Monday, November 30, 2009

Bruce Springsteen: Working on a Dream

There are four bands that I have made it my life's goal to see live: KISS, George Strait, Billy Joel, Aerosmith, and Bruce Springsteen.

My dad took me to a Billy Joel concert when I was eleven years old. I thought it was so awesome and even more so because I got to stay out really really late. Unfortunately, I had to go to school the next day.

I saw Aerosmith four years ago during my senior year of high school with my friend, Kate. It was such an amazing performance, and I got to cross them off of my list.

I have seen many awesome concerts since then, but none of them were part of my life concert list. Sure, Honor Society rocks hard, Clay Walker, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and the rest of the rodeo shows are always great, and even the Jonas Brothers put on an amazing show, but none of my hard to attain shows had come close to me until last year.

Both Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel were in New York/New Jersey my sophomore year of college, but my dad could not make it up to go with me. Last spring, they were both in Texas during my spring break. Unfortunately, I was in Greece for that break and had spent the semester abroad in Europe, so there was no chance of me going anywhere in the states to see them.

Finally, Springsteen's Working on a Dream tour came as close to me as it was going to get. My dad randomly emailed me one day, asking me if I could to the concert in Buffalo. It was a Sunday night,close to the end of the semester (meetings, preperation, and presentations galore) and I had a 9:30 class on Monday morning with a practice presentation. Most sane people would politely decline, but it was Bruce. I was going. No questions asked, even though it meant getting up at 5 am to make it back for classes that day, and i am nowhere close to being a morning person.

My dad and I hung out a bit before the concert at a bar with a bunch of people who were actually going to the concert later. We had dinner and then headed to the concert. Getting into HSBC Arena was ridiculous. I don't know whose bright idea it was to have everyone in a huge clump going to three entrances, but it was pretty much the worst idea ever. They should know how large the crowds that Springsteen draws are and should have planned better in preparation for that.

Our seats were club level with a great view of the stage. I have gotten so used to going to smaller stage shows, sitting in real seats was kind of weird for me. Springsteen started on time, but of course we had a woman behind us who was complaining the whole time about the people in our row who were standing and dancing. Really, it's a concert. That's what you do.

This show was advertised as Springsteen's last show with the E Street Band. Whether that was true or not, I was just excited to see all of them play all together. Springsteen and the E Street Band began the show with "Wrecking Ball", going into "Ties that Bind", "Hungry Heart", and "Working on a Dream". He gave a little speech before the next song, thanking those who discovered him and helped him get out and huge in the public before going into "Blinded by the Light". I love his version of this and always prefer it over Manfredd Mann's version. Springsteen's folksy way of singing makes it more of a story than just a song, which makes it more interesting.

He then introduced Clarence Clemons, his saxophone player, in his folksy way of speaking. He told the story about how they met using very colorful and interesting imagery. You could almost picture a younger Bruce and Clarence approaching eachother and deciding that they should play together. They began to play "Growing Up", another one of my favorites, and then "Mary, Queen of Arkansas" after that. He started up with "Bus Driver" and then played a couple other songs from the album "Greetings from Asbury Park, New Jersey". He ended that set with "I Came for You", "Spirit in the Night", and "It's Hard to be a Saint in the City"

Out of all three sets, these were the songs that I had heard the least of before the concert. I definitely need to get these on my iPod as soon as possible. That was also the set that Bruce crowd surfed during, proving once again his epicness and how completely awesome he is, even though he is pushing 60.

They began the next set with "Waiting on a Sunny Day". He brought a little girl up on stage for this song who couldn't have been more than 8 or 9 years old to sing with him. It was one of the cutest things every, and she actually knew the words to the song, which was awesome. After helping her back to her dad, Bruce grabbed a pick and gave it to her. "Promised Land" was next, and I was trying to get a video of this, but then of course my camera died. After that was a song for Little Steve's birthday; one of his favorites. They also played "Paradise by the C", and "Rock and Roll Shoes" which was prefaced by Bruce claiming that someone in the audience "doesn't know the fucking words" which was hilarious. "Long Walk Home" followed, then "The Rising", and then the lights went up for "Born to Run" done complete anthem style; there was no one seated (except the people behind us who don't believe in standing during concerts). "I'll work for your love" came a few songs afterwards, and then the ballad, "Thunder Road".

