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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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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!!

 

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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?

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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 🙂

 

 

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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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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?)