Showing posts with label concerts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label concerts. Show all posts

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Eagles at the Vivint Arena

When I heard the sad news that Glenn Frey had died, I was really glad that my family had the chance to see the Eagles the last time they played in SLC because I thought that they would never tour again.  Then I heard that the surviving members of the Eagles were going to tour with Vince Gill and Glenn's son Deacon and I knew that I had to get a ticket!  I love the Eagles so much because their music has been such a big part of my life.  The Eagles' album Greatest Hits (1971-1975) was my Dad's favorite road trip music and we would sing every song at the top of our lungs!  This concert was amazing!  They began, as they often do, with "Seven Bridges Road" which gave me goosebumps with the beautiful harmonies.  Then, in an emotional moment, Don Henley talked about Glenn Frey and introduced Deacon (he sounded so much like his Dad) who sang "Take It Easy."  I was so impressed with Deacon!  It had to be emotional for him to sing these songs and a bit overwhelming to be on stage with so many veterans but he definitely held his own.  He also sang vocals on "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and "Already Gone."  Vince Gill was also a great addition to the lineup and he gave me goosebumps with his rendition of "Take it to the Limit."  I also loved his vocals on "Lyin' Eyes," "Tequila Sunrise," "Heartache Tonight," and "New Kid in Town."  They let Joe Walsh off his chain and he provided much entertainment for the evening with "In the City," "Life's Been Good," and "Funk #49."  Even if his vocals aren't what they used to be, he can definitely play the guitar!  Timothy B. Schmidt was seated the entire evening due to surgery on his foot but he performed one of my favorites, "I Can't Tell You Why," as well as "Love Will Keep Us Alive" from the Hell Freezes Over album.  I have always really loved Don Henley and I was thrilled when he performed a fabulous version of "The Best of My Love," which is a favorite of mine.  I also really enjoyed a very sultry version of "Witchy Woman."  They got the Vivint Arena rocking with "Those Shoes,” “Victim of Love,” and  "Life in the Fast Lane."  The Eagles played for over two hours and I was really sad to see this concert come to an end because I enjoyed reliving my youth so much!  Despite being one of the youngest in my section I sang the words to every single song!  For the encore, they performed "Hotel California," with an incredible trumpet solo introduction, "Rocky Mountain Way," and "Desperado" complete with strings!  An awesome night!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

U2 in Las Vegas

Yesterday I took a much needed day off from school to drive to Las Vegas to see U2's Experience + Innocence Tour.  I have been looking forward to this concert for a really long time and it was absolutely amazing.  The stage was configured the same way it was for the Innocence + Experience Tour with a rectangular stage at one end of the arena, a circular stage at the other, and a runway connecting them.  Above the runway were giant screens with a catwalk between them.  I really love U2's new album Songs of Experience and I was glad that they began the concert with two songs from this album, "Love Is All We Have Left" and "Blackout," which were performed in between the screens with some really great effects.  Then Bono went to the circular stage to perform my very favorite song from the album, "Lights of Home," and I think he gave a great vocal performance.  This was definitely one of the highlights for me.  Bono returned to the rectangular stage for "Beautiful Day" and then the band played some of their early hits, including "I Will Follow" and "Gloria," which I've never heard live before (another highlight).  They continued with "Red Flag Day," another new song, which I think sounds a lot like their early hits.  Then Bono gave a heartfelt rendition of "Iris (Hold Me Close)" with home movies of his mother projected on the screens and, like he did for the Innocence + Experience Tour, he sang "Cedarwood Road" with an image of the actual street on the screens while he walked in between them.  It looked like he was walking up and down the street where he grew up and, once again, I really loved the effect.  They played an acoustic and edgy version of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Raised By Wolves" while highlighting the troubles in Ireland on the screen.  They ended their first set with "Until the End of the World."  In between sets there was an animated superhero video depicting the history of U2 while "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" played and I thought it was hilarious.  The second set began on the circular stage with Bono wearing a top hat and white face paint (this is a stage persona called MacPhisto that hearkens back to the Zoo TV concerts).  They played "Elevation," "Vertigo," "Desire," and "Acrobat."  Next they performed an acoustic version of "You're The Best Thing About Me" which sounded very different from the album version (I heard them play it last September in Phoenix) but I really liked it.  They got a bit political with "Staring at the Sun" and a performance of "Pride (In the Name of Love)" that was quite emotional.  They returned to the rectangular stage for "Get Out of Your Own Way" and "American Soul," both from the new album.  They ended with "City of Blinding Lights" with, appropriately, images of Las Vegas on the screen.  For the encore, they performed "One" which just about made me cry because the entire audience sang along!  Another highlight was an incredible vocal performance by Bono of "Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way," another favorite from the new album, and "13 (There Is a Light)."  Sigh!  I thought there were some sound issues in T-Mobile Arena but it didn't really detract from the experience.  I love seeing U2 live (this was my seventh U2 concert) and I love watching Bono strut around the stage.  I think he is one of the most charismatic performers that I've ever seen and he certainly put on a show last night!  It was just amazing!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Foo Fighters at the Vivint Arena

