The first weekend in October was my 7th trip to Tulsa in the past year and what I believe to be my final trip there for 2021. The themes for this weekend were ATW + Listener’s Choice which meant that we voted on 20 songs via Twitter that would be included in the setlist. Setlist voting is not my favorite thing because generally the songs I want to hear aren’t included and of those that are included, the ones I would prefer to hear don’t win. But initially I didn’t think I’d be going 3 out of 4 months so I thought this would be a nice “overview” setlist of sorts.
I made it to Tulsa without incident, but unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for my friends. The friends I was rooming with were supposed to be getting in late on Thursday, which ended up getting bumped to mid-day on Friday (the day of the first show) I think I saw them maybe 3 hours the whole weekend.
Friday morning Hanson did a live chat before they released their single for the month, One, and mentioned that these shows would be the longest ones of the series and that they’d be very similar each night. I was hoping that we would be getting 10 voted songs + 6 songs from Against the World with a handful of “Hanson’s Choice” each night – but they instead decided to do all 20 voted songs + 6 from Against the World BOTH nights. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s no place I’d rather be than a Hanson concert, but I was pretty meh about it and kind of grumpy through the whole Friday night show. One of the fans next to me was getting so excited and had pure joy as a reaction for several of the songs as they started and I was wondering if maybe I was the problem and I have gone to too many shows. (There had been some discussion online about if you’re mad about the song choices you’ve gone to too many shows.)
For Saturday’s show I was hoping they would mix up the order and what was acoustic and what the encore songs were, and they did. I don’t know what I did to adjust my attitude – but I strongly preferred show #2 to show #1 and it truly did feel like 2 different shows entirely, despite the fact that the songs were essentially the same. They also did an acoustic version of If Only so there was no jumping and that was a big plus as well. Unfortunately my excitement was short lived, as I got run over by a motorized wheelchair while we were trying to clear out the ADA area. I’m ok, but I was a bit sore and stinging after the show and did have a bruise afterwards.
Getting home was also uneventful, which I was glad about. I decided to order myself some BBQ from one of my favorite places here in CT that has a location near the airport. It was torture smelling it the whole hour ride home, but definitely worth the wait.
I am looking forward to some Hanson tour dates being announced hopefully by the end of the year? Maybe? But if not, there’s always Back to the Island to hold me over until then.
Wednesday night – my first mid-week show in I don’t even know how long – I headed back to XFinity Theater to see the Jonas Brothers. For this show, unlike Alanis that I had seen there previously, vax cards or negative covid tests were required. It was a quick flash of the vax card and I honestly felt a lot like it was just security theater for this show. The other times my ID needed to be checked against the card and for this show they didn’t seem to care at all. Many also did not get the memo that only small clear bags were allowed but it did sound like they had a bag check available.
The merch line was absolutely insane upon arrival but I was able to find one much shorter inside after bumping into a friend I hadn’t seen in YEARS! I then made my way to my seat early to get settled in and watch the drama unfold because of how the rows are numbered. The center section is A1, B1, C1, A, B, C, etc. As far as I know it’s always been this way but it seems like they don’t make the ushers aware of this (Mine at the top of the section said “Look for B!” Even though I was B1) A few girls decided since they “paid a lot of money for their tickets” even though they were in row A and assumed they were front row, they should get to stand at the barricade. No sweetie. We ALL paid a lot for our tickets and you are in 4th row so that gives you NO right to the barricade. Eventually, most of them got kicked out but one particularly ballsy one did end up coming back for Jonas and somehow ended up not getting kicked out again. Grrr. Honestly, if they were going to put up such a fight with security I would have told them they could just go to their ASSIGNED seat or they could leave the show entirely – $1000 down the drain. Entitled brats…
Jordan McGraw opened and he is a pile of trash and that’s it. That’s the review. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. (Well maybe I did already say it. But I’ll leave it at that)
Next up was Kelsea Ballerini. I am not much of a country fan, but I did enjoy her set despite only knowing her closing song “This Feeling”. She played a video during the set of her much younger talking about how much she loved the Jonas Brothers and then talked a bit about how amazing it has been to not only become a singer/songwriter herself and then get to OPEN for the Jonas Brothers.