"Dancing in the Dark" was huge and had everyone in the arena up again. It is one of my most favorite songs, and Bruce definitely delivered on this one, just as he did for the whole concert. A little boy was holding a sign that said "I want to dance with Little Steve" and he was brought up on stage to dance with both Little Steve and then Bruce, where the kid rocked out air guitar style. Bruce did this thing where he spun his guitar up and around his body several times. Just more examples to add to his epicness. The concert ended with a high energy "Rosalita" and then finally with "Higher"

This concert lasted for about three and a half hours; though the band was aging, no one missed a step or a beat, and the audience was completely engaged. Bruce had a cat walk that let him walk to the center of the floor seats and play there as well. He told us at the beginning of the show that they were here to "fulfill the solemn vow to rock the house", and he definitely did. Even at almost 60, he was body surfing, spinning guitars around his body like a pro, and even hurling his guitars at his roadies when it was time for him to switch with the energy of someone half of his age.

Bruce Springsteen is pretty much a bad ass. That concert was unreal and so phenomenal. Seeing him do it all over again would be amazing, even though the chances of that may be slim, seeing as he and his band are aging, though they are not showing it at all.

Videos from this show can be found on my youtube channel, and more pictures can be found here


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

I saw this movie about a month and a half ago, and thinking back on it. It was and is one of the best made movies that I have seen in a while. This was one of my absolute favorite books as a child. I honestly was unsure of how the adaptation would be on screen since the book is only nine sentences long and is mostly understood through its illustrations.

Before seeing the movie, I refreshed myself on the book and ended up on a webpaget hat went into the psycho-analytics of the book and its author, Maurice Sendak. I actually love that kind of stuff, so I was extremely interested. This article made me see this book, as well as other Maurice Sendak's books in a completely different way. When you are younger, you see the books as what they are; you don't see the deeper meaning in them, but they relate to you and help you shape your frame of thought.

Where the Wild Things Are was actually part of a trilogy of books that were written about feelings and thoughts that children had that they don't quite understand. This one in particular illustrated the feeling of anger. Though the book is so short, when read, the reader can definitely pick up the phases of anger for a child. Children often cannot place their anger and take it out on many different things. In the movie, this is illustrated by the different characters and the way that they showed anger, whether it was through actions, or words.

The characters were brought to life so well, and their feelings of anger and remorse were so palpable. The way that each character dealt with anger was too familiar and extremely easy to relate to. I think that it was a great screen adaptation of the book, though it did stray at times. The concept of the book was kept straight through out the movie, and the actors did a great job of translating all the emotions packed into the book and the script through their performance.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hot Chelle Rae and The Academy is... rock Cuse

So a HUGE thanks to Cara for telling me that Hot Chelle Rae was coming to Cuse, and to Caitlin and Bari for rocking out with me. I obviously need to pay more attention when Syracuse announces bands for its "bandersnatch" series. Last Tuesday, Fazeshift, Hot Chelle Rae, and The Academy Is... came and rocked the Schine Underground at Syracuse University.

Cara had seen Hot Chelle Rae at Big Spring Jam in Alabama earlier this year and kind of got me in to the band, so of course when she told me that they were going to be in Syracuse, I had to go, and cheap tickets//no travel was definitely a plus (sorry honor society, you're soo depleting my funds haha).

Caitlin, Bari, and I met in Schine and went to see the band. We skipped Fazeshift because I had an intense amount of work to do and had to get it done (school really is killing me...this semester is an ocean).

We got down as soon as Fazeshift ended and waited for Hot Chelle Rae to come on...they were just as good as Cara had told me, maybe even better...and I love them even more because they're from Nashvegas...and Nashvegas is pretty awesome...and they complained about how cold it was in Cuse...they're lucky they didn't get the worst of it. Loved their songs, they totally rocked it out and got the crowd into it also. They definitely made me want to go buy their music and listen to them more. I really hope that they come back..somewhere around me, soon (since I live in too many places)

The Academy Is...came on next, but I think something weird happened before it...First off their entrance music was some creepy death march-ish thing? and they definitely played it at least two times through before the band actually came out...I don't think that was supposed to happen. Anyway, they finally came on, got the crowd all fired up and played hard. They were great...I hadn't really listened to much of their music before this concert, but now I'm definitely looking for their music to add to my itunes. They played some old music too, which I also really liked, and then of course their new songs from their new album. Will definitely be seeing them again as well when I can.

