Friday night I braved the rain and winds from Hurricane Nicole and made my way to Pawling, NY to check out David Cook. He had been in CT for two dates over the summer but unfortunately it clashed with my Hanson shows so I wasn’t able to see him. Before the show I did a M&G which was scheduled to start at 6:30 and the show at 8. Well, the M&G line was quite long and David was quite chatty so the line was still going at 8pm. The show ended up starting at 8:30pm, for which David apologized but said he was a popular guy and it was the M&G that was taking up the time. While the setlist appears to be rather short, he played for about 2 hours and threw some stories in throughout and seemed genuinely happy to once again be in front of a crowd and not in his basement doing streams like he had been doing. As the show was on Veterans Day he spoke a bit about veterans and dedicated the song Light On to the veterans in the room. I can’t wait until he comes back around again!
Last weekend I went to my 29th state- Arkansas. While I am trying to see Hanson in every state, they have never done a tour show in Arkansas so I figured when the opportunity came up to see *a* concert in a new state I would take it. (Maybe I’ll have to modify it to a concert in every state instead of just specifically Hanson lol)
Thursday morning I had a ridiculously early flight out. It was one of my worst travel days. I had gotten next to no sleep the night before, the flight attendant woke me to ask if I needed the wheelchair I asked for, only for it not to be there when I landed (or someone else took it, there were 3 that showed up and 3 that got wheeled away.) When I went to find someone to push me, I ended up also being with a man and his seeing eye dog who my pusher barely got to his gate in time for boarding. (He also liked patting me on the shoulder every time he talked to me, which I am *never* a fan of) and when I got to board my final flight of the day I realized too late they “moved me closer to the front” but into an aisle seat which I loathe.
I got to the hotel 3 hours early and their app had no way of me telling them I’d show up any earlier than 4pm. Fortunately, the girl at the front desk, though super annoyed I was there so early, was nice enough to check on the room I had checked in online with and found out it had just finished being cleaned so I was able to get in early. It was a rainy evening so while I had initially had plans to go to the Zoo for their GloWild event, I decided that would be better off happening the next night, ordered some BBQ and spent the night in my room and did no exploring.
Friday I decided to check out the Old State House Museum that was right next door to my hotel and their “Play It Loud” exhibit about concerts at a venue in Little Rock. It was really cool and I probably could have stayed there for hours. I would have, if not for so many without masks on coming through. The museum even had a penny machine! I checked out some of the other exhibits they had as well and it was really cool. I ended up going back to the room to order food but falling asleep and waking up in time to get to the Zoo. Uber and Lyft were VERY slow and not a lot of cars available. I don’t know if something else was going on this weekend or if that was always the case, but I had to wait 20 minutes for a car who did about 5 other drop offs before getting to me to get to the Zoo. I also realized that I kept thinking the show wasn’t until 8:30 but that is what time it was EST and what had been showing up on my Facebook Events all week when I was home and doors were actually 6:30 for a 7:30pm start time. Keeping this in mind, I raced around the loop of the lanterns at the zoo twice (they were so pretty and I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything!) and had to get a surge priced Uber for the way back to the concert – but managed to get to my seat 15 minutes before the show started. (And paid about $2/min I was actually at the zoo, but I am glad that I did it and it all worked out!)
For the first night, I decided to get seats in the front row of the balcony for the show to get a full perspective of the show. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, just knew Kris was super excited about it since he played in the children’s orchestra as a kid. The orchestra did about 3 songs without Kris and then 3 with Kris and then he left the stage and it was time for the intermission. Since they were calling it the “Kris Allen Holiday Spectacular” I was expecting, well, more Kris Allen. For the second half if was about the same – half just the orchestra/choir and half with Kris as well. At the very end they did a sing-a-long and this was when I decided to order my dinner as I had eaten nothing but a cinnamon bun (which was delicious, I might add) all day and hope that it would have made it to the lobby of the hotel by the time the show was over. My hotel was connected to the venue which made things nice and easy pre and post show. Definitely worth the extra money I spent to be closer, hands down. And I only had to wait about 5 minutes for my dinner to show up from the Mexican restaurant.
