social icons WMMM twitterfacebook RSS facebook twitter RSS Center

ConcertGoers

Concertgoers blog!



[Concert Blogger] Farm Aid 2010, Oct 2, Milwaukee WI

We want to thank Triple M for the tickets to the Farm Aid concert as a result of the writing contest about small WI farms.  We had great seats and enjoyed the entire event! We would like to share some of our experiences about the concert and the human interest stories we learned or observed... [gallery link="file"] One fellow seated near us was from Springfield, IL.  Like most people, he was moving with the music.  When we got to visiting he said he had “lost his wife and might be looking for a new one.” We both had the same reaction, that he meant that she had recently died, but he clarified his comment to mean that she was roaming around the stadium taking pictures and that he was getting lonely! Another man sitting in our area mentioned that he lived a “stones-throw” from Miller Stadium!  We had a chance to visit quite extensively between performers and learned that he had brought his 80-year old parents who have been married 60 years this year!  They love Willy Nelson and frequently get to his performances throughout the Midwest.  His father was born on a farm in North Dakota and his family moved to Athens, WI where  they farmed as well.  There are pictures attached of his father in his Willy Nelson shirt and of the three of the members of the Duerr family together (mother is facing the other way). We stayed over in Milwaukee Saturday night and visited The Mitchell Park Domes on Sunday morning.  While there we ran into a retired couple from Maryland that had flown into Milwaukee for the concert.  They had attended many Farm Aid concerts before and they really enjoy the music and the cause!  This being their first trip to Wisconsin, they mentioned how much they like the area (reminded them of Vermont) and the people.  “Everyone is so friendly,” they said. The performers were all very enjoyable.  In addition to their individual acts, there were some wonderful duets and larger group performances that were fun. -      It was a treat to see Norah Jones – what a classy singer! -      It was neat the way Willy Nelson came out during each set to perform with others. -      Dave Matthews was a big hit with the audience singing along to many of his tunes. Some really emphasized the cause of the event better than others.  Jason Mraz, a wonderful singer, had a great message about voting in one month – he said that people should vote for candidates who are concerned with the environment and other ecological issues.  Neil Young made an impassioned speech against corporate farms and about how they are making ourselves and our children sick.  He repeatedly said, “Read the label” and “buy from local farmers’ markets.” A few other observations that we made included the following: -      We have attached a picture of Poncho and Lefty – they seemed to be having a great time – so much so, that they were escorted out by 6:00 p.m. -      The marijuana proponent (picture attached) was harassed and that person was escorted out.  He was among the most lively dancers we saw all day! -      There was a golden-robed Native American (picture attached) -      One person had a CSNY jacket with an emblem about free speech that was cool – he was definitely tined-in to Neil Young! -- John and Bambi
 (9) Comments
Tags :  
Social :
Locations : Milwaukee


Share This: | More


 

[Review] Keane, August 10 at Riverside Theatre, Backstage Blogger

Big thanks to Triple M for the Ingrid Michaelson/Keane tickets, Riverside Theater, Milwaukee, 8/10/10. We were able to congregate with Keane for their sound check in the afternoon. Tom Chaplin was a great host, personable, kind, and very welcoming. Tim Rice-Oxley won my heart after the sound check chatting about the tour, enjoying their visit to the States, etc. Rice-Oxley won my heart even more at the show as the most physical keyboard player I have ever seen.
But, honestly, Ingrid Michaelson pretty much stole the show...as the opening act! She and her band truly seemed to love what they were doing. They had great energy and her use of the ukulele was absolutely endearing. They closed by covering Britney Spears' Toxic and I now cannot get that darn song out of my head!! The band does a charmingly choreographed routine to the song in the end. Here is a version that someone caught at their show in NJ. Truly a great evening with two great bands connecting with their fans and not taking themselves too seriously! And, I have to offer a shout-out to Mo's Irish Pub on W. Wisconsin. Magen Snipas is, by far, the best bartender I have come across and I think we convinced her to move to Madison!! Thanks again Triple M! --Melissa Amos-Landgraf

Want to have the opportunity to win awesome prizes like this? Become a Triple M Member!

 (1) Comments
Tags :  
Social :


Share This: | More


 

