Nov 2007

The Day We Met U2

On the Mix CD Contest post this week, the information surfaced that we have, indeed, MET the band U2. When I say “we,” I mean myself and my college roommate, Marabeth.

Marabeth has always been a U2 fraa-eeek. As in, her parents still have boxes of her U2 memorabilia stored in their attic. They touch her soul, man.

So, when U2 was warming up in Florida for their Zoo TV tour, we jumped on the chance. We were college grads goofing around in North Florida with nothing to do, why the hell not drive 8 hours down to Miami to see U2? Especially since Marabeth had family there who welcomed us with open arms (and a free place to stay)!

So, we went. The concert venue was small, since they were warming up. And really the only disappointment was the fact was, due to the warming up thing – they played the whole new album that no one had even heard yet and only 2 or 3 of their major hits. BUT WHO CARES? IT’S U2, man!

So, we went to stand out front and meet Marabeth’s cousin like we agreed. And we waited. And waited. And those of you from Miami, back me up here – but- um, the Miami Arena looks exactly the same from the front as the back. Come to find out, we were actually standing at the back of the arena, with the whinos and the hard-core U2 fans trying to meet the band!

Which we pu-shawed! Why the HELL would THE BAND come outside to talk to anyone? That’s just stupid. They are like the biggest rock back in the world! There are only about 20 people standing around back here! There is NO FUCKING WAY THAT U2 IS COMING OUT THOSE DOORS… {swift head movement}

Until. they. did!

Bono, Larry and The Edge walked nonchalantly out from behind the gate, carefree as you please, and started talking to everyone and signing autographs. I SHIT YOU NOT. Who knows where Adam was, but seriously… meeting 3/4 of U2 still counts, and anyone who disagrees with me can meet me out behind the schoolyard for a rubble!

So, we made our way over, just as a homeless man saw the commotion and brought his wine bottle wrapped in brownbag over for Edge’s signature – which he thought was AWESOME. We got to meet and speak to them all… which when I describe to people in person, I always bend over to about my knees to shake an imaginary hand. (Psssst, if you don’t “get” that vague reference… the boys are SHORT).

Here’s the part that kills me. Bono looks right at us and asked us what we thought of the new material. Oh, yes, he did! I can’t for the life of me remember what I said, if anything – but I am sure it came out all garbley because my lips where puckering open and closed like a fish the whole time.

But the best thing of all of it? Marabeth. She MET her musical soulmate.

It don’t get any better than that, folks.

Now, if she will only let me post the video of Bryan’s “Interpretive Reading” of her journal entry from that night. Maybe you can peer pressure her into it.

(Edge’s signature is on the back, we missed getting Bono’s. Sob.)


P.S. 30 Days of Thanks
I am thankful for Marabeth. She has been one of my best friends for nearly 20 years now and is one smart, thoughtful, caring and AWESOME chick.

Aug 2007

My Recurring Dream

Nope, this isn’t (for once) a post about my night terrors. Well, OK, I will touch on it, but later.

THIS, my friends, is a post where I turn back time and become a giggly, overly-emotional, crazed 16 year old music fan.

Because we went to see CROWDED HOUSE last night.

Have I mentioned they are absolutely, positively, my all time most favorite band? Yup. I totally can prove it: I named my cat Finn after Neil Finn.

Yeah, yeah, I know I have waxed poetic about Duran Duran and The Police. Don’t get me wrong. I lurve those guys. But those two concerts were about missed opportunities. Bands I loved as a teenager but never got to see.

Crowded House has been top of the pile for over 20 years now.

I remember distinctly the very first time I heard “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” I was driving to work at the record store, it was around Christmas 1986, and it was snowing. I was late for work but the indie station I listened to constantly (the formerly great WHFS for you Marylanders) was playing this beautiful little pop song that I was completely entranced with. I pulled into the lot and just sat there in the car and fell in love. I was late but I didn’t care. The snow was slowly drifting down on my windshield and there was this piece of musical perfection coming out of my tinny teen-car speakers and damn it! I was going to sit there and soak every second up.

Luckily for me, they announced who it was and I sprinted into my job. At a… RECORD STORE!

Yes, I bought their debut album (OK, cassette tape) that very night – the first time I had EVER bought an album on the strength of one song.

I ABSOLUTELY loved the whole thing.

I enlisted as many people into the cult of the Crowdies as I could. My sister Karrie, in particular, was taken with them… which is no small feat since, while it may not seem to the casual observer that the canyon between our musical tastes is huge … Let me tell you, it’s no “stone’s throw” between the Grateful Dead and Depeche Mode. Crowded House was a bond between us.

