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Good Vibes with Jason Mraz

Saturday night Jason Mraz brought his “Good Vibes” tour to Mohegan Sun’s Arena.  After an exhausting trip back home, I was glad that Jason said that if we wanted to yawn or sleep that was ok and that he’d still get the music to us somehow.  He started off with some of his older material which was nice since that is what I am most familiar with as I got into him in college when he was waiting for his rocket to come.  He and his backing band were all dressed in painter jump suits and Jason spoke about love and how important it was pretty much every time he spoke to the crowd.  He said how those who want love the most are often angry and the lack of being loved causes them to do dangerous things.  He also suggested we replace the “f-word” with “love” – especially when we are driving – “lovin’ A man. Lovin’ A!”  The setlist was a lot of fun and Raining Jane as his backup band was amazing.  Loved all the dancing that they threw in throughout the songs and I absolutely loved the mashup he did of Jackson 5’s I Want You Back with his song Unlonely (which is one of my faves of his new tracks, we’ll see if that holds up at the end of the week when I get to hear the full new album, Know)

Despite the fact that I absolutely wished I was in bed and sleeping during his set, I am glad that I didn’t end up missing out and got a chance to get some Good Vibes from Jason.

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Evanescence and Lindsey Stirling

A concert on a Wednesday was not one of my brighter ideas… but I couldn’t pass up the chance to see Lindsey Stirling and Evanescence with AN ORCHESTRA!

Wednesday July 25th Evanescense and Lindsey Stirling brough their orchestra tour to Mohegan Sun Arena.  I had seen both artists before and thought that seeing them backed with an orchestra would be amazing, plus it would be a good “trial run” to see how it worked with Hanson’s orchestra tour starting up!

I knew things were a little different when they wouldn’t let me have my water bottle, it had to be poured into a cup.  That had never happened to me before at my “usual” shows and I was wondering what kind of crowd I had gotten myself into… Turns out a crowd of adults who didn’t know how to adult.  Pre-show “highlights” included a woman who lost her cell phone at the casino but was talking to the arena security about it and apparently asking them to call Verizon for her to help find it and the dude who was double fisting beers that threw up all over himself, at least 2 other people and 2 chairs which led to the janitor needing to  clean things up and replace 2 chairs in between the opener and Lindsey which led to the house lights being on a bit longer than they should have so he could quickly finish up. (And to the dude who walked up to him and stuck some cash in his pocket, I salute you)

From what I hear, they have been co-headlining and alternating who goes on first at each show and for my show Lindsey was on first. She mentioned this was a show they were all looking forward to as it was the only one that was INSIDE and with her wearing several layers of costume and makeup she appreciated that.  As to be expected, Lindsey was all over up and down and around on the stage and had some dancer as well to help round things out.  I still want to give her my fitbit before she hits the stage…  Amy Lee of Evanescence joined Lindsey for a song as well.

After an intermission, Evanescence took the stage and I didn’t realize just how much their songs NEEDED to be performed with an orchestra. Holy crap. It was nothing short of amazing and  I had been considering leaving after they played a song or two that I knew in an effort to beat traffic and get home a little bit earlier since it was a Wednesday night and I had an early appointment the next day – but there was no way I could leave in the middle of something so amazing! Lindsey also came out and joined them for a song.

Some things I noticed, no one stood during Lindsey’s set until she told us to. No one stood during Evanescence’s set until they bowed at the end.  No one held their phones over their head to take video / photos, but I could see a lot of eye-level phones/cameras out in the crowd.

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Britney Spears Piece of Me Tour

I had wanted to see Britney Spears’ Las Vegas residency, but it just never worked out coordinating a trip out there.  Fortunately for me, she brought the tour on the road and ended up coming to Mohegan Sun. I joined her “tour club” and was able to do the impossible – get 2 lower level tickets together for the show! They were straight back from the stage which gave us a great vantage point to be able to see everything going on on the stage (I just wish she had a catwalk!)  From what I’ve heard, the show was very similar to the Vegas residency (though I still wish I could have made it out there)

The show was very entertaining but made me realize just how early I had dropped off from her career – a lot of the later stuff were songs that I didn’t really know all that well. But being able to sing along or not wasn’t an issue – the show was a pretty much non stop dance party either way!

