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Live! In Concert!

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a concert. Ok, technically I saw Josh Groban twice last year (AND he’s doing another tour this year! *crosses fingers*) but that’s a different type of concert. I’m talking about seeing a band live in person at the kind of show where you don’t want to be that guy who wears the band’s t-shirt to the band’s show.

I’m trying to think if I went to see any concerts in high school and I’m pulling a major blank. I know I definitely liked bands and wanted to see them but I don’t remember actually going. Sure, I saw a bunch of local bands playing but was mainly because I was either friends with them or I liked a guy. But with limited funds and still being in high school, I did not have the freedom to see every band that I liked.

College however was a great time for me to go see concerts. I wish I had saved all my tickets stubs so I could remember who I went to go see. If you can recall from previous posts, I was very much into punk and emo back in the day.

Unfortunately despite the fact that I went to a very well-known college, we also were located in a rural part of state thus ensuring that no one really wanted to come see us. Instead I had to go back home in order to go see bands I liked. I saw New Found Glory three times and each time I felt older than the last. I was having a splendid time but seeing the young kids not know any of their older albums made me feel ancient. I remember winning tickets to see Goldfinger and Mest. That was actually quite a glorious show because it was so upbeat. I have absolutely no desire to get into a mosh pit (those things are scary!) so I vaguely remember standing near the back of the show. But it was so energetic.

There was actually a ton of other bands I saw during this time period. I even got to interview Authority Zero for Punknews.org when they toured with Flogging Molly. Although I had no idea what I was doing and I would rather forget that whole incident because they probably thought I was an idiot. Oh geez GO AWAY MEMORIES.

But the one concert that really sticks out to me is actually a festival. It was July 31, 2001 and it was a day that would change my life forever (it actually did. for other reason though). It was Warped Tour and I was pretty much in heaven. I got to see Rancid, Pennywise, New Found Glory (again!), The Ataris, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, The Living End and other bands that I don’t remember. Also my favorite band at the time was Good Charlotte and I nearly died out of happiness. I also remember all the guys I went with left me alone during their set. I also got to meet Joel after the show and he signed my ticket stub (because that was the only piece of paper I had left). I begged him to Blacksburg (psh). It was a very long exhausting day but it was so worth it. That was probably the happiest musical moment of my life. Yes, even more than Josh Groban. Twice.

The most recent concert I saw was Flogging Molly and Weezer in Baltimore about three years ago. While Flogging Molly put on a spectacular show (SUPER energetic!), it was so awesome to FINALLY see Weezer live. I’ve been a fan of them since I was in 6th grade so to hear “Buddy Holly” in person was a dream come true. They played every song of theirs that I loved. It was lovely to sing along.

weezer

No wait. I lied. I saw Paul McCartney in concert. Well boom. There that wins for EVERYTHING. Most recent concert as well as best concert I’ve ever been to. And I’ve talked about that one a lot so you know my giddiness over that.

If concerts weren’t so much money, I’d love to go again. No matter how many times you listen to your favorite album over and over, there’s nothing like hearing it live in concert.

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Here’s what’s been happening since last time

So let’s update on things that have been happening in the last few weeks.

Running – I’m on my 3rd week of running! I’m using the Couch to 5k app from C2KFree and it’s been really helpful. I made myself go over week 1 twice so that I could do a whole week’s worth of workouts without stopping so technically I’m on week 2’s workouts right now. The first day was awful. Even though I work out, I’m not used to running and I basically felt like I was going to die. But I didn’t give up! I’ve been running outside and on the treadmill. I’m not going to be the fastest runner but by George I’m going to keep at it.

Soccer – World Cup is over but I got to go to my first MLS game thanks to one of my friends. We saw DC United take on Toronto FC. Our seats was in the supporters section and those fans are intense! Be prepared to get drenched in beer if DC scores which meant I got covered in beer three times. Michael Bradley from the USMNT was playing for Toronto so that was super exciting.

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D&D – We started our campaign and I had a blast! Since we’re playing with a starter set, the story was preset though our DM tells stories very well and can ad lib on the spot. Our adventures went a little crazy because our wizard decided to go off on his own while the rest of us was battling wolves and goblins. Because of his decision we ended up getting attacked by everything in a cave with most of us basically dying before the day was over. I also now have a reputation of being a wolf slayer. There was a room with three wolves on leashes. The wizard put one of the wolves in an enchanted sleep. To save another member of our party, I shot and killed one of the wolves with my bow and arrow. And then I beheaded the sleeping wolf with my sword. Apparently it was pointless and I didn’t need to do it and I killed a defenseless animal. Sigh. I still had a lot of fun and our next session is at the end of month. We also indulged in a bacon wrapped Oreo each.

bacon

Wedding – My friends (“Lizzie & Darcy”) got married and it was lovely! I’m so glad to have been a part of it and I cried watching two of my best friends make their love for each other official. I also missed the bouquet toss and most of the dancing but not on purpose. I got roped into helping decorate the cars and it took a lot longer than we expected. I also really liked how the hair dresser did my hair. I asked for a fauxhawk and that’s what I got!

weddinghair

 Via Beyond Studio

Concerts – I’m going to see Josh Groban next week. NEXT WEEK. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. There will probably be another update on that later. Since I’m going two nights in a row, I was told I should bring a sign saying “Josh! I’ll be here tomorrow too!”. I countered that I have a feeling there will be plenty of older ladies doing the same thing as well. Then I was told to add to the sign “And I’m not old either!”

And finally, my recaps on The Musketeers on Entertainment Weekly is still going strong. My latest recap was featured on the main EW.com home page!

EW

So that’s what’s been going on with me. How have you been?

 

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Two Nights at the Opera

It is time for us all
To decide who we are
Do we fight for the right
To a night at the opera now?

I’ve been very #blessed (yep, I just did that) this summer when it comes to having opportunities happen to me. This is not a summer where I can go to places on vacation or spend a lot of money. I’ve been doing a lot of armchair travel either via books, radio dramas, or TV shows. But one really cool thing I’ve been able to do this summer is attend a lot of concerts at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts…..almost all of them for free. Some of the tickets I’ve won (ie The National Symphony Orchestra performing the score to a screening of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey AND Josh Groban!) and one set I actually bought (Josh Groban again!)

wolf trap

But the more awesome way was how I got to attend the opera this summer!

I’d never been to the opera before. I’d seen movies that featured the opera in it but it wasn’t something I’d ever experienced myself. It was too expensive. I thought it might be boring. I thought it’d be confusing with the foreign language. And it seemed like something you’d do if you older and more well off. Opera goers have the stereotype of being stuffy and over cultured. At least to me. It was just something I never thought I’d see myself attending. I mean this is what I thought of when I saw the opera:

However one day I just happened to see this tweet that had been retweeted by the main Wolf Trap twitter feed:

And I thought, well I love Wolf Trap, I’ve never been to the opera before, and free tickets? Sure why not? This was just luck that I happen to catch this tweet because I had only JUST started following the main Wolf Trap account and so I didn’t normally go to look at their tweets. It was just excellent timing.

After attending the information session with Wolf Trap Opera (lots of information on their website!), we were told that the reason why they were doing this was that they wanted to reach out to people who had never been to the opera and learn why. Basically a lot of people had the same preconceptions I had and they wanted to change that. All we had to was answer a few surveys and we were going to be given free tickets to two operas of our choice. I was stoked! This was an opportunity I never thought I was going to have and now I’d get to do it for free? Awesome!

The first opera I saw was Handel’s Giulio Cesare. It is the story of Julius Cesar and Cleopatra. It’s sung in Italian. You can read a synopsis of the opera here.

This one was done at The Barns at Wolf Trap which is a more intimate location seating less than 400 people. The buildings are actual barns from the 18th century and have excellent acoustics.

We didn’t know what to expect and was very glad we went to the pre talk beforehand. This was great because we were told how the story differed from what one normally would have expected from a historical story (ie. everyone wore modern costumes) and we were given samples of what the singers would sound like. This was good because the male lead was a countertenor and if you’ve never heard one before it is quite a shock.

The opera itself was fabulous. Sets were well done, costumes were great, the singing excellent. I never once felt bored or lost. The only thing that was a bit of an issue was our seats were in the very back and therefore seeing the subtitles was a bit difficult but it’s really a minor quibble. We walked out that night feeling extremely cultured. I felt like this is what it was like for all those people back in history when they went to the opera house. I feel like I just experienced something totally new and it was excellent.

Since we were sitting in the back, this is the best pic we could get.

opera

I don’t have actual footage of the opera but here’s a video about what the opera was about made the company

The second opera I attended was Bizet’s Carmen, held at the main Filene Center at Wolf Trap.

You can read a synopsis of the opera here. It was sung in French.

There was a huge difference for us in seeing this opera over our first one. While Giulio Cesare felt very intimate, this one being in the larger venue felt more open. Our seats this time was in the balcony on the very far left side. And they were excellent. We could see everything (aside from the chorus in the back but that was ok).