Then it was time for Jonas! I thought they did a great mix of their setlist since I don’t really know as much as the new stuff that well, but there was absolutely plenty for me to still sing along to and they even included some of Joe’s DNCE songs and some of Nick’s solo songs as well. They all seemed to be having SO much fun on stage and I think that was the closest I had been for any of their shows I had seen previously. (Thanks for Citi Presale tickets that were actually probably Ticketmaster Platinum tickets in disguise.) I also was able to sit for the whole show which was really awesome thanks in part to the girl next to me who jumped in the row in front of me and blocked anyone who dared stand in front of me for longer than about 30 seconds. I really am loving all these fans looking out for me and making things a lot easier for me! I could have stood if I needed to, but am much more comfortable if able to sit. (Now if they could not spill things and make the floor too slippery for my cane, but that’s a whole other story) The Jonas show was not as out of control and theatrical as they usually are – they didn’t float up or come in from the ceiling. There was some fireworks and fire but it seemed a bit scaled back from some of their previous big tours and allowed us more to focus on the music than the spectacle. They also just ended the show on Sucker – no encore or coming back out at all. After they left the stage everyone was going nuts for roadies throwing things off the stage, and I just wanted to get OUT of there. Some girl came into the row, stood DIRECTLY in front of me, missed a pick being thrown and then complained about how it was crazy and like a war zone. Ok but you wanted to be in it so badly you came and stood right in front or someone who was trying to collect her things and leave so you’re not much better than anyone else crowding down there… Eventually I ended up weaving my way through some seats and making it out of there. Phew! The show went a lot later than I was expecting (especially for a week night! *insert grandma emoji here*) and I had a hotel near the airport about 20 minutes away that I didn’t get settled in to until nearly 1am! It was a lot of fun though and I was glad I went especially after having a rough couple of days – it was a nice distraction to help keep my mind off of everything else that was going on.
Saturday night I made my return to Oakdale to see AJR. This concert also was requiring vaccination cards or a negative covid test. I arrived about 45 minutes before doors to about 15 people in line – and half the floor was a GA pit. I will say that the crowd for the most part was SUPER nice to me – they let me cut in to get inside faster and also saved the larger bathroom stall for me to use and the guy sitting behind me asked if I needed help standing up to be able to see better once AJR took the stage.
But there was also what seemed to be a dude who had never ever been to a concert before. My row was the front row behind the pit and there was a barricade that blocked off the back of the pit. If you were seated, the barricade top was over most of the performers heads (at least for me when I was sitting, but I am short) When the openers came on, I opted to not stand as I could see them through the barricade, but knew by the time AJR came on stage the pit would be filled in a lot more and I wouldn’t be able to see at all. Well a guy in my row decided he wanted to stand to see the openers. I had no problem with it and I would have had no problem with it if he was in front of me, either. Well, the guy that was a couple rows behind him decided he did have a problem with it and started yelling that they bought seats for a reason and he should sit down. HA HA HA. I figured it would end there, but nope. F-bombs started flying and security ended up taking the guy who was standing somewhere else so I was getting a bit nervous knowing I’d have to stand or at the very least lean/sit on the upturned chair once AJR took the stage. Fortunately, everyone stood – about 10 minutes early even – for AJR and there were no other altercations. But very, very rarely do I ever go to a concert where everyone sits. That’s not how seats at concerts work lol
The opening acts were Daisy the Great and The Aces. I had seen The Aces once before I think, but Daisy the Great was new for me. Not sure I’ll be seeking them out in the future though.
Then it was time for AJR. I wasn’t totally familiar with all their songs, but they did a lot of cool interactions with the screen in the back – like Jack walking in place and the background moving to make it look like he was walking through different places. At one point he went behind the screen and came out with a giant head! The show was a lot of fun and I managed to stand for the whole thing (and had an excited moment when the screen flashed INTERMISSION thinking I could sit down for a couple minutes – only for it to flash right after Just Kidding! No on wants that! I did! lol). At one point, Jack was talking about how they haven’t played shows in 2 years and for many of us, it probably was our first show in 2 years too and how it was unique for the band and audience to be going through something so similar together. For me… it had been about 6 days since my last show? But the crowd did seem like it was their first show EVER for a lot of them. At the end of the show, Jack threw his hat into the crowd and someone about 2 rows in front of me got it. No one was next to me so if he gave it a little bit more air I probably could have had it, but seeing how there was an attack in the pit for it, I’m happy with how it landed. Looking forward to seeing them again, just hoping they may tone down on the flashing lights a bit.