I honestly don't know how I made it through the school day yesterday because I was so excited for the Foo Fighters concert.  I could hardly stand it because I absolutely love the Foo Fighters!  I have seen them several times in concert but I have to say that last night was probably the best one yet!  They played for over three hours!  They got the night started with "Run" from their latest album, Concrete and Gold, and that got the crowd screaming along with Dave Grohl.  They played a few other songs from the new album, such as "The Sky is a Neighborhood," "Sunday Rain," and "Dirty Water," but they mostly played the hits!  My favorite moment came early on when they played "The Pretender," my favorite Foo Fighters song, with some fabulous extended solos.  In fact, almost every song they played featured epic solos which was just fine with me.  They played "All My Life," "Rope," "My Hero," which included a lot of audience participation, "These Days," "Walk," "Times Like These," "Breakout," "Monkey Wrench," and "Best of You."  Throughout their set they played a few covers, such as "Under My Wheels," by Alice Cooper, "Another One Bites The Dust," by Queen, "Blitzkrieg Pop," by the Ramones, "Let There Be Rock," by AC/DC, and "Breakdown," by Tom Petty (another highlight!). During a cover of "Under Pressure," by Queen, Dave Grohl got behind the drum kit (sigh!).  They also played an awesome rendition of "Dear Rosemary" with Bob Mould, who opened for them.  They ended the evening, as they often do, with "Everlong."  I think Dave Grohl is just so damn cool and he kept up a steady stream of wisecracks at the audience ("I've been playing for two and half hours!  Get up off your asses!").  It was an amazing concert!  Did I mention that they played for over three hours!  The show didn't end until after midnight so I honestly don't know how I will make it through the school day today!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bob Dylan at the Eccles Theater

I first saw Bob Dylan in concert many years ago at Deer Valley and I was really disappointed.  I literally couldn't recognize what song he was singing because he performed most of them with very different arrangements and different phrasing.  I suppose he has earned the right to do as he pleases but it is something you have to understand in order to enjoy his show.  When I found out that he was coming to SLC again, I decided that I could listen to "Mr. Tambourine Man" any time I wanted on my iPod and this concert would be an opportunity to see an unbelievably talented musician, a rock and roll icon really, jam with a group of equally talented musicians in a live show so I bought a ticket.  This time around the fact that nearly every song was virtually unrecognizable mattered not because it was Bob Dylan on the stage!   He can jam.  With a mane of unruly hair and a permanent scowl on his face, he spent as much time behind a baby grand piano as he did standing with a microphone in one rock-star pose after another.  He played for over two hours and his set featured an eclectic mixture of hits and covers of the old standards.  Of the former, my favorites were "Things Have Changed," which is how he opened the show, and "Blowin' in the Wind," which he played as part of the encore.  Of the latter, I particularly enjoyed "Melancholy Mood" and an incredibly atmospheric rendition of "Autumn Leaves" (which rivaled the version performed by Leslie Odom, Jr.).  Dylan performed with a five member band, each of whom played multiple instruments, and they sounded amazing.  He did not acknowledge the audience in any way but, again, it simply didn't matter because he is pretty much the coolest dude around.  If there is anyone cooler than Bob Dylan, I have yet to see him!  This same concert will be performed again at the Eccles Theater tonight (tickets may be purchased here) and I recommend it if you want to see an incredible live show.  Stay home and listen to your iPod if you want to hear the songs the way you remember them from your youth!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Imagine Dragons at Usana

Last night I had the opportunity to see Imagine Dragons perform at the Usana Amphitheatre and it was absolutely amazing, definitely a night I won't forget for some time.  I love Imagine Dragons (their album Night Visions is rare in that I can listen to it on repeat for hours without skipping any songs) and they always put on a spectacular show.  Last night was no exception!  They began with a song from their latest release, Evolve, called "I Don't Know Why" and continued with almost every song from this album throughout the night, including "Whatever It Takes," "I'll Make It Up to You," "Mouth of the River," a rousing rendition of "Yesterday," "Start Over," and "Rise Up."  I was really happy that they played "Gold," one of my favorite songs from Smoke + Mirrors but I have to admit that I especially enjoyed "This Is It," "On Top of the World," and an incredibly powerful version of "Demons."  Dan Reynolds was effusive in his love for Utah and the impact that the state had on their development as a band.  He dedicated "This Is It" to the crowd!  He also gave a heartfelt speech about depression before performing "Demons" and the audience held up their phones to light up the amphitheatre.  It was amazing!  After their main set, the band walked to a small stage in the middle of the crowd and performed an acoustic version of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" which they dedicated to him.  This was another high point of the concert for me.  Then they performed acoustic versions of "Bleeding Out" and "Dream."  I especially loved the cello on both of those songs.  Once they returned to the main stage, they finished their set with "Thunder," "I Bet My Life," and "Radioactive" complete with smoke and lasers.  It was thrilling to stand in a crowd with everyone singing every word to "Radioactive," the song that made me a fan of the band!  For the encore (which was really not an encore because they decided that it was too cold to make the crowd wait for them to return to the stage) they performed "Walking the Wire" and "Believer."  I can't describe how much I loved this show!  Dan Reynolds is such an enthusiastic performer and he seems so genuine in his interactions with the crowd!  At one point he mentioned that the rest of the tour would all be downhill from this point on because he loved the Utah crowd so much (sorry Denver!).  I will always try to see this band whenever they come through SLC!

