The Wanted – Beacon Theater New York, NY

It’s a different kind of feeling when you KNOW the show you are going to is going to be the last time you are going to see a band. Whether it be “for a while” or “forever”. You wish you had a crystal ball so you’d know if it’s going to be forever or not. (Heck, you wish you had a crystal ball so you’d have known you’d be out of work this week and bought VIP for all the close shows even though they were weeknights!) In 2012 I went to what was SK6ers final show before their hiatus, but that was different.  We knew Stephen would be doing solo shows so you’d be seeing at least him again and you’d be hearing the songs live still.  Not to mention, I don’t think there were any shady rumors about why SK6ers were taking hiatus.  There are all sorts of rumors swirling about why The Wanted are breaking up – they’re being forced, etc.

Friday night was my 10th time seeing The Wanted.  And I somehow managed to score a front row center VIP ticket.  I guess if it’s the end – let’s go out with a bang!  I got to meet the guys before the show.  Jay asked why I was so quiet.  I didn’t know.  Then he also informed me he had lost his phone that morning.  How does he do it!?  The M&G seemed to go by a lot faster than it did on Long Island. Maybe because I was so quiet!

We ended up going to eat after the M&G and I got to my seat just as Midnight Red was taking the stage.  I opted to sit for Midnight Red and Cassio Monroe’s set and wasn’t sure what I’d do for The Wanted because they were telling the girls they couldn’t go right up against the stage.  I ended up sitting on my folded seat for half the show and once security didn’t seem to care girls were leaning against the stage I moved up.  There was a light right in front of me that would come right in my face at times.  The heat those things give off! No wonder why everyone on stage is always sweating like crazy.

The show was perfect.  The guys interact so much with the fans up front throughout the show, talking to them and all that. (Or in my friend’s case – taking their flask and drinking from it!) It didn’t feel like the end. Until the end. When they were walking off stage after “Glad You Came” I teared up a bit.  It’s one thing when you see a band and you don’t know when you’ll see them again – but you know they’ll tour again so it will happen.  It’s a totally different thing when you have no idea if they will end up back together after all of this. Having lived through so many other boybands reuniting but my ultimate favorite NSYNC not (at least not for a tour – though trust me I bawled my eyes out to see them at the VMAs)

I’m not sure what else to say about the show.  I was nostalgic being at the venue where Hanson recorded their first concert VHS.  I was excited because I made it to NYC and the venue on my own and met up with friends there. (I can do anything!) It was just so bittersweet. I hope it’s not the end and I hope that they figure out whatever it is they need to do and come back very, very soon.

Book Review: Black Baseball, Black Business

blackbaseballBlack Baseball, Black Business, Race Enterprise and the Fate of the Segregated Dollar tells the story of desegregating baseball. It takes a look at the history of baseball from the perspective of the Negro Leagues which is not something I’ve read so much about before, but it is certainly an important part of baseball (and America’s) history.  The book also looks a bit at the economy as well as it relates to the times being written about and the Negro Leagues (also not accurate as the teams were made up of both African Americans as well as Latinos.)

The book is an attempt to contextualize the business of black baseball as well as to examine its role as a bellwether for the fate of the segregated dollar from the establishment of the large urban communities fed by the Great Migration to the dawn of the civil rights movement. Baseball as played between the lines is secondary to this work. (pg. 34)  I think that the book does a good job sticking to the scope that it had cut out for itself.  It very easily could have added in many more aspects to the culture in to the book, but it did a good job of keeping topics limited, concise and full of wonderful information.  Truly brilliantly researched and presented and written in a way that will not leave the reader bored as a history book might.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

An extraordinary history of the Negro Leagues and the economic disruptions of desegregating a sport

Roberta Newman and Joel Nathan Rosen have written an authoritative social history of the Negro Leagues. This book examines how the relationship between black baseball and black businesses functioned, particularly in urban areas with significant African American populations—Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, and more. Inextricably bound together by circumstance, these sports and business alliances faced destruction and upheaval.

Once Jackie Robinson and a select handful of black baseball’s elite gained acceptance in Major League Baseball and financial stability in the mainstream economy, shock waves traveled throughout the black business world. Though the economic impact on Negro League baseball is perhaps obvious due to its demise, the impact on other black-owned businesses and on segregated neighborhoods is often undervalued if not outright ignored in current accounts. There have been many books written on great individual players who played in the Negro Leagues and/or integrated the Major Leagues. But Newman and Rosen move beyond hagiography to analyze what happens when a community has its economic footing undermined while simultaneously being called upon to celebrate a larger social progress. In this regard, Black Baseball, Black Business moves beyond the diamond to explore baseball’s desegregation narrative in a critical and wide-ranging fashion.

Roberta J. Newman, Brooklyn, New York, is master professor in the Department of Liberal Studies at New York University. Her work has appeared in the journals, Cooperstown Symposium: 2009–2010, and NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture. Joel Nathan Rosen, Allentown, Pennsylvania,is associate professor of sociology at Moravian College in Bethlehem. He is coeditor of A Locker Room of Her Own: Celebrity, Sexuality, and Female AthletesFame to Infamy: Race, Sport, and the Fall from Grace; and Reconstructing Fame: Sport, Race, and Evolving Reputations, all published by University Press of Mississippi.

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