And we got to see them! Together! In Washington DC in 1987, the last stop of their tour. I remember this because at some point in the show, Neil told his wife that he could not see the red light. Apparently she was up in the balcony filming the show for them personally, with a handheld camera. (And possibly not doing a very good job of it).

Then came “Temple of Low Men” and “Woodface.” Two more albums that I loved just as much as the first. Released at a point in my life (end of high school and through college) when I was trying to get my head around just who the hell I was. Neil Finn’s lyrics have a sense of mystery to them, but always have interesting twists and turns – and certainly any emotional wreck like me can make those lyrics shape the stories of their own lives too. Add lovely melodies? And you have the soundtrack of my life.

“Sister Madly” was written about Neil’s sister waking up and having nightmares. “Now youre heading down to find something, Something that you buried in your backyard, Sister Madly, Waking up the dead, Systematically stepping on my head…” Um. Yeah. You can imagine how that has become somewhat of an anthem for me and my night terrors over the past 10 years.

But there is one song that speaks to me above all the others. It was released during a time when I was in a relationship that was abusive on an emotional level. I look back now and can jokingly call him “The Liar,” but at the time, the way this man twisted me into knots is embarrassing to think about. “Whispers & Moans” really has ambiguous lyrics – and if any of you know the true meaning behind them, I actually don’t want to know. For me, the song is about longing. About looking in from the outside. About not being good enough one day, but then adequate the next. Maybe being held lovingly one day, but forgotten about the day after. About manipulation.

It is absolutely my favorite song by my favorite band. And when they played it last night, I literally teared up and screamed like a banshee. I had not seen it on hardly any set lists and could not believe they played it here in Denver. Amazing.

And why does it continue to be my favorite song when it brings me right back to that place? Because I finally untangled myself. I realized I am worth more.

The Liar, Marabeth and I saw Crowded House together in Orlando in December 1991. About 3 months later, I finally kicked him out of my life.

And 6 months later, I met Bryan.

Fast forward to now. Crowded House is still my favorite band. I may have been dethroned as their Top Listener on iLike by Neil from Glasgow, but he better watch his back. I’m coming for him! Just kidding. (Sort of).

Even Declan loves Crowded House now. Sure, his first introduction to the band was Paul Hester playing the Chef on The Wiggles and Tim Finn’s wooden appearance singing “Six Months In A Leaky Boat”… but I’m telling ya, my boy has my genes for sure. He has asked repeatedly when he could go see Crowded House with us. And had we not found a babysitter (THANK YOU MICHELLE AND PIERCE!), I was seriously considering just buying him a ticket and bringing him with.

In fact, yesterday at drop off for Kindergarten, I said to him, “Whoa, Declan – this place is a madhouse today!” And he said, “No Mama! It’s a CROWDED HOUSE!”

That. Is. My. Boy.

But, OK. Jesus. I haven’t even talked about the concert from last night yet. Which was the whole fricking point of this post.



Jeff and Bryan mainly went for moral support because obviously Crowded House is not really their cup of tea. But they assure me, they still totally enjoyed it.

But Danielle (aka Best Friend and Concert Buddy Extraordinaire!) and I had a BLAST. Of course, I do believe we were actually wetter than we were at The Fray because it seems the air conditioning at the Fillmore was on the fritz… but it did not matter. The boys sounded great.

We fought our way to the near front and danced our asses off. In fact, we met two sisters who were also huge fans albeit 10 years younger than us, and the four of us formed a union to guard our space. One has to pee, the other three spread out and PROTECT.

And I am glad we ended up in the section we did, because Bryan said (from his vantage point in the back) that the four of us, plus the drunk and wavy girl in front of us were pretty much the most boisterous group in the whole place.

And here is where I get down *again* on my beloved Denver. WHAT IS YOUR DEAL??? WHY do you go to concerts and stand there like a statue? And ESPECIALLY why do you fight to the front, wear a face like you have to poop, and NOT MOVE for 2 hours straight? That CANNOT be good for your posture. And it is SERIOUSLY bad for my blood pressure.

OK, rant over.

At least most of the crowd knew the words to the songs. It was like we were all at a German beer hall or something, the whole place sang almost every word to every frickin’ song. That part was wicked.

OK, yeah, the whole thing was wicked. I am so thrilled they came here. But you know, the people in front of us in line flew in from Virginia to see them. And if they do another tour at some point, I would so do that.