Note:  It was really cold!  Last year I seem to remember making a vow that I would never see another outdoor show this time of year ever again...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

U2 in Phoenix

I was nineteen when U2 released their seminal album The Joshua Tree and to say that it affected me would be an understatement.  I had been a U2 fan already but this album rocked my world, literally and figuratively.  I was wide awake, for maybe the first time in my life, and I was deeply passionate about history, philosophy, literature, politics, and activism.  Bono was my guru and I worshiped at the altar of his poetry.  So when U2 announced a tour in commemoration of its 30th anniversary, I was really bummed when I noticed that SLC (or even Denver) was not on the schedule.  The closest city to me was Phoenix and since it is completely crazy to drive ten hours just for a concert I tried to put it out of my mind.  After all, I had seen them in concert so many other times.  I held out until mid-August and then, in a moment of madness, I bought a ticket.  You see, whenever I do crazy things like drive ten hours just to see a concert I am always so glad that I did it when it's all over.  Experiences like this become some of my best memories!  The concert was absolutely amazing!  Bono's voice is definitely not what it was but I've never really considered him to be a virtuoso.  Rather, I have always thought of him as an incredibly passionate performer and he gave an epic performance on Tuesday night!  Bono somehow has the ability to make a venue like the University of Phoenix Stadium feel intimate and that, out of a crowd of 50,000, he is singing just for you!  I love Bono.  I love him unabashedly!   The stage featured a massive panoramic video screen with an outline of a Joshua tree and a runway leading out to the floor with a smaller stage that also looked like a Joshua tree.  When the house lights dimmed, it looked like someone was walking along the runway and it turned out to be Larry Mullen, Jr. who began the instantly recognizable militaristic drumbeat of "Sunday Bloody Sunday."  The Edge and Adam Clayton soon joined him on guitar and bass and then the crowd went into a frenzy when Bono started singing.  They continued with "New Year's Day," "Bad," and "Pride (In the Name of Love)" out on the small stage.  Then the the screen turned red with the giant Joshua tree in black and I had goosebumps when I heard the opening notes of "Where the Streets Have No Name."  U2 played The Joshua Tree in its entirety track by track, in order!   The videos accompanying each song were shot by Anton Corbijn, who did all of the iconic photography for the album.  The images were dazzling.  My favorite songs were "With or Without You" because it is my favorite song on the album, "Bullet the Blue Sky" because it always gets me riled up, and "One Tree Hill" because it is rarely performed and Bono gave such an emotional performance of it (it was written for his friend Greg Carroll who died in a motorcycle accident and Bono dedicated it to him before singing it).  Honestly, it was worth the ten hour drive just to hear that song!  For the encore, the band sang "Miss Sarajevo," "Beautiful Day," "Elevation," "Vertigo," "Ultraviolet," and their new song "You're the Best Thing About Me."  They ended the evening with a mind-blowing performance of "One."  All of the lights were turned off and the audience used their phones to light up the arena.  I will never forget that!  It was a crazy thing to do but I am so very glad that I drove ten hours to see this concert!

Note:  The opening act was Beck.  I have always wanted to see him so this concert killed two birds with one stone!  He also put on an amazing show because he is just so damn cool!  My favorite songs were "Loser," "Where It's At," and "Wow."

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Depeche Mode at Usana

Last night Depeche Mode brought their Global Spirit Tour to the Usana Amphitheatre and it was a fantastic concert.  Depeche Mode was one of my favorite bands in high school so I try to see them whenever they come to SLC.  My inner fifteen year old was so excited!  They played quite a few songs from their latest album, Spirit, including "Going Backwards," "So Much Love," "Cover Me," "Poison Heart," and the anthem "Where's the Revolution" which had the audience singing along with fists in the air.  Of course, I really loved it when they played the hits because these songs brought back so many memories for me!  I sang every single word to "Barrel of a Gun," "In Your Room," "World in My Eyes," "A Question of Lust," "Everything Counts," Stripped," and "Enjoy the Silence."  Whenever I see a band in concert there is always one song, usually an obscure one, that I hope they will play.  I was hoping that Depeche Mode would play "Blasphemous Rumours" but I wasn't too upset that they didn't play it because it is pretty depressing.  I think my favorite moment was when they played "Everything Counts."  I remember listening to the live album 101 on the bus to and from debate meets in high school and on one particular night, when we had a long way to travel back home, we all sang "Eveything Counts" at the top of our lungs.  The band had the audience sing an extended version of the chorus and it gave me goosebumps because I remembered that night long ago!  They ended their set with "Never Let Me Down" which featured another extended chorus with audience participation.  For the encore, they did an acoustic version of "Somebody" and the audience sang every word!  Sigh!  They continued with "Walking in My Shoes," a really amazing cover of David Bowie's "Heroes," "I Feel You," and "Personal Jesus."  The stage was pretty cool because it had a giant screen with a platform so Dave Gahan could strut in front of it and he can certainly strut!  He gave a very energetic performance and I found him just as appealing as I did when I was fifteen!  This concert was so much fun!

Note:  A big fight broke out in my row!  This guy just started punching the guy next to me for seemingly no reason.  He clipped my shoulder when they guy next to me tried to get out of the way!  Security came and they removed several people involved.  It was really scary but what irritated me most was that all of this commotion happened during the song "In Your Room" which is one of my favorites!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Incubus at Usana

