Aplscruf's Music Blog

Diary of a Married Groupie

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers at The Gorge 8.15.14

Steve, Mike and Tom

Steve, Mike, Tom and Ron

Tom Petty hasn’t played The Gorge in four long years.  Last time in 2010, we had a pretty negative experience which had nothing to do with Tom’s fantastic show. The disorganized crowd management system sent the entire ticket-holding population through a very narrow funnel of bag checks and scans which delayed entrance at least an hour; hundreds of people missed the opener, Joe Cocker, altogether. We arrived early and were fortunate to get to our seats partway through Cocker’s mind-blowing set.  We also had trouble with drunks that walked on chair seats in front of us, and more than once fell into us. I literally caught guys falling so I didn’t get smashed underneath them. Our view of the stage was also partially obscured by a big curtain, although the ticket info never stated that when I purchased them online.  After seeing Tom in such intimate spaces as The Troubadour and The Fonda Theatre, our expectations were low this time around.  As it turned out, I was pleasantly surprised.

The Gorge Disciples

The Gorge Disciples

Pat and I always “rough it” in The Gorge campground.  We create a makeshift camp by taking a large tent fly and extend it off the back of our Explorer and set up a small table and camp chairs, protected by sun or rain.We bring a cooler and have snacks before and after the show. A double air mattress fits in the back. It’s fairly comfy, although sleep is minimal due to the loud campers surrounding us that stay up till the wee hours.  Potty time means trudging several yards through rows of campers to the honey bucket zone.  After the show, it doesn’t smell so great. That is to be expected, though, and we deal with it because it beats the nearly three-hour drive home at midnight.

Cave B Inn

Cave B Inn

This show, though, was our best experience so far, surprisingly due to a communication snafu with our friends’ VIP tickets. Our Bellingham buddies L and K had the fortune of staying at Cave B Inn, a beautiful hotel, restaurant and winery with additional cottages nestled into the basalt cliffs, like caves.  As an added bonus, they purchased VIP tickets, which offered early access in a separate entrance and choice, third-row seating.

After we set up camp in the rain (it was predicted to clear up by concert time–rain was another first for us here in the desert), our friends picked us up early so we could grab tickets and head back to Cave B for wine tasting and dinner before the show. We were able to get our general sale Will-Call tickets (10th row) right away. They were not able to pick up their VIP tickets because of a print error between the marketing campaign email and the information received at the ticket window as to the ticket distribution time.  K, who had arranged for the tickets, immediately called the customer service department and left a message after politely arguing with the ticket window agent who insisted they would not be able to pick up their tickets for another two hours, even though he showed the agent the email stating they could pick them up at three o’clock.  The customer service rep called him back within a half hour and asked what it would take to remedy the situation.  K said, “Four passes to the Cliffhouse Lounge should do it.”

View from the Cliffhouse

View from the Cliffside Lounge

After a luxurious time at Cave B where we enjoyed wine tasting and a delicious dinner, we received wristbands for the VIP Cliffhouse Lounge with air conditioning, flush toilets and a screamin’ view of The Gorge and purple sunset. We could only see the back and side of the stage, but the desert view and cool breeze made up for sitting on those metal chairs among the crowd of thousands of “commoners”.  We missed opener Steve Winwood completely, but we saw him here in 2008.  We could hear his music from our perch, though. We cooled off and watched the first half of the Seahawks game, too, before walking down to our assigned seats for Tom Petty’s show. I could get used to this. Thanks, L and K, for letting us tag along in style!

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (Benmont out of pic, on left at piano)

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (Benmont out of pic, at grand piano)

Tom’s Gorge show was a sing-along mix of Greatest Hits, threaded with some new songs from Hypnotic Eye, which hit #1 on The Billboard charts and received a 4-star review in Rolling Stone. He also threw in a few rare gems from the past: “Into The Great Wide Open”, “Hard to Find A Friend”, and “Yer So Bad”.

Light Show

Light Show

The light show was fantastic and colorful–I wondered if they purposely lit them in Seahawks colors.  The lights were the best I’ve seen there with any band.  Large viewing screens on each side flashed with lots of close-up shots or interesting graphics throughout the evening.

