2017 – The Year of Concerts

Quote: “If you told me I could only do one thing, I would choose live concerts.” — Mandy Patinkin
Song: Greatest Love Story by LANCO
Location: Red Deer, Alberta

2017, what a year!! I think it was absolutely fantastic. But, this isn’t for me to reflect on the year. Well, I guess it is, but, a different type of reflection. For me, 2017 was the YEAR of CONCERTS. There are few things (if any) I love more in this world than live music. Concerts are one of my favorite ways to spend money. No problem. I love hearing musicians I love, LIVE. So, here is a nice little reflection on all of the artists I was able to enjoy LIVE this 2017 year!

First up, one of my favorites artists (may have to do with the fact he mentions my name in not one, but TWO of his songs) BON JOVI.
Bon JoviBon Jovi at The Forum. What an incredible show and start to the Year of Concerts. This House is Not For Sale was not only a wonderful tour, but Bon Jovi told a story that I will never forget. Almost 2-3 decades ago (many many years), he performed at The Forum to a half empty crowd. He figured his career was almost done and he went “home” to whatever hotel they were staying at that night and cried himself to sleep, thinking it was all over. He said, “If only I could have told myself then where I’d be in 25 years, performing to a SOLD OUT crowd, here, at The Forum.” The Forum had many memories for him, all which he shared, but that was the one that stuck with me the most. It was cool to see one of my favorite artists in such a monumental place for him! He also was a CLASSY performer. Totally family friendly, no inappropriate language, kids were rocking out to him just as hard as the adults. What a GREAT GUY!! Anddd….Tommy and Gina. ❤

The LumineersThe Lumineers – OMG. I have waited SO LONG to see The Lumineers. I miss them every time. They were opening for U2 and I cannot wait to see them on their own tour, but this was at least amazing. Also, The Lumineers and U2 in ONE SHOW? How much more perfect can life get? This was an absolutely fantastic set for them. They were soooo good. Cannot wait to see them again. Will definitely buy tickets!! (They’re in my Top 5 favorite musicians list so really….they could have sucked and I’d still buy future tickets, but it was awesome to see them thriveee!!)

U2 at the Rose Bowl. U2 tickets are way too hard to get. They’re also way too expensive. I bought the cheapest tickets I could get my hands on in pre-sale, and they were awful seats. I’m glad I saw them, it was a huge check off the bucket list, but I would never see them again unless I was way closer. This was the Joshua Tree Tour, in honor of 30 years since that album was released, and their stage show was a replica of it. 30 years ago they didn’t have big screens so…..they didn’t here either.  U2So I get it but also, how do I know it was Bono and not some impersonator? I don’t. Because they were the size of ants. They sounded great though. But in the stack of concerts this year, they didn’t even come close to being at the top. I told a great friend of mine after that, “I wouldn’t see them again unless you and I were dating and you’d never seen them.” To which he responded, “I’ve already seen them.” Thanks for that dude. Clearly you are NEVER going to ask me out, literally handed him a neon sign saying go for it. Hahaha Forget him, I mailed him a shirt, and…I’ll go again. But only if my tickets are super close. Or not at the Rose Bowl. It’ll be interesting to see them at a tour that’s not a replica of the past.

Brett Young – Fantastic. He was the first opener for Lady Antebellum and joined the stage with them again at one point during their set. Can’t wait to see him on his own tours!

Kelsea Ballerini – Peter Pan. OMG. I love that song. So much. I’m also a weirdo fan of anything Peter Pan so, that helps. She was the second opener for Lady Antebellum and what a great performance. It was like her own mini-concert. Super glad I was able to see her and hear Peter Pan ring through the valleys surrounding the Hollywood Bowl!

Lady AntebellumLady Antebellum at the Hollywood Bowl. FANTASTIC. There’s just something about live country music. One, they’re always exactly the same as the radio because they don’t auto tune themselves. Two, they’re just fun. Although I haven’t really listened to most of Antebellum’s new stuff, I’m a fan of their oldies and they played just as much of that as their new record. You Look Good World Tour, another great one for the books!