With the dancing, costumes, and video screens (one of my favorite parts), it felt more like watching a Broadway show vs the “Shakespeare theater” feeling. I absolutely loved it. The video screens changed throughout the course of the show, sometimes very subtle which made up for the fact that there were no walls/sets. Also the music was done by the National Symphony Orchestra. The performances were all so very excellent.

carmen 2 carmen

You may recognize the music even though you haven’t seen the opera before. It’s become part of pop culture.

A really cool thing Wolf Trap Opera did during the Carmen performance was heavily integrate the use of technology. There was seating on part of the lawn where you could use your electronic device to read the supertitles. Also a cast member used Google glasses on stage to get a different glimpse of what was going on during the performance. I can’t watch this video without getting motion sickness but it’s a really cool perspective of what’s going on during the show.

So yeah! Going to opera is awesome. I highly recommend it if you get the chance to go where you live. And if you happen to be in the DC area, you totally should come out to Wolf Trap to see the opera there. It’s not as expensive as seeing it at like Kennedy Center but the performance is just as great. You don’t have to get all fancy and dress up (unless you want to of course). Also it’s at Wolf Trap which is always excellent whether at the Barns or the Filene Center (picnic on the lawn!). If you ever see an opportunity like this, I highly recommend jumping on it.

There’s still one more opera performance left this season at Wolf Trap: Le pauvre matelot and Les mamelles de Tirésias. Two French operas. You should jump on that. Just saying. http://www.wolftrap.org/Home/Find_Performances_and_Events/Performance/14Opera/Le_pauvre_Matelot_Les_mamelles.aspx

I’m so glad I did this. Part of my trying new things this year. SO WORTH IT!

Thank you again Wolf Trap Opera for this awesome opportunity!

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2014 will be the summer of Deborah fangirling at concerts

Yesterday, I woke up to an email from Wolf Trap announcing the first names in their summer concert schedule. And to my absolute delight, two of the names on their list included…..Ringo Starr and Josh Groban.

Much fangirling then commenced. Aka loud gasps, a shriek, and fistpumps.

Last summer I saw Paul McCartney when he came to Nationals Stadium and it was a dream come true. Ever since I became a Beatles fan, one of my goals was to see a Beatle before they died. And last year that happened and it was so totally awesome. If he is able to another show in this area, I’ll be there in a heartbeat.

Ringo Starr and all his band

Ringo Starr and all his band (Photo credit: Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer)

So imagine my glee when I find out that it’s possible for me to see another Beatle in concert the very next year! I could have a complete set! Now truth be told, Ringo is my least favorite of the Fab Four and I barely know his solo stuff, unlike Paul’s which I know about 75% of. He did come to my hometown years ago but I had to miss it and I honestly thought I’d miss out on the opportunity again. Now that he’s coming, I have a feeling that I definitely am going to have to make this concert. I imagine it’ll probably be like one big sing a long like Paul’s was. Confession: I will probably get a lawn seat though. But still. I’ll be seeing ANOTHER BEATLE. BACK TO BACK! START THE SCREAMING!!!!!

And then…Josh Groban is coming. JOSH GROBAN IS COMING! And he’ll be here for not one…but TWO shows! Ok ok. You can stop rolling your eyes. I know you are.

Josh Groban

“But Deborah, you don’t even listen to his music and no the Christmas album does not count.”

Hey – to that argument I have all his albums currently in my car. Granted the Christmas album is the only one I’ve listened to but still, I will get to the rest eventually.

“Deborah, you only just started liking him a few months ago and that may have been for dubious reasons.”

Just because I did and if I did does not diminish the fact that it’d be cool to see him live. I’ve done this with other bands, I like them for a few months and then I went to their shows.

“You’re actually willing to spend money to see a guy that you don’t listen to his music and you only like because of Twitter?”

Yep. Indeed. Your judgmental ways will not ruin this happy occasion!

So yes. Josh Groban is coming for TWO nights in August. (I wonder what he’s doing during the day, no I am not going to find out) Perhaps reasons will come out later but I’m actually a bit surprised that he is. He doesn’t have a new album coming out and as far as I know other than one random show up in Boston, no other shows have been announced for the rest of the summer. So there doesn’t seem to be a huge tour. And plus, he’s coming here for TWO nights. Other than, they can get more money out of people, that seems surprising to me. I’m not questioning any of this. Perhaps it’s just fate. I’m kidding. Stop the eye rolling again.

But I mean…after this happened…

josh

I actually think I might get real seats for this show. I like to try to win tickets or something but I have no idea what radio station would give them away since he has that weird music that doesn’t actually play on radio except for Christmas. I also have no idea what a concert of his will be like. Do people sit there? Do they stand? Do they sing along? Is it mostly older women? We will find out.

Anywhos, Ringo + Josh Groban = one very happy summer.

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