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Hawaii!

When Hanson announced they were doing a show in Hawaii, I knew I had to go, even if I had to race back after the show for a personal commitment the following weekend. A few friends also were in on the trip so we booked an Airbnb and all were coming in and leaving on different days. I found a decently priced flight from JFK that was direct and about 10 hours. I opted for the cheaper economy seat, but wasn’t a fan of having my backpack under my feet the whole trip and decided to rethink that for the way home.

When I landed, I had to wait for my rollator (my first time traveling with it) and someone came with a wheelchair and then left when I said I was waiting for the walker. By the time it came, everyone else was long gone and I had no idea where I was going. Turns out they have shuttles but I completely missed that and started walking. I had plenty of time to kill as 2 friends were off on a tour and the other friend didn’t land for another couple of hours, so whenever I got to the Airbnb I got there. And then a guy came up and asked if he could help me. I told him no, I was fine (I had my backpack on and carry on sitting on the seat of the walker and was perfectly ok with that set up and had made it through JFK no problem that way earlier) but he insisted – and grabbed the bag off my walker to help me. Then tried telling me I needed to go with him to Kona. Fortunately he was walking at my pace and I was trying to figure out how to outsmart him because there was no way I’d physically be able to get my bag back from him. We wandered around for a bit – I kept telling him I was ok and he could go to security for his flight, but he kept saying no and asking me the same questions over and over “Where are you from?” “Do you live here?” his name was Joey and he was from Alaska and he was DRUNK. Which made me a little bit at ease because I could totally outsmart a drunk guy. Finally he asked security where there was an elevator and I must’ve had a look on my face that showed him that I was in distress because HE told the guy to give me my back and let me get on the elevator and that where he needed to go was elsewhere. We finally got out of the elevator and I started walking for a taxi only to find out Uber/Lyft were on the next level up, Joey saw me looking at a sign and came back out towards me but I booked it to the elevator and got away from him. My favorite was when he asked me if I had added him on Facebook yet. My phone has been hiding in my pocket this entire time and all I know is your first name and what state you are from – and now I am not getting to add my attempted kidnapper as a friend.

Tuesday another group of friends were coming in and the rest went to hike a waterfall, so I spent half the day getting acquainted with our AirBnB. I went to meet them to get added as a driver to the rental car – even though I wasn’t sure my plan to head off anywhere alone was going to happen because Joey had ruined that for me. We were hoping to head to a beach to see the sunset, but somehow a quick trip to the parking garage to drop the car off turned into a 2 hour saga that fortunately had a happy ending. We finished the day with birthday sushi – and I tried a couple pieces of tuna and enjoyed it. (But had rice for the majority of my meal)

Wednesday was our big day and when we woke up to see it was raining we were very concerned about our luau that evening. We headed off to breakfast of malasadas (if youre going to try a filled one – be very careful as they SQUIRT! We learned that one the hard way) which is a Portuguese donut. They weren’t bad but I’m not sure it was what we were expecting. (Fillings were a bit bland.) Then we got to Pearl Harbor where I fell in a puddle and the guy who helped me up felt the need to touch my butt. (This trip wasn’t shaping out to be very great so far) It was raining, but we were able to get on the boat and see the Arizona Memorial which had just re-opened earlier in the month. As soon as you entered you could smell the oil still leaking out of the ship. We googled and apparently it had been filled with 1.5 million gallons the day before the attack and leaks approximately 9 quarts a day – so 77 years later it is still leaking. I think that was just the most amazing/shocking thing. My (very tired) Math is telling me that it will leak for 1800 years following the attack.
Then it was time to get ready for our luau. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect and was told the food is just so-so at any of them. The Paradise Cove luau we chose seemed to have a nice location, a lot of pre-show activities and the food was not bad either! It was just sooooooooooo hot! But eventually the sun went down, the pig got roasted and we were able to eat and enjoy the show. It was a lot of fun!
Thursday morning I went to the pool, the Hard Rock Café (and got my largest hard rock bear to date) and then a dole whip! I also splurged and bought myself a plumeria ring. I headed back to the room, showered and went to hang out in line for the Hanson show. The venue said they could hold 1200 and 500 tickets were sold – but I snagged a spot in the back by the soundboard and it definitely seemed a lot more packed than that! (Although many cleared out once they played MMMBop!) The venue even had special Hanson in Hawaii posters – they were just giving away! So cool! The show was a typical festival set, but it was high energy and a lot of fun. After the show Taylor had an after party – where we mostly just hung out on a couch and people watched. After we had an after after party and ate some pizza rolls we had bought on a Costco run. Best idea ever? Best idea ever.
The next day I had to leave – my flight took off at 3pm Hawaii time and landed at 7am NYC time – and then I had to be off to a benefit that started at 10am. (Which I was 2 hours later for but it’s all good because I made it) I also saw that Pete Alonso tied the rookie HR record just before I boarded the flight so that was exciting – even if there were no Mets hats to be found. (Lots of Yankees though. Ughh.)