Britney Spears Setlist Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT, USA, Piece of Me Tour 2018

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O-Town at Resorts World Casino

A Saturday at the end of June we made the trek to Resorts World Casino “New York City”.  It was more like Middle of Nowhere Queens… This was the Pop 2000s Tour – hosted by Lance Bass of *NSYNC with performances from Ryan Cabrera, Aaron Carter and O-Town. We went for the VIP M&G which was supposed to be a photo with Lance *and* O-Town as well as VIP table. We were a bit disappointed to see that the tables were behind the GA tickets, but of all the tables we had what seemed to be the best one, at least.

We lined up and did our photo – and were disappointed to see that Aaron Carter had joined in as well.  Boo. They took 2 photos on our phones and 2 on a professional camera which made for a lot of people looking at the wrong cameras in photos which was frustrating. They should have said they were first taking them with one camera so we knew where we were looking…

Then it was time to start drinking in order to make it through Aaron’s set.  Lance kicked things off introducing Ryan Cabrera, who came out in an *NSYNC shirt. Lance then introduced Aaron and in the moment I didn’t think there was actually enough alcohol to forget his set but that plus the fact that it was like a month ago and I am just writing this now… highlights did include when he “played” the piano tattooed on his arm.

Then Lance came out and read from a piece of paper his “intro” for O-Town all about how he looks up to them and they are the greatest boyband 😉  Their set was pretty similar to the ones they had done earlier in the year and since we weren’t close enough for phones to be grabbed and I’m still bitter mine had never been grabbed I opted to take a bathroom break during “These are the Days” – only to have to run back to my spot when I realized they started singing “It’s Gonna Be Me” next! And I made it back in PLENTY of time for Lance to join the guys on stage for Bye Bye Bye!!!!

As usual we jumped in line for post show selfies with O-Town and they were wonderful, as always!

When Jake mentioned the summer tour to us earlier in the year he said he thought we would like the lineup and while I’m kind of sick of seeing Ryan Cabrera and would never willingly see Aaron Carter if not “forced”, giving me the chance to go 3/5 on my *NSYNC quest was most appreciated! (Can they take JC out with them next tour?)

Hanson Day Tulsa 2018

2018 Hanson Day was my 10th trip to Tulsa, OK to see Hanson.  When I first started planning my trip back in 2009 I am pretty sure I billed it as a ‘once in a lifetime’ chance to experience their home town.  In 2009 they recorded the Stand Up, Stand Up EP and there really weren’t any other events.  10 years later (and not really ‘consecutive hanson day’ events either – since 2010 was a Halloween event!) and it is fascinating to see not only how the Hanson event and activities have grown, but how Tulsa has continued to grow and flourish.

My trip started with some excitement. I had only 40 minutes to get off my plane from Hartford and onto my flight to Tulsa in Dallas.  When my shoes set off the metal detector upon arrival in Hartford, my gate was the furthest away and every flight around me was getting delayed due to weather, I was hoping I’d still make it and all the drama was working itself out early.  When the pilot came on and said we would be delayed 10 minutes because of weather and he hoped to make up the time during the flight but before landing told us we would be 5-8 minutes late, I started mentally preparing myself to drive from Dallas to Tulsa.  And when the jet bridge wouldn’t move to connect to the plane, I thought that any chance I had of making it was over. When we landed I was at the mercy of the wheelchair pusher. I informed him my flight was taking off VERY soon and let’s see if we could make it.  He was being thoroughly pessimistic about the whole thing – and then informed me that gate A8 was THE. LAST. GATE. In A.  Yet somehow, despite hearing “Flight 299 to Tulsa, you need to be on the plane NOW” we made it – and I wasn’t even the last one to board the plane.  Thanks American Airlines for holding that flight because if not it would have been Strike 3 for you.  (When I booked the flight it was an hour or so layover and they changed it on me)

Thursday morning our day kicked off waiting outside Ida Red to pick up an Albertane Tour 20th anniversary pint glass and try the special drink they had come up with.  After that we got our Hanson.net wristbands and hopped in line for the store.  I spent a new record amount of money, but in my defense I was picking up merch for 3 others in addition to myself.  Once you take out their totals,  I was pretty much on pace for my usual amount, despite being a bit underwhelmed with the merch this year. (But I’ll confess, that $100 blanket is beautiful and I can’t wait to put it on my bed.) Then there was some eating, some volunteering, some more eating and then it was time for some karaoke – where facebook and snapchat filters set me into a fit of hysterics.  Maybe I needed some sleep…

Friday we got I line for the gallery pretty early, and while there were some original paintings left by the time I entered, I opted to get a couple of prints instead. We also participated in the String Theory ball of yarn.  After the gallery it was time for group photos, so we headed down to Cain’s Ballroom for that.  We stopped at Prairie Brewpub for my first visit before getting ready for the Storytellers concert.  I was pretty nervous that they were going to play With You In Your Dreams and my fears came true when Taylor started mentioning that they wanted us to sing in a chorus.  The setlist was Albertane Tour throwback (and Money was a song I had never heard them perform live before) and I liked that they “themed” it to a 20th anniversary – but… I can really do without WYIYD for the foreseeable future.  Then it was time for the ST Leaders dinner where my cane almost took someone out… and I realized that IPA Cheddar Burger meant that the cheese had the beer in it… and was gross.  I ended up falling asleep instead of going to Taylor’s Dance Party that night. Oops.

Saturday we had a later day, starting off with the Listening Party of Zac’s special music project “The Machine”, it was definitely interesting… then we headed off to Pinot’s Pallette where we painted our own version of Zac’s pansy painting from the gallery.  I went roque – from the moment the instructor said “paint your canvas light blue” and mine was light orange.   I did a mixture of oranges, yellows and reds for my pansy.  It probably could have used more yellow, but overall it came out pretty good.  That night was the full Members Only Concert and I was really digging the 100% members only song setlist – until it got to the solos and then it kind of lost me… and then they played Where’s the Love which I love but am a bit sick of. (Honestly though I know I complain about the setlists but I’d rather be at a Hanson show with a (imo) lame setlist than pretty much anywhere else in the world. So.) After the concert we rushed off to Firkin Feast – and after the gross burger the night before I was wondering what I had gotten myself into, but I actually enjoyed 2 of the 4 beers that they offered after thinking I would never find a beer I would actually like, so that was a plus, and despite the menu not being at ALL what I would ever choose to eat, I ate each of my courses in its entirety and enjoyed it!

Sunday was The Hop Jam Beer & Music Festival.  Hanson wasn’t performing, which made things a bit less hectic and crowded.  I volunteered handing out fliers at the entrance with a great group of security guys (way better than the group I was with last year) and still had a chance to check out Paul McDonald’s set from my hotel room and some of Manchester Orchestra’s as well.  I was also pretty close to Guthrie Green which had the local bands playing and was pretty impressed with what I heard from there as well.

Monday it was time to go and my flight home was pretty uneventful except for the fact that the best flight I could get home for points on Southwest was to take a detour to Denver with a 4 hour layover.  I can’t complain, it was only $6 and I got to have a delicious Einstein Mac & Cheese bagel!

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Blog Catchup

I’ve been having a terrible time trying to keep track of what I have to blog about and what I haven’t. Or putting together actual blog posts and reviews. So here’s a brief recap of what I’ve been doing for the past 2 months…

The Last Bandoleros
My friend Lauren asked me if I’d be interested in checking out The Last Bandoleros at The Wolfs Den. I really had no idea what to expect (w

e had met one of the members something like 10 years ago!) but I was pleasantly surprised. I thought they would be more country but they were not so I am sold! I picked up their EP after the show and have thoroughly enjoyed listening to it.