Showing off another guitar

Showing off another guitar

The boys were energetic and played to the audience.  Each member of the band had their moment to shine. Mike and Tom moved around the whole stage and made sure we all got a good look at both of them. Tom’s vocals were top-notch and never faltered.  His sneering lyrics on the new “American Dream Plan B” brought to mind earlier material from the 1970’s.  His faithful disciples sang along on cue as he raised his arms in triumph.  Tom toned it down a notch for “Rebels” and brought out a beautiful acoustic guitar.  It’s such a lovely song to hear live.  He apologized for not being so talkative this night because he said he had a lot of songs to play for us.  Mike’s guitar solos were phenomenal, especially on Mojo’s bluesy “I Should Have Known It” and a favorite classic, “Refugee”.   Also, Mike and Tom switched out guitars almost every song. We lost track of how many we saw!  Some I recognized from previous shows, but there were quite a few new ones in the stack this time.

Rebels

Rebels

The Gorge crowd was also pleasant.  The people in our row and surrounding us were polite, friendly, and not completely drunk. We all sang along with the boys and batted at balloons and beach balls, adding to the summer fun.  As predicted, the sky cleared and the stars shone brightly above us.

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Guitar Duet

Mike Campbell solo

Mike Campbell solo

Tom

Tom

Here’s a review from Todd Hamm of The Seattle Times and Tom’s setlist as it appears on his website:

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/soundposts/2014/08/16/tom-petty-at-top-of-his-game-at-gorge-concert-review/

http://www.tompetty.com/blog/gorge-recap-setlist-photos-395376

So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n Roll Star (The Byrds cover)
Mary Jane’s Last Dance
American Dream Plan B
Into The Great Wide Open
Forgotten Man
I Won’t Back Down
Free Fallin’
Tweeter and The Monkey Man (Traveling Wilburys cover)
U Get Me High
Rebels
Hard To Find A Friend
Yer So Bad
Learning to Fly
Shadow People
I Should Have Known It
Refugee
Runnin’ Down A Dream

Encore:
You Wreck Me
American Girl

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Taking a Bow

I always get a little misty-eyed during “American Girl”, knowing this is the last song of the evening.  Tom and the band reserve a burst of energy for this song, making it a fantastic, explosive conclusion to the night.  So bittersweet.

We said goodbye and trudged along the path for what seemed like an hour, back to our campsite.  We had arrived in the afternoon to a fairly empty field, and now it was completely full. Walls of RV’s, trailers and tents surrounded us.  Where the hell was our truck?  We ended up walking another 20 minutes or so up and down the aisles of vehicles searching for our campsite.  The campground needed some colored flags to mark the rows or something. Finally, Pat’s good sense of direction guided us to the right location.  Exhausted, we slept for a few hours before heading home at sunrise.

September 16, 2014 Posted by | aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, The Gorge Amphitheatre, Tom Petty | , , , | Leave a comment

Supernova: Ray LaMontagne Brings Psychedelic Pop to Marymoor Park 8.13.14

Ray LaMontagne at Marymoor Park

Ray LaMontagne at Marymoor Park

Another beautiful summer sunset at Marymoor Park set the mood for the fans of  Ray LaMontagne. A mixed crowd of young and youthful happily lazed on the grassy field, chatted in the food and drink lines and hung out in the reserved section.  My friend and I were looking forward to a girls’ night out together; the setting and music made for a perfect evening.

We arrived a little late after enjoying a relaxing dinner in Redmond first.  Our 6th-row seats were waiting for us when we strolled into the park and followed the path to the tree-lined venue.

The Belle Brigade

The Belle Brigade

The Belle Brigade were onstage playing their hearts out when we quietly took our seats.  Most prominent was drummer/frontwoman Barbara Gruska, whom we really enjoyed watching.  Her drum style reminded me of the enthusiastic Aimee Zoe of Jackrabbit.  Her brother Ethan Gruska played electric guitar and both also backed Ray LaMontagne later that evening.  They have a new album out called Just Because.  Their poppy music is underscored with beautiful harmonies from the siblings.

