Violent Femmes & Ben Folds

I was supposed to see Ben Folds at Mohegan Sun a couple years back but due to bad weather wasn’t able to make it. When my friend told me she could get us some free tickets to the upcoming show (and tour kick off!) I jumped at the opportunity to see Ben again. We had some decent floor seats for the show. Savannah Conley opened the show and played just her and her guitars for about 20 minutes. Violent Femmes was up next. I felt like this was sort of a weird pairing for a tour but the crowd seemed into it and it was a lot of fun to watch all the people slowly jump up and start dancing as their set progressed. They definitely had some interesting instruments on stage – a huge giant saxophone like thing (sorry I don’t know what it’s actually called) that was taller than the guy playing it and a grill that was being used as a drum. Ben’s backup band had some interesting instruments as well – a cello, no bass guitar but a bass harmonica? And the drums were a tiny version with no bass drum he said because they had no bass guitar. Three songs into the set, Ben said they decided that Mohegan Sun needed a jingle so they wrote one backstage and played it, it was basically just the band jamming out and singing “Mohegan Sun, yall!” I thought this may be something they did every night but the other setlists I looked at after this show don’t note it, if they did! Ben’s set was incredibly entertaining and he ended with the audience singing 3 part harmony. I thought it was a great way to end it, though the audience wanted more and even once the house lights went back on no one wanted to leave just yet!

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John Mayer Summer Tour : Providence, RI

For John Mayer’s Summer Tour he did things a little bit differently than usual. He had no opening act, took the stage “promptly at 7:30” (more like 10 to 8) and played 2 sets. He also had said that he’d be doing no repeats for shows where he was doing back-to-back nights but that turned out to not be completely true. But with 2 sets you’d be hearing more songs than usual and hopefully some songs that you haven’t heard in a while either. I ended up going to his show in Providence, RI which ended up being the day after my birthday! I picked out great seats in the last row of the lower level which was awesome because I had no stairs to deal with. While the two sets things seemed like a great idea, the intermission allowed people to wander around which resulted in my getting beer dumped on me by a moron who doesn’t know how to hold a can of beer AND take a photo with her friends. When the guy next to me called her out to apologize to me, she said it wasn’t her. Oh, ok! She also offered to give me the beer. No thanks, I’m not a beer fan and then had to smell like it for the rest of the evening and the 2 hour ride home. Yuck. I thought the setlist had a great mix of songs from all his albums and I was glad he included No Such Thing and Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, among others. I can do without his cover of “Free Fallin’” though. The crowd seemed to love it, but I’m pretty sure he has done it at nearly every show I have gone to and would have loved to hear something else instead. The crowd also seemed to love when he included a Grateful Dead song in the set – Fire on the Mountain. I loved him ending the set with New Light and the purple confetti. (One of the reasons I was bummed to sell my MSG tickets is that I think my seat for the Friday show would have been pelted with confetti – and I love me some confetti.)

Basilica Block Party & Minneapolis

In mid-July I headed to Minnesota to cross a new state off my list and also to check out the Basilica Block Party.  Friday was the first night and we considered that our dress rehearsal for Saturday night when Hanson and Jason Mraz would be performing.  My friend that I went with was volunteering Friday so I was on my own for the show – and turns out I really was on my own because even though I made my way to the ADA section (via police escort. Long story.) no one ended up showing up to join me until near the very end of the show!   Each night I stayed at the Great Clips stage all afternoon/evening even though there were some great bands on the other stages as well. There never was a band that I had hoped would get off stage, the level of talent was all pretty great. (Although Johnny Swim teasing they’d perform all night when I knew Hanson was going to be coming up next did make me a bit anxious lol)  On Friday the lineup was Ruston Kelly, Anderson East, Dawes and Kacey Musgraves. I actually spotted Taylor and Isaac Hanson watching during Dawes set – turns out Zac was there too but I never did get a glimpse of him. The second night the lineup was Lissie, JohnnySwim, Hanson and Jason Mraz closed out the night.

In addition to the Block Party – I also got to try my first “Jucy Lucy” at Matt’s Bar and hit up the Mall of America!

