Friday night, Darius Rucker brought his Starting Fires tour to the Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater in Bridgeport. Yes, I went back for the second time in one week. It was interesting to see the change in approach of bag check, parking, security, etc with the change in fan bases. Initially I was a bit unsure of heading out to the show with there supposed to be thunderstorms all night and the venue being outside just essentially under a tent, but fortunately the weather held up making for just a humid night.
Opening the show was Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors. The band released a new album, Strangers No More, on June 7th and you can listen to it here. They played several of the songs off of it while opening the show, including Find Your People, Dance with Everybody (which they appropriately dedicated to the pit up front!), All the Money in the World and Gratitude. They also played What Would I Do Without You which Drew dedicated to his wife and kids saying if we didn’t like it, he didn’t care because his family did, as well as I Like To Be Me When I’m With You, a cover of Tom Petty’s Runnin’ Down a Dream and closed their set out with Family. (I think I missed keeping track of a couple in the beginning.) Drew ended the set by saying they would be coming back to the area soon (I’ll have to keep an eye out for that) and that if you didn’t like the music then he hoped you have a good life because we will probably never see you again. My favorite that they did was “Find Your People” which the band also recently performed on CBS Saturday Morning’s Saturday Sessions which you can watch below.
Darius took the stage at about 9:15. I am not really a country fan so I was hopeful he’d be playing some Hootie songs but I ended up pleasantly surprised with his setlist. I also was able to sit for the show and watch on the screens, so I ended up missing out whatever was going on with the show screens in the middle of the stage (that did seem to be pretty cool when I did decide to pop up) but I still had a good time without pushing myself too much. When he did “Little Pink Houses” I popped up and watched and sang along a bit as it was a song I knew, and then I ended up taking over the aisle seat in my row as no one showed up on either side of me for the duration of the show which gave me a little bit better of a vantage point.
I also had peeked at the setlist ahead of time and knew where the Hootie songs were in the setlist. Imagine my surprise when he was supposed to play the first one and ends up talking about that he lost a bet to Dan Patrick and Fritzy was coming up on stage to sing a couple of songs. I am not sure exactly what happened, but he sang Private Eyes and Your Kiss is on My List with Darius singing backup. (Even watching the clips from The Dan Patrick show I still am not sure what happened) Fortunately it was just an addition to the setlist and I don’t think anything was actually removed. [Also at the time of this writing I am not sure if the embedded setlist is actually accurate]
After he repaid his debt, then he went into the first country song he had ever written which was “Let Her Cry” – he then declared it the Summer of the 90s and did I Like It, I Love It, Waterfalls and Poison. I was beginning to know way more songs than I thought I would!
He had Drew Holcomb join him for Don’t Think I Don’t Think About it, then did Hold My Hand, shortly after followed by Only Wanna Be With You. For the most part, it seemed like the Hootie songs got the biggest reactions of anything that he played. At least until he did Wagon Wheel at the end of the encore. I also enjoyed that he did a cover of Valerie as well as No Diggity in the encore.
The only real downside to the night was that I was unable to open my water bottle and no one ended up sitting near me that I could ask for help and now I have a bruise on my hand. And the other was that I think the bars were over serving some of the people in attendance. As the show ended and I was trying to make my way to the exits, an incredibly drunk dude just barreled right into me causing me to snap and yell “WATCH WHERE YOU’RE F*CKING GOING” that ended up clearing everyone else nearby away from me for the time being (it wasn’t them I was mad at!) And the irony is the guy’s shirt said “Shut up liver, you’re fine.” I doubt it.
As I was leaving I saw some lightning and then it started drizzling and the drops got more frequent as I was loading the walker back into the car. Fortunately I somehow timed it perfectly and got inside the car before the heavier rain came. And somehow the rain itself timed it perfectly to only show up as the show ended as I think the fact that there was some lightning would have paused the show or caused it to cut early. (And what would we have done without getting to hear Wagon Wheel? Especially after the guy behind me decided to chant it before every song during the main set?)
Tuesday night Lindsey Stirling kicked off her summer tour with Walk Off the Earth at the Hartford Healthcare Amphitheatre in Bridgeport, CT.
Walk Off The Earth opened the night at 8pm and did a variety of covers and originals including Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy, Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got To Do With It, Wheatus’ Teenage Dirtbag, an amazing cover of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck and medley that had to have no less than 15 Beatles songs in it, and a medley around a large odd guitar the entire band played with probably like 10 songs mashed in together. For their last song they did their latest single My Stupid Mouth and were joined by the Luminati Suns – 2 of the band member’s 3 sons that my Mom had told me about because they were on Kelly and Mark (Or was it Ryan then?) and they reminded her of “little Hanson”.
