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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SPARC Live Art: Family

Last year Jason Mraz released a documentary and in it he showed a bit of his time with SPARC and their Live Art show which features kids of all abilities.  I thought this was absolutely amazing and said that I wanted to go and check it out one year.  Well, this year they asked Hanson to be a part of it so that settled things – I would have to figure out how to get there!

In addition to Hanson and Jason Mraz there were many other talented musicians and hundreds of talented kids in the SPARC program.  I ended up taking the train – 8 hours each way – instead of driving – 8 hours each way – because then I would have some WiFi and not have to focus on the road and could just relax.  On the way there – the toilets were out of order from just before Washington, DC until we made it to Richmond. (2-3 hours?)  On the way home – the WiFi went out pretty early and they weren’t able to reboot it.  Fortunately I had loaded up a lot of the reading for my grad school classes when I first got on the train so I had those available to read and also started the back log of some of my old blog posts.

Saturday night we decided to check out the Galaxy Diner and had an amazing chocolate malt and a sandwich.  We walked a bit around the area, found a soda & candy shop, checked out an ice cream shop and headed back to the hotel.  At 3:30am we got a wake up call from the “gas detection” on the wall – turns out it had a mute button, we pushed it, and went back to sleep not knowing if we’d be killed by gas or what was going on.

The next morning we headed off to a street fair called “Broad Apetit” that took place on Broad street.  We ended up getting Philly Cheese steak, Funnel Cake Fries and Fried Oreos.  Then it was time to head to the theater for the show.

The program of the show had the setlist for the evening – we were pleasantly surprised that Hanson would be doing 4 songs – and none were MMMBop! And that Jason would also be doing 4 songs.  Based on some of the rehearsal footage we saw, it seemed like Hanson would be featured in a few other songs, as well.

It’s hard to really describe the event, but it was absolutely amazing and I am so glad that I made the 16 hours round trip to be able to be there.  I Was Born had puppets included with the kids making them dance around and I am not sure I will ever be able to sit through a performance of that song again without puppets.  I hope a video of it surfaces (they were recording the whole show professionally and asked that we not record) because it was everything I never knew I needed.

After the show we waited for a bit for Hanson to come out, were told they had no plans to come out and went to get dinner.  As we walked back up from dinner a car pulled out “Do you think that’s them?” only to see all the fans walking out of the alley telling us we “just missed them”   Figures!!

 

Gavin DeGraw at Mohegan Sun

Recently, Gavin DeGraw did a private show at Mohegan Sun.  We ended up in the 3rd row of the lower level waaay in the back – which gave a good view of the whole venue.  Unfortunately we also ended up with THE most obnoxious drunk people in front of us who were having a full blown top of their lungs conversation for most of the show.  I get that these settings don’t lend themselves for you to be around a bunch of Gavin fans like a regular concert of his in a smaller venue would, but cmon have some common courtesy.  (I may have spent the first 3 songs trying to figure out if I could “accidentally” drop my cane with enough force to knock him in the head and knock some sense into him.)  Fortunately they left early. (After screaming ” I WANT TO SEE ELTON JOHN SO BAD ” when he started to sing… Maybe I’m Amazed.)

The set list was relatively short and most of his singles – which was good because I haven’t really been listening to him all that much lately so I was still able to sing along.  The highlight of the show though was a little boy named Shane.  Gavin spotted him dancing in the crowd and asked him to come up front and then asked him to come up on stage to show off his moves to everyone.  So much energy and so many dance moves!

Before the show I also won on the slots – at one point I was up about $70 but ended up leaving with $50 more than I came with.  I can’t complain! A free concert that they basically paid me to attend?

Hanson Day Tulsa 2019

Last month I made my 11th trip to Tulsa for a Hanson Members Only Event.  This one was a little bit different from the rest because we would get FOUR consecutive nights of music and I’d also be hitting my 200th show while there. :-O

I opted to try Westchester airport this time to see how things went not for a work trip.  The way there was perfect – I had a layover in Chicago and got to Tulsa without any problems. My room was ready when I arrived and was facing Main St – but was too far down to actually be able to see the Hop Jam stage from it.  I met up with some friends and we grabbed lunch and then went to the “pop up” registration that ended up happening.