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill at the Staples Center. Woohoo. We’ve hit a country double whammy. The Soul 2 Soul Tour was absolutely AH-MAZING! How can it not be when you’re seeing BOTH Tim McGraw AND Faith Hill in one setting? To make it even better, I bought second hand tickets…which ended up being VIP. VIP in the Staples Center is the life you always want to live. Tim McGraw and Faith HillTrust me. Also, Tim McGraw is a favorite of mine and he played all of my favorites, including Shotgun Rider: A song which I don’t leave out on any mixed CD I’ve ever made. True, classy, country performers. Humble and Kind. They live what they preach…or they live what they sing. One of the top concerts of the year for sure.

Coldplay at the Rose Bowl. Now, this one is a tough opinion to beat. Coldplay is and are, my favorite musicians. So even if they had a crappy show, they’d be #1 in my heart. I actually had already gone to the A Head Full of Dreams tour in 2016 (at the Rose Bowl), but knew they were returning in 2017. ColdplayJust days before the 2017 LA show, my friend’s sister posted some videos from their Edmonton show and I realized I was going to have to buy tickets to see them again. Just because I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. I do think Mylo Xyloto was a better tour. (I saw that in Edmonton.) But, it is cool to see their tours in outdoor arenas. Then you can get the full confetti and fireworks show!! (And I LOVE FIREWORKS as much as I LOVE CONCERTS.) Side note: This concert was just a few days after the terrible acts in Las Vegas. Thank you to Coldplay and the Rose Bowl who had extra security, and also had emergency exits explained for EVERY SINGLE SECTION before the show was allowed to begin.

Tom Walker. Let me guess, you don’t know who he is? LOOK HIM UP RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THIS GUY IS GONNA BE SOMEBODY and you can remember when GINA SAID LOOK HIM UP. Absolutely FANTASTIC. AND he’s one heck of a SUPER NICE GUY TOO!

The ScriptThe Script at The Wiltern. YES. This may have been the concert of the year solely because of my INSANELY AMAZING tickets. ON THE FLOOR, as close as possible, inside the pit. Amazing. The Script, like The Lumineers, I have missed every single tour. EVERY SINGLE ONE. But, FINALLY, I was able to catch them on the Freedom Child Tour. A very fitting name too. They were absolutely AMAZING. Sounded great, were personable, and just put on an absolutely amazing show. This was also my first time at The Wiltern, and since then, it has become my favorite place in LA to watch concerts. Great venue!! Can’t wait to see The Script again!!

Sheryl Crow Particle Kid. At first I thought he was a weird opener for Sheryl Crow, but let me tell ya, this guy has some talent. He also told a story about him listening to Sheryl Crow as a kid and how he can’t believe she’s now like his crazy Aunt. Had me sold at that story. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m all about the personal stories these musicians like to tell. I soak them up like butter in a croissant.

Sheryl Crow at the Fonda Theatre. I literally left work at 8:30pm and bought a ticket for this show at 8:55pm. The show started at 9. What a great buy for a Monday night. Sheryl Crow was one of my childhood favorites and I still love her. You really don’t realize how many hits she has until you listen to her Greatest Hits albums and it’s every single song she’s ever sang. She did not fail in person. Sounded identical to every recording ever and was a true country artist on stage. Love her mellow indie vibes.  Also, Fonda Theatre was another rad venue.

Liam Gallagher at The Wiltern. First, I LOVE OASIS. Oasis is one of my Top 5 musicians/bands. The chances of me ever seeing them perform are 0. Okay….maybe 0.1. Seeing them separately is all I can do, and of course, it’s Liam’s voice we want to hear. Liam GallagherLiam has a bit of a reputation when it comes to concerts….he’s been known to storm off stage and not return, forget lyrics, start fights with the audience. He did none of that during the As You Were Tour. He put on a freaking great show AND his voice was incredible. He didn’t sing Wonderwall which broke my heart, but you have to be thankful for just getting a show when it comes to the Gallagher brothers. I would definitely buy tickets for Liam again, and just hope that this show wasn’t my one lucky time. Also, shout out to everyone attending. I believe this was the nicest crowd of people at a concert this entire year. The crowd actually stayed 30 minutes after the show had ended to sing Wonderwall, and other Oasis hits that didn’t get touched. It was beautiful. I met some cool people there too. Definitely a great memory!!!