After the show, Caitlin and I went over to talk to Hot Chelle Rae. I think they thought we were crazy, but its all good haha. I told them about how Cara had seen them at Big Spring Jam and loved the show. They really liked that and liked that she had gotten me in to them. I asked them if they would take a picture with Caitlin and me..and they did. I look horrible haha..full day of working and classes...yuck, but they were really nice. Loved both of the bands' sets and I would definitely go see them again if they're close to me. I definitely think yall should check them out as well.

Videos can be found at on my Youtube channel, and the rest of my pictures can be seen on my facebook or on my snapfish album.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Honor Society Rocks NYC, No duh!

Originally, I thought that there was no way I was making it to this concert. Generally my dad objects to me traveling to concerts (even though I'm across the country and he really CAN'T do anything about it if I did) and I have Thursday classes. I decided to take the chance and ask my dad if I could go to New York City to see the concert and then visit my family on Long Island the next day; if he said that I could, then I was definitely going to go; no question about it. To my surprise, he was entirely too into the idea and said yes without any huge considerations or concessions on my part.

I couldn't make the breakfast that they had announced the night before because I had class at 9:30, and there was no way I was skipping, or getting up at 3 am to drive to the city. Sorry guys, but i will maintain my sanity, even if it means missing a chance to hang and my life comes first haha.

So I left Syracuse after class that Thursday and drove my four hours to New York City (Freaking out once i got into the city, just a little bit, because driving there is severely unpleasant), but I found my parking garage easily, and ended up being just steps away from the line. There were probably one hundred people there by the time I got there, but thankfully, my friends, Octavia, Josh, and Nicole, were holding a spot for me, Katie, and Lauren. Katie and Lauren arrived later; actually just after the gents arrived, and people swarmed the guys. Really, so not necessary, let them in the building!

We noticed that Kevin Covais (chicken little from American Idol) was there and thought it was kind of cool that he was going to the show. Lauren went to ask the security guards if there was some type of seating available for Katie, and then I ended up standing with them to wait for that. We met Kevin Covais and got pictures of him while we froze, waiting to be let in to the venue.

Once we were let into the venue, I saw Ned and asked him if he remembered me, reminding him of when Alli and I hug attacked him during the Atlanta Meet and Greet during Jonas World Tour. He said he did and asked me how I was. I then caught up to Katie and Lauren and we went to the merch table to buy things so that we could get meet and greet. I met up with Nikki there and we made our purchased. She brought me to where she was standing for the show (2nd row, Andy's side) and we prepared for insane pushing and all, since we had a bunch of obnoxious teenies behind us.

Esmee opened...I liked what I saw of her, but I thought that her dance moves got a little repetitive...She was adorable though and I really enjoyed her performance and her band is awesome. She reminded me just a little bit of Lady Gaga though...

A video of her cover of "Closer" by Neyo can be found at my youtube channel HERE as well as other videos from other bands and shows :)

After Esmee's performance, we wait a bit and we hear the teenies talking about how they are going to push us all out of the way to get to the front...i DON'T think so!! Seriously this pushing is not cool...for those of you who go to concerts, just don't do it. It's super rude, immature, and severely makes the experience really unpleasant and its just not fair or cool. You don't look badass, you look stupid and immature.

Honor Society comes on with an enormous amount of energy, you can feel how excited they are to be home. The show is electric; they do their normal set, but the highlight of it for me was definitely the recent inclusion (as of Charlotte, I think) of Jason's cover of "Use Somebody". The man has a phenomenal voice and I'm really glad that he is finally letting us hear it. He and Michael did their adorable fist bump and my heart kind of melted. I love that they are all actually friends and that is visible and palpable on and off stage; its not phony, its not an act. The show did not fail to wow; they never do. Esmee also came out to duet "My Own Way" with Michael. I really liked it; but I'm really upset that she heard the rumors and all the hate talk about her...after the song, she made it a point to say "Don't worry ladies, he's not taken". I think that its really disgusting that people would start rumors that have no validity, and that people are that territorial. Who cares if they're dating; let THEM be happy, and just because they're dueting or pictured with someone does not mean that they're dating. Let them have friends, have their fun, and have their lives...seriously.

Right when the show ended, i ran up to get a setlist and had it, ripped off, in my hand, and the security guard snatched it away from me saying "That's not yours, you can't have it!" seriously, I was SO incredibly pissed off. There was no reason for that, and Honor Society doesn't care if we have their setlists...UGH!