It was a windy and rainy night at the Usana Amphitheatre last night but it didn't really matter at all because Incubus!  Incubus is a band that is extremely nostalgic for me and I have been anticipating this concert for a long time.  It was my second concert of the week and it was another great show.  Brandon Boyd was as comfortable and relaxed as Billie Joe Armstrong was frenetic, rarely speaking to the crowd, but he sounded great!  Quite honestly, I could watch him all night long no matter what he did!  They got the night started with "Quicksand" and "A Kiss to Send Us Off."  I really like their latest album, 8, and they played quite a few songs from it including the hit "Nimble Bastard," along with "State of the Art," "Love in a Time of Surveillance," "Loneliest," and "Throw Out the Map."  As much as I enjoyed the new songs, I was really happy that they played my very favorites because they brought back so many memories for me.  "Love Hurts" pretty much got me through a very difficult time and I loved their rendition of it last night.  They combined another favorite, "Wish You Were Here," with Pink Floyd's song of the same name and the crowd just about went crazy!  I also enjoyed "Drive" and "Stellar" but I think my favorite moment of the night was an incredibly passionate rendition of "Here in My Room."  I loved the piano!  They rounded out their setlist with "Anna Molly," "Megalomaniac," "Pardon Me," "Dig," "Pantomime," "Sick Sad Little World," "Pistola," and they ended with "Nice to Know You."  For the encore, they came back with a mesmerizing version of "Aqueous Transmission."  It was a great evening, definitely worth sitting through lots of wind and rain!

Note:  The opening acts were Judah and the Lion and Jimmy Eat World.  I only knew one song by Judah and the Lion, "Take It All Back," but they put on an energetic show which included frontman Judah Akers running through the crowd.  Of course Jimmy Eat World played their two biggest hits, "Sweetness" and "The Middle," but I also really liked one of their new songs called "Pass the Baby."

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Green Day at Usana

Last night I saw Green Day at the Usana Amphitheatre and it was a great concert.  As you may know, I love attending outdoor performances and it was certainly a perfect summer evening.  Green Day got the crowd on their feet by starting out with one of their biggest hits: "Know Your Enemy." They played quite a few songs from their latest album, Revolution Radio, including "Bang Bang," "Revolution Radio," "Youngblood," "Still Breathing" and "Forever Now."  In between the new songs, they proceeded to play their hits for over two hours starting with a rousing rendition of "Holiday" and then "Letterbomb," a poignant performance of "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "Longview," "2000 Light Years Away," "Hitchin' A Ride," "When I Come Around," "Welcome to Paradise," "Minority," "Are We the Waiting," "St. Jimmy," "Knowledge," "Basket Case," "She," and "King for a Day."  For the first encore they played "American Idiot" and an epic version of "Jesus of Suburbia."  For the second encore Billie Joe came out on stage alone for an amazing acoustic performance of "21 Guns" and "Good Riddance."  Just as the second encore began it started raining and not one person left.  Everyone just started swaying in unison and singing every word.  It was really cool!  Green Day puts on an incredibly entertaining show and I think my favorite moment of the night was "Are We the Waiting" because it is my favorite song from the musical American Idiot!  Billie Joe suffers a bit from Lead Singer Syndrome and sometimes his antics overshadow the performance but I can't deny that he is fun to watch.  He strutted across the stage, rolled around on the stage, and conducted an extended chorus of "Hey Jude" from a prone position on stage.  He mugged for the cameras and, at one point, he sat down on the stage waiting for the crowd to yell loud enough for him to continue.  All through the night he exhorted the audience to get on their feet, put their hands in the air, clap, and sing along to every chorus (I think the audience sang more than he did).  He even pulled members of the audience up to the stage to sing during two different songs and one lucky girl got to keep the guitar she came on stage to play during "Knowledge."  He got in a few political rants (but they were pretty mild) and I lost track of how many times he mentioned Utah.  Billie Joe's antics aside, Green Day can definitely rock and this concert felt like one big party!  

Note:  The opening act was Catfish and the Bottlemen, a band handpicked by Green Day to open for them on this tour.  I really like them and, one day during the last few minutes of class I told the students that I had the song "Seven" stuck in my head.  They wanted me to play it for them, so I did.  After class, one student came up to me and asked me who sang the song because he really liked it.  About a week later he came up to me again and told me that he had downloaded the album because he liked them so much (It's a little service I provide, introducing my students to new music!).  I wonder if he was at the concert?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Howard Jones at Red Butte Garden

Last night I went to the Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre to see Howard Jones in concert and I had so much fun!  I absolutely love Howard Jones!  I've seen him at least five times in concert and I've enjoyed every single one because he always puts on such a great show!  The opening band was Men Without Hats and they began with their biggest hit, "The Safety Dance."  That got the crowd up and dancing because you can dance if you want to!  They played their other big hit, "Pop Goes the World," and then a cover of Abba's "SOS" followed by a song from their new album Love in the Age of War called "Head Above Water."  They ended their set with an extended version of "The Safety Dance" which got another big cheer from the audience.  They sounded exactly like they did in their heyday and I enjoyed their set.  The next act was the English Beat and they brought back lots of memories of my high school days with "Tears of a Clown," "Too Nice to Talk To," "Tenderness," and "I Confess."  I was thrilled when they played one of my favorite songs, "Save It For Later," and they joked about it being included on the soundtrack for Spider-Man: Homecoming (I may or may not have squealed when the song played while Peter got ready for the dance because I hadn't heard it for a long time).  They ended their set with "Mirror in the Bathroom" to the delight of the crowd.  Finally, Howard Jones took the stage and my inner fifteen year old was absolutely thrilled!  He began with "Conditioning," "Equality," and "The Human Touch."  Every time I go to a concert there is always one obscure song that I hope the band will play and I hoped Howard Jones would play "The Prisoner."  I was so excited when he played it early in his set!  Then he played all of his biggest hits: "Like to Get to Know You Well," "You Know I Love You...Don't You?," "Hide and Seek" (the crowd sang the chorus just like they did at Live Aid in 1985), an acoustic version of "No One Is to Blame," "What Is Love?," "Everlasting Love," "Life In One Day," and "New Song." For the encore he sang "Things Can Only Get Better" accompanied by the crowd in an exuberant and extended chorus!  So much fun!  It was the perfect summer concert because, while it was extremely hot while standing in line, the temperature dropped quite a bit in time for the music and Red Butte Garden is such a great venue.