Thursday morning we got in line early for the store – but still had to wait 4 hours.  I started feeling like I was going to pass out minutes before it was time for us to pay (an hour after placing our order!) but fortunately my friends were around to help me out and things were ok after that.  We ordered some lunch, headed to our volunteer shift and then it was time for the “Storytellers” show. I’m not sure they quite understand what “storytellers” means as they don’t often tell stories – but they did theme it to the Underneath Acoustic/Underneath tours since it is the 15th anniversary of that album this year.  And in a rare and special treat, Isaac ended up playing the cello on Underneath!   After the show it was time for karaoke but with both of us feeling less than stellar we weren’t able to make it through the full event. (And it was a lot more fun last year with Mac co-hosting)

Friday morning we got in line for group photos and then had time to actually get a meal before our Edible Digital Pants listening session.  After that we went to painting.  I wasn’t too thrilled with the painting chosen for us this year, and I’m not sure I would have bought tickets if I knew what it was going to be ahead of time but ended up having a lot of fun (once again) with the whole painting process.  After painting we went to Buck Atom’s on Route 66 and got our String Theory Galactic Space Sandwiches that were very good but perhaps a little bit too big of a serving.  That evening was the String Theory show and also my 200th show. I even made myself a brag sash for the occasion.  After the show we hit up Hurts Donuts and got their Peanut Butter Cup stuffed donut as well as a few others.  The peanut butter stuffed was underwhelming but I did enjoy a couple of the others we had gotten. Then we hit up the after party with DJ Taylor.  They were handing out heads of each of the band members on the way in and the song list was requested to Taylor in advance and I guess that was all that was needed to have a really fun time – we made it all the way to the end of the event! Woo! Maybe we’re not so old after all 😉

Saturday it was absolutely pouring rain and storming so we opted to skip going to the gallery.  I didn’t end up making it inside at all, sadly.  We had our Street Team Leaders lunch and then I had a volunteer shift until the Members Only Concert started.  Before the show the guys had their “state of the band” where they announced what would be coming up in the future for HANSON.  The big excitement was that they are working on not one but TWO new albums and hope to release them in 2020 and 2021.  The first album will hopefully get some preview shows later this year and then kick off one of their most comprehensive world tours.  Now I’m not so sad I can’t make it to Disney anymore because hopefully I will get to hit a few shows on this tour (and maybe another new state or two?)  After the show we skipped the Firkin Feast and just went to sleep early as Hop Jam was the next day and is exhausting.

Sunday we did our volunteer thing for Hop Jam and I wanted to check out most of the performers, and that I did.  Unfortunately the ADA section got combined with Music VIP and then once Hanson took the stage everyone stood.  I either had to sit there and be claustrophobic (not something I wanted to do with the near passing out/potential panic attack a couple days before) or attempt to stand for most of the show (also not ideal)  So I ended up standing up, taking a couple close up photos and heading over to Mexicali’s to sit along the wall.  Apparently I should have been saving my spot all day and not volunteering to ensure I was in the front of ADA.  Oh well, I’ll try better next year. Anyway… Phantom Planet had a surprise guest – Darren Criss from Glee – I knew he was a Hanson fan but apparently he is an even bigger Phantom Planet fan and had to come in to see their reunion show.  I had never seen PP before but thoroughly enjoyed them!

It was on Sunday we were realizing that the weather on Monday for our flights home was going to be BAD with the possibility of many tornadoes coming through.  My flight out was 3pm so we were just hoping that we could get out before the storms hit.  Fortunately we were able to get out – but when we landed in Charlotte, we had to deplane via the stairs.  I waited until the end and it was terrifying, fortunately I had a friend on the flight ready and willing to help me out.  She also made sure I got to my next gate.  I then realized that we would have to do stairs – AGAIN!  With no one to help me I said I wouldn’t be able to do the stairs so they said they would put a ramp up after everyone boarded.  No pre-boarding perks but fortunately there was still room for my bag when I got on and when we landed back in NY the ramp was up for *everyone* (as it should be!)  But we weren’t at a gate and there was no wheelchair so I had to lug my way too heavy on the day after Hop Jam backpack back to the terminal.  Not sure that I’ll be flying out of Westchester again for fear of that happening again or I’ll just have to be more demanding for assistance.

