh.  Time to raise the Spokanites threat level to “Help!”

Help arrives in the form of Amtrak, which is much harder than it sounds.  Thanks to Sonya’s friend Chris (thanks!) we were able to avoid the on-hold wait time of 46 MINUTES (What?!?!!) and got Chris to book us some remaining tickets from Union Station in DC to Penn Station in Manhattan.  We were out $300+ but the show must go on.  Think we are done yet?  Wrong…

You would think that the four cancelled flights would be the toughest part.  All we had left was the following: a) get our luggage off the plane (we had checked a bag because of all the t-shirts), b) get a taxi to Union Station (which is nowhere near Dulles Airport), and C) get on the train.  We had two solid hours to do this so no big worries, right.

The best part came immediately – getting our luggage.  After waiting 15 minutes in line at United Customer Service Robert to got to the desk.  Here’s the conversation.

  • ROBERT: “Hi, we’ve had a few cancelled flight and will now be taking the train to New York, so we need to get our checked luggage off the plane.” [hands the bar-coded claim tickets to the agent]
  • AGENT: “No problem.”  Starts typing endlessly into the computer.  “What flight”
  • 2010-02-27 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 017 ROBERT: “It’s on the claim form gave you – there were several cancelled, but the original flight was blah blah blah…”
  • AGENT: “OK, how many pieces of luggage?”
  • ROBERT: “Two.” [Trying not to be sarcastic – he had the claim tickets which numbered two.]
  • AGENT:  “Could you describe the luggage?”
  • ROBERT: “Uh, I gave you the claim tickets (which he hadn’t even looked at once).  Shouldn’t that tell you what you need to know?”
  • AGENT: “Can you describe the luggage?”
  • ROBERT: [Starting to get frustrated] “Yes, two standard black rollaboards – tagged with our names.”
  • AGENT: “Black?  Both of them?  Do they have wheels?”
  • ROBERT: “A Rollaboard?  Of course it has wheels”
  • AGENT: [with a completely straight face, btw]  “How many wheels?”
  • ROBERT:  “Uh, two.  What?  Why aren’t you using the bar-coded luggage claim tickets that are right in front of you.  This is how luggage is tracked.  Our luggage is not lost, nor are the claim forms.  I’m confused.”
  • AGENT: “OK, it shouldn’t be a problem.  You can claim your bags on carousel #1”
  • ROBERT: [still confused] “Thanks.  When should we expect them?  We are in a bit of a hurry.”
  • AGENT: “Oh, they should be out within one and a half hours.”
  • ROBERT: “What?!?  Did you just say AN HOUR AND A HALF to get our bags off of a parked plane in an airport that is mostly standing still [at this point realizing he should give up on this person]…  Uh, can you point me to baggage claim.  Thanks.”

2010-03-14 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 036 The Spokanites make there way to baggage claim where they are pointed to a special door for people who need their bags off cancelled flights.  A few people were milling about in front of the door, but no airline personnel.  A staff member eventually comes through the door and Sonya gives him the ticket.  He gives her an odd look and then disappears back through the door without saying anything.  Now what?  We have no guidance from anyone except the brain trust back in the terminal and now we no longer have our claim tags.  We have less than two hours to get to Union Station, which is almost an hour away by taxi.  Ugh.

I know this story is taking forever, but we felt you should enjoy some of our pain.  To summarize, our bags showed up in about 10 minutes, we got in a taxi, and about 50 minutes and $85 later we were passing the nation’s capital and inside of Union Station with train tickets.  We had some lunch and were soon on the train.  26 hours of no sleep for Robert at this point.

2010-03-14 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 024 The train ride was great, except for the annoying woman behind us who talked at screaming volume on her phone the entire 2+ hours to NY.  Frankly I was impressed that her voice could hold out that long, her battery could last, or that anyone would listen to her for that long.  Mad skills, I guess. 

After four cancelled flights and seeing the weather map, we expected to see some major blizzard action as we approached New York.  Manhattan had gotten 10” of snow overnight and was still getting it, according to the news.  What did we see?  Mostly sunny skies all the way until the tunnel into Manhattan.  This included seeing many planes landing at Newark above us, where our flight had been cancelled.  Oh well, Murphy’s Law I guess.

Now, this is getting way too long.  Back to summary mode:

  • Made it to Penn Station and to our friends Rob & Melanie’s apartment in time to shower and leave for the show on Broadway.
  • “Rock of Ages” was awesome for several reasons.  a) it was loud an energetic (we still hadn’t slept), b) it was about 80’s hair metal like Quiet Riot, Night Ranger, etc. which was really fun and a perfect fit with the Spokanites Tour, and c) it was a great play.
  • We followed this up with 12 hours of sleep and a day in the city prior to the “gig,” which was at Bread in the city.
  • All of our best friends in NY were there minus a couple of weather or baby-related cancellations.  The tattoos were once again the hit of the night.  We rocked that place and even went out into the city for more after the show.  Back by about 2:30am I think. 

2010-03-14 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 011 Last up came the return trip.  All was well to San Francisco where we had a short layover until we had our next delay.  We were supposed to get in at 10pm, but we eventually rolled into bed around 2am.  Like we said, Mother nature wanted us to work for this one.

Thanks New York!  We survived it!  Back and getting rested now.  The biggest tour stop is this weekend in Seattle.  Not sure how we will fit 90 people in the Home Dome.  Wish us luck.

The Spokanites


“Kara-Tinis” were a Hit as The Spokanites Rock San Francisco!

2010-02-20 San Francisco, CA - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 012 Ah, San Francisco.  Land of great food, great wine and great friends.  Fortunately for the Spokanites, all of these were in abundance during the Hitched 2010 tour stop in the city by the bay.

2010-02-19 San Francisco, CA - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 044As a start, San Francisco was great because we were finally a bit rested after the Asia leg and the quick turnaround to Scottsdale.  Sonya even had her voice back so everyone was in good spirits.  It’s also a bit closer and we were finally done flying United (we’re trying to burn all of the miles we have  racked up over the years) – Virgin America is the airline of choice right now for domestic travel.  Lastly, the show was being held at the spacious and elegant PNC Coliseum (PNC = Paul & Cynthia’s house) which gave us ample time to spend with these excellent hosts!

The actual event (for us) started with a rental-car visit to Costco to get the beer & wine, followed by a session of re-arranging furniture and toys at the PNC and hanging up Spokanites posters around the house.  Next up was the fantastic caterer.  I think we should leave it up to all of you fans to comment on her mad skills.  Yes, go down to the bottom and leave a comment.  We’ll wait…

2010-02-20 San Francisco, CA - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 001 Another huge highlight was an early visit by Michael & Kara Saucier, who brought a suitcase filled with ingredients to make their signature cocktail, the “Kara-Tini.”  They were a huge hit throughout the night with even ardent “I don’t like hard alcohol” folks changing their tune.  Big thanks to the Saucier’s for lugging that stuff all the way from Pleasanton on the BART.

I know we’ve said this before, but the real highlights of this and every show so far have been the fans.  We sold out once again with 50,000 fans (minus about three zeros) and it was great to see everyone getting into it.  Pregnant women with Spokanites tattoos wasn’t even the strangest thing we witnessed.  Thanks to everyone for coming out and making it a rock star event.

2010-02-20 San Francisco, CA - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 005 Before we leave you, we should highlight the next day’s activities.  Robert (fortunately) got stuck on clean-up duty at the PNC while Sonya had the luck of being invited to a baby shower.  Complete with a nice hangover, she had the pleasure of sitting with 5+ babies playing games that included “smell & guess the flavor of baby food” and “match the celebrity baby to the celebrity.”  Yes, with a hangover.  Did we mention that Robert was happy to be cleaning up the party mess?

San Francisco photos can be found here.


The Spokanites


First an Elephant, now a Tortoise? (the Scottsdale Gig)

2010-02-13 Scottsdale, AZ - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 022First, a big thanks to J. and Lisa Sandoval for letting us use their palatial estate to host our Scottsdale gig.  It felt a bit like U2 at Slane Castle, but with fewer people.

We were still coming off of the Spokanites Asia tour so the jet lag was running high and the brain cells were running low.  Sorry if we seemed a bit off our game (at least Sonya’s voice had started to return).

2010-02-13 Scottsdale, AZ - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 026Highlights for this party included some  of the following:

  • Our very own red velvet rope and a bouncer (awesome)
  • Some “long time no see” guests like Audrey/Barry, Robin Sly, Mike Varley, etc.  Thanks to everyone! 
  • Tasty Mexican food, Sangria and margaritas! 
  • Staying in the guest house (no need to leave)

Lastly, we had a great time hanging out with J., Lisa, the family and the miniature zoo they have created.  This included a German Sheppard, an aviary with 6 love birds, and a spotted tortoise (which was just cruising around the back yard and occasionally having its shell licked by the dog.  Very entertaining, and surprisingly fast.

All in all it was a great time.  Thanks again to all who joined us!!

Click here for photos.

The Spokanites


Singapore Acoustic Gig. Stiletto night!

Acoustic?  Huh?

Well, as the Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour progressed through Asia, we started to notice that several of our close friends from Singapore were left out and couldn’t make it to Hong Kong or another show for some reason.  Remember, we aren’t spring chickens anymore so many of our friends have kids (or are about to), jobs, bills, etc.  You know, responsibilities.

Given all of this, and that it isn’t every day we are in Asia, we decided to take advantage of our one night stopover in Singapore (before coming back to the US) and we added a small show.  We had less time, less gear, and less of Sonya’s voice due to the Hong Kong party (aka ‘acoustic’).  That said, we had a great turnout and saw a few people we hadn’t seen in way too long (Bryan/Noah, Simon, James/Odna, Etc.).

2010-02-09 Singapore - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 001One of the highlights was “Stiletto Night” at the BLU Bar in the Shangri-La Hotel .  This meant that you get a 15% discount off the bill for every inch of heel you have (the tallest of the group).  Too bad Sonya sent the wedding heels home with her parents (which were about 5”).  She had some 3” heels with her still so we got 45% off the bill.  Great promotion – more bars should try this.

We had a great time out with everyone and then retired back to Mark & Kathryn’s apartment in Robertson Quay for some late night toast before a very short sleep.  We had a very early flight home to Seattle the next morning.  Thank goodness we burnt the miles and went first class on this one.  🙂

We only get 48 jet lagged hours in Seattle before we head South to Scottsdale for the first US party.  This could get ugly.  Stay tuned…

The Spokanites


Hey Jimmy, It’s The Hong Kong Reunion Show!

First, have you been checking out the photos?  You can find them here!

Second, we are still seeing quite a few people who are at the shows, but haven’t seen the videos (crazy, I know).  If you haven’t seen them, get on it!

2010-02-06 Hong Kong - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 035 Ok, on to the news – the Hong Kong show was a huge success.  In fact, we were “bowled over” by everyone’s enthusiasm.  :)  That’s right kids, the Hong Kong Spokanites show was held at the LRC Bowl in mid-levels and included some serious bowling.

2010-02-06 Hong Kong - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 012 For the Spokanites, the day started out with us hitting some of our favorite spots around the city: brunch with our friend Anjali at Wagyu, followed by some shopping at Shanghai Tang and around Central and a foot massage at Happy Foot.  That was followed up ever so passionately with a nap.  Good times indeed.  Oh, I should mention we were staying at the LKF Hotel in Lan Kwai Fong and we loved it (upgraded room + newlywed gifts and great service + a great rate + a great location). 

After the nap, we were up and ironing for the big night.  Merchandise was sorted, camera charged, taxi called, and soon we were there.  First guest (and furthest traveled) was Jun Yamamoto from Tokyo! 2010-02-06 Hong Kong - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 018 Within a few minutes we had almost everyone (who knew we still had 20+ friends in HK).  One look around this room and you can see how lucky we are to have such a great group of friends.

After a few drinks, some snacks, some tattoos and some chatting we headed into the bowling alley and started what turned out to be a way too short round of games (who knew bowling would be so much fun).  Competition was fierce, but I think the overall champ had to be Kathleen Emerson who edged out Jeff Buhle in the last frame for a 177 (we think).

After getting ourselves kicked out of the bowling alley, we hit the LRC Sports Bar for another round and then got almost everyone to head to SoHo for a visit to Sonya’s favorite bar: The Feather Boa.  Crowded as ever in its tiny space, we got a great spot near the door and even survived the battle to get drinks.  Crammed into this postage stamp of a bar while chatting, we realized that Jeff kept referring to Jun as Jimmy, his new best friend.  Robert eventually called him out on it, which went something like this:

Jeff: “Jimmy is great. He’s my new best friend”

Robert: “Are you sure.  You don’t seem to know his name.”

Jeff: “It’s Jimmy, right?”

Robert: “No.  It’s Jun”

Jeff: “Well, he’s Jimmy to me!”

This became the running joke between the Spokanites for the next few days.  Good stuff.

Sunday started a bit rough.  Sonya woke up without much of a voice, not feeling too well, and it was raining.  2010-02-09 Hong Kong - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 001We had a short breakfast but returned to bed.  Eventually, we had to get up again for lunch and we decided to visit another favorite of ours in Soho for some nachos, Caramba.  It was a very short walk and we had a huge umbrella, but it rained so hard that we were soaked from the knees down in just a couple of minutes.  This continued all day.

The evening included Tea with Jun at the LKF, a visit to Kellie & Louis’s beautiful house in Tai Tam, dinner at The Pawn (another one we strongly recommend), and coffee with Mike and Ernie back at the hotel.  A big day with a bit of a hangover, but fantastic to be back in HK.

We rounded out HK on Monday with more shopping, seeing the Gibbons at the zoo, eating and hanging out with friends including a great dinner with Amber, Chris and Kathleen at Soho Spice.    Great catching up with everyone and plotting future hit TV shows.  Even saw Melvis on the way back and got a photo (see above) – no visit is complete without a Melvis sighting.

Next up – the recently added Singapore acoustic show.  Are we ready?

Best from the road,

The Spokanites

March 2023