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Soon after, Ray LaMontagne entered the stage as the rest of the crew found their places.  The crowd cheered, and stragglers quickly found their seats.

Ray dove right in and hardly spoke to audience during the first half of the set except to say a brief thank you here and there. He might have been quiet, but on this night, he was definitely the frontman.  He gave it all to us, and seemed very focused and intense as he belted out one song after the next. By the end of the night, the sweat was pouring off him.  That voice–so unusual and raspy, high and sensual, just rang out over the rest of the skilled band. His music was a mix of energetic, psychedelic pop and a few low-key beautiful folk songs and some old soul.  Ray played just about every song off his new album, Supernova before exploring the rest of his catalog.

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He finally warmed up to the crowd and asked if they felt alright tonight, and if they wanted to get up and dance.  Loud cheers erupted, followed by a rush of mostly females to the foot of the stage.  The lucky dozens (including my friend and I) that pushed to the front experienced a more intimate show.  Lots of bouncing and dancing ensued.  The faithful fans sang along and cheered.  Ray’s searing vocals gave me goosebumps when he tilted his head back and hit the high notes of the chorus in “Trouble”. Oh, Lord! The audience went crazy during this, his signature song from a decade ago.  Ahh, just perfect.

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September 13, 2014 Posted by | aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Marymoor Park, Music | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Backwoods” in the Evening: A Rowdy Night with Massy Ferguson and Friends

Massy Ferguson celebrated another EP release on Friday, August 8 at Conor Byrne Pub in Ballard.  

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We began the warm summer night with a special treat: a parking spot directly in front of The Tractor, across the street from Conor Byrne. After all these years, we’ve never parked that close, especially on the first go ’round.

Fredd Luongo, lead singer of The Swearengens, stood in front of the Tractor with his band mates and watched us park the car.  I stayed in the car for a minute and pulled on my boots. I caught Fredd in my peripheral vision, staring me down.  His blue eyes followed me as I stepped onto the sidewalk, and I knew what he was going to say.

“You’re going to the Massy Ferguson show tonight, aren’t you?” A very sober look crossed his face.

“Uh, yes. Yes we are, Fredd,” I said, my voice full of remorse. “I’m so sorry!  We already committed to their show before realizing that you were playing tonight, too.  I’ll tell you what–if there’s time, we’ll run over and catch your show, I promise!”

I felt like some sort of traitor.  I love The Swearengens just as much as I love Massy Ferguson. Lately, for some reason, the timing has been off in our efforts to make it to a Swearengens show. Both bands have played in the Seattle area for years and tour with other local and national bands, too.  And this night, they played across the street from each other.  The stars were crossed tonight, I’m afraid.

With tails between our legs, Pat and I headed down the to Bad Albert’s for a quick and hearty dinner–pulled pork on toasted roll with slaw and fish sandwich and chips.  Great pub food, and inexpensive, too.

Conor Byrne is a long, rectangular brick building with a bar lining the left side and a few benches and tables along the right wall and scattered near the stage.  The triangular stage was ridiculously small for the piles of equipment loaded on and around it.  A low velvet couch against the wall near the side of the stage looked like it was built about the time of the opening of the original structure. We chose to sit on the couch and sunk way down into the worn, threadbare cushions.  That was OK–at least we didn’t have to stand for the show.  It was going to be a long night.

Hook and Anchor

Hook and Anchor

Hook and Anchor, a talented, five-piece, multi-instrumental Americana band opened the show. I liked their bluegrass vibe.  The female lead singer, Kati Claborn, had quite a large vocal range, and hit some beautiful high notes in a song near the end of the set.  She also played banjo and acoustic guitar.  She switched out to upright bass for one song and let the bass player Luke Ydstie lead on banjo.  Fiddler and guitarist Gabrielle Macrae sang her own song and accompanied on others. The band also included collaborator Erik Clampitt on vocals, guitar and steel, and Ryan Dobrowski on drums. They reminded me of The Gourds in the way they democratically let everyone take a turn at different instruments and vocals. The band had a helluva time switching out instruments, positioning amps and monitors, and changing places on the tiny stage.  They really deserve to be on a larger stage to showcase their fine talents without the distraction of trying not to get in each other’s way. 