Jeff Dye
Lauren also dragged me to see Jeff Dye. You may know him from Last Comic Standing or Better Late Than Never. I typically don’t like comedians but Jeff had me laughing his entire set and he was a lot of fun to chat with after the show as well. I’m pretty sure this won’t be my last blog post about him.

Kinky Boots
David Cook made his Broadway debut in Kinky Boots in NYC – so of course I had to check it out! Also in the show was Wayne Brady and Kirstin from Pentatonix. I wasn’t sure what to expect since he would need to have an accent since the show takes place in England. But he did great and it was so fun to hear “him” come through on the songs. A really, really fun show as well.

Andy Grammer
Andy Grammer took his “The Good Parts” tour to the Ridgefield Playhouse. We had about 6th row for the show. Everyone was sitting until Andy made a comment on it and said we could stay seating if we wanted, but we could stand too. I had a feeling that would be how it works because the Playhouse tends to sell their closest seats to members of their ‘club’ and they are usually there moreso to support the venue than as a fan of the band. Although I’m not sure how you can sit still listening to Andy and all of his upbeat songs! After the show we had a chance to meet him briefly and snap a few photos. Always enjoyable!

*NSYNC Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Sometimes all the stars in your life align up perfectly and you end up getting booked on a trip to California just a few days before *NSYNC is set to get a star on the walk of fame, so you ask your manager if you can extend the trip out a bit and she agrees… so a baseball game, Disneyland and seeing all 5 members of *NSYNC on stage together again end up happening. The ceremony was a LOT of standing around and I am not sure I will ever get feeling back in my legs or feet but it was truly amazing to be a part of such a special moment! Now I have to plan a trip back to LA because we were far too exhausted after waiting for the ceremony and then for The Dirty Pop-Up Shop to head back and see the star!

Ruben Studdard sings Luther Vandross
You know I love me some Idol, so when Ruben came to the wolf den to sing the songs of Luther I had to check it out. Unfortunately we didn’t get in line early enough to get a good seat and for a while we weren’t even sure we would get any seat, so I think being on the side of the stage kind of lost some of the interaction for us, but I thought Ruben sounded great and it was a lot of fun to hear him do a different song catalog (even though he did do a few Luther songs back on Idol).

Tim Tebow and The Rumble Ponies
Tim Tebow is a Met… so when the Binghamton Rumble Ponies made their way to Hartford to play the Yard Goats, we went to check him out. 2 rows from the field yielded some great photos and an autograph for my friend Christine. Tim ended up coming out of the game early, but it was also a work night so we were happy to have an ‘excuse’ to leave early! We had fun playing baseball bingo during the game and enjoyed some great BBQ. We’ll be back when he makes his triumphant return next month… hopefully this time I can snag an autograph for myself J

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O-Town @ Stage One

A couple of days after seeing O-Town at the Wolf Den, they made their debut at one of my favorite venues, Stage One in Fairfield, CT.  This show was a bit different because we were able to purchase a pre-show VIP package to spend some more time with the band.  We were told to be in line by 3:45, which we were, but unfortunately due to other venue restrictions we were stuck out in the cold for nearly an hour and a half.  Upon entering the venue we got to watch soundcheck with the guys – where they did Love Should Be A Crime, 2 of their new songs – No Goodnight and Whatchu Wanna Do – which was explained by Jacob by being about sex but ended up with us all being taken to Church… and I think the other one they did was Shady Business.  After the goofings around of soundcheck, we got 2 photos with the band and then had some time to kill before the show started.

Fairfield Theater is a seated venue, so we purchased a membership to the venue in order to get an early shot at tickets and got 2 seats in front row and 2 seats in 2nd row, everything else was already snapped up by the time I got in to buy them.  I kept saying that the 4 empty seats in the front row (center) were going to be “old” people who had no idea who the band were, so I just had to laugh when my prediction was correct.  It was really awkward and the guys were trying to make them feel welcome by sitting on the edge of the stage and singing to them and stuff… but they ended up leaving about half way through the set.  Our friends jumped down to join us in the front row and it seemed like that changed the whole vibe of the show – the guys came closer to the front row and were just a bit more relaxed once they knew it was fans in the front! The set was the same as the show at the wolf den, super high energy and a lot of fun.

