Let me tell you what a rough week I had last week:
Sunday: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals show at The Ryman Auditorium.
Tuesday: Journey and Foreigner show at Bridgestone Arena.
Saturday: Colbie Caillat and Andy Grammer show at Tin Roof. And that was after a full day at Musicians Corner in Centennial Park.
Aside from this great run of concerts however, I did have a lot on my plate last week. So these shows were a nice break from sitting in front of a computer. This week was actually a reaffirmation as to why live music is so fantastic.
Grace Potter on Sunday was one of the best shows I‘ve ever been to. For more, check out the write up I did on that.
Journey and Foreigner was a show I had not intended on going to; in fact, I forgot they were even in town. This was one of those spur-of-the-moment nights that I love. When I talk about living in the moment, spontaneity is a huge aspect of that. My buddy called me up at 5:30 (the show was at 7:00) and said, “Hey, you wanna go see Journey tonight?”
An hour later we were standing in front of Bridgestone arena with fingers up in the air trying to scalp tickets. We didn’t want to spend more than $10 a ticket (the cheapest they were going for was at least $60). Yeah, you get several perturbed looks and swear words muttered in your direction when you low-ball the crap out of people like that, but patience pays off. We don’t mess with the scalpers; we go straight to the source: patrons with extra tickets who just want them taken off their hands.
Half an hour later, we had three tickets for $10… total. That’s after we sold a couple back to the real scalpers for profit. As I said, patience.
I realized this was my first true classic Rock N’ Roll concert. I wasn’t dressed in black or inebriated in any way, but it still lived up to the reputation.
Foreigner still has it. Newest front man Kelly Hansen was incredible, with amazing vocals and even more amazing stamina. The lights and video screens were going crazy while the guitars shredded and Hansen ran around the stage like a wild man. I forgot how many Foreigner songs I knew, and every one of them was a huge crowd pleaser. We jammed out to Hot Blooded, Cold as Ice, Feels Like the First Time, Urgent, Waiting For A Girl Like You, I Want To Know What Love Is, Head Games, and of course Jukebox Hero.
Then on came Journey kicking it off with Separate Ways. (Quick aside, if you have never watched the Separate Ways video, it is the single most hilarious thing ever made… but I digress.) They played several new songs, which drew minimal interest from the crowd, but classics like Any Way You Want It, Faithfully, Open Arms, Wheel in the Sky, and Lights made up for that. The encore of course included the Don’t Stop Believin’, the one song they would never get out of anywhere without playing. There’s something about the most overdone karaoke song of all time that sounds so good when Journey sings it in an arena with 20,000 people. After this, they ended the night with Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’, a great way to end the show with the “na na na’s” and everyone’s arms and lighters (or cell phone apps that look like lighters) going back and forth. At the end, Joe Don Baker of Rascal Flatts joined the band on stage to shred it with them… I have no idea why, but why not?
Colbie Caillat and Andy Grammer
First, this show was on Saturday night, so I had to shoot over to Tin Roof right after a full day at Musicians Corner. My MC days consist of being on my feet constantly, so when I got to the Colbie show I was tired. I got up close to the front, but then I was essentially trapped by the general admission crowd. So I stood.
Keep Your Head Up singer Andy Grammer opened for her. I didn’t know most of his songs, but I looked him up afterwards because he certainly knows how to entertain, and I thoroughly enjoyed his stuff. I felt out of place actually, because most people there seemed to have his album and know every damn word. He played guitar and keys, both very well. He also beat boxes, which was a pretty cool addition to the three-piece band. He covered Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning, a perfect fit for his voice. He also covered Apologize by OneRepublic complete with a beat-boxed background. Apparently after his set he shot over to Bridgestone where his friend Taylor Swift was performing. She brought him up in front of a much bigger crowd to sing Keep Your Head Up again.
Then my girl came out to Realize. I am in love with Colbie Caillat. To quote Scrubs (although Zack Braff was referring to Dido), “If my heart could write songs, they would sound like these.”
(Please note that was meant to be funny.)
She played a bunch of songs from her new album All of You, which I have only had the opportunity to listen to a few times, but at least I recognized everything. It didn’t take very long before my sore legs and feet were out of my head, and I stood there staring at the beautiful Colbie as she serenaded the crowd with her soft, mellifluous voice.
She introduced many of her songs, sighting real life experiences and relationships as inspiration. A lot of it was too sentimental and lovey-dovey for me, and you begin to wonder just how many relationships this girl has had! Another thing that surprised me was the number of people she had on the stage. Colbie has the kind of music that would work perfectly with just a guitar, but she had six people backing her up!
She hit the big songs, including the Grammy-winning number Lucky, featuring one of her guitarists as opposed to Jason Mraz. In the middle of the show, she declared a change in the setlist so she could cover Breakeven by The Script.
The end is what I loved, when she said, “I hate encores. So rather than me walking off then you guys asking me to come back, would you be OK if I just stayed and played three songs instead of two?” That was met by a rousing response from the crowd. As someone who also thinks the encore has lost all novelty, I was thrilled. For the love people, an encore used to mean something! Now every act you see (including Grace, and Foreigner and Journey) plans an encore. That defeats the whole purpose! And for that small rebellion Colbie, we thank you.
I love concerts because of how they force us to be present. I had that opportunity time and again last week. Whether it was smiling and gawking at Grace during Ragged Company, pumping my fists to Jukebox Hero, air guitaring to Don’t Stop Believin’, or closing my eyes and swaying to Bubbly, in those moments, nothing else mattered…
Except for the looming question: who is going to be my celebrity crush of the month? Grace or Colbie? Thoughts?