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Jonny Lang @ the Warehouse

Jonny Lang came to The Warehouse in Fairfield in early September and I was lucky enough to snag a front row seat! It had been a while since I had seen Jonny on his own in concert and not as a part of experience Hendrix.

Zane Carney opened the night and also played in Jonny’s band. He seemed to win over the crowd quickly after mentioning he was originally from CT.

Jonny’s set may look short – but each song was quite long with all the guitar playing! He played roughly an hour and a half and was sooooo into performing, it was a pleasure to watch.

After the show I went to snap a pic of the setlist and one of the guys taking down the stage said I could have it! 🙂

Jonny Lang Setlist The Warehouse at the Fairfield Theatre Company, Fairfield, CT, USA 2019, 2019 Summer Tour

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Shawn Mendes at Mohegan Sun

Shawn Mendes closed out his arena tour at the end of August at the Arena at Mohegan Sun.  I had bought a ticket near the back of one of the sections and they actually ended up sitting me on the ADA platform which probably worked out better for me, being able to see and not having to stand at all – especially after my back had been hurting from all the brother band shows in a row 😉  

Upon entering, we were given a bracelet that we were told to turn on before Shawn got on stage because it would blink along with his music.  This was definitely the highlight of the night for me.

Alessia Cara opened, which was a big reason I decided to go – I love her songs on the radio! She had a ton of energy and was a lot of fun and a lot of positivity! 

Shawn had 2 stages –  I was just about in the middle of both.  Except he never really seemed to face my side when he was on the B-Stage – which also included a giant white rose that moved up and down depending on which stage he was on.  He also had his back to me whenever he played piano on either stage so that was a bit of a disappointment.

And if I thought Alessia had a lot of energy – Shawn tired me out running all around the stage (usually with a guitar strapped to his back) after just a couple of songs! The whole crowd blinking and showing different colors on their wrists definitely was a sight to see. I really wish that the bracelets could be used again (They had a recycle bin on the way out for them, which I didn’t end up using as I was too busy being felt up by a young girl who clearly had no idea what she was doing as she ran out passed me and then ran by me again in the opposite direction as I was trying to exit and not be assaulted.) because they are really cool! But only would work if the whole venue was in on it.  Much more fun than cell phone flashlights, I think! You can get colors and blinking – to the beat! 

Overall I was very impressed with Shawn and kind of wished I had gone to the show the night before too.  Ahh well, next time! I just wish that the parents at the casino didn’t make a human wall trying to find their children when it is time to exit.  Some of us want to just get back to the casino and try to win some money from a Panda… (I didn’t win this time.)

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Hanson DE&MD

Mid-August Hanson played in Delaware and Maryland. For the Delaware show we opted to go VIP and get seats at the front of the balcony, which were right in the center and awesome! For Maryland we were also front row but as this was a fair show and people felt they were entitled to be closer than their purchased seats, it was not so awesome! The setlists were just varied enough – a mix of the hits and some other favorites – typical of a non tour “one-off” show. These were shows 206 and 207 for me and they are always just as fun. (Except for when I fall and want to sit most of the show, but can’t see, despite having a front row seat. Yeah maybe I’m a little bitter.) Security in MD did try to clear people out – but they kept coming back and clearly were not prepared for Hanson fans. In DE – there were rumors Ryan Phillipe may be in attendance – we may have seen a guy with 3 security guards around him on the balcony leave after a couple of songs – but can’t be sure whether or not it was him. (And based on how many times we thought we ‘saw Taylor’ and it was not even close when we got closer to the person – I don’t trust any of our vision.) We did meet Taylor after a show (the real one, not a look a like) so I was able to get my message to him from Joe Jonas about the beer – of course he told me now I needed to get him Joe’s address. I refuse to be a go between but I did my part and tweeted Joe because I don’t know what else to do because I am not paying $500+ to meet him again!!
I’m not sure what there is to say more about a Hanson show I haven’t already said… (at least until there is new music to be had!) so here are some photos!

