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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

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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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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.

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