After the show, we did our selfie line and got to chat with the guys a bit about the people in the front – Dan said he was glad they left so “our girls” could come down front with us and that it was a really bizarre experience.  Jacob said they were still working on routing for the new tour for this summer, but we should like who they will be touring with. That made me curious to know who he thought I would be excited about seeing… and hoped it wouldn’t be Aaron Carter since they are doing some show with him in the UK.

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Trent Harmon in the Wolf Den

Saturday night reigning American Idol winner Trent Harmon took the stage at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den.  I really wasn’t sure what to expect from a show – but I left very, very pleasantly surprised – the show was high energy and a TON of fun.  Unfortunately I don’t have the setlist so this review is going to be pretty short and sweet.  Trent also didn’t come out to sign after the show, which was a disappointment, I really would have loved to meet him!

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Hanson at Sea World

When I found out that Hanson was coming to Sea World, I knew that I needed to be there. I didn’t realize quite how much of a whirlwind trip it was going to end up being, but I snagged myself a front row seat and then booked some flights.  When all was said and done, I left the airport at 5am, landed in Orlando at 8am and had a “free” day in Orlando.  With another winter storm coming to town Monday night into Tuesday, I ended up buying a flight for Sunday after already having booked a flight for Monday just in case.  I ended up leaving at 11:30pm on Sunday night, landing 2:30am on Monday morning, getting home at 3:30am, sleeping a few hours and going to work. Not one of my brighter ideas but my Monday night flight ended up canceled and I didn’t have to use any vacation days.  Worth it? Definitely.

The way Sea World was set up you were able to pick out your seat at 9am and then enjoy the park for the day instead of having to wait in line all day to get to the theater area.  We were able to do some shopping, some eating, and see some sea life.  We didn’t end up riding any rides, but it was a fun day all the same!  At 5pm the Hanson show began and I was just in front of Isaac in the front row.  The setlist was a pretty basic show that I was expecting, but there was a lot of energy from the guys and I had an absolute blast! And of course, ended up sun burned.

Although the show had a lot of backlash from some fans and some Sea World haters… the show and the day was a ton of fun and I really hope they will consider playing there again!

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O-Town at the Wolf Den March 2

March 2nd O-Town made their return to the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun for I believe the 4th year in a row. (I made it to 3/4)  I ended up getting to the line at about 4pm and it was not too bad. I am sure the crazy weather made many stay home who otherwise would have been coming out.  Trevor was going through the line when I got there giving hugs and saying hi before soundcheck started. He commented on my shirt (Slytherin) and asked what it was – then said he wasn’t a Harry Potter guy but maybe he should be a Harry Potter guy because he really liked the shirt LOL

They let us inside at 6:30 to give us time to have a few drinks before the show kicked off at 8pm.  They played about an hour set and premiered 2 new songs that should be coming out on their new EP sometime soon! The setlist seemed to focus on more of the new tracks (Lines and Circles and beyond) than the older nostalgia tracks, which was a bit of a disappointment. Not that the old stuff isn’t great as well – I guess I am just less familiar with it.

After the show everyone who bought a T-Shirt (for $60!) was able to get a wristband to get selfies with the guy after the show.  I always groan at the ever increasing price of the shirts but happily hand over my money and love getting to say a quick hello with the guys.  I just wish the Wolf Den shows had VIP available too because there’s nothing I love more than throwing $250 at boybands. 😉   I told Jake I would see them on Sunday and he started telling me to make sure I was careful driving home! <3 And as usual, our selfie came out the best of the 4.  Always a fun time seeing them and I’m pretty pumped that I get to see them TWICE in one weekend this “tour”!

Some highlights from the show…

New song – Whatchu Wanna Do

New Song So Good Night(?)

The dance to Sensitive was INSANE

We Fit Together is always a highlight

 

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