At 9:15 Lindsey took the stage and got a few minutes in before we lost sound to her violin and the dancers all left the stage. Whatever the problem was seemed to be corrected and they picked back up where they left off, only for it to happen again during the next song. Lindsey went over to her mic on the side of the stage which also didn’t seem to be on. A decent amount of time went on with no one in the crowd really knowing what was going on, and Lindsey seemed embarrassed but was giving us heart hands and then started doing charades of a sky diver in the middle of the stage. When sound seemed to come back on, they decided they’d start with The Arena for the next song and Lindsey mentioned they don’t teach you how to deal with that in performance school, probably because there is no performance school. I read that a fuse was blown or perhaps there were computer issues but I’m really not sure what it was that knocked out the PA twice within a period of 2 songs but fortunately after that point things went on without a hitch so whatever was wrong must have been properly corrected. Another point within the show Lindsey joked that we had made it through about 8 songs and the PA was fine so she had a good feeling for the rest of the night. She had caught a cold in Europe and was coughing quite a lot, hopefully she will be ok.
I was front row for this show and while it was nice to be that close, the speakers on the edge of the stage led to me missing out on being able to see some things. At one point there was a dog on stage, but because of the angle I was at, I could barely see him. Whenever Lindsey went up the risers in the center of the stage, I could only see the top of her head over the speakers/monitors. So while front row might be great for some shows, I learned it’s not great for all and I probably would have been able to see more from a few rows back. Also, everyone sat for the entirety of her show anyway, so I would have been fine if I opted to sit anywhere else, but sometimes that front row ticket is right there and right next to all the high priced VIP and you just have to snag it.
For “The Upside” she was joined by a member of the audience, Offbeat Bryce, for a special performance. Bryce joined her on stage playing a kazoo for the song after winning a contest. Overall the show was a fun time and I always love seeing Lindsey’s energy and now her acrobatics with the ring being added that she swings from and plays violin from. I was also incredibly impressed that she was able to keep up with all that she does being sick! Definitely very impressive.
To finish off the birthday week/end, we went to see Hanson again in Bensalem, PA, just outside of Philly. We got to the hotel around 3pm and checked in and had just enough time to lounge and get settled before our dinner reservations. The accessibility at this hotel wasn’t great, and when I called for a shower chair we got brought a shower curtain. But after some google translate we managed to get a shower chair which made all the difference!
The hotel was just across the parking lot from the casino and the parking lot was PACKED! We ate at the Beer Garden and then headed over to the XCite Center. We had front row once again, only these seats were designated ADA seats. They took my walker from me upon sitting even though there would have been plenty of room in front of us. We also were told that no one could go right up against the stage, but I had intended to once again sit for most of the show since the stage was level with my eyeballs anyway so there was no way I could really stand in front of it with nothing to hold.
After looking like a mountain man the night before, it appeared Taylor trimmed his beard before the show. Early in the show Isaac asked if there were any Hanson.net members in the crowd and said that this next song would go out to them, as it was from their Continental Breakfast In Bed EP. I had no idea what song from that EP they would play, as really only 1 had regularly made it into their sets and they typically only did it if they had someone with a harmonica to join them – which I didn’t think they had. Well, they ended up going into Don’t Ever Change, which is from Against the World. Isaac did however correct himself after and say that it was from Against the World and the last few years had been a blur.
I was pretty pleased with how varied the setlist was from one night to the next with them being so close and a lot of the crowd going to both shows. Before Write You a Song Isaac started talking again, this time saying the song was written in 2022 to which Zac interjected a “stop stop stop, don’t use dates OR album titles” and suggested he be more vague with his stories. With Zac sick and Taylor sounding a bit scratchy apparently all the on stage banter went to Isaac and he needs a fact checker. (I am available.)
They ended up not doing an acoustic set and not bringing Zac up to the front and commented that he was on a lot of steroids due to the virus he had. They ended up doing I Will Come To You and dedicating it to Cynthia – the co writer who had recently passed away. During Been There Before when trying to get us to sing the “na na”s Isaac made a comment like “I am 95.9% sure you can sing ‘na na’, even babies go ‘na na na na'” I don’t know if I enjoyed the Isaac banter show or not – but most likely due to time constraints they ended up cutting 2 songs from the main set (Watch Over Me and Get The Girl Back – I did see Isaac mouth something to Taylor about Get the Girl Back and him agreeing) and they changed the encore. During Andrew’s Cold as Ice solo he ended up playing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” which I’m not sure I noticed him ever doing that before!