Note:  I went to this concert with my friend Cyndi.  We became friends on Facebook because we have a lot of friends in common but we haven't ever done anything together until last night.  We had such a great time and I hope we can get together again soon.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Pink Martini

Pink Martini has been to Salt Lake City several times to perform with the Utah Symphony but I have always had a conflict whenever they have been in town.  When I saw that they were included in the 2016-2017 lineup, I made sure to get a ticket and have eagerly been anticipating last night's concert for months.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  In fact, it was probably more fun than should be allowed in SLC on a Tuesday!  Pink Martini is a self-described "little orchestra" with 12 members, plus the incredible China Forbes on vocals, created by Thomas Lauderdale, a classically trained pianist with political aspirations, who was dismayed by the bland Muzak he heard at political functions and thought he could improve upon what he heard.  The group he put together is anything but bland!  Their repertoire includes classical, Latin, jazz, pop, and world music and their eclectic mixture was a hit!  They began with "Amado Mio," with a performance by Forbes which gave me goosebumps, and they ended with "Brazil," which featured the American Fork High School marching band and basically turned Abravanel Hall into Carnival in Rio!  In between, they played songs in Spanish, German, Turkish, Armenian, and Japanese along with several in French and, at one point, had the audience singing along in French!  Before each number, Lauderdale, an enthusiastic master of ceremonies, would ask for members in the audience who spoke the language of the song to come to the stage to sing back-up.  The Armenian group even gave an impromptu performance of another folk song.  The highlight of the concert, for me, was when Forbes sang "Song to the Moon" from the opera Rusalka.  This just about blew my mind because it was so beautiful!  Even though I did not know the words to this aria, I had tears in my eyes!  Rusalka just went to the top of my list of operas that I want to see!  Another favorite moment came when Forbes did the traditional introduction of the band members after which they literally introduced every member of the Utah Symphony!  I thought that was hilarious.  I had so much fun at this concert and I will definitely make sure I get a ticket every time Pink Martini comes to town.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Lower Lights 2016

What a fun week I've been having (the essays are still not graded)!  Last night I went to my second holiday performance in as many days and, since I love hearing Christmas music performed live, I was thrilled to end the week with the Lower Lights Christmas concert at Kingsbury Hall!  Truth be told, I have been looking forward to this for weeks.  I went to my first Lower Lights Christmas concert last year and I loved it so much that I knew I had to make it a Christmas tradition.  The Lower Lights are a super-group of 21 insanely talented musicians and vocalists, many of whom are famous in their own rights (perhaps you've heard of Ryan Shupe?), who have a distinct folk-gospel sound.  The concert began with one man, one guitar, and one spotlight and a beautiful instrumental version of "O Little Town of Bethlehem."  Then for the next two and a half hours, a variety of different singers and musicians were featured performing both Christmas and gospel songs.  I was very impressed with how seamless the performances were with musicians coming and going from the stage and different singers moving to center stage to introduce songs and talk to the audience.  Some of the Christmas songs included "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "I Saw Three Ships," "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful," one of the most beautiful renditions of "Away in a Manger" I have ever heard, "White Christmas," "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,"  "Silver Bells," "Mary's Lullaby," "The Holly and the Ivy," "A Cradle in Bethlehem," and "Mary's Boy Child."  They sang "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella" which is one of my favorites because I used to sing it every Christmas when I was in the choir during college.  Another favorite from my choir days is "Still, Still, Still" which they performed so beautifully that it brought a tear to my eye.  They also sang a few songs from their latest album, Old Time Religion, including the title track and "Down to the River to Pray, encouraging the audience to sing, clap, dance, and cheer!  I will admit that we got a bit raucous!  Towards the end of the concert they invited the audience to sing along with "Go Tell It On The Mountain" and, like last year, they performed a very heart-felt version of "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day," hoping that we could all find a little bit of peace during these very dark days we are living through.  Another favorite moment was an epic instrumental version of "What Child Is This?" with a guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and bass.  For the encore, they performed a fun version of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and a rock and roll version of "Once in Royal David's City,"  The final number, like last year, was a beautiful rendition of "Silent Night" with just a guitar for accompaniment.  I loved this concert so much and I wish that everyone reading this could attend their final concert at Kingsbury Hall tonight (go here to see if there are any tickets left).