But for now, you will have to excuse me. Because I am off to write “Aimee + Crowded House = BFF” all over my notebook. A hundred thousand times.

AUGUST 22, 2007

There Goes God
Don’t Stop Now
Whispers & Moans
Fall at Your Feet
Heaven That I’m Making
She Walked Her Way Down
Private Universe
Silent House
Don’t Dream It’s Over
Pineapple Head
Never Be the Same (not whole song, and done slowly)
People Are Like Suns
Locked Out
Distant Sun

~First Encore
When You Come
Italian Plastic, dedicated to Paul
Weather With You, with a very long sing-along

~Second Encore
Four Seasons In One Day
World Where Your Live
Happy Together, impromptu and not knowing most of the words 😉
Something So Strong

Aug 2007

Speaking of Tons of Water…

I was so caught up in my Fray musings and the associated wetness, I forgot to mention their opening band! I was thrilled to see they picked tons of different local acts for their 3 nights at Red Rocks.

Unfortunately, we missed the first opening act on our night because we were having a fancy dinner out (girls-gotta-eat!), but we made it just in time for the second opening act, and we were thrilled we did.

Because they rocked.

And given the type of weather we were treated to later in the evening, they were aptly named Born in the Flood. The lead singer’s voice is as if Chris Cornell, Harry Connick Jr. and Joe Cocker all got together and sired a magical musical baby together.

I downloaded their EP from iTunes and ordered their new album from their website.

But you can check them out on their MySpace page. I dig em! Denver local music rocks!!! Who knew!?!?

Jul 2007

And second, Rockygrass!

So, I am the first to admit, I have never been much of a fan of Bluegrass music. Maybe it’s the bluegrass I have been exposed to before, though – because I was highly impressed with what I heard over the weekend at the Rockygrass Festival up in Lyons, Colorado.

And how does a person who is not a fan of Bluegrass music end up at a weekend-long Bluesgrass festival, you may ask? Well, remember our good friend Darren? The one whose wife Sherri went to high school with Bryan? Just so happens he plays guitar and sings with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, a very well-respected and incredibly talented bluegrass group. A group who also just so happens to have the No. 1 bluegrass song in the country right now: “Sadie’s Got Her New Dress On.”

And we were seriously blown away.

I mean, sure, it was fun to be backstage and feel all important and stuff. But what was really cool was to watch an old friend living his dream. A friend who visited Colorado nearly a decade ago with his then-girlfriend talking about how he would love to have music be his full-time job.

How amazingly cool is that? He’s totally doing it now.

(Click on any image to see it larger)

P.S. In case you are wondering, Darren is the cute one with the black hair and purple shirt on. Well, they are all cute, but you get the idea.

Jul 2007

While I am speaking in thirds…

There are three new albums I am totally loving lately. Girly albums. Because nothing makes me less stressed when I am trying to get a million (and one) things done at the office than listening to pretty girl pop music. I have all three of these albums pulled together into an iTunes playlist that has been on repeat all week.


Her “Bubbly” is the free iTunes single of the week till Monday night if you hurry. I had downloaded it a while ago (non-free, dangit). Not sure where I heard of her, but when the full album was released last week I immediately downloaded it and fell in love. It’s as if Jack Johnson and India Arie had a baby. And while I have always liked Jack Johnson, Colbie’s voice is absolutely stellar addition to that summer-chill vibe Jack’s got going on. And India is one of my all-time faves, so anyone who reminds me of her pushes high on my list as well.
= Songs I love the mostest: Oxygen, One Fine Wire, The Little Things, Magic

You read that right. Mandy. Moore. Bubblegum pop girl. But I have always kind of liked her, especially since she dated Zach Braff… and I heard she worked hard to break out of the Pop Princess mold with this album. Mission accomplished. This album sounds more like Tori Amos than Britney Spears. It’s not as strong overall as the other two ladies in this post, but obviously I loved enough of the songs to listen to it all week. Good job little Mandy.
= Songs I love the mostest: Few Days Down, Gardenia, Extraordinary, All Good Things

Another gorgeous vibrant voice, with surprising compositions that still just flow and make me chill out. The whole album is just amazing. Amazing. I need to go in search of her previous stuff because iTunes does not have it. And apparently she is opening for Maroon 5 on this tour, but not on the date we are seeing them – dammit!
= Songs I love the mostest: Love Song, Vegas, Morningside, Love On The Rocks

Trust me, if you haven’t already – check these albums out.

Let me know what you think!