And it took me so long to put this review together, RSVP is already up for Hanson Day 2020!  I’m hoping to attend once again 🙂

 

 

Craig Ferguson Book Tour

Just before Mother’s Day I ended up winning tickets to see Craig Ferguson on his book tour at Mohegan Sun.  Craig happens to be one of my mom’s favorites so it was a great gift for her.  We each got his book and got to have it signed as well as watch him discuss his life and career with moderator Adriana Trigiani.  We were pleasantly surprised that the books didn’t come pre-signed but instead we would get to meet him after the event!   It was a fun evening and each of us came out on top at the slots as well!  If I ever get around to reading the book (balancing grad school and work is kicking my butt) I will certainly be posting a review.

Parachute at Stage One

May 6 Parachute took to Stage One in Fairfield as a special acoustic show on their Young tour.  We were promised that we would get some songs that wouldn’t be otherwise on the tour and some of the setlist was the same as the show at the Wolfs Den a few days before.

Once again, I last minute was asked if I’d help out with merch.  The set up at this venue meant I was going to miss seeing the opening act – Billy Raffoul but I could hear him and he sounded amazing.  And his voice did not match what he looked like AT ALL.  (I thought he’d be WAY older) The girls were all lined up for him at the end of the show too for selfies.

There’s something so much more intimate about the shows at the Fairfield Theater than the Wolf’s Den and it seemed to be the perfect setting more a more laid back and stripped down show.  Will also told a bit more stories before each of the songs than he does in a regular setting.

After the show I went back to see that the merch line for Parachute was nearly no one – everyone was in line for Billy!   I got the chance to talk to Will briefly before heading out.  Maybe merch girl should be my next job?

Parachute Setlist StageOne, Fairfield Theatre Company, Fairfield, CT, USA 2019, The Young Tour

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Parachute at The Wolf’s Den

May 3 Parachute took their Young Tour to the Wolf’s Den in Mohegan Sun.  For this show I ended up volunteering to help them out with merch.  There was a bit of a mixup with when I was supposed to be showing up so I ended up getting there a bit late, but after the VIP M&G things settled down a bit I was “trained” on what I needed to do and we were off to the races.  I was able to head off to seats on the side of the stage to watch the show and had to head back to the table about 3 songs before the end to get back to work.

The new CD wasn’t coming out for another week or so, but they threw some of the new tracks into the setlist and of course the old favorites. (But if they could retire Forever and Always, that would be great. Love the song, hate the crying.)

The show was a lot of fun and I never got to do merch at a show before (aside from for a very local band a friend was in which lasted all of 2 minutes) so it was fun to see the show from a bit of a different perspective!

Parachute Setlist Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT, USA 2019, The Young Tour

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Australia ’19 – Travel Home

My flight home we all headed to the airport. While checking in the woman thought my carry on looked heavy and made us weigh it. It looked bulky because my travel pillow was in it, but i was super careful to weigh everything and stay below the limits. Then the woman decided to change all my seats and not tell me she did or why. (Seats i had paid extra to specifically choose) we got to the gate and got my long haul flight changed back to the seat by the restroom, where I would have the entire row to myself. I didnt realize she also changed my flight from Brisbane to Sydney to a middle aisle seat from my preferred window seat. Grrr.

Getting a wheelchair to swap from domestic to international was not a 30 minute wait and made getting to the other gate a breeze! Too bad i couldnt have done it on the way in as well. I was interviewed by security and they once again considered changing my seat. I protested because I wanted to be by the restroom only for the couple next to me to have to wife upgraded to first class. Ill never know if that would have been offered to me instead if I kept my mouth shut. (Also customs asked “what’s wrong with Australia?” When I said nothing but I had to go back to work he said “your wish is my command, you can go back to work”)

I had preordered dinner so they brought it to me early which was good, I hadnt fallen asleep yet! I watched a star is born but must’ve fell asleep several times as there were a lot of holes in the storyline as I continued watching.  I ended up making a lounger of sorts but was bummed when I realized the arm rests did not go up all the way so I couldn’t sleep across the seats as I had been envisioning. Still, leaning against the window with my legs across was much more comfortable than sleeping fully upright in a seat.