Note:  Mitt Romney was sitting two rows in front of me.  First Sting and now Mitt Romney!  I am a magnet for celebrities!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Last night I took my niece Tashena to see Carrie Underwood's sold-out Storyteller tour at the Maverik Center.  To say that Tashena was in heaven would be an understatement!  In fact, I think my standings have improved dramatically in the Coolest Aunt Ever category!  Country music is not my favorite genre but I like artists who have a pop crossover sound and I like a lot of Carrie Underwood's songs, particularly "Last Name" and "Jesus, Take the Wheel." Tashena, however, absolutely loves her and she sang every single word!  Underwood began her set with "Renegade Runaway" from her latest album Storyteller and sprinkled quite a few others from this album throughout: "Dirty Laundry," "Church Bells," "Heartbeat," "Choctaw County Affair" while playing a mean harmonica, and "Clock Don't Stop."  I sang along with Tashena when she played her hits: "Last Name," a rousing rendition of "Undo It" with lots of audience participation, "Good Girl," "Cowboy Casanova," an emotional rendition of "Jesus, Take the Wheel" (she had to stop to compose herself while the audience sang for her), "Wasted," "Blown Away," "Two Black Cadillacs," "All-American Girl," "Little Toy Guns," and "Before He Cheats." She gave a very heart-felt thanks to all of the fans who have supported her along the way and dedicated Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" to the crowd.  She sang it a capella because she can!  She performed a fun version of "Mountain Music" with her opening acts, The Swon Brothers and Easton Corbin, and dedicated "What I Never Knew I Always Wanted" to her husband Mike Fisher (a hockey player, sigh) and her son Isaiah with adorable pictures of both on the big screen.  For the encore, she performed "Smoke Break" and "Something in the Water."  She put on a great show on a stage in the round with all of the requisite costume changes, light shows, and pyrotechnics but, more importantly, she can sing and she sang her heart out!  I certainly enjoyed this concert immensely and Tashena?  I could hardly contain her!  I often bemoan the fact that I can't buy Barbies for the little girl any more but I have to admit that I really enjoy spending time with the teen-age Tashena!  She was a great concert buddy!

Note: Tashena and I didn't get to see the opening acts!  We hit the trifecta of bad commutes: construction on I-15, a massive snowstorm, and about a billion people trying to get to the Maverik Center!  It's good thing Carrie Underwood was worth all of the hassle!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Maroon 5

Many years ago I became obsessed, as I am wont to do, with a new song called "Harder to Breathe."  I didn't know who sang it but I turned the radio up every time it came on.  I would sing it at the top of my lungs and I got to be pretty good at spitting out the lyrics.  I remember talking about this song to all of my friends (and students) but no one really knew anything about it or the band Maroon 5.  Then the song, and band, exploded and I got to be the one to say, "I told you so!"  I actually went to a Matchbox Twenty concert just to see Maroon 5 open for them and I thought Adam Levine was a great showman.  He still is!  Saturday night I got to see the band for the first time as a headliner and the concert was so much fun.  Adam Levine is so handsome and he strutted across the runway through the crowd liked he owned the Vivint Arena!  They played "Harder to Breathe" early on in the evening, to my delight, and then just kept playing the hits one after the other:  "Moves Like Jagger," "This Love," "One More Night," "Misery," "Love Somebody," "Animals," "Lucky Strike," "Sunday Morning," "Makes Me Wonder," "Payphone," and a fabulous rendition of "Daylight" to end their set.  I really like it when a band plays all of their biggest singles.  They definitely had the crowd singing along with every word.  For the encore, the band set up on the "V" at the end of their runway for an acoustic performance of "She Will Be Loved" which was amazing!  Levine asked everyone to put their phones away so that we could all have a moment together which I thought was fabulous!  A girl in our section kept hers out to record and we all shamed her into putting it away!  Then they played a rousing rendition of "Sugar" and ended the evening with a great cover of "Let's Go Crazy" complete with purple lights!  It was a fabulous evening!

Note:  The guy sitting next to me mentioned that this was only the second concert he had ever been to so I told him that this was the second concert I had been to this week!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Keep On Rockin' in the Free World

I have a thing for Neil Young!  I saw him in 2000 during the CSNY2K Tour with Crosby, Stills, and Nash and when they sang "Old Man" it just about blew my mind.  Last year I learned that Neil Young would be performing at Red Rocks Amphitheater during the summer and I got really excited and decided to go (It is not unusual for me to go to Denver to see a concert).  Then I realized that the concert would be at the same time as the Leadership Conference for my officers and, no matter how I tried, I just couldn't make it work.  I was devastated.  I was devastated for months because I really wanted to see him!  Imagine my supreme happiness when I found out that he would be performing the same concert at the USANA Amphitheatre!  I found out about it after I got home from Australia and bought a ticket that same day!  The concert was billed as containing both old and new material with most of it coming from the album Earth which is very much informed by Young's environmental activism.  He came out, alone with just a spotlight, wearing exactly what you would expect: faded jeans, a fringed leather coat, and a black fedora.  He sat at a battered piano and sang "After the Gold Rush," then moved to center stage with a guitar and harmonica and sang "Heart of Gold" and "Long May You Run," and then moved to a fabulous church organ and performed "Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)."  After that acoustic set, he was joined by Promise of the Real (who sounded a lot like Crazy Horse) and let's just say that they rocked the free world!  It was an amazing show and I especially loved "Harvest Moon," an epic 20 minute rendition of "Down By The River," "Cowgirl in the Sand," and, of course, "Rockin' in the Free World."  I heard a rumor that he sometimes plays "Cinnamon Girl" during the encore and I really hoped he would at USANA but, alas, he didn't.  I forgive him, though, because of his performance of "Heart of Gold."  That will keep me on a high for days!  It was extremely cold, and I will definitely think twice about seeing an outdoor concert in Utah in October again, but it was worth it to see such an icon perform!

