The Experience.

As a music lovah, nothing thrills me more than standing in a giant stadium filled with thousands of people, lights, that electric sizzle in the air, and my favorite performer(s) standing on a stage before me. Ever since the ‘rents released their sheltering hold on me during those later high school years (oh, it was tight), I’ve been going to concerts. There’ve been memorable ones, weird ones, times when I’ve been trapped in a mosh pit and driven to the front of the stage, thunder, lightning, and so much in-between. Here are a few that I reminisce about to this day (in no order of importance), as well as some artists I’d push an old lady over to see live (what? I’m owed a push!).

1. Dave Matthews Band, 2000

All the guys together, including our dearly departed Leroi Moore on the far right. Sniff.
All the guys together, including our dearly departed Leroi Moore on the far right. Sniff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was my first time seeing the guys. Having been a mild fan, I nevertheless accepted the invitation to join an old friend to the show at RFK Stadium in DC. During the show, a crack of lightning streaked the sky, followed by a boom, then the heavens opened. It.poured. And Dave and the guys never stopped playing. We were drenched, cold, likely developing pneumonia–and yet as they played, we didn’t stop dancing. It was exhilarating. Needless to say, I became a lifelong fan during that wet evening.

2. Bush, 1999

You see that heart, don't you?
You see that heart, don’t you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only thing you have to know about this particular rockin’ show was that, after years of loving him from afar, I got to 1) meet Gavin Rossdale after the show and 2) hug him. He smelled like soap and dreams come true. Goodness. (Note: we were told before the meet and greet that we couldn’t hug Gavin or the rest of the band. You see how that worked out, huh?)

3. Stevie Wonder, 2010

Me and my sweet little bro.
Me and my sweet little bro on our way to the show.
The man, the legend, the wonder.
The man, the legend, the wonder.
Stevie in a harmonica-off with another musician. He won, by the way. No surprise there.
Stevie in a harmonica-off with another musician. He won, by the way. No surprise there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok. There are artists I love. And then there are artists that I feel emotionally connected to. And then there are artists that I have no true, lucid words in describing how they make me feel. That’s Stevie. I have no words. Through sheer amazement and a wonderful friend, I was able to score two free tickets to see Stevie Wonderful. Even sweeter was the fact that I surprised my little brother with that second ticket, he being as much of a fan of Stevie as I am. So…I wept the entire show. I couldn’t believe that the man was before me. I couldn’t believe that that voice, his instrument, was filling my senses. The woman next to me merely patted my hand and said, “I know, sweetie. I know.” It was un-be-liev-able.

4. HFStivals, 1994-1998

You can imagine the refreshing aroma in the air with all those people mashed against each other. (No.)
You can imagine the refreshing aroma in the air with all those people mashed against each other. (No.) I was at this show, by the way. Quite the memory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These daylong festivals were among the first concerts I attended. Some of the best and prolific modern rock bands in the 90s thrilled us and inspired those evil powerful mosh pits I mentioned earlier. From No Doubt to Everclear to Wyclef Jean to Rage Against the Machine to Jewel (who walked off the stage when a Frisbee struck her in the, uh, chestal area) to tons of others, those sweaty, crazy shows are still pretty memorable. Memorable and completely nothing I would do again. Whew. I’m happily an old lady now. Give me a nice seat during a show.

5. John Mayer, 2004

So groovy.
So groovy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was five girls crammed into my former, ratchet SUV headed to one of the most entertaining shows I’ve been to. We screamed and swooned and laughed and called for him to play out favorite tracks. Maroon 5 opened for him. What a show. Having fallen for Mayer’s incredible songwriting abilities after the release of his first album, to see him play and riff was awesome. Cooler, though, was being around my company of girls and good friends.

Those are a few of the shows that I still tell people about, sometimes against their will. Following are some of the artists I’m slightly frothing at the mouth to see:

  • Adele
  • Emeli Sande
  • Lionel Richie (yes, you read that right)
  • Sam Smith
  • Paul McCartney
  • Bruce Springsteeeeeen
  • Jason Mraz
  • Johnnyswim
  • Billy Joel
  • Sara Bareilles

What memorable concerts do you think about from time to time? And who would you like to see? Tell me….

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play on.

music

Continuing with our music theme this week. My favorite quote from one of my favorite works by one of my favorite writers.

 

In the Lonely Hour.

I had an Amy Winehouse moment.

A little history: several years ago, when Amy’s indescribable Back to Black album was released, I had my usual listening party on the headphones. I was on an airplane, en route to visit the bestie in Alabama. And then Tears Dry on their Own came on and I shocked the guy next to me by nearly falling out my chair in response. The melody and lyrics and everything slayed me immediately. I closed my eyes; held out my hands before me–I mean, I was having some sort of religious conversion epiphany moment. I don’t know what it was about that song; I don’t know why, when I played the song for my friends, they reacted in a similar way; I don’t know why when I read reviews about the album, most of the critics seemed to highlight that particular song when discussing the richness of that album. It was everything and it still is and I still squeal under my breath when that song comes on my music mix.