I made it to Dallas where I had a 7 hour layover. They brought me to terminal c which was a lot less exciting and a lot less outlets than the international terminal. Then my flight moved to A. I asked for help but was told to take the skyline but I didnt know if I couldnt handle that without help. But when every cart going by was full, I attempted the skyline and was fine on my own.

I asked for a wheelchair for when we landed and not only was it not there, the woman at the gate said if I couldn’t lift my bag (which looked “heavy”) they wouldnt help me. I assured her if I decided to put it overhead and not under my seat I’d have no problem lifting it. Do I look weak? Does the bag look that gigantic? Sheesh!

 

Oh also of note I took some PM pills to help me sleep… a few minutes after I started getting drowsy I *swear* a flight attendant told me to “put the shade down for sleepy time and if they need to go up they have robots” at the time I assumed theyd automatically go back up but now I’m not sure that was what he told me at all…

It was another long day of travel and I landed at 1am est… drove home without a problem and then had to figure out how to get myself back on a normal sleep schedule… which was not easy.

 

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Australia ’19 – Queensland

Our last bit of trip was Queensland. Nat and I flew from Canberra to Brisbane where I got to take a lift off the plane instead of the stairs. Then we rode in a buggy (aka stretch golf cart wrapped in plastic that made it very hot). Catherine found us and we were off to Lone Pine koala sanctuary.

We did the koala photos first thing as koalas can only be out for about 30 mins a day and once they decide they are done with photos that is it. Since I once again did the photo sitting down we needed a special koala. They grabbed Sprocket… who pooped on me. I am now 2 for 2 with koala poo. We enjoyed lone pine a lot more that the australia zoo which is where we went last trip for all our koala needs.

After we had seen enough we headed to gold coast where we stopped at Yatala Pies for lunch. I had a steak and mushroom and a creaming soda which I had enjoyed last visit as well. (And on the way there I decided to change out of my poop shirt only to take it off right as we had driven under a toll camera!)

We got back to the casino and our favorite talking elevator and got ready for the show – these were the tickets i was in charge of buying and we ended up front row by Taylor. Near the end everyone rushed the stage. I stayed put but Taylor kept singing to me – probably to make sure I was doing ok with the rush of people. (I was.)

Of note… Zac caught the mic when Isaac nearly knocked it over after Siren Call. The next night in Brisbane he almost did it again, and Zac was once again prepared to catch it.

The next day we went to the mall and picked out our pandora charms for the tour. (I really need to find the charms I got last tour to add them!) We got an astronuat and were told brisbane had 11 of the other charm we wanted – we got there only to find they had 0! We got some krispy kreme and headed to the beach for a bit then to brisbane for the last show 🙁 we had 4th row this time.

After having no luck at the stage door we rode the Brisbane Eye which as most of these tend to do, went around just a few too many times for our liking. We did see Hansons photo at the end though!

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Australia ’19 – Canberra

Next up was back to Canberra. This ended up being my 600th show! (Ever. Not just Hanson!) For this show we were 2nd row center and both Isaac and Zac spotted and acknowledged us. After the show all 3 came out, i missed Isaac (who was quickly escorted away when he began to sneeze) but got Zac and Taylor to sign my poster as well as a photo with Taylor who commentef that I was a ways from home before taking it. We drove by the tower at night to try and catch a glimpse of the city at night.

The next day we had an off day so we took a trip to the mint to see where the coins get made and even pressed our own 1 dollar coin (for the low price of 3 dollars!) But it was cool to watch it get struck. There were also a lot of examples of coin related oopsies which were cool to see!

We also got the chance to see some kangaroos in the wild when they showed up in the backyard!

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