Sunday night I made my first trip to the Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater in Bridgeport. It’s a brand new venue and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. What I had remembered from going there as a kid when it was a baseball stadium is there were a LOT of stairs. That memory turned out to be accurate as I had to go up a decent sized flight to get to my seats and then down a few as well. The entire floor is level, so if I go there again, these stairs are something I’ll have to get used to as the 200s sections are probably going to be my go-to spot.
You probably wouldn’t expect me to go see Ace Frehley and Alice Cooper and well, I wouldn’t have really expected it of me either! But a good friend is on the tour w/Ace so I had to go check things out when he told me that I wouldn’t be totally out of place and should go! I ended up getting a front row seat of one of the 200 sections and it was pretty perfect. It was raised up enough that I didn’t have to stand because no one on the floor was bigger than me due to how it was situated and it still had a really nice view of the stage. The guy next to me came down and was like “THESE ARE GREAT SEATS! WE DON’T EVEN HAVE TO STAND!” and while he majority of the floor stood the whole time it seemed like most of the upper levels didn’t. I thought the sound system wasn’t all that great though and a friend that also ended up at the show agreed. Otherwise it’s really close to home and a nice mid-sized summer venue. (But how long until it ends up getting no shows just like the Webster Bank Arena next door?)
Ace played for about an hour and I really only knew one of the songs that he did and only because it’s one the Mets play after they win! (My friend on the tour is a Yankees fan and I believe helped put the setlist together so I texted him to thank him for including it because it had been a while since I had heard it :P)
Then it was time for Alice Cooper. I really didn’t know what to expect. But I wasn’t expecting so many creepy puppet dolls lol The set was a castle and there was a bit of a story line going on throughout the show and it had been a long time since I had seen a stage show like that. His band was awesome and he played for maybe an hour and a half. In the end, I knew 3 of the songs – his bigger singles that my Dad used to play when I was growing up. But I don’t think that not knowing the songs lessened the experience any and I really had a lot of fun!
I am not sure I’ll head back to this venue without a friend to help me out if needed with all the stairs, but I’m hoping next summer they’ll pull some acts that would otherwise have me driving all the way up to the casino. *fingers crossed* (And hopefully they figure out how to enhance the audio system)
Saturday night, after several reschedules, David Cook finally made his way back to Infinity Hall in Norfolk, CT. I had to show proof of vaccination once again upon entry and masks were required for the whole show. This isn’t a problem for me as I would have worn mine either way, but it’s really frustrating to hear everyone bitching and moaning about wearing their mask all night as if the rest of us think it is a party. (I don’t like wearing it, but I do what I think I need to do to try and keep myself and others safe, especially if it is required.)
Opening the show was Carrie Welling and I loved all of her songs especially the one about red flags (it hit home) and I don’t think I’ve ever seen an opener before where I felt like she was singing songs I could have written, if writing songs was a talent that I possessed.
Then it was time for David! I *think* the last time I saw him was an acoustic show, but the “before times” are beginning to be a bit of a blur. Either way, it was nice to see him backed by a full band! Everyone’s Saturday night needs a genuine rock show. There was a LOT of banter during the show, which I always love and while he kept saying he wasn’t a comedian, he can certainly tell his stories in a way that makes us laugh! I also liked how candidly he talked about getting help for his anxiety and going to therapy and how he kept it to himself for several years but ended up writing a song about it and is now much more open about it. As someone who also (somewhat) recently started struggling with anxiety, it’s always nice to know you are not alone and what methods may have worked for others. I also liked how he told stories about how/why/when the songs were written. That’s always very interesting to me. His set was full of my favorites as well as some newer songs off of his new EP, The Looking Glass, including his latest single FIRE which had a really fun audience participation piece that he kept until the end of the set. While Infinity Hall can be a bit of a haul to get to, it’s a great little venue and always a fun time.