Legendary Oaks

Legendary Oaks

Legendary Oaks, a four-piece rocking alt-country band loaded in after shuffling around the equipment. Pat and I talked to them outside before the show. We saw them back in January at The Sunset Tavern. I remember it well, because there was this strange turn on the dance floor that night.  The boys were up on stage rockin’ out, and these girls that looked like they’d just been to a Bellevue dance club came in wearing pretty dresses and high heels and started raising the roof!  We had a good laugh over that, and frontman Craig Schoen remembered my written account of the crazy evening. We were looking forward to another great show, but with probably a little less disco on the dance floor.

They rocked again with some psychedelic jams. Their lead guitarist Zoran Macesic could be The Edge’s protege, with echoing, haunting, repetitive guitar licks.  Schoen’s vocals turned a dark corner, Dave Grohl-style, and went from a smooth, even tone to a wail.  He jammed on his acoustic like a true rock star, with posturing and angst-riddled facial expressions.  Their sound has a bit of a Tom Petty vibe, too, which makes their songs so addictive.  Bassist Chris Jordan and drummer Justin Ansley kept the tight beat going for their strong set. They left the stage soaked in sweat.  Legendary Oaks also packed the floor, although the dancing was minimal this time around. 

As promised, we trotted across the street to see if The Swearengens were still on, hoping to catch a few songs before Massy Ferguson took the stage.  We just missed them.  Fredd was manning the merch table. We caught his eye and slowly waved goodbye to him with pouting faces.  Sorry, Fredd.

Massy Ferguson

Massy Ferguson L-R: Tony Mann, Dave Goedde, Adam Monda, Ethan Anderson

Massy Ferguson’s new 6-track, mostly acoustic album, entitled Backwoods is just what I would expect from the boys.  It has just the right balance of beer-swillin’ songs and sober, thoughtful tunes. Lead singer and bassist Ethan Anderson shared his thoughts about the new EP: 

An album is a time piece, I’ve always thought. It captures a moment, a snapshot of what an artist or band is or what they are feeling at the time. In that way, albums are bound and chained to the stage of life of the artist. And, honestly, these are more “sober” times for MF. Three of us have had kids with wives/girlfriend, etc., and all the grown-up stuff that comes with that, and Tony is leaving the band for the better part of a year (he’s headed to Costa Rica – hence the song “Last Note”). I think all of us have been feeling a little more worn down by the “business” of music–maybe it’s age, maybe it’s wisdom. Sober is not a bad thing, it gives you ability to better reflect; and I think this album is, at its core, quite reflective. Reflective on individual expectations, on art, on nature, on personal histories, on places and spaces we’ve occupied.

“We’ve proven over the years that we can write songs for the bar-room, but we had this palette of songs that were more pretty, introspective and acoustic – 6 of them to be exact – and they didn’t really fit in with the feel of our other new material. They felt like a break from what we do, and I’m really glad they turned out the way they did sonically.”

Massy Ferguson started off strong with the title track and “90’s Darlin'” from Backwoods.  They squeezed in a couple of female vocalists to the stage, adding to their already-big sound and filling up every square foot of stage space with instruments, pedals, and power cords (and power chords, of course).  The band got the people on their feet and clapping to their energized blend of alt-country, with mostly upbeat songs keeping them engaged throughout the night.  

DSC05956Ethan took a few moments during the set and christened the new EP with a poignant yet humorous speech about where he’s headed musically and where he’s ended up physically with this band.  He paraphrased it later: “…the moment right when you start to wake up in the morning where your brain is cloudy and you realize you are not in your bed at home. As a musician this is something I’ve experienced a lot. I’ve woken up in a bed next to Tony in a Richland, WA motel room, I’ve woken up next to a 68 year old British man named Nick on our recent UK tour, I’ve woken up on the floor of the Brick Tavern in Roslyn...Backwoods in the Morning is probably mostly about waking up (literally and metaphorically) in a better place, a better headspace, in a new recognition of your life and who you are, where you have been.”