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Jonas Brothers at Mohegan Sun

The Jonas Brothers are BACK! And they brought their happiness begins tour to the Arena at Mohegan Sun near the end of August. Both the onsale for tickets AND VIP M&Gs were an absolute shit show – yet somehow I managed to get a M&G (with a backstage tour I really didn’t want to take) and a really nice seat for the show.
With all the drama of the on sales behind me – I went to check in for VIP – and more drama! I believed the only email I had received from the VIP company was the receipt. But apparently I had also received and didn’t save (so unlike me, but whatever) another email with a confirmation code. The woman was very rude and assured me since SHE sent the emails – I had to have gotten one. My email trash deletes every 30 days or so – it’s August and I bought this in May – forced into a level higher than I wanted – and now they were acting like they weren’t going to let me in without this code – when my name and all my info were on her list and I was standing in front of her with an ID that matched. I remembered taking screen caps of things when I bought it, because it was such a nightmare I wasn’t convinced their servers would handle emailing out the confirmation. But my sD card in my phone had crapped out 2 weeks earlier – of course! Fortunately I pay for Google Photos extra storage backup and scrolled through to May and sure enough – the screen cap with the confirmation code was good enough (and she barely even looked at it, so WTF) and I was given my backstage tour wristband and let inside.
The backstage tour had us go down the arena steps, under the stage (a lot roomier than I was expecting, honestly) and then up the escalator. We went outside and waited for our “walk down memory lane” which was a couple dead-end aisles of clothes the boys had worn, Nick and Kevin’s guitars and one of Joe’s mic stands we could use for photo-ops.
We then were taken into another room and had to give up our purses and cell phones for the M&G – which I really didn’t mind but making us sit there for nearly an hour with no way to let my friends know I wouldn’t be able to meet them before doors wasn’t really fun. (Fortunately we have done enough M&Gs they knew I’d get in contact as soon as I could after their “where are you?” texts went unanswered for a bit) Finally it was time for the M&G where they lined up those with Lane One ‘first on the floor’ tickets and other perks first.
Then it was time for my M&G. I wore my “Id rather be at a Hanson concert” shirt because I was looking for a fun photo-op. I told them I wanted them to pose based on the shirt but I’d let them pick what to do. Kevin started instructing me where to stand and what they would all do – but Joe cut him off and said that he would give a thumbs up because he also wanted to be at a Hanson concert. Afterwards I told them I’d be seeing Hanson the next 2 days so I’d get my wish. Joe asked if I’d be meeting them and I said I didn’t know, but he told me if I did to let them know that they want the beer that they promised them “like 10 years ago.” I told him if I met them I would definitely let them know!
My seat for the show was more amazing than I could have even thought, basically as close to the stage as I could have been without being forced to stand in the GA pit all night. I was able to sit all night and only couldn’t see them when they went to the B-stage, but there was screens up front so I didn’t entirely miss out on what was going on. (Surrounded by stairs I didn’t trust myself to not fall right off!)
I was super excited when they came out on stage – so happy to see them happy and together again!! I thought the setlist was a great mix of old and new and fan requests – and a lot of fun and color! (but somehow despite being so close I only ended up with like 3 pieces of confetti. What the heck!?)

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David Cook Daryl’s House

David Cook made his return to Daryl’s House in New York in the beginning of August. I had never seen him there before and didn’t want to go back after buying a single ticket to see Kris Allen left me in the back corner of the show (despite having a VIP M&G Ticket.) Once again I opted for a VIP M&G and figured I’d give the house a second chance.
No information was emailed about the M&G so I got there about 4 only to be told to hang tight until about 5, later 5:15 for the M&G. No problem – better to be there too early than too late! I ended up wandering around only to be told the M&G was starting and somehow ended up being 3rd in line? I wore my Mets shirt after they had a particularly exciting game the night before which David was not too happy about – but he agreed it was a good game and then we decided anyone but the Yankees! I also reminded him that his guys beat the Mets and he’d always have that which he was overly happy about. 😉
After the M&G I went to see where I was assigned for seating for the evening and was pleasantly surprised to see it was at one of the front tables, against the wall. Since I was the first one of the group to arrive I got to pick the front row seat facing the stage. Way to go Daryl’s House – definitely redeemed themselves from several years ago!
The show itself was great – there were a few false starts because David was getting the sillies from the faces and comments of the people up front. There was also a crew behind him that led to some banter and him singing a portion of a song facing them with his back to the front – but he turned back around as it was a “numbers game.”
At one point, David told us to give it up for Jeff, and the lighting guy made the lights “flicker” to seem like they were also applauding. David was curious to see what they would do for him – so he said “Give it up for me!” We all cheered – and the stage went DARK. David started cracking up and said that he expected that they just wouldn’t do anything – not that they’d go off! Well played, lighting guy, well played!
Overall, even though it was a more acoustic, stripped down version of David than I am used to, it was great to hear all his stories before the songs and I am not sure I have laughed that much in a long, long time!

