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Justin Timberlake – Man of the Woods – Mohegan Sun

This weekend Justin had back-to-back shows at the Mohegan Sun Arena.  These shows were originally scheduled for December 2018, but since Justin was dealing with some vocal issues they were postponed and ended up being the last 2 shows of the tour.

The setlist for each night was the same, but I had mirrored seats for each night so that was kind of cool and totally made for a different show for me each night. Night 1 the main stage was blocked by a freaking tree a lot of the time when Justin was dead center so that was obnoxious. Night 2 I thought I was safe, but there was a camera blocking me here and there.  I really wouldn’t have cared about the “obstruction” if the tickets weren’t $400+ a piece – face value.

The first night Justin took some time to look at signs  – which apparently the arena got in trouble for so there was no outright mention of signs the 2nd night.  There was a sign that someone got a speeding ticket on the way there and Justin said he was glad she was safe – but wasn’t going to say how fast she was going.  Someone else mentioned that they had just had a baby 6 days ago so Justin asked if the baby was there. (It was not)  A lot of people with pregnancy announcements.

It took me until night 2 to really appreciate the show. It may have been because the first night he opened with his 6 dancers behind him which just made me miss NSYNC and by the 2nd night I was over that and could just enjoy it for the great performance that it was.  The stage goes across the whole length of the arena which really allowed pretty much everyone to be “close” at some point.  I was more near the center bar area each night but he split his time fairly evenly, I thought.

After the last show… he was saying thank you and said “I’m probably never doing this again”  What “this” is – we aren’t sure.  Play shows in Connecticut? Tour? Record music? Do a large scale tour? Be a solo artist? (Wishful thinking)  It kind of took the air out of the balloon… I guess what he meant will be found out in time…

Justin Timberlake Setlist Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT, USA 2019, Man of the Woods

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2Cellos at Mohegan Sun

When Jon McLaughlin announced that he was going to be opening for 2Cellos and that their tour would be coming to Mohegan Sun, I immediately started looking for tickets. It had already been on sale, so all my favorite spots seemed to be taken.  A friend ended up snagging a free pair of tickets for us and for the low, low price of free, I’ll sit almost anywhere.  We had a decent spot in the back of the arena.  Jon opened and did 6 songs and seemed to win over the crowd a lot, everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun with the call and response he did in his songs.  After his set he announced he’d be signing autographs so we headed over to say hi.

When we got back to our seats, 2Cellos was already on their 2nd song.  I had no idea anything about 2Cellos before this show and didn’t at all know what to expect.  I have to say, it was one of the weirdest shows I have ever been to, but was definitely enjoyable.  There are 2 cellos on stage and that’s it (except for when a drummer joins them) and they play a lot of songs you will probably recognize.  One of them spoke only once while the other seemed to speak more – but said “This next song… is beautiful… and romantic…” before every song he introduced. It was comical.  Towards the end, things really picked up and one of them was even playing cello while walking through the crowd with it strapped to him and while spinning around in circles on his back on the stage.  They also tried to get some sing a longs going – especially the “Why Why?” in Human Nature and a lot towards the end when they did Highway to Hell and I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.

I’m really glad I ended up going, had Jon not been opening I wouldn’t have even thought about going to this show – it was amazing how I had never heard of these guys yet they had a jam packed arena crowd on their feet and totally into their performance. Usually they say to pay attention to the openers but sometimes the openers (from 12 years ago) become one of your favorites and then end up opening you up to a whole new world with a headliner!

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Kelly Clarkson Mohegan Sun Arena

I wasn’t sure how jetlagged I’d be when I headed to Mohegan Sun to see Kelly Clarkson just 4 days after getting home from Australia but was pretty sure back-to-back concerts last trip to Australia helped get me back on EST so I was hoping for the best. (Australia post(s) are coming, eventually)

I ended up having a seat right by one of her side catwalks and for the longest time no one showed up to sit in the seats next to or in front of me.  Finally next to me filled it but it turned out they didn’t actually sell any of the seats in front of me as after both openers had taken the stage they started seeing who wanted to move based on the catwalk obstructing views and they filled in the rows in front of me.

I was happy no one really stood for the show because I was really not sure how I’d be able to handle a full set of that being so exhausted! Brynn Cartelli from The Voice opened and being from MA this was her “home town show” and Maggie Rose also opened.  Both ended up joining Kelly later in her set as well.

I enjoy that Kelly talks a lot during her set and tells some background stories about the songs.  She also started talking to a pregnant woman in the audience and went on about how she was miserable during her pregnancies and 2 was enough, then she decided they’d finish the conversation later and she would get back to singing. She ended up talking about how the next song was about how no one in her small town got divorced except her family and her friends and then started talking about how sometimes divorce was good… joked about how she hadn’t even had anything to drink yet and she was just going to stop talking and sing.