Even the bar was a different space for them. “As for the Conor Byrne show, again, even the show was a departure from the usual. That’s not a room we play, but we’d heard it was a good room for acoustic music. The sound for us wasn’t as spectacular as I’d hoped, but the show was definitely fun. Once you’ve been a musician in a town for a long time, you like to shake things up a bit, and I  think we did just that with the Conor Byrne show. It was a bit more of an unknown commodity than, say, the Tractor or Nectar or places we’ve played a lot. And, truthfully, the EP is a bit more of an unknown commodity too, compared to what we usually do.”

Adam Monda on lead guitar decided to go all acoustic tonight and follow the tone for their new EP, which added a rich, subdued sound to some of the more rocking numbers.  It worked on this smaller stage, although as Ethan mentioned above, there were some sound issues and the occasional feedback hum.  Tony Mann had some great solos on keys, including a noticeable turn on “Last Note” from the EP.  Dave Goedde is fun to watch on drums; his long arms pounded out the strong country-rock beat.  He must have felt a little claustrophobic this night, crushed into the very back corner of the miniscule stage. 

Adam Monda (Guitar) and Ethan Anderson (Flute) of Massy Ferguson

Adam Monda (Guitar) and Ethan Anderson (Flute) of Massy Ferguson

Our favorite part of the night is when the flute comes out. We know there is going to be a sing-along to a cover song, and possibly a few extra fans or musicians on stage to help out.  Ethan held the revered flute up high and the audience cheered. The band held nothing back, and several of the other band members joined them until there was absolutely no room for any more people or instruments.  Guest percussionists pounded on pint glasses (more than one broke and ended up on the stage) to add to the wall of sound.  The audience, as instructed, sang and danced, bounced and clapped heartily as they played “Last Note” and “Bum Drunk” to finish off the fabulous night.  

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I enjoy evangelizing when it comes to our favorite Seattle bands.  We try to invite friends every time we go out to a show.  Many get the thrill of experiencing an unknown band for the first time.  It’s so invigorating to watch their eyes light up when a particularly rollicking song catches their attention.  I feel like we’ve done our part to spread the word about the great music that happens every week in Seattle.  This night was no exception.  Pat invited his friend and co-worker Gary, and he was thankful to get out and listen to new music tonight.  His wife and friend came to the show later after attending the Lady Gaga spectacle at Key Arena.  They were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the bands here in this tiny bar.  Quite a bit of a scene change from Lady Gaga.

The rowdy night ended with the setlist, signed CD’s, a drive with the top down, and Dick’s hamburgers at 1 am. 

Massy Ferguson Setlist

Massy Ferguson Setlist

**Catch Massy Ferguson around town over the next few weeks, including The Tractor Sept. 19th with Austin’s Band of Heathens, and Ballard’s Macefield Festival Oct. 3rd, where they will play at The Sunset.**

September 10, 2014 Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Conor Byrne, Hook and Anchor, Legendary Oaks, Massy Ferguson | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Late Encounter With the Idiot – Reposted from Windup Wire

aplscruf:

Here is a thought-provoking post from one of my favorite bloggers (who also happens to play bass in one of my favorite bands–Shinyribs).

Originally posted on Windup Wire:

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I’ve seen horrors… horrors that you’ve seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that… but you have no right to judge me. It’s impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror… Horror has a face… and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies! I remember when I was with Special Forces… seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn’t see. We went back there, and they had come and…

View original 2,603 more words

August 28, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On The Road (Again)

My son, now a high school graduate, is doing what all young adults should do after graduating.  He’s hitting the road with his three best friends.  After weeks of planning, changing their minds a hundred times on where to stay, what to bring, when to leave and where to go, they finally piled in a Toyota mini van early this morning.  They’re on their way.  An adventure, says my mom, is something all people should experience.  Take a chance.  Hit the road.  Fly to an unexplored destination.