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Violent Femmes & Ben Folds

I was supposed to see Ben Folds at Mohegan Sun a couple years back but due to bad weather wasn’t able to make it. When my friend told me she could get us some free tickets to the upcoming show (and tour kick off!) I jumped at the opportunity to see Ben again. We had some decent floor seats for the show. Savannah Conley opened the show and played just her and her guitars for about 20 minutes. Violent Femmes was up next. I felt like this was sort of a weird pairing for a tour but the crowd seemed into it and it was a lot of fun to watch all the people slowly jump up and start dancing as their set progressed. They definitely had some interesting instruments on stage – a huge giant saxophone like thing (sorry I don’t know what it’s actually called) that was taller than the guy playing it and a grill that was being used as a drum. Ben’s backup band had some interesting instruments as well – a cello, no bass guitar but a bass harmonica? And the drums were a tiny version with no bass drum he said because they had no bass guitar. Three songs into the set, Ben said they decided that Mohegan Sun needed a jingle so they wrote one backstage and played it, it was basically just the band jamming out and singing “Mohegan Sun, yall!” I thought this may be something they did every night but the other setlists I looked at after this show don’t note it, if they did! Ben’s set was incredibly entertaining and he ended with the audience singing 3 part harmony. I thought it was a great way to end it, though the audience wanted more and even once the house lights went back on no one wanted to leave just yet!

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John Mayer Summer Tour : Providence, RI

For John Mayer’s Summer Tour he did things a little bit differently than usual. He had no opening act, took the stage “promptly at 7:30” (more like 10 to 8) and played 2 sets. He also had said that he’d be doing no repeats for shows where he was doing back-to-back nights but that turned out to not be completely true. But with 2 sets you’d be hearing more songs than usual and hopefully some songs that you haven’t heard in a while either. I ended up going to his show in Providence, RI which ended up being the day after my birthday! I picked out great seats in the last row of the lower level which was awesome because I had no stairs to deal with. While the two sets things seemed like a great idea, the intermission allowed people to wander around which resulted in my getting beer dumped on me by a moron who doesn’t know how to hold a can of beer AND take a photo with her friends. When the guy next to me called her out to apologize to me, she said it wasn’t her. Oh, ok! She also offered to give me the beer. No thanks, I’m not a beer fan and then had to smell like it for the rest of the evening and the 2 hour ride home. Yuck. I thought the setlist had a great mix of songs from all his albums and I was glad he included No Such Thing and Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, among others. I can do without his cover of “Free Fallin’” though. The crowd seemed to love it, but I’m pretty sure he has done it at nearly every show I have gone to and would have loved to hear something else instead. The crowd also seemed to love when he included a Grateful Dead song in the set – Fire on the Mountain. I loved him ending the set with New Light and the purple confetti. (One of the reasons I was bummed to sell my MSG tickets is that I think my seat for the Friday show would have been pelted with confetti – and I love me some confetti.)

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Basilica Block Party & Minneapolis

In mid-July I headed to Minnesota to cross a new state off my list and also to check out the Basilica Block Party.  Friday was the first night and we considered that our dress rehearsal for Saturday night when Hanson and Jason Mraz would be performing.  My friend that I went with was volunteering Friday so I was on my own for the show – and turns out I really was on my own because even though I made my way to the ADA section (via police escort. Long story.) no one ended up showing up to join me until near the very end of the show!   Each night I stayed at the Great Clips stage all afternoon/evening even though there were some great bands on the other stages as well. There never was a band that I had hoped would get off stage, the level of talent was all pretty great. (Although Johnny Swim teasing they’d perform all night when I knew Hanson was going to be coming up next did make me a bit anxious lol)  On Friday the lineup was Ruston Kelly, Anderson East, Dawes and Kacey Musgraves. I actually spotted Taylor and Isaac Hanson watching during Dawes set – turns out Zac was there too but I never did get a glimpse of him. The second night the lineup was Lissie, JohnnySwim, Hanson and Jason Mraz closed out the night.

In addition to the Block Party – I also got to try my first “Jucy Lucy” at Matt’s Bar and hit up the Mall of America!

 

Setlists that are available from the block party:

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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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