Saturday I ended up being so wiped out from everything I did on Friday, I had no desire to leave my room at all. I watched some Disney+ and ordered a large late lunch that held me over (I thought I’d do a post show vending machine snack run only to find out it was change only so I was limited to just 1 item) and then headed over for the show around 7. For the second show, I was front row orchestra seating, so I couldn’t see much more than Kris and the front of the orchestra. Kris seemed to be a bit more relaxed this show having gone through it all the night before and had a bit more witty banter going on. I ended up enjoying this show much more than the night before – I am not sure if it was because I knew what to expect, or I didn’t have a giant maskless man taking over half of my seat, or because I hadn’t been running around all day or because I was so much closer. I was glad that I decided to do 2 of the shows though and while Kris was going to be streaming Sunday afternoon’s show, it would be started just as I landed back in CT so I didn’t even attempt.
And it was a good thing I didn’t event attempt the stream. I tried to get an uber at 4am as my flight out was 7:30am and I wasn’t sure how busy the Little Rock airport would be. Turns out it is the smallest airport ever and I was off the hotel shuttle, through security and at my gate before 5:30am. The TSA agent even complimented that I knew what I was doing and must have done it before. (The first half hour I was at my gate was a steady stream of “who forgot their ID, phone, hat, etc at the checkpoint” announcements) Upon getting to my gate there was a woman with a violin who proceeded AT SIX IN THE MORNING to play every Christmas song she knew for an hour. (I kept track of the setlist) We left Little Rock without a problem, a wheelchair was indeed waiting for me (after a nice pilot helped me get my bag up the giant jet bridge – he told me it was only C that had the long ones, A and B were much shorter) and I only had to go like 2 gates away (of course). The gate across from mine was the earlier flight out to Hartford (what are the odds) but it was final boarding by the time I realized what was happening to even ask if I could get bumped on to it. Then I realized all the flights around me were being delayed at least an hour and then I got an alert mine was delayed 20 minutes. There must have been some bad weather that needed to be diverted somewhere, despite everything being delayed, everything did end up taking off and I landed just 23 minutes later than expected (but the pilots bragged we were 39 minutes EARLY? oh. no sir. that’s not how this works lol)
I’m glad I was able to find some outdoor and socially distanced activities to participate in and not stuck in the hotel room the whole weekend (although it did have a nice bridge view – when it wasn’t super foggy, that is) and cross off my 29th state!
Back in June, I purchased tickets to see Kris Allen at Daryl’s House and a M&G. I remember saying to myself, “well, I’ll have to leave work early to get there in time, but that’s a future me problem.” Future me then became present me – full of anxiety having no follow up information about the email. But the ticketing website said that it was at 5:15, so I left at 4, got there at 5, looked around the parking lot and realized I was the only one there… and headed in at 5:15 to ask about the Meet and Greet.
“I wasn’t aware there was any meet and greet” the girl at the desk said, and went backstage to check. “Yeah, I just asked them and they said there isn’t one.” “Then what did I pay an extra $70 for?” I asked. Someone else had joined and said “No, this says everyone paid $30. There’s $30 and $20 tickets and it just means if you have a table or not.” “I bought the table for $30, but I also paid $70 for a M&G. Let me find my confirmation email.” I opened my confirmation and they were shocked. Someone went backstage again and someone came out and said “Yeah… there IS a 5:15 M&G option. It’ll probably start at 5:30” I got to choose my table, a chair was placed on the stage right next to my table and shortly after Kris came out to say hello.
I had a question for him about a project I had heard he was involved with years ago, so we chatted a bit about that and it ended up evolving into a conversation about Hanson (go figure) and Jon McLaughlin (who I am seeing tonight!). Kris told me he is a big Hanson fan but never really met them (save for one awkward interaction he told me about the night he won Idol) and so I said I’d have to put in a good word for him with them. We also talked about his upcoming shows and how I am going to be going to Arkansas to see his Christmas show with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. I had really been on the fence about going (my plane ticket is even the refundable option!) but hearing him so excited about it got me excited for it too! He is absolutely looking forward to hearing the orchestra play his original Christmas songs. He then said he would play a song for me, but if I didn’t have a request it was ok. On the spot, the first 2 choices I made he said would be in the set, so we ended up deciding on Monster. Just before he was about to start – 2 more joined the M&G so they got to hear the song I had picked and we chatted a little bit more with them and then we took some photos before he left to get ready for the show!