Note:  He was so funny and personable with the crowd.  At one point, he apologized for how long it was taking for him to tune his guitar and told us we didn't have to pay for this portion of the concert!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Head Full of Dreams Tour

I think that I spent almost all of 2001 listening to Coldplay's album Parachutes after my friend introduced me to it on a trip to Ireland.  I loved the song "Yellow."  I tend to get really obsessed with things and I would usually fixate on one song from each new Coldplay album, playing it over and over:  "In My Place" from A Rush of Blood to the Head, "Fix You" from X&Y, "Viva La Vida" from the album of the same name, "Paradise" from Mylo Xyloto, "A Sky Full of Stars" from Ghost Stories, and "Adventure of a Lifetime" from A Head Full of Dreams.  I guess you could say that the music of Coldplay has had a significant place in the soundtrack of my life.  Every one of these songs can take me back to a particular point in my life with just a few notes.  I have always wanted to see them play live but I've never had the opportunity until last night.  The show was simply amazing!  Every audience member was given an LED wristband which would light up in various colors in syncopation with the music.  My favorite moments during the concert were when all of the wristbands would flash different colors.  The arena looked so cool whenever that happened.  In addition to the colorful wristbands, the arena was dumped with multi-colored confetti several times (not just during the encore) and I loved it when Chris Martin would jump on the secondary stage and cause the confetti to rise all around him.  Then there were the multi-colored lasers and images on the giant screens and, at one point, the audience was inundated with colorful balloons bouncing all over the place.  The arena was literally a kaleidoscope of color which, when combined with the music, was almost overwhelming to the senses!  It was one of the best concerts I've ever seen despite the terrible sound in the Vivint Arena.  The band played all of my favorites (except "In My Place") and I loved each rendition, especially "Paradise" and "Fix You" (with Chris Martin rolling around in the confetti).  I also really enjoyed the acoustic version of "Trouble" played by the band on a small platform in the crowd and the passionate rendition of "The Scientist" which had everyone in the audience singing.  The show ended, appropriately, with a spirited version of "Up & Up," a lovely message for these troubling times we are living through (always believe in love).  I'm still on a bit of a high from this show, even though it was really difficult to wake up this morning.

Note:  The opening acts were Bishop Briggs and Alessia Cara.  I wasn't familiar with Bishop Briggs but I really enjoyed her set.  She sang her heart out to an almost empty arena which was really unfortunate because her voice gave me goosebumps, it was so incredibly sultry and soulful.  I wasn't very familiar with Alessia Cara, either (I don't get out much), but she is from Ontario, Canada so I automatically loved her.  I really appreciated the positive messages in her music.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Adele in Chicago

I absolutely love Adele!  I love her music but, more importantly, I love the fact that she is unapologetically herself and refuses to conform to anyone else's idea of what a pop star should be. When her album 21 was released, I was basically obsessed with the song "Rolling in the Deep" and I played it over and over.  When the song "Hello" was released, I was even more obsessed with it!  I downloaded 25 the first day it was available and listened to it on repeat for days.  Adele is not usually a touring artist but I really hoped that she would tour with 25.  I vowed that I would go to any city so that I could see her live!  When her tour was announced, I thought briefly about Denver (I've done that several times) but Chicago worked better for my schedule.  The tickets went on sale during one of my classes so I gave my students a big assignment to do on their own so I could get online.  It took forever and all three concerts in Chicago sold out in minutes.  Of course, I went to StubHub and was able to get two tickets for a lot more than Ticketmaster but such was my mania to see Adele!  It was worth every penny because it was an incredible concert and I'm still on a high from it.  She began with "Hello" on a platform in the middle of the floor and the crowd went absolutely crazy!  For "Hometown Glory," she walked up to her stage which was shaped like a diamond with two large screens in the back and a platform in the front.  She stood on the platform most of the time wearing a long black sparkly dress and her band, including a grand piano and strings, was behind her.  During "Hometown Glory" she had images of London on the screens and at the end she put up images of Chicago which got the crowd cheering once again!  Then she sang "One and Only" and pulled people on the stage for selfies with her!  One older man was so flustered to be on stage with her that he couldn't remember where he was from!  In between songs, she would tell stories and go off on funny tangents.  I thought she was hilarious!  She told the crowd that she had two upbeat songs, which she would sing next, and then after that we could all be miserable together!  The two upbeat songs were "Rumour Has It" and "Water Under the Bridge."  Next she sang "I Miss You," which is one of my favorites from 25.  Then she talked about being asked to write "Skyfall" and how excited she was to win an Oscar!  I loved the staging of it because she had very dramatic lighting.  She did an acoustic set for "A Million Years Ago," "Don't You Remember" (which had a new country-sounding arrangement because she is now obsessed with Alison Krauss), and "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)."  She talked about recording her first album 19 and how much she wanted to cover Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love."  She sang it with so much emotion!  Before singing "Sweetest Devotion," she talked about her son which was really endearing.  Then she walked back to the platform in the middle of the floor to sing "Chasing Pavements" and "Someone Like You."  She had scrims around the platform with images of her projected on them which was really cool!  She complained that the cameras got too close to her face and showed her "spots."  Did I mention that she was hilarious!  During this set, she thanked the crowd profusely for supporting her and waiting so long for her new album.  She said she had to live a little bit so she could have something to write about!  I love her!  For "Set Fire to the Rain" it looked like it was raining on the scrims then she disappeared into the floor!  For the encore, she sang "All I Ask" and talked about the sound issues she had at the Grammys.  After her performance she told her manager that she thought it went really well and he said, "Ummm..."  She had to get In-and-Out Burger to recover!  When she sang "When We Were Young," she had images of her childhood on the screen.  She was a sassy little girl!  She ended the concert with "Rolling in the Deep" which got the whole audience up dancing!  I loved that she began with "Hello" and ended with "Rolling in the Deep" which are my two favorite songs!  This is definitely one of my top five concerts of all time because, not only can she belt out a song (which I expected), but she is so funny and personable!  It was a great weekend in Chicago!