OH MY GOSH. THIS BRINGS US TO THE LAST CONCERT OF THE YEAR. LANCO. LANCO was by far, the friendliest band this year. They even invited me in (thanks to a very persistent friend) for a meet-n-greet before the show because the tickets were a birthday gift for me. They were so genuine and polite, it made me even happier to be a fan of them. LANCO1Even better, I have been a fan of them BEFORE they were on the radio. The friend from the U2 story, he always finds me these super indie bands before they make it big. LANCO was the first band that I was able to send HIM before they became popular. Although Troublemaker was their first big hit, Greatest Love Story is my favorite. (And again, I knew it before the radio play.) I LOVEEEE that song. It’s ah-mazing. Go listen to it if you haven’t heard it yet. The cool thing about LANCO, they performed at the Troubadour which is a venue that has stories to tell. It was very popular in past decades for musicians to perform in, but it is also a very small venue. This allowed a close intimate performance with the audience. Their frontman, Brandon Lancaster, at one point, divided the crowd and then ran through the middle of us banging drums, etc. Something I’m glad he’s taking advantage of now, because that’ll be much harder to do at the Staples Center. (I trust they’ll get that big.)

LANCOLANCO also holds a special place in my heart because it was my LAST CONCERT of 2017, to finish off 2017 The Year of Concerts. I should mention, by the way, I didn’t wake up January 1st and say, “This is gonna be the year of concerts.” It actually just became a joke mid-way through the year because I was just continuously going or continuously buying tickets. (I am also missing some of the openers but…I put in the openers that mattered in my heart, and my ears.) Either way, what a year of live music it has been!!! It has been AWESOME. (And for those not familiar with the venue names, these were all in Los Angeles. I’m just writing this blog from my Canadian Winter getaway.) Thank you to all of the bands, venues, friends I went with, performers, audience members beside me, merchandise attendees, THANKS Y’ALL for supporting and being a part of making live music happen.

Can’t wait to find out who I’ll be seeing in 2018. I’m hoping to make a trip out to Nashville. Hmmm, 2018, The Year of Travelling, sounds pretty good too, no?

Happy New Year Y’all! ❤

 

 

 

Shows and Premieres NY Update #1

Quote: “Eyes bright, chins up, smiles on” –Effie Trinket (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)
Song: All I Want For Christmas is You by Mariah Carey
Location: Laundromat, Upper West Side, New York

So this blog is a catch-up on the shows  I’ve seen! Let’s get down to business: First up, the off-Broadway production of Peter and The Star Catcher.

Peter and The Star Catcher is to Peter Pan as what Wicked is to The Wizard of Oz; A prequel to the classic Disney tale of a boy who never grows up. And this tale happens to be my all-time favorite Disney story. Wicked is my favorite musical and I believe the writers matched up the stories perfectly, so I was curious to see how the writers in this case would match Peter and The Star Catcher with Peter Pan.

Peter and the Star CatcherTurns out, I was amazed. They did a BRILLIANT JOB! I tried to guess who would be Peter, Captain Hook, etc. the entire first act and they had some twists….especially who Wendy was… that had me completely shocked! The writing was absolutely genius and my Peter Pan loving heart loved this prequel. Performance and production wise, it was just as fantastic. The set was beautiful, the cast was hilarious and still brought us to tears at the end and the overall production was really quite amazing. I also had the pleasure to meet the majority of the cast after the show and they were beyond nice and it was great to talk to them all. Needless to say, I left the theatre very happy. It was a beautiful show. And…when I was leaving, I ran into Ashton Kutcher. Hmmm…good ol’ New York.