SamSmith
Oh, the talent.

Well, I had another AW moment yesterday when listening to In the Lonely Hour, the first album by new Brit artist Sam Smith. (Seriously, whatever they’re putting in the tea and crumpets in Britain is working; most of the best soul singers that have arrived on the music scene and have quickly established their talent.) The entire album had me in epiphany Amy Winehouse mode; it was one song after the next of mind blowing vocals and lyrics that landed right in the center of my chest and culled up memory and moments in time and swelling chords and just good music. Goodness. Honestly, I would list the songs on the album that stand out, but I can’t do that because they all stand out, each and every one of them. I will say that I’ve Told You Now (couldn’t find the album version to link, but Google it up…or buy the album!) did something to me. I don’t know what it did, exactly; I was exercising when it came on and my knees nearly gave out when I heard the chorus. We could attribute that to my actual weak knees, but I have a feeling it’s the song. Anyway…

Purchase this album. You need it in your life.

The end.

you are full of wonder.

This song came up on the ole iPod shuffle this morning.

Briefly, Emeli Sande is right up there with Lupita in terms of amazing women that I want to have coffee with and talk about our hopes, dreams, and favorite novels. And maybe raid their closets. In other words, I’m slightly obsessed. If you haven’t listened to her music, not sure what you’re waiting for, buddy…

Anyway, I’ve heard the song about 1,000 times by now, but I have to admit that the first strains of the melody and the ensuing lyrics brought tears to my eyes this morning. Was it because of the cloudy, drizzly day? The fact that I was headed to the work, which is always the last place I want to be? Or was it the reminder, by way of song, that there are times when all of us feel slightly less than zero and need to hear that we, as Emeli says, are full of wonder? I think it’s the latter.

So, here you are. You are full of wonder. Even if you doubt yourself, don’t. Because you’re amazing. Happy Friday.

Emeli Sande, Wonder

I can beat the night, I’m not afraid of thunder
I am full of light, I am full of wonder

Woah, oh I came falling under
Woah, oh I am full of wonder

Though our feet might ache, the world’s upon our shoulders
No way we goin’ break, ‘cos we are full of wonder

Woah, oh we came falling under
Woah, oh we are full of wonder

This light is contagious, go, go tell your neighbours
Just reach out and pass it on
This light is contagious, go, go tell your neighbours
Just reach out and pass it on ooh yeah
This light is contagious, go, go tell your neighbours
Just reach out and pass it on ooh yeah
This light is contagious, go, go tell your neighbours
Just reach out and pass it on yeah

Woah, oh we came falling under
Woah, oh we are full of wonder

When everything feels wrong, and darkness falls upon you
Just try sing along, this is a message from Cabana
If your heart turns blue, I want you to remember
This song is for you, and you are full of wonder

Woah, oh we came falling under
Woah, oh we are full of wonder

Johnnyswim

JohnnyswimJust officially declaring my musical love for Johnnyswim, a new husband and wife music duo that I discovered one morning on VH1 while getting ready for work. (Could by why I’m perpetually late every morning.)

Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano sing the most heavenly harmonies, my goodness, both armed with powerful voices that will immediately make themselves at home in your ear. Lyrically, melodically–I want to swim (what a pun, huh?) in this music. Speaking of swimming, so far Abner and Amanda have provided three different stories about the origin of the name of their band. I kind of like the revolving door of  tales. And, fun fact: Amanda’s mom is the late, great, my-personal-disco-queen herself, Donna Summer! Anyway, listen to some music below, won’t you?

This is the first song I heard from them. Fell in love pretty quickly.

Here they are performing a live version of my favorite song from the album, Diamonds, with Daryl Hall. Oh, and are you watching Live from Daryl’s House? Please do. Immediately. Please and thank you.

Herculean.

Oh, hi there. It’s been a while, huh? In short, I loathe winter and with all the polar vortexes and all that, my writing has been suspended by a lack of desire, inspiration, and general movement in my hands. But here we are. Hi, again.

This will be brief. I’m here to post a song that I find hard to not play 100 times in a row, something that pretty much exemplifies my absolute and near manic love of music. (I’ll write another post about music and writing and how, for me, the two go hand in hand.) It’s a song entitled Hercules by Sara Bareilles (if you’re not a fan of hers, I very much want to pinch you for this error in judgment) and I just think it sums up the struggle and the subsequent rallying that exists in the writing life, the female life, the daughter life, the sister life–essentially, everything it takes to be a woman and an artist living on this earth right now today. All encapsulated within an inescapable melody, lovely vocals, and a thumping beat. Listen, won’t you?