 

Setlists that are available from the block party:

Book Review: Awesome Achievers in Technology

Whenever I get books like this, I start by skimming the table of contents to see if any of the names are any that I recognize.  Then I see when i read the book how many of their achievements I know about.  This book was no different – of the 12 listed in the table of contents I thought I may have recognized 1 name, but I wasn’t entirely sure. Then I read the note from the author that said, “And then there’s a giant list of heroic figures that are unknown to most people. Top achievers whose work hasn’t been properly celebrated”  So maybe it makes sense that I didn’t recognize these names upon first inspection. But their achievements I knew all about – Atari, Siri, seat belts, Sierra Online, TV remote, windshield wiper, cell phone, home security system, web browser, fiber optic cables, microwave oven, Scotchguard.

Some of these things I use daily, and still have no idea where they came from or invented them.  Well, now I know.  Will I remember? We’ll see the next time one of their names pops up at trivia.  In addition to the information about each inventor, each chapter has some extra details, some fun notes from the author and some illustrations as well.  There’s also a sneak peak at Awesome Achievers in Science – and wouldn’t know you BOTH of the guys mentioned I knew who they were and what they achieved.  Guess I’ll have to read that one next.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.  This book will be released August 6, 2019 from Perseus Books, Running Press.

About the Book

Paul McCartney T-Mobile Arena Vegas

I had decided to make the trip to Las Vegas to see Robbie Williams in concert, and since my friend wouldn’t be getting in until late on Friday and I’d be getting in earlier in the day I was looking for some things to do on my own.  I looked to see what other shows were in town and was bummed to see I had done some poor planning as far as being able to see Aerosmith’s residency. (They were playing Thursday and Saturday!)  I saw Paul McCartney would be in town and was turned off by the $300 ticket prices, but when I found a seat near the top of the lower level for only $99 (when every other one around it was $225?) I decided to go for it.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but looked at some of his setlists and saw he did about 36 songs so I knew I was in for about 3 hours of a show.  We got an email that the tickets would be digital only and that we should be on time because “Paul may begin promptly at 8pm” which seemed a little unsure – but at 6 I  called a Lyft, we got there about 6:30 (all the ride shares were directed via one lane to a drop off area) and by 6:45 doors were opened.  I jumped in the ADA line – which seemed to be never ending, I guess because most of Paul’s fans are older in age than the shows I am used to attending – and was inside by about 7:30.  I considered buying a water but when I realized they were keeping the bottle caps I knew I’d never get it to my seat safely so I passed.  I noticed a pretty neat poster for sale and figured I’d try to get it after the show while I waited for crowds to clear.

At 7:55 a video started playing with some songs and photos from Paul’s life, this went until about 8:30 when the house we had been climbing via video reached the roof and there was a guitar and it was time for Paul to take the stage.  He was non-stop until 11pm when he left the stage for the encore. (He hadn’t even stopped to take a drink of water!) And the loudest cheers he got all night were when he asked everyone to give it up for John.  In between songs he told some really funny stories.

While most of the section sat for most of the show, everyone was on their feet for the encore.  He ended up bringing out Steven Tyler to sing Helter Skelter with him during the encore! I guess I kind of sort of got to see some of Aerosmith after all!

When all was said and done the show ended at about 11:30 and it took me forever to figure out how to get a Lyft back – there was supposed to be a pick up at Excalibur but no signage whatsoever so I went to Park MGM with about 1000 of my closest friends.  An hour and a half later I made it back to the hotel. (And that poster I had wanted was gone and apparently limited to only 300 and is now on ebay for a ton more than it would have been initially!)

Paul McCartney Setlist T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV, USA 2019, Freshen Up

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Robbie Williams Live in Las Vegas

The reason for my trip to Vegas was to see Robbie Williams, I have loved him since about 2000 but he hardly ever comes to the states and I had vowed that if he ever did a show here I’d have to see him. My friend Myka felt the same way, so when he announced his residency and there were dates that would work out, I snagged us some tickets (and commemorative tickets as well!) and we started planning the trip!

I had bought the back catalog of all of the CDs I didn’t have yet, and had this big plan to do reviews and “The Road to Robbie” posts and then ended up never having a chance to listen to any of them (damn Grad School)  I also didn’t end up looking at any spoilers of the setlist or hardly any photos at all and went into the show completely blind.