AnnieNext show was the Broadway production of Annie.  At first I forgot this musical was going to have tiny kids whose voices have not matured so the squeakiness surprised me. Then when I realized what musical I walked into, I got used to it and truly enjoyed the always adorable story of the orphan Annie. Not only do I love the story, the cast was wonderful and their set was absolutely amazing!! The last set change was this huge Christmas tree in Daddy Warbucks mansion and that may be one of my favorite set designs of all-time. It was absolutely amazing. I just wanted to head up on-stage and pretend Daddy Warbucks had adopted me too. Definitely a great Broadway show for kids and families due to its family friendly show, but its ability to still be captivating for all audiences.

This brings me to my first film premiere….the film I have counted down for since the first film of a four-part series came out. That’s right…….The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  Oh…..I want to splurge about the movie already but first I will talk about the New York City Premiere Red Carpet. Sam Claflin (Finnick) was very nice. He made his way through the red carpet, stopped to talk to everyone, and even stopped to give a smile (not a wave but at least eye contact and a smile) to the fans standing behind the security gates. Jena Malone paid absolute no attention to the fans on the side at all and either did Liam Hemsworth. Not a wave, smile or even a glance. Jena has a snobbish look to her so I don’t think anyone was too upset (That’s why she’s a perfect Johanna.) Liam on the other hand, should keep that friendly Australian stereotype up. I wasn’t impressed that he didn’t even look at the people paying his bills. He was very tall though. Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch) was definitely the nicest celebrity there. He even came to TALK to the fans. That’s what I like. He posed for pictures and talked to his fans. That’s a good celebrity right there! Josh Hutcherson did not make an appearance due to conflicting schedules and then of course, Jennifer Lawrence. I actually liked the dress she wore which is unusual for me. She also took the time to smile and wave at the fans so hey ….at least she didn’t pull a Liam.

Catching FireOkay so there is how everyone treated everyone…..now we can get to the amazingness of this movie. Catching Fire was absolutely amazing. I didn’t care that it was late at night and I had class in the morning, when the credits started I said no…NO! I want more!! The similarity to the book was absolutely wonderful. The only thing that they missed that I think they really should have added was in the book, Katniss and Peeta see how Haymitch won his Games and that leads to the idea of how they can win this next one. It’s a huge foreshadow in the book and gives us a deeper relationship with Haymitch and I wish they had left that part in. Other than that, I think it was a perfect cut!

It’s less than a year till Mockingjay Part 1 and man am I ever excited!!  If you have not seen Catching Fire yet, GO SEE IT! It’s rare that movies leave me speechless and maybe it’s my profound love for this book series that has me captivated by this film series, but I can’t say anything intelligent about this film other then I love it I love it I love it because it’s just SO GOOD. Huge props to the entire cast and crew on a job well done. You deserve all the recognition and record-breaking titles you have been and will continue to be receiving!

Well, there is a catch-up of the shows/premieres I’ve been to in New York so far. I’m hoping to catch some classic New York Christmas shows further into this month so we will see!

Shows aside: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was really cool! The floats and balloons were so fantastic! But, I just have to say my favorite part and the part that has stood out in my mind the entire week…..Jimmy Fallon on his float looked like the coolest human alive. That guy oozes cool out of him. He was just rockin’ out with the characters on his float and I just wanted him to be my friend. He was having fun and I’m glad that he really does enjoy all the aspects of his job!

jimsI also went to Philadelphia last weekend. What a cool city! It’s a big city but it had a small city feel to it. Cars didn’t honk every 5 seconds, people walked on the right side of the sidewalk and people were generally friendly too. It was definitely a nice break from Manhattan. I went and saw the Liberty Bell and licked it….(How I Met Your Mother) , ate a real Philly Cheesesteak at Jim’s on South St and then went and shopped at their malls (tax free) and their outdoor Christmas fairs. It was a nice day to get out of New York and venture into Pennsylvania and I would definitely head back! Philly, you rock!! ….Flyers still suck though. 😉

Hope everyone is enjoying the busy beginning of December!

Keep on rockin’ and early Merry Christmas!!

gina