Of course with this road trip, the boys are bringing their highly organized play lists.  Jacob pored over his iTunes for just the right songs for the journey south.  Unfortunately, it did not include the ultimate road trip song, “On The Road Again” by Willie Nelson.  Cue the video:

The boys, being a bit on the nerdy side, made some rules, which included giving the driver the power to veto any song selection he felt unworthy or annoying.  The three remaining boys can only veto a song the driver chooses by a 3-vote unanimous agreement.  I’m sure there are other rules, but those stuck in my mind as the most important for any road trip with friends.

They’ll make their way from Washington (and enjoy rush-hour traffic on this beautiful Monday morning from Seattle to Portland) to their first overnight stop in Crescent City, CA.  The next day will be spent wandering through the mighty Redwoods before the long haul to Southern Cal, where they’ll spend a few days playing at Magic Mountain, Universal’s City Walk, and gawking in Hollywood.  Then, a weary journey north, back home.

While planning the trip over the last few weeks, we shoveled shitloads of advice at our son, most of it translated through his ears and into his intelligent brain as: “bla-bla bla bla bla bla-bla bla bla bla…”  Yeah, I know he’s a grownup and doesn’t need to hear our advice any longer.  But, we feel, as eternal parents, we must give our unsolicited advice to feel better about ourselves!  Disclaimers, if you will.  We TOLD him not to…so if he does it anyway, we’re off the hook.

We want him to be safe and just have a good time.  We want him to experience all the fun and joy of being free on the road, even just for this one week. Just so long as they don’t go so far as Jack Kerouac. It’s hard to let go.

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
Jack Kerouac, On the Road

 

 

 

July 28, 2014 Posted by | aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Jack Kerouac, Uncategorized, Willie Nelson | , , , | 3 Comments

Weird Al is Taking Over the World with “Mandatory Fun”

Weird Al Yankovic is ordering us to have Mandatory Fun.  The fun has already started this week, with the release of one music video a day to promote his new album.  Here’s the first one, guaranteed to make you happy:

http://www.nerdist.com/vepisode/weird-al-yankovic-gets-tacky-with-pharrells-happy/

July 16, 2014 Posted by | Concert Season 2014, Uncategorized, Weird Al Yankovic | , , | Leave a comment

Heart Heats Up Marymoor Park July 1, 2014

Nancy and Ann Wilson Heating Up the Stage

Nancy and Ann Wilson Heating Up the Stage

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any hotter on this record-breaking scorcher of a Tuesday, Heart lit the stage on fire.

Pat and I have lived near Seattle our entire lives and we’ve never seen Heart in concert. Looking back, it seems like a sin.  Last spring, we witnessed Ann Wilson as a surprise guest at PettyFest. She belted out Tom Petty’s songs with such rockin’ fury, we knew we had to see her with a full band sometime.  We didn’t have to wait long; soon after, Heart tickets for Marymoor Park went on sale.  They were overpriced, but we decided to go for it.

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I knew with the July heat and weekday traffic, that this night would either be hit or miss.  We planned our route, left a little early from work and were surprised at how quickly we entered the park and found good parking.  

Now the wait began.  A huge line was already forming, yards away from the gate.  Of course, the line was situated directly in the 95-degree sun, so we hunkered down as best we could.  I brought an umbrella, but we chose to just bear it and turn away from the sun as long as possible (I know I’ll miss that sun come November).  I finally gave up and found a shady spot while Pat dealt with the heat and the line.  It started moving fairly quickly in about 20 minutes, and I re-joined him when it turned a corner into the shade.  We got in after a quick bag search.

Our eighth-row seats were stage left, just right of center.  Nice.  We could handle this spot.  The seats were at a triangular configuration, so it was easy to get in and out of there without having to crawl over too many people.  We made our way back over to the beer and food trucks. Luckily, we entered the food line fairly quickly because I’m sure the people last in line behind us had an hour wait.  We settled on a Surf Infusion truck and ordered yummy tacos and a pulled pork sandwich.  They held us over for the rest of the night. Alright, the logistical details are finished. All went well, and better than expected. We were looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the show.