Turns out I didn’t have to do any of the back catalog listening because the majority of the songs were covers and the few he did that were originals, I already knew. The show was everything that a Vegas show should be – it started off as a spectacle from the get go – with show girls passing out candy and posing for photos with the “Robbie Live in Las Vegas” sign. Mimes in his face paint. And my favorite – bell boy running around with “SPECIAL DELIVERIES FOR MR ROBBIE WILLIAMS” – giant candies, knickers (ONE SIZE FITS ALL!), big gay balloons and fan mail.  He had 8 dancers and a backing band and even had his father come out and do a couple of numbers with him.

This honestly was one of the best shows I had ever gone to and I was kind of bummed that I was only going to see it once – I kind of want to see it every night.  He did tease he may do a “pointless North American tour” and while most Americans don’t know who he is (a lot of international accents in the audience!) I do hope that he comes by a bit more often if he can! (Or maybe I just need to get myself to England to see him?)

Robbie Williams Setlist Encore Theater, Las Vegas, NV, USA 2019

Edit this setlist | More Robbie Williams setlists

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Gaelic Storm at Stage One

Gaelic Storm played Stage One in Fairfield a couple of weeks ago.  The set was somewhat similar to the show they had done at the Wolf Den earlier in the year – but I was impressed with how Murphy told some of the same stories but in different ways.  There also were some new and hilarious stories added to the set as well.  Always a great time seeing them!

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Pentatonix at Mohegan Sun

Pentatonix brought their World Tour 2019 to the Mohegan Sun Arena in the middle of June and I was lucky enough to win some great seats from the venue’s social media contest.  Opening the night was acapella girl group Citizen Queen and then Rachel Platten.

Pentatonix’s set was a mixture of covers and originals and was a lot of fun. I wasn’t sure how their show would translate from the last time I saw them in a small theater to headlining in an arena but they did a great job with the screens and stage setup.

Pentatonix Setlist Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT, USA, World Tour 2019

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Hanson at MGM Springfield

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Hanson would be doing a show at the new MGM Springfield Casino in Springfield, MA.  Initially there was some confusion with whether the show was going to be June 8 or 15th, but fortunately for me, it ended up being the 8th.  I contacted them about ADA seating and was told I would be taken care of when I got there.  When we arrived we were given VIP wristbands so we would get in early and were told there were seats in the back.  There ended up being a VIP pit that was way too big for the amount of VIP tickets there actually were, so we decided to stand in there so I could hold on rather than go to the back.  It was really weird to be standing in essentially a giant “hole” in the middle of the crowd and I can’t even imagine what it looked like from the stage to Hanson.

The guys took the stage at 8:01 and played for roughly 90 minutes with a high energy set of the singles and crowd favorites.  The crowd seemed really into it, and I guess a bit rowdy as well as I overheard several arguments and heard about someone getting punched too. Yikes!

Even with it being pretty darn hot for a June evening, the show was a ton of fun and the outdoor venue at MGM Springfield is pretty nice.

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Impractical Jokers at Mohegan Sun

Friday June 7 The Impractical Jokers brought their Cranjis McBasketball tour to the Mohegan Sun Arena for night 1 of a 2 night stay.  My Mom managed to score free tickets and my brothers who got me into them in the first place said that it wouldn’t be any fun to see them live because it’s not like the TV show and decided they didn’t want to come.

I went back to the machine I had won on my last 2 trips, only for it to take all of my $20.  I had been eyeing a polar bear machine behind me and went over there with $10 and was hoping to get back up to $30 to come out even for the night.  I kept getting “BIG WIN” which was about $6.  Then it said “MASSIVE WIN” and I won $84 and not too long after “HUGE WIN” and won even more.  Since we still had time until doors I decided to first play to come home with $50 over my $30 but ended up leaving with $70 over my original $30.  Not bad!

We ended up in the back of the lower level of the arena for the show.  I’m not a huge fan of comedians and the opening act was blah.  Usually I just don’t like anyone – but my Mom agreed that he was very weak.

The jokers came out and they each told some stories while the others interjected and made fun of them.  They also showed some videos and we were laughing pretty much the whole time.  (although Murr sucks at telling stories and Sal is definitely the best at it.)   They also asked how many people had seen them before and how many it was their first time – there were only a handful who had seen them before which led them to realize “they never come back” lol   I’m not sure I’d go see them multiple times on the same tour since I’m pretty sure it is just the same stories each night, but I’d definitely consider seeing them again in the future on another tour!  For now, I’ll just stick to watching them every week on TV (and hope there is also an after party episode with Joey Fatone!)

 

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