[Review] Jack Johnson, July 24 @ Alpine Valley

By: Michael Mahnke Seeing Jack Johnson in concert is a joy, seeing him from reserved seats, as I was fortunate enough to do 2 years ago, is fantastic, but seeing him perform while standing on the stage is incredible.  Thanks to 105.5 Triple M, Live Nation and Jack Johnson I was able to experience this on Saturday July 24th at Alpine Valley as winner of the Jack Johnson- Best Seats in the House contest. A Jack Johnson concert quickly turns into one big sing along and Saturday night was no exception.  The only thing missing was a big fire for everyone to sit around or hearing the waves hit the beach.  The Wisconsin humidty provided some of the heat and everyone singing along made up for the lack of the sound of the ocean. After an opening set by ALO (Animal Libertation Orchestra) and an acoustic set by G-Love, and a quick glimpse of Jack himself backstage, we were led to the stage for an amazing view and an amazing time.  Seeing a great artist perform up close and seeing a concert from their vantage point, especially at a venue such as Alpine Valley, was tremendous. Jack started off his part of the night with his current hit from his latest album To The Sea, "You and Your Heart."  The joy of the crowd, the singing, the dancing were only getting started. The evenings set list, 29 songs in total, included many of his hits and fan favorites.  The first half of the set list included many well loved songs from years and albums ago with songs from his newest effort mixed in.  Older songs included The Horizon Has Been Defeated, Inaudible Melodies, Upside Down (for the kids in the audience as Jack commented), the big hit from his last album If I Had Eyes and Breakdown.  As an introduction to his popular Bubble Toes, Jack gave a small glimpse into his catalogue when he said "The love songs are for my wife, the break-up songs are about my friends." There were also some great live versions of new songs like To The Sea, My Little Girl (for his new daughter) and Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology. The second half of the set list was heavier with past songs like Flake, Banana Pancakes and Sitting, Waiting, Wishing.  There were sit-ins from Dan Lebowitz of ALO, Paula Fuga and G-Love as well.  A real treat was Jack and his band covering the Steve Miller Band classic Joker. The encore started with Jack alone doing acoustic versions of Do You Remember, Angel and Times Like These.  To finish the evening Jack was rejoined on stage by his band, G-Love, Paula Fuga and the members of ALO for a wonderful version of Better Together. An amazing night, an amazing opportunity and and amazing view.  Jack's feel good music, the talent of the musicians and the energy of the crowd made everyone go home happy.  It would have been a great concert either way but I was truly honored to have been selected to watch a concert in this way. Again, I have to thank 105.5 Triple M, Live Nation for having the contest and Jack Johnson himself for allowing fans on the stage to experience a concert in a truly memorable way.
 (10) Comments
Share This: | More


 

[Review] Dave Matthews Band, July 4 @ Alpine Valley

by Derek Paulowski I was fortunate enough to be selected as the Concertgoer’s blogger for the Dave Matthews Band at Alpine Valley for the Sunday July 4th show!!  My prize package was AMAZING, and included 4 great seats along with the entire studio CD collection from the Dave Matthews Band.  My many thanks to the great people at 105.5 Triple M for their generosity and providing me with the opportunity to create some lifelong memories!! We started our adventure by following Gabby’s advice and finding a parking spot near the back of the lot.  Great tip for anyone attending a concert at Alpine, as it saved us sooo much time at the end of the night getting out!!  We enjoyed the lively crowd, tailgated with friends, and kept an eye on the skies as rain was in the forecast.  I also learned some great tips for picking the right line at the port-o-potty from Lynn who flew in from FL to see Dave.  She informed me that one should always pick the line with more men, as they are faster, and often bail from the line making it even quicker.  I knew I was dealing with a pro when she displayed her own toilet paper for the “just in case” moment!! It was now time to go into the show, and there was definitely some great energy in the air.  Unfortunately, one of our friends took a “wrong turn at Albuquerque” and we didn’t get there in time for the opening act of the Zac Brown Band, but we heard they put on a great show.  We worked our way through the crowd and kept walking down, down, down to our seats.  As I mentioned, we had AMAZING seats just 7 rows behind the pit area!! Dave made his way out and the crowd exploded!!  I have seen the Dave Matthews Band a couple of other times, but never from seats like this.  Before he even got started, Dave stated that even though he is originally from South Africa, he considers this country his home and wished us all a Happy 4th of July, followed by flashing his hands and calling “Boom…Boom…” into the mic ☺. A few songs in he played an incredible version of “Everyday” and brought the energy that only the Dave Matthews Band can.  Other highlights of the night included “Say Goodbye”, “Why I Am”, and a couple of personal favorites “Jimi Thing” and “Tripping Billies”.  Another real highlight was when Dave broke into a little Neal Young performing “The Needle and the Damage Done” solo on stage!! He ended the show with an extended version of “Ant’s Marching” that got everybody on their feet.  Dave was doing his signature dance and trading riffs with Boyd Tinsley with the liveliness and enthusiasm that has made him famous.  They left the stage and the amphitheatre began to fill with lighters, cell phones and probably a few iphone “zippo” apps.  Dave reappeared and played an encore including an extended violin solo from Boyd.  The show ended with a rendition of “All Along the Watchtower” that only DMB can pull off!! Again, thanks to Gabby’s tip to park near the back, we were out of the park shortly and returned part of our crew to the Whitewater campground at the Kettle Moraine Forest.  Trust me, not much traffic if you head that route back to Madison ☺ (thank goodness for GPS!!)  Surprisingly, the security at the campground was tighter than we saw at Alpine Valley as we were greeted by 5 DNR officers checking wristbands for admission back into the campground!!  Finally, an FYI for those heading back to Madison after a show, