Concerts

Beautiful Music by Beautiful People

I’ve decided that I’d rather go broke than miss out on live music.  I can’t believe I almost hesitated earlier this week when it came to seeing The Swell Season live tonight, solely because of the $20 price tag.  Thank god I came to my senses and remembered how much I love both outdoor concerts and The Swell Season.

The framily headed out for an early arrival, planning a picnic before the show.  Only the framily does picnics like this…

GOURMET PICNIC: 9

If there’s one thing the Bobbasheely Framily does right it’s food.  Combine the brilliance of Laura, Paul, Jay and occassionally me, you’re bound to end up with a feast. Sadly we were missing Ben, Katie, Scott, and Snooky, but as you’ll see we managed to get by on the food front…

I provided the veggies and left with a TON.  Can’t say this is a bad thing though, as I now have five different kinds of veggies pre-washed, cut and baggied for the week ahead.  Score!

-1 for buying a Sheetz sub on the way, forgetting that Laura was coming and clearly would provide delicious tuna salad wraps, solving my ‘tons of snacks but no real meal’ concern.  Next time…

One of the things I love most about concerts is that they provide you the opportunity to get to just hang out with your favorite artists.  Anyone can listen to someone’s CD at home and enjoy the music.  But at a concert you get the stories and banter that goes with it.  This is only the case if the artists are actually enjoying the concert as much as you are, and Glen Hansard certainly was.

GLENN HANSARD’S STAGE PRESENCE: 10

He was HILARIOUS, and gave plenty of chatting time between each song.  This I loved.  Plus when playing he was full of emotion and clearly digging the music.  He ad-libbed as necessary, and got the crowd involved in almost every song… not good news when I’m in the audience, but nevertheless he was hopeful 🙂

HER AWKWARDNESS: 2

It was clear he dominated the stage and the show, and I have to admit I felt pretty bad for her apparent uncomfort when performing… I will say, however, while it’s receiving a low rating it has nothing to do with her talent.  That would be a whole seperate rating, and clearly way above a 10.

HIS HUMILITY: 10!

SO appealing.  What a great, down-to-earth guy.  Never for a minute did he come off as too cool for school, and was so good to the whole audience.

Early on he invited anyone and everyone to come down front and fill the huge gap that’s part of this particular theatre, meaning Laura and I enjoyed up-close seats the entire time 🙂  As soon as it filled up he commented ‘Now it feels like a gig!’.  Can totally picture this guy rocking out at the local pub…

In his own words:

“It is exhausting at times, but the idea of going on stage and singing a bunch of notes and a bunch of chords, the idea that people would pay to see that is kind of sad. I hate to say it, I have gone to concerts where bands are doing just that, and I feel cheated. I think if people are going to spend their hard-earned money on a Friday night to go see my band, the best thing for me to do is get my own ego out of there and do a good gig.”

VIDEO GUY: 3

Clearly I videod a couple pieces of the concert.  But what’s with the folks who feel it’s necessary to film the ENTIRE concert?  I wonder if they actually go back and watch the whole thing… can’t imagine why if the quality’s anything like what I took home.  This dude seriously didn’t put down his flip cam the entire concert…

Whatever floats your boat I suppose 🙂

LOVING LIFE GUY: 10

This guy on the other hand never once lifted a camera, but instead just loved every single piece of the concert.  Head bobbing, dancing, the most emphatic claps I’ve ever seen… he covered it all.

People like this make me love concerts just a little bit more than I would have otherwise… doesn’t get any better.

GLENN’S WHITE MAN DANCE: 10!!!

What more is there to be said about this?  Glenn dances like a white guy and I love it.

FALLING SLOWLY: 10

God I love this song.  I used to play it in my classroom all the time, and when it won the Oscar I could finally gloat to my students that my taste in music was verifiably good.  They didn’t buy it.

I still love the song more than any other love song.  Ever.

RANDOM DUDE ON STAGE: 10

Just to prove my point about what a great guy Glenn is, as he was playing a Bruce Springsteen song at the end, and getting the crowd to sing, some random dude from the audience jumped on stage and took over the mike.  Glenn loved it, graciously moved to the side and let him have his moment.  He rocked out on the chorus, and then started giving hilarious shout-outs to ‘his’ band.  Super entertaining, and the crowd loved him!

MY DECISION TO STAY IN NORTH CAROLINA: 10!!!

While facing a pretty tough decision a couple months back when tempted by an incredible job in New York City, tonight was a brilliant reminder why I belong in North Carolina.

Looking forward to a summer full of tens 🙂

Advertisements

Brandi Carlile!

Last night I got a bit of an early Valentine’s Day surprise.

SCOTT’S ABILITY TO GIVE CLUES: 2

It actually turned out not to be a surprise due to this low rating.  I’ll give him two points because I’ll remain open to the idea that with my exceptional intelligence it’s a bit harder to surprise.  However, the clue was still super easy to figure out, meaning I’ve been looking forward to this concert for about two months now 🙂

MISSING MY CAMERA CORD: 1

It’s gotta be around somewhere (plus 1), which means hopefully I’ll get it back soon.  But this means that all the pictures I took last night won’t be able to be posted until I do.  Luckily someone else at the concert has already posted a video on YouTube I will be including 🙂

In the meantime, if anyone has seen my black and red pencil case with a ton of pens, highlighters, and cords for different electronics, let me know!  (Did I just give away what a huge dork I really am?  Oh well.)

OPENING ACT: 10!!!!

As we were waiting in line outside waiting to get in, I reviewed my ‘list’ of concerts, that you may recall from this post.  The beauty of ‘The List’ is that you only put artists on it that you are willing to pay any amount to go see.  If they come to you, you MUST go see them.  As a result, the list stays fairly short, saving money for when someone on ‘the list’ arrives.  My list has looked about the same for years (in no particular order):

  • Bryan Adams (check!)
  • Indigo Girls (saw them when I was about 12, but would pay any amount to see them again)
  • Dixie Chicks (saw them senior year of HS)
  • Jewel (sophomore year of college)
  • David Gray (this past New Years)
  • Elvis Presley (still holding my breath for this one)
  • Brandi Carlile (newest addition, added on about two years ago)

As you can see, the list is getting shorter as I’ve seen almost everyone on it.  This is what we were discussing, and I mentioned that I’d really like to see the Indigo Girls again…

You can imagine my surprise when out walked Amy Ray on the stage.  I knew the opener was Amy Ray, and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, but despite how often I listen to the Indigo Girls I didn’t know either of their names.  So she walks out, opens her mouth, and Scott and I kind of look at each other and go ‘Isn’t she an Indigo Girl????’  I almost didn’t believe it at first, because I’m notoriously bad at actually recognizing singers by sound only, but luckily in this case we had the look to go with it.

There was no doubt.  Our opener was half the Indigo Girls.  And SHE WAS INCREDIBLE.  Her voice, her energy, her personality, her band, everything.  I loved her.  Could not possibly have been more pleasantly surprised by an opener.

Now on to the main event.  I feel the need to break this into several different ratings…

BREAK BETWEEN OPENER AND MAIN ACT: 2

It took about 45 minutes between acts, and it started a bit late.  I know this is usually the case with concerts, but it’s made worse when you’re standing 😦  After 3 hours of being on your feet it gets a bit uncomfortable.  Luckily I had a big tall guy to lean on which made it a bit nicer 🙂

FIRST NUMBER: 10!

It started with just their cellist playing, which was beautiful.  Then the band came out and circled around one microphone, and with nothing but the cello sang an incredibly beautiful song.  Also showed off their insane talent.  Brandi’s voice is nothing like I’ve ever heard, with incredible range and beautiful sound.  Plus distinctively unique.  ANd the band can clearly do more than just rock out on the guitar, bass and drums.  Great way to start.

REST OF THE SHOW: 9

It started off strong, and continued that way throughout.  One thing I love about concerts is when 1) the band is having as much fun as you are, and 2) they talk to you throughout.  That way you’re not just listening to their record, but you’re actually hanging out with them for a night.  She was so incredibly gracious, humble and chatty, we got exactly that.  Reminded me a lot of the Bryan Adams concert but in a smaller venue, which made it even more personal.

At one point they went totally unplugged, moved to the front of the stage, played two guitars, and a tambourine and just sang.  Everyone was almost completely silent so we could hear them and it was so beautiful.  Plus, completely different from what you’ll hear on the album.  Truly wonderful.

-1 due to all the tall people standing in front of us (not including the tall guy standing with me).  I wish I could have seen more of the action 😦

Check out some highlights here, including several duets with Amy Ray.

I first fell in love with Brandi when listening to Pandora in my classroom one night after school my second year of teaching. ‘The Story’ came on randomly, and I immediately fell in love with what I heard.  Minutes later I logged on to iTunes and bought the full album by the same name.

Every Sunday that year I drove two hours each way to Chapel Hill to climb, and listened to this album almost every week.  To this day it still brings back strong memories and feelings from that year, and I must admit it was surreal listening to them last night as I now live in Chapel Hill and so many things have changed.

Life is good.

Happy 2010!

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the New Year than a trip to Atlantic City and a David Gray concert…

OUR GAMBLING: 4.

We gave it a go, risking $5 on the penny slot machines.  Although, it turns out if you wanna win you have to put down more than just a penny per turn.  Needless to say we lost it all, but we did have a couple big wins ($2 for one spin!!!).  Also sad that we got in trouble for the camera before I got a pic of my first time gambling at a slot machine…

We walked around for a while, but had about 4 hours to kill before the concert so decided to hit up a buffet!  Can’t think of a better way to kill 3 hours…

THE CRABS: 10!

When a ‘taxi’ driver recommended the Tropicana, I had no idea it was for their crab legs.  But thank god it was!  THEY WERE INCREDIBLE.  I had two more plates that looked just like this one (if you do the math that’s 30 crab legs!!!).  I loved every minute of it, and because seafood is incredible, I left feeling totally comfortable and not at all sedated with a food coma (unfortunately I’m not sure Scott can say the same thing…).

THE REST OF THE BUFFET: 1.

I got one good dessert out of it, but genuinely did not take more than a bite out of anything else.  I’d try them, and then decide they weren’t nearly good enough to waste valuable room in my stomach that could be used on delicious crab…

OUR CLASSINESS: 6.

I love it, however I’m not sure those around us, hoping for a lovely New Year’s Eve dinner appreciated it as much.  Either way I think we’re fabulous 🙂

THE CONCERT: 8

I love David Gray’s music.  So as long as he was playing that, I knew I’d be happy.  The first half (11-12) he was super intense and played one after another after another.  Got a ton of music in, I’ll give him that.  But after the New Year he only played for like another half hour 😦  Total.  Including the encore (and you all know how I feel about encores in general).  I wish he had played longer 😦

And I wish the awesome video I took with my snazzy new camera would upload to iMovie.  I’ll post as soon as I get it to work.

After the concert we drove to my sister’s place in Philly (arriving about 3 am) and spent a couple quality days there which was nice 🙂

Now I’m enjoying the season premier of The Bachelor!  Surely ratings will follow…

A Musical Weekend

This weekend was full of musical brilliance!  While I’ve always known how much I loved any kind of live music, this weekend helped me narrow down what I love in concerts 🙂  See ratings below…

Better Than Ezra: 6

Friday night a group of us headed down to Raleigh for the last in their free (!) outdoor concert series, Downtown Live.  Better than Ezra was playing, which meant little to me, but clearly a lot to Lauren.  I recognized the name, but I suppose this is another band that fell victim to my time spent in Japan, as I couldn’t name a single song.  I was assured that I would recognize far more songs than I thought, but alas, I recognized none.  The good news is, that didn’t take away from my enjoyment at all 🙂

IMG_1380

The lead singer clearly enjoyed being on stage, which made me enjoy watching.  I love someone with great stage presence, especially when they can joke around and have fun, and these guys sure did.  He sounded a bit off the first couple of songs, but got it together later.  Either way his personality far made up for it.

-1 for the rain (I would take off more, but to be honest I had a rain jacket and a giant umbrella, so I never ended up that wet)

-1 because I didn’t know any of the words (or songs really)

-1 for the back pain.  When I used to return to the classroom after long breaks, the first week back I always had the worst back pain (I swear it’s not a sign of getting old), and that’s exactly what it felt like for the last half.

-1 for the scary crowd surfing.  I had no idea I was such a baby, but as soon as people started crowd surfing I got really scared.  Because of all the rain the crowd wasn’t very dense, and it scared the crap out of me that someone would smack me in the face, or worse that they’d head my way and I’d totally drop them.  Narrowly missed several times but made it out alive.

Overall I enjoyed being introduced to a great new band, and I loved the company so it was definitely a great use of a Saturday night 🙂  Check them out…

Of A Revolution (OAR): 8.5

The next night some fabulous friends of mine hooked me up with tickets to see OAR.  Another band I’ve definitely heard OF, but hadn’t ever really heard any of their music.  Until last night 🙂

We started the evening with a fabulous tailgate (thanks to Claud), which was the best idea ever.  I’ve only tailgated once in my life before (I know, can you believe it?!), and it was for a UNC football game two years ago.  The idea of tailgating for a concert seemed brilliant.  Even better news is that it was a vegetarian tailgate.  Put together Greg’s homemade wheat bread, Rachel’s fabulous taste in cheeses, Bill’s INCREDIBLE guacamole (coming from someone who makes pretty good guac herself!), fruit salad and some brownies to finish it off, this was a pretty satisfying dinner.  Plus, we had Bill’s pick-up, so it truly was a tailgate.

If this is a preview of NC State tailgates to come, I CAN’T WAIT!

IMG_1381

On the way in we passed by this porta-bar.  I’m loving it.  What a brilliant idea!  They turned an old pop-up camper into a portable bar that they can easily park in parking lots during tailgates.  It even appeared they were making frozen drinks!  I want to rate it a 10, but I’m not sure what the prices were, so it’s hard to say.  There was also a table set up right there with flip cup goign on.  If they brought that with them, they’re brilliant.  Imagine selling beer at a tailgate with flip cup games going on right there.  They must make a fortune!

IMG_1383

We then headed into the concert, which was held at Koka Booth Ampitheatre.  I LOVE THIS PLACE.  I saw the Fray here two years ago, and enjoyed a wine festival on my birthday that year as well with Kim.  It’s outside, surrounded by trees, with space to stand in front, a huge grass lawn to set up blankets and chairs, and a lot of places selling food and quality beer in the back.  Moral of the story= I didn’t have to stand at all.  I couldn’t have been more pleased 🙂

On top of that, the weather was BEAUTIFUL.  We set up our stuff on the lawn, Rachel, Caroline, Claud and Greg headed up front, and BIll and I relaxed in the back.  You could hear the music, see most everything, and even chat, which is unusual for a concert.  Seriously folks, if you’ve never seen a concert here you need to.  Immediately.  Even if you live far away.

The only things I would take points off for would -1 for not being able to sing along to any of the songs (but honestly, loving the fact that I was introduced to an awesome new band), and .5 for having to miss a framily dinner.  Overall though, AWESOME concert.

IMG_1384

IMG_1386

ENCORES: 1

Seriously my least favorite part of concerts.  In fact, I find them to be RIDICULOUS.  Let’s pretend like we’re done, leave the stage, and then wait backstage for the predetermined amount of time and decide to head back out, regardless of how much clapping or chanting exists, and play some more.

So they’re in one of two situations.  1) Fishing for compliments, by leaving just so they can hear how much they’re wanted, or 2) Looking pathetic when they leave and the audience starts to leave (not their plan), but they clearly still have to come back on, and must feel pretty stupid.

Give up on the ridiculous encore and just play an extra half hour.  Everyone will love you more if you’re just real about how long you’re going to play.

The Love of My Life

So as I informed you all about a month ago, Bryan Adams decided to make a visit to Durham. Since he’s been on my mental list of ‘Concerts I Must See Before I Die’, I had no qualms about coughing up 80 bucks for two tickets. That’s the purpose of the list you see. No matter how much the tickets are, if they come, you must go. However I keep the list relatively short to emphasize the importance of those musicians, and to make the decision to spend money on them not a decision at all.

Then, when I go to the concerts I have a short list of ‘Songs I Must Hear to Make the Ticket Worth the Money’. In addition, I have a long list of ‘Songs that Will Make Me Love this Musician Forever’. If they play all those they’ve become my new hero.

Short List for Bryan Adams:

  • Here I Am
  • Please Forgive Me
  • Everything I Do, I Do it for You
  • Summer of ’69 (not even because this is my all time favorite song, but if I’m gonna see Bryan Adams live, I gotta see him do this song).

Long List-all of the above plus:

  • Straight From the Heart
  • To Really Love a Woman
  • All for One, All for Love

When Bryan played Please Forgive Me I was in the happiest mental place EVER. He even played it as a country singer which was funny AND good. When he finished the entire concert with ‘All for One, All for Love’, the only song left on my long list, I realized this was perhaps the best concert of my life.

Seriously, I can’t explain last night in words. I’ve been in love with Bryan Adams since Freshman year of college, and last night that love was taken to a whole nother level. There’s something about his incredible voice, the deep raspiness that makes it really sexy, and the hopelessly romantic lyrics (which obviously I’m a huge sucker for) that just makes him incredible in my eyes.

PLUS, seeing him live last night just showed me what a good person he is. Despite having 11 albums, several Academy Award nominations and tons of music awards, he was one of the most humble people ever. Not a hint of cockiness, and great stage presence where he genuinely interacted with the audience. He took straight requests (including Freebird and Stairway to Heaven which was hilarious), and told a lot of stories behind some of his songs which I enjoyed. Best one:

“Next I’m going to play perhaps one of my most misunderstood songs. People seem to think it’s about a period of time, but really it’s about some nostalgia and a sexual position…”

Oh how I love Bryan Adams. Here’s a little bit to help you all realize why I love him so much.

The only thing I’d take a point off for would be venue. The Carolina Theatre was great in terms of size, as even though I got tickets late in the game I felt like we were pretty close and could see everything that was going on, however everyone was sitting. I definitely prefer to stand during concerts, and sitting made me hold back from really getting into some of the songs which was a little bit of a bummer. – .5

OVERALL: 9.5. HIGHLY recommended. Basically, if he comes anywhere near you, you need to go. I promise you know and love more Bryan Adams music than you thought…