Speaking of the encore. The security guy who WAS up front in his chair disappeared and then my nice, safe, I can sit, ADA seat got me BURIED in women. Several tripped over my cane while I was trying to situate myself and they were bum rushing the stage. I honestly thought I was going to have a panic attack because of how crowded in I was. I really do wish that they gave me a heads up – and didn’t essentially take my legs away by not allowing me to have my walker at my seat. (Although I probably would have been fighting the crowd to even attempt to get out so I think where I was probably WAS the safest even though it was not a great situation.) It also turned out that the encore was not supposed to be In The City – it was going to be Taylor soloing Truth into A Little Help From My Friends! But I do think they needed to be off the stage at a certain time and that was why they switched everything up.
After the show the beer garden was hosting an after party but we walked by and decided it was not for us and decided to leave instead. We found where they might come out and just missed Taylor due to being indecisive and watched him mingle with the rest of the crowd before being told it was time to go. (Isaac had apparently come out before we got there.) It’s kind of wild that the next show won’t be until NOVEMBER after last year it was nearly every weekend we had jam packed with shows on tour!
When Hanson added a show at Foxwoods, I was beyond excited! They were last in Connecticut in 2019 for a radio Christmas show and before that they hadn’t done a full show since 2016. The on sale for this show was brutal. When it first went on pre-sale, only a handful of single tickets were available. An hour later, the whole 2nd row opened up and I managed to snag a pair on Taylor’s side and then an hour after that, the whole freaking place opened up and I managed to snag FRONT ROW tickets. I sold the Taylor pair and my heart rate was through the roof for the rest of the day.
Before the show we stopped at Guy Fieri’s for dinner, and then made it inside for the show. I had kept psyching myself out saying that the seats were too far over to be any good, but once we got there, they weren’t so bad. And then the girls next to use asked if we would scoot over more into the middle so they could all be together so we ended up a couple seats closer. When they first came out, Zac had on a jean jacket and after a couple of songs he took it off and was already really sweaty. When they got to the acoustic set and there was no “Go” and had also not been a “Don’t Let Me Down” I started to think that Zac might be sick and they adjusted the setlist accordingly to remove his leads.
Even though I was front row at the CT show in 2016, being front row at a seated CT show was a whole different thing and I kept thinking about how when I was 12, that would have been all I wanted! And now I had it! Well, that was until a small child decided to pop up in front of me and try to wave and give Isaac a card. I think he ended up in front of me for like 4 songs – and even his mother came down at one point. Absolutely ridiculous to take advantage of the fact that I couldn’t stand a whole show due to my disability and get in front of me – and security didn’t bat an eye when I pointed out they didn’t belong. (But when I finally stood for Lost Without Each Other and A Song To Sing security was quick to come tap me on the shoulder and ask where my seat was. Um, you’ve jumped over me and my cane no less than 17 times tonight and now you don’t recognize me because I am standing?)
My suspicions were confirmed when before the encore Zac announced that he had been diagnosed with strep throat 12 minutes before they took the stage. That didn’t stop me from trying to shake Taylor’s hand at the end of the show (and being successful). Guess who’s sitting here with a sore throat nearly a week later?
After the show we stopped by the newly opened Hell’s Kitchen for a night cap – pretty cool looking restaurant but very pricey! Very good desserts though!
Wednesday O-Town brought their Pop 2000 tour to Patchogue Theater on Long Island. Weeknights and Long Island don’t usually mix for me, but since it was my birthday I decided to take the day off and go! I also decided to splurge on the $100 t-shirt + selfie option which I hadn’t done at the shows I went to previously. (Though I was a bit too busy with BBMak and Chris Kirkpatrick VIP at those!)
Ryan Cabrera once again opened, and I guess after my critique of his banter, he changed it up a little bit. His birthday was the night before and when he said he was party’d out someone else shouted it was their birthday so I got an indirect Birthday shout out since he said he’d be celebrating their birthday tonight!
Then it was time for BBMak – They once again did the same set as they had been doing. I never did end up seeing the video Mark took of Back Here to see if I went 3 for 3 for being in them or not! I hope that after this tour they’ll be doing some more stuff in the US in the future! Fingers crossed!