As we were finishing our food, Michael Grimm took the stage.  He was the winner on Season 5 (2010) of “America’s Got Talent” and played a nice solo acoustic set.  His smooth voice had just a touch of grit.  Grimm and Ann Wilson sang a duet for his debut, self-titled album, but we weren’t blessed with a duet tonight.

 

Michael Grimm opens the Heart show at Marymoor Park, Redmond, WA

Michael Grimm opens the Heart show on the massive stage at Marymoor Park, Redmond, WA

We found our seats as he finished up his last two songs.  We gave him a hearty applause, but there were still rows of people who hadn’t shown up yet.  Lots of them were stuck in the enormous food lines. I don’t think the show was sold out, either, which surprised me.  

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I was always a Heart fan, but in a “Well, they’re from Seattle, so of course I like them,” sort of way. I listened to Heart throughout my adolescence, but only own one vinyl album (Dog and Butterfly) and a more recent Greatest Hits CD.  They made an hourly appearance on our classic rock radio stations for decades.  I guess I took them for granted, even though they’ve sold over 35 million albums and keep making more, including the most recent album, Fanatic.

What I didn’t expect is to be completely blown away by Heart. I knew it would be a good show, but I was kind of expecting to just hang out in the summer heat and enjoy the music.  I did not realize the magnitude of their talents and the impact they would have on me.

Nancy Wilson starts off the rockin' night with "Crazy on You"

Nancy Wilson starts off the rockin’ night with “Crazy on You”

Nancy Wilson entered the stage to growing cheers as the crowd hurriedly found their seats.  We all stood and hushed up as Ms. Wilson strapped on a gorgeous acoustic guitar and played the intro to “Crazy On You”  with such power and emotion. Oh, I had chills on this 90-degree evening! I showed Pat my goose-pimpled arm.  She threw her golden tresses around with a toss of her head, posed, postured, and thrust the guitar up and down as she worked her magic on the strings with ease.  She is truly a guitar goddess; and I must admit, by the end of the night, I had a serious girl-crush on her. Pat didn’t seem to mind that one bit. Her lacy leg kicked high as she finished the intro, and Ann Wilson joined her on stage with a roar from the crowd.  

Ann Wilson, the raven-haired rock diva, hasn’t lost her vocal prowess. Her legendary female Voice of Rock is known throughout the world.  She belted out “Crazy On You” with the same gusto as she did in the 1970’s, and nailed the high notes in the chorus.

Ann Wilson, Queen of Heart

Ann Wilson, Queen of Heart

The 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees worked the entire stage, moved close to the edge and bent down for a closer view of their audience, waved to the crowd, smiled, grimaced and used their entire bodies to convey the music.  Their stage presence was one of the best I’ve seen in years.  Their backing band was great, too, but they held back and let Ann and Nancy shine. Current members include: Ben Smith, Debbie Shair, Craig Bartock, and Dan Rothchild.

The Setlist:

  • Crazy On You
  • Heartless
  • What About Love  – After this massive hit, Nancy exclaimed that Marymoor Park is very special to them because back in the day, they used to come to the Park with a 6-pack and a guitar and hang out.
  • Dreamboat Annie  – featured Ann on flute
  • Straight On
  • Little Queen
  • Let Me Roll It – Ann wanted to dedicate this Wings cover to Sir Paul McCartney, since he was sick recently.  They held nothing back, and I stomped along to the intro, in total heaven.
  • Heaven – a psychedelic tune, not quite accepted by the Music Industry execs, but one of their favorites.  Nancy played her guitar like a cello, upright and with a bow.
  • These Dreams  – Dedicated to Marymoor Park
  • Alone
  • Mashallah – from their new Fanatic album
  • Magic Man
  • Barracuda
  • Encore:
  • No Quarter
    (Led Zeppelin cover)
  • The Ocean
    (Led Zeppelin cover)
  • Immigrant Song
    (Led Zeppelin cover)
  • Kashmir
    (Led Zeppelin cover)
  • The Rain Song
    (Led Zeppelin cover)
  • Stairway to Heaven – Ann was a little raspy near the end of the long set, but was forgiven as she belted out Robert Plant’s falsetto vocals on “Stairway to Heaven” The Total Experience Gospel Choir joined them on stage for a couple of the Zeppelin tunes!  Amazing.