Monday, May 23, 2016

An Incredible Evening With Paul Simon

I love the music of Paul Simon.  I grew up listening to Simon & Garfunkel but I came to love Simon as a solo artist when the album Graceland was released the summer after I graduated from high school.  This album literally blew my mind (and prompted me to protest against apartheid).  I think Simon is an absolutely brilliant and innovative songwriter and I love his fusion of sounds from all over the world.  I predicted that his concert last night at the Maverik Center would be an evening of spectacular music.  It was!  Simon was joined on stage by an unbelievably talented band, all of whom played multiple instruments, and he played hit after hit for over two hours to the delight of the crowd.  He did play some new songs from his forthcoming album Stranger to Stranger, including the sultry title track "Stranger to Stranger" as well as "The Werewolf" and "Wristband."  He also played some old Simon & Garfunkel songs such as "Homeward Bound" and "El Condor Pasa."  However, much of the evening was devoted to his solo greatest hits like "Boy in the Bubble," "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," "Dazzling Blue," "That Was Your Mother," "Rewrite," "Slip Slidin' Away," "Mother and Child Reunion," "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" (which got everybody dancing), "Spirit Voices," "The Obvious Child," "Duncan," "The Cool, Cool River," and a rowdy rendition of "You Can Call Me Al" to end the set.  One of my favorite moments of the evening came near the end of the set when he played my favorite song, "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes."  For the first encore he played "Graceland" and "Still Crazy After All of These Years."  For the second encore, Simon came out alone with just an acoustic guitar and played a lovely rendition of "The Boxer."  He usually only plays one song during the second encore but last night he said that he would play one more because it looked like we didn't want him to leave (I found him to be so charismatic which surprised me a bit).  This was the best moment of the evening because he played "The Sound of Silence" which is one of my all-time favorite songs.  I had goosebumps through the whole thing!  It was an incredible performance to end one of the best concerts I have ever seen!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Mannheim Steamroller

I think I have established the fact that I absolutely love hearing Christmas music performed live so it should be no surprise that I bought a ticket as soon as I found out that Mannheim Steamroller was coming back to SLC for a Christmas concert!   I have seen them several times and I usually thoroughly enjoy it.  Musicians Bobby Kunkle, John Blasucci, Ron Cooley, Roxanne Layton, Becky Kia, and Logan Penington, along with the Mannheim Steamroller Orchestra, performed music originally arranged by Chip Davis (who doesn't tour with the band any more) with images projected on a large screen behind them on stage at Abravanel Hall yesterday.  I really enjoyed their classic Christmas songs such as "Deck the Halls," "We Three Kings," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Joy to the World," "Good King Wenceslas," and "Carol of the Bells" and I was very happy to hear my favorite Christmas song, "O Holy Night," performed live once again.  However, I was a little bit disappointed that the second half of the concert featured many songs from their Fresh Aire albums.  I was unfamiliar with many of these pieces and I would have much preferred to hear Christmas music in a performance billed as a Christmas concert.  I was also a little bit disappointed that the videos shown on the giant screen were exactly the same as those shown at previous Mannheim Steamroller concerts.  Again, I really loved hearing the Christmas music, and I am glad that they ended the concert with a beautiful rendition of "Silent Night," but I'm not sure that this concert was worth the money I paid for it.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Kurt Bestor Christmas Concert

I am completely obsessed with listening to Christmas music performed live right now so I spontaneously decided to get a ticket to Kurt Bestor's Christmas concert last night.  Kurt Bestor is a Utah-based composer known for his beautiful arrangements of Christmas music and he has performed a series of Christmas concerts at Abravanel Hall for the past 28 years (next year he is moving to the new Eccles Theater).  I've gone to a few of his concerts in years past but I think last night's was his best one yet!  He began with "Carol of the Bells" with the Wesley Bell Ringers and continued with "Joy to the World," "What Child Is This," "Christmastime Is Here," and "I'll Be Home for Christmas."  He had an amazing vocalist named Lexie Walker perform a beautiful rendition of his most well-known song, "Prayer for the Children," and it brought tears to my eyes. One of Kurt Bestor's most beloved traditions is to write an original carol each year.  This year he was inspired by the tragedy in Paris and wrote "Carol of the Lights" because Paris is known as the City of Lights.  I loved it and the message of peace on earth and good will toward man.  He ended the first act with a "Christmas Concerto" featuring many different Christmas carols with dueling soloists on violin and electric guitar.  After the intermission, he brought back the Wesley Bell Ringers for "Let It Snow"  and performed his own version of "Twelve Days of Christmas" featuring all of the instruments on stage.  He brought back Lexie Walker for lovely renditions of "Toyland," "When a Child is Born," and "Angels We Have Heard on High."  Walker has such a beautiful and powerful voice!  Next, Bestor performed "While By My Sheep, I Watched at Night," which I had never heard before, and "I Wonder as I Wander."  It just isn't Christmas to me until I hear a live version of my very favorite Christmas song "O Holy Night" and it happened last night with a wonderful version featuring Bestor on flugelhorn.  It gave me goosebumps!  Continuing one of his long-standing traditions, Bestor selected an audience member to narrate "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" to his original accompaniment.  Last night's narrator was Chad and he was an absolute hoot.  The concert ended with a beautiful rendition of "Silent Night" with audience participation.  For an encore, he performed a Celtic version of "Ding Dong Merrily" which I loved because I sang it in college!  I am so glad I got a ticket because I thoroughly enjoyed this concert.
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