I was able to have a 4 seat table up front all to myself, as they said there would not be many people there and Kris had mentioned some of the shows didn’t sell that well but it would be very intimate. At one point I tried to count everyone who was there and it was about 30. But Kris still gave it his all and played some older songs, some of the newer released songs and a few that had not yet been released but were contenders for future releases (one of which had the F word in it.) It was nice to hear the background about how he came about writing all the songs before he went into playing them. (And he ended up not telling the story about Different Bridges Same River, but the other M&G girls had asked about that one.) He had us sing some harmonies with him and considering it was such a small amount of people, I think we did a great job.
I think that having such a long gap without live music during covid really has made me appreciate it a lot more. All of the shows I have gone to since they have been back, have been some of the best shows I have been to. I think that the artists have missed performing and I’ve missed seeing it and it makes things have a bit of a stronger connection. I’m still really anxious before/during shows and I don’t take my mask off unless eating/drinking, but it is nice to be back to somewhat of a “normal” feeling too
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.
Carrie Underwood announced that she’d be doing a book tour to go along with her new book, “Find Your Path” and one of the stops on the tour was in Connecticut! Since I was a fanclub member after her playing Foxwoods this fall, that meant I got to get the first crack at tickets when they went on sale at 10am. Unfortunately a coworker called a meeting and by the time we were through, the fan club allotment had sold out and I’d have to wait for the general sale at noon. Well, I was ready and within seconds they were once again marked as sold out. I added my name to the waiting list and figured there’d be no way I’d ever make my way off of it, but just a couple of days before the event was supposed to happen I got the email that my name came up and I could purchase a ticket. Tickets were cheap – only about $33 – and included a signed copy of the book, a Q&A with Carrie and a photo with her!
It was pouring rain when I arrived, but I got in line and shortly after they let us inside to sit and wait as the line was quickly taking over the hallway they had us in. Carrie came out along with her trainer and her friend and there was a nice conversation about her working out, diet, etc. I have recently started making some changes and trying to count calories to lose some weight and I have started putting some of the things she mentioned to work in my diet. You can’t stop eating what you love, but make substitutions to make them healthier. I am not much of a veggie eater (Carrie went on about how she loves them and you can eat whole heaping plates of them!) so when it was photo time I asked her what she suggested as a “starter veggie” she wasn’t sure, she loves them all, but suggested I try carrots and corn on the cob to ease myself into them.
Little did I know, this was going to be one of my last events for the foreseeable future, as COVID-19 has taken over and social distancing becomes the norm.
Carrie Underwood has been hitting up large arenas on her Cry Pretty 360 tour. When I saw she was going to be coming to Foxwoods but in a more intimate setting, I knew I had to try and get tickets. I didn’t think I was going to end up breaking the bank and landing myself a 2nd row ticket, but it is what it is! By the time the show rolled around – I was tired. I had Haley the night before and had to be at work bright and early the day after so I was very happy when they said not only would the show be starting at 7:30 – there would be no openers and it would only be running 90 minutes versus her usual 120 minutes. Yay! Even with grabbing merch after the show I ended up leaving the parking lot before 10pm! The first 3 rows ended up allowed to go up to the barricade but I opted to stay in my seat as I’d have been farther away down the barricade. I’m not sure what fancy tricks she has up her sleeve for the 360 tour but this was just her, the band and her voice, no fancy anything. And it was great! Although there was a string of songs that were a bit too sad to be all in a row like that! When the show was almost done, she called a fan up on stage to rap during The Champion. She was sitting just a few seats behind me and did a great job! From what I can tell, her set was very close to the 360 set – just missing the medley – which from talks from fans around me who had gone to other shows, she did those with the openers and they weren’t there! I’m really excited to scrapbook this show – in addition to some great pics I think I pretty much nailed the tour logo cut out and got some eye gems from the merch booth to really bring it all together. I know I haven’t posted scrapbook pages in years, but maybe I will catch up at some point!