The crowd was super-polite, which was yet another treat for this fantastic night.  We didn’t see any drunks or rude behavior, other than a few people trying to work their way to the large gap between the front row and tall stage. We actually ended up at the front during the encore, due to ‘blind’ security officials. They just smiled and gave up trying to stop people; everyone was so well-behaved, it wasn’t a problem.  I actually rested my arm on the stage!  It was fantastic.  I was in heaven.  My soul smiled once again, and I turned back to show Pat—he smiled back.  He knew!

*Note: My pictures are horrible due to lighting and using my phone as a shabby excuse for a camera.  See Heart’s Facebook page for some incredible shots of the band from some amazing local photographers!

 

July 10, 2014 Posted by | Ann Wilson, Concert Season 2014, Heart, Marymoor Park, Music, Nancy Wilson | 1 Comment

Will Kimbrough, Rodney Crowell and Jedd Hughes Toured The West

Jedd Hughes, Rodney Crowell and Will Kimbrough played a specacular show at The Triple Door - Seattle. Photo Credits: Jacob Knight

Jedd Hughes, Rodney Crowell and Will Kimbrough played a spectacular show at The Triple Door – Seattle. Photo Credits: Jacob Knight

 

I just finished a blog for No Depression regarding our fantastic trip to California which ended with a fabulous show at Slim’s in San Francisco to see Will Kimbrough, Rodney Crowell and Jedd Hughes.  We then followed the boys to Seattle where they tore it up at The Triple Door.  Spectacular.  Here’s the link to my blog:

http://www.nodepression.com/live-review/will-kimbrough-rodney-crowell-and-jedd-hughes-gain-new-fans-san-francisco-and-seattle

June 29, 2014 Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Jedd Hughes, Music, Rodney Crowell, Seattle, Slim's San Francisco, The Triple Door, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Seattle International Film Festival 5.22.2014

I normally write about the music scene, but I’m crossing over this time into the world of independent film.  We had the pleasure of attending the opening night of SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) Short Films at The Uptown cinema on Queene Anne.   Tony Fulgham, the lead singer of Seattle’s Jackrabbit, is a renaissance guy.  He not only plays kick-ass country rock, but is a creative director of World Famous Inc.  He wrote and directed a short called Box Walk that was featured at the SIFF Opening Night, directed a second movie called Secret which will play May 26, and directed the official SIFF trailer (see video, above).

Seven films were presented on Opening night. The audience was encouraged to vote, using tear-away ballots, numbered 1-5 (5 being awesome) for each movie.  Our favorites were, of course, Box Walk and another called The Phone Call, both of which were gripping, poignant and brought me to tears.  All seven films were memorable, creative and very different from each other.

I would recommend the Shorts for anyone who wants a taste of some creative independent films, but doesn’t necessarily want to sit through a full-length feature.

 

 

May 23, 2014 Posted by | Jackrabbit, Movies | , , , , | 1 Comment

Flight To Mars Tonight!

Flight to Mars members Tim DiJulio and Mike McCready

Flight to Mars members Tim DiJulio and Mike McCready

Flight to Mars, Seattle’s star-studded UFO tribute band, is going to Rawk the Showbox tonight.  We saw their high-octane show in 2011 and loved every minute of it.  You never know who is going to show up on that stage!  Plus, the show benefits  Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

Here is my review of the 2011 show:

http://aplscruf.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/flight-to-mars-at-the-showbox-april-8-2011/

Also, see my sister-in-law’s awesome pics of that night here:

http://ljwkphotography.photoshelter.com/#!/index/G0000HqfCi3zyWrk/97

May 16, 2014 Posted by | Concert Season 2014, Flight to Mars, Seattle, The Showbox | Leave a comment

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