For A Minute and a Glass of Wine she had Brynn Cartelli join her and they did a duet of Foy Vance’s Make it Rain – a song that Kelly said she hadn’t heard until Brynn brought it up to her (maybe she did it on the voice? i dont know, i dont watch anymore)

The catwalk was so, so close – Kelly came up it 2 or 3 times during the show and her band and backup singers used it as well, and overall my blindly buying a single ticket as soon as tickets went on sale and not having an accurate seating chart worked in my favor (for once?)

 

Matt Nathanson VIP / Acoustic concert The Warehouse Fairfield, CT

February 24th I treated myself to not one, but two Matt Nathanson concerts at The Warehouse in Fairfield, CT. He was doing an acoustic run in smaller venues than usual and since most shows sold out so quickly he did a VIP show as well which you did not need tickets to the concert in order to attend to allow for more fans to have access, which was really cool.

For the VIP show he spun the wheel of Nathanson 3x as well as did a Q&A with the audience. There were some really great questions and I think Matt really enjoyed himself. Afterwards we all got to meet him as well as get a signed poster and coffee mug.

The wheel spins were Song-Spiration, High School and Wedding Dress which led to performances of Room at the End of the World, Illusions a song he had written for a girl in high school and of course, Wedding Dress.

For the show, the wheel was switched out a bit. Unfortunately, the crowd was less than stellar. One woman kept yelling “FASTER” and at first Matt said “Do you want me to spin the wheel faster or sing the song? I have one and a half singles, do you think I am not going to sing it?” and when she yelled it again later, he said “I am literally taking it off the setlist right now” and he did – I wasn’t sure if he was serious until we got to the end of the show, and Faster, the song I was *most* looking forward to hearing, wasn’t done. He did throw in an older less played song instead, which I am sure made the super fans happy but as a more casual fan I didn’t really notice that he did that. The crowd continued to yell out – and I have to wonder if his witty responses were making it seem like he was condoning the behavior and making people think it was ok to shout out things and if it would have been less if he had instead ignored them and just continued on with the show. (Though I can see how it would be hard to ignore it – but simply asking security to find the person shouting and escort them out may have gotten his annoyance across a bit better and would have made things more enjoyable for the rest of us as well. *shrugs*) Despite the song I most wanted to hear being cut, I had an enjoyable night and definitely need to try and see him more on future tours – even though I doubt he will be coming back to Fairfield anytime soon!

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Joey McIntyre in Waitress on Broadway

One Saturday at the end of February I headed to New York City with my mom to see Joey McIntyre in Waitress. I had previously seen Jason Mraz in the same role a little over a year ago so I was curious to see how their portrayals matched up. At the end of Part I, I was thinking Jason had the edge – as the doctor I think is supposed to be a little bit strange and awkward and Jason could play that with ease, where as Joey came across a bit more confident.  By the end, I wasn’t really sure who I thought did better as they both kind of brought something different to the character.  I teased that if Joey came out to sign, he would win, as Jason did not come out.   I managed to get my playbill signed by Joey in addition to the actresses that played Becky and Jenna.  We debated waiting for Ogie and trying to get a selfie with Joey – but the crowd was creeping in as Joey came near, so once my playbill was signed we ducked out and went to dinner.  This is a really fun show and the only one I have seen more than once!

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Gaelic Storm at The Wolf Den

Friday night we headed to The Wolf’s Den at Mohegan Sun to catch a free show from Gaelic Storm (aka Garlic Thunder, which is the name they told me they should be called when I met them 10 years ago on The Rock Boat) I hadn’t seen them in 10 years and I think several of the band members had switched out since  then, but they still were as funny and entertaining as when I had seen them last, and hopefully will get to see them again soon, now that I have a couple of friends who also enjoy them.  I didn’t keep track of the setlist and it looks like no one else really did either, as the one below is missing quite a few songs

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Brian McKnight at Mohegan Sun

At the end of January I went to Mohegan Sun for a private show with Brian McKnight. You may think private equates to intimate but it was in the arena so it was quite a crowd that filled in a ton by the time he took the stage – despite the number of people trying to pass off their tickets to people who already had tickets 😛 I really only knew “Back at One” but I’m not one to say no to a free show and I really enjoyed myself despite the set being mostly love songs. He did do a couple of songs for those of us who didn’t have anyone though so at least he realized there were some of us who wouldn’t enjoy that 😉

He also thanked everyone for allowing him to make music since the 90s – he said that was the best decade for music (and I’d have to agree) and went through a few of his singles from each year. He also did a medley of some of his favorites that have left us – Michael Jackson’s Rock With You, Luther Vandross Never Too Much and Earth Wind & Fire’s September. He talked a bit about how there must be an awesome concert going on in Heaven with Whitney, Aretha, etc but that he didn’t want to join them anytime soon.

He ended up doing Back at One a couple songs before the end, telling people they could come up front if they wanted and while some did, there also was a mass exodus after. He still did Fall 5.0 and then came back for an encore with the crowd mostly at the front of the arena. It was a fun show and I am glad I went despite not being in a love song kind of mood!