When I saw that Haley Reinhart was coming to the Fairfield Theater, I was pretty pumped. She was one of my favorites that season of Idol (and the only one the whole house agreed on being great!) and I hadn’t seen her since I had gone to the Idol tour 2 times the year they toured. When I found out that Tyler Hilton was going to be opening the show I was even more excited because I love any chance I can get to see Tyler! Before the show I was in the parking lot and heard “When the Stars Go Blue” from a busker near the train station. It turned out, Tyler heard too and stepped out of his RV to cheer (and later go see him to record some videos for Tyler’s Instagram) How cool! Tyler did a shorter set than I am used to since he was opening and is usually the headliner in Fairfield. It is always interesting to see how artists change their banter based on if they know everyone is there to see them or if they are trying to win them over. I don’t think I ever heard his story about his roommates in Nashville quitting their office job to pursue music full time and ending up forming Lady Antebellum! I knew they had a connection but somehow had never pieced it all together! Before Haley’s set I did the VIP M&G experience and she did 2 songs for us – Honey There’s the Door and Shook. Then she signed merch for us and did photos. Just as sweet as I remembered from when I met her on the Idol tour! I was kind of mesmerized by her nail polish when she was on stage because it was red, but when the lights hit it, it had this iridescent chameleon color change look to it. I don’t know if that was how it was supposed to react to lighting or just a cool thing that was happening. This was Haley’s first show of this part of her tour so we got a couple songs that had never been done live before! She did a 14 song set and a 3 song encore! The majority from her latest release – Lo-Fi Soul (It is the Lo-Fi Soul Tour, after all) and a few from her other releases as well. I just love how she re did several covers to fit with her bluesy/jazzy sound! Just an amazing, amazing voice and I am surprised she isn’t more popular and on bigger stages – but I guess her style is a bit niche. Hopefully she will come back this way again soon!
October 5th Kris Allen brought his 10 years, 1 night tour to the Fairfield Theater. I had purchased the VIP M&G package so we got to have a little Q&A with Kris before the show and also try to “stump” him with the song requests. We were told to try and pick something that would not be on the set later that night – but as I was trying to be surprised with what his set was, I had no idea what was and what wasn’t on the set. Some of the other fans conspired together to pick the same stumpers – so we ended up getting Out Alive and Fighters. My choice was Faster Shoes – but it did end up on the setlist that evening! He hung out for a bit and we got photos with him and then we had some time to kill before it was showtime. I ended up going for front row this show instead of my usual 3rd row (no stairs to deal with) and at the end of the show a young girl asked if I was ok and if I needed help getting up the stairs. I declined, but thanked her for checking in. Later I saw her and her family chatting with Kris at the merch table and she seemed absolutely embarrassed of them. They may embarrass her, but they definitely raised a nice young lady! (None of the adults around asked if I needed help!) The show was just Kris – no opener and no backing band. He also told some stories in between the songs – sometimes about the songs themselves or about other things in his 10 year career since winning Idol. (Has it really been 10 years? We are old…) His setlist was 19 songs and I thought he did a great job taking us through not only some of his Idol songs but through all of his albums to present day. His new album is called “10” and has 9 tracks on it – he said that was on purpose because there is still more to come!! After the show I picked up a CD version of the album and had a chat with him about the name Katie vs the name Katy and how I am Kathryn and should spell it Katy and his wife is Katherine and spells it Katy not Katie so we somehow balance each other out in being backwards. He asked if I wanted a photo and I said “well, we got one earlier, I don’t think we changed much?” His merch guy let out a laugh and Kris said, “Well I sweat a little?” but ultimately we just said our goodbyes and did not take another photo. (Nothing will top the one we took a few years ago and someone mistook us for a married couple when I had it on my facebook. It’s on my dating app profiles now – maybe that’s why I’m not getting many dates?)
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!
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?)
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