Then it was time for O-Town/LFO/Chris Kirkpatrick. For the most part, it was the same setlist but where they had added Sky Dive in MA they ended up doing Giants, which was fun because it came on during my drive and I was thinking about how much I had liked it! They mixed up their banter a bit in the shows too which is always fun, especially their back and forth with Chris Kirkpatrick! Chris also said they were filming something for Netflix – the cameras were around and on stage during the *NSYNC stuff so I am curious to see what that ends up being and if I end up being visible in it or not!
After the show I waited for the selfie line, which I had not done in quite some time. Their ring lights were dead so we were told to have our flash on, but even on auto mine didn’t go off and the pics still came out great! Erik came out first and told me that he hadn’t seen me in a while! I assured him that I was at the Friday and Saturday shows as well but with the selfies costing more I couldn’t do it as often as I would have liked. Jacob was next and noticed that my Birthday sash had the Hanson symbol on it and said that he really liked them. I explained I had made it for my birthday last year when I saw Hanson but this year I was recycling it and sharing my birthday with them. Dan was up next and gave me a big hug and then told me to get 2 redbulls and some coffee for the drive home (which was showing as being nearly 3 hours when I was expecting it to be more like 2!) Trevor also gave me a big hug and was glad I shared my birthday with them and also noted he hadn’t seen me – so I explained to him too I’ve been around! He also told me to drive safe home.
When I got in the car, the GPS kept wanting to push me to the Ferry (which I don’t even think is RUNNING at midnight!) but after fighting it a bit I ended up finding a route that was under 2 hours! And I made it home before 2am! Wooo. I took a half day the next day so I could sleep in a bit after all of the birthday excitement! This Pop 2000 Tour has been SO fun I am sad I won’t be seeing any more shows but I am hopeful at least O-Town will be back in the fall – and maybe I can squeeze in a trip to the Big E.
While I was at the airport waiting to see Hanson in Arkansas, an ad popped up about a Neil Patrick Harris bottle signing on Long Island on my birthday. Typically I avoid Long Island, but I was already going to be there because O-Town was playing a birthday show, so I signed up and immediately got a “you’re in!” email back. The event was to take place from 4pm-6pm and I ended up leaving around noon in hopes of getting there for 2. Of course, the traffic to get to Long Island is real and I ended up getting there at 3. There were not too many people already in line at the liquor store (us Hanson fans are a different breed when it comes to what time we start to line up) and as it got closer to 4, I was much closer to the front of the line than the back.
Shortly after 4pm the line started moving, NPH had pre-signed some bottles or you could have it signed in front of you. I opted for the pre-signed and told him it was my birthday and I was enjoying all his 50th birthday posts on instagram. He said he was glad I was enjoying it because he never really knows how it will be received and I assured him that I was totally jealous and it looked like so much fun! He thanked me for spending my birthday with him and one of the workers handed me back my phone after he had been taking photos for me to “document the moment”.
Upon heading to the check out to buy my signed bottle ($15, a steal for such a meet and greet!) , she had to scan my ID and upon realizing it was my birthday she gave me a free bottle of prosecco! All in all I was back in the car by 4:20 and ready to drive the what I thought would be 30 minutes to the theater for the O-Town show, that ended up being more like 45 minutes. (Fortunately I was beyond early!)
Too Late To Stop Now is More Rock N Roll War Stories. This book contains 42 different stories – including such greats as Elton John, Joe Cocker, The Rolling Stones and Elvis Costello and spam from 1974 to 2014! Each Chapter is from a different point in time so you can either read straight through, pick and choose or do a couple every night! Some of these stories may be hard to believe but are all equally fascinating. At one time I wanted to be a music reporter, so it’s fun to see all I was missing out on. Or was I?
I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.
About the Book
More than 40 stories from the glory days of rock’n’roll, featuring Lou Reed, Elton John, Sting and The Clash.
Allan Jones brings stories – many previously unpublished – from the golden days of music reporting. Long nights of booze, drugs and unguarded conversations which include anecdotes, experiences and extravagant behaviour.
– A band’s aftershow party in San Francisco being gatecrashed by cocaine-hungry Hells Angels
– Chrissie Hynde on how rock’n’roll killed The Pretenders
– What happened when Nick Lowe and 20 of his mates flew off to Texas to join the Confederate Air Force
– John Cale on his dark alliance with Lou Reed
Allan Jones remembers a world that once was – one of dark excess and excitement, outrageous deeds and extraordinary talent, featuring legends at both the beginnings and ends of their careers.