After that, I saw Ned while I was complaining pretty violently to Octavia about this mishap. I decided to go up to him just to say hi again because he was in a conversation and I didn't want to interrupt him. We ended up talking for a little bit; I told him that my friends had been at the Charlotte show and were wondering why he wasn't there. He said he wanted to be, but he was at the office instead. Then I asked him to think about coming to upstate NY because they were seriously depleting my gas funds. He of course couldn't guarantee anything, but he did mention something about possibly being back in NYC in January or February. I hope its on a weekend and when I'm back up north so that I can go!

After that, I met up with...well more like walked into Lauren and Katie again to get in line for our merch meet and greet. We asked the security if Katie could use the elevator again, but instead he let us use the stairs before the mobs of people went up. This coincidentally landed us near the front of the fan club meet and greet line. We tried to say something to him, but he and the other security told us to stay there and go through that line, so we did.

So I walk up and start giving them their gifts and Jason steps out and goes "ASHLEY!". I was pretty stunned that he remembered me without any clues or prewarnings; just by seeing me. He and Alex actually asked me where the alcohol was this time (since I may have snuck them something last time haha) I finally gave him the rest of his birthday present (FINALLY because it didn't get here in time for Rock the Fall)...and also gave Andrew his present, and a plastic spoon from Cara, to which he smiled and laughed about, as well as random stuff for the other guys and Kat. I told Michael that Alli liked his anarchy interview and he also smiled and was said that it was cool...So I got a couple of hugs from Jason and hugs from the rest of the guys and then we pose for the picture and of course my camera decides not to work...SO i fix it (Mike walks away...pretty sure he kind of hates me...sorry mike!!) and gave it back to the guy to take the picture. This whole time, Jason hasn't moved his arm. I got another hug from him and said something about how I wished they would come upstate. Alex asked upstate where, and just as I was about to answer Syracuse, Jason randomly bursts out with "Syracuse in the house" (he also did that hand thing...that..yeah haha...and he also threw a deuce in my picture haha..yeah.

So we finish talking, more hugs and then i talk to Kat who sees that I have a blue meet and greet bracelet and tells me that I should definitely go back through the line since I actually purchased that one; I have no where to be and no time to be home so I decide to. First, I talk to Janice and say how we're upset that she's not on tour as much for Fashionably Late. She said she remembered me from the Atlanta World Tour show, so that was kind of cool. Serious love for Kat and Janice; if they weren't around, we wouldn't have meet and greets or merch, and things definitely would not be as relaxed as they help make them.

Afterwards, I go to the meet and greet line and find Octavia, Nicole, and Josh at the end of it and stand with them. The line is pretty long, but it gives us a time to catch up and talk, which was fun. Esmee was doing her own pictures in this line, so we all get a picture with her. I told her that I really enjoyed her performance and that I liked her hair...she then told me that she likes my hair.

After that, we wait just a little while longer and finally get up to the meet and greet table...Octavia decides that I need to go ahead of her so she can "observe". So the order was Jason, Michael, Alex, Andy. Jason stood all the way up when I walked up to give me another big hug and called me sweetie, asked me how i was and how everything was going. They started signing the promo card (which of course i have ) but I actually had brought my CD case for them to sign. Jason asked me where I wanted them to sign it, and I told him I didn't know, but just not over themselves. They all signed my CD and I talked to them a little more, saying something to alex about bringing alcohol again, to which he laughed, and then I asked Andy about the plastic spoon thing, which he explained and said he had a good time with Alli and Cara. I told him and Alex that they had gotten to hang out with my best friends and that I was jealous. They smiled to that and we talked a little more before I left.

So we leave and I run into Pete outside taking a small break, so I went up to say hi...I asked him if he remembered me and he actually thought that I was Alli (he asked me if I was at the show the other night...haha my twin was) then I told him that wasn't me but it was the other girls who I gave him the hot sauce with, to which he said oh yeah, Pete's hot sauce. I kind of love him because he's kind of pretty awkward because I asked him for a hug and he decided that I had asked him for a pick not only did I get a hug from Pete, I now also have another Jason pick, but this time with the gold signature.

The show was definitely worth going to and I had so much fun seeing everyone!! So definitely hoping that the next thing they do in NYC is on a weekend/ish so that I can make it back out, but of course, upstate New York would be soo much better :)

All of my Honor Society pictures from every concert that I've been to so far can be found here on my snapfish..they're kind of out of order but they're all there :)