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Stephen Kellogg Stage One Fairfield, CT

My last show of the year as I believe it has been for the past couple years, was Stephen Kellogg. For this show he was accompanied by Eric Donnelly on guitar and Taylor Carson opened.  The show was promoting his latest release, “Objects in the Mirror” which I unfortunately didn’t have a chance to fully listen to before the show.  (In an effort to remedy this I have purchased a discman for listening to CDs at work now – so expect more CD reviews in 2019.)

During Song for Daughters I started to tear up a bit and thought to myself… how can he perform these songs that are so emotional and probably mean more to him than me, and make it through without crying?  Well… I got my answer on the next song – he can’t.  By the end of Objects in the Mirror he was crying and talked a little bit about it before playing Prayers on the keyboard.

The second half of the setlist was requests shouted out from the audience and I am not sure how he understood what anyone was saying… and maybe he didn’t and just picked what he wanted to play pretending it was a request. *shrug*

For the last song of the main set, Last Man Standing, 2 of his 4 daughters joined him on stage and for the last song of the encore he did See You Later See You Soon on the “b stage” like Taylor Swift would do (ugh) and kept yelling for us to sing THREE MORE! and was joined by Taylor Carson.  A great show for the last show of 2018 and looking forward to seeing him again in 2019 even though at the moment his tour is not returning to CT.

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Year In Review 2018

Most expensive show:
Other than BTTI – Backstreet Boys in Vegas

Least (not free) expensive show:
Hanson’s Storytellers show in Tulsa at $30

Free shows:
O-Town, The Last Bandoleros, Ruben Studdard, Hanson, The Hop Jam, 5SOS, Jon McLaughlin

# artists seen: 53
# unique artists seen: 8
# shows seen in CT: 18
# of shows out of state: 20

Show farthest away: BSB in Vegas
Closest show: O-Town and David Archuleta in Fairfield
$$ spent on tickets: $4,666
Miles traveled: 13,872.5

Top 6 shows of the year?

 

Total number of shows in 2018? 38

First show of the year? Hanson in Jamaica

First show with actual tickets: Walk the Moon

Last show of the year? Stephen Kellogg

Most surprising show? Evanescence and Lindsey Stirling w/ a orchestra

Most disappointing? I didn’t really have any bummers of shows this year

Farthest traveled? Las Vegas for BSB’s residency

States attended shows in? Jamaica, CT, NV, FL, OK, NY, PA, CO, MA, GA, TN, MA, VA

Venue most visited? Probably the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun

Band seen the most? Hanson at 16 times.

Best new discovery? The Last Bandoleros

Bands seen this year that also broke up this year? I don’t think any.

Friends made at shows? Maybe? I’m a little anti-social lol

Band members met? Hanson, O-Town, The Last Bandoleros, Andy Grammer, Tyler Hilton, David Cook, 98 Degrees, David Archuleta, Jon McLaughlin

Best souvenir from a show? My life after Hanson in VA

Longest time in line? Probably for O-Town VIP in Fairfield. Didn’t wait too much for anything else. Most were seated.

Shows seen from the barricade [front row]– Hanson BTTI, O-Town Fairfield, Hanson in Nashville, Hanson in Denver (kind of)

Most shows in one month?

January – 4
February – 1
March – 5
April – 1
May – 4
June – 1
July – 2
August – 3
September – 3
October – 4
November – 5
December – 5

Looks like a 3 way tie with 5 shows in March, November and December. (No wonder I have been so tired lately)

Most shows in one week? November 10/11/13/16

Biggest crowd? Probably The Hop Jam in Tulsa. Or one of the Arena shows.

Any drunk encounters? None that are standing out to me!

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David Archuleta – Winter in the Air Tour – Fairfield, CT

David Archuleta brought his Winter in the Air tour to The Warehouse in Fairfield, CT recently. I decided to buy the VIP ticket option for this show so I was able to hear David soundcheck a couple of songs before the show as well as do a Q&A with the audience.  I thought it was interesting that David had a staff member choose who got to ask the questions rather than let David choose himself. I am sure there was a good reason for it, but it just threw me off a bit.  He talked a bit about going to therapy, forgiveness… and commented that a lot of the questions were very deep at this Q&A.  After he took photos with us and gave us a Christmas gift! (A signed photo and cookie cutters!)  We were able to snag a good spot before the general crowd got let in and then waited until 8pm when the show began.  David now has 2 Christmas albums out – he played 8 from Winter in the Air – including the 3 originals. (Of which I believe he said he wanted a ballad, a fun up beat one and one that made you feel like it was a winter wonderland) and from his first Christmas album only 3 songs.  The kid can sing and I loved how he kept chatting with the crowd and getting distracted. He liked the venue because he said he could see everyone up front and wanted to give them all high fives but that would take too long.  And he couldn’t have a show without throwing in his first single – Crush – into the setlist.  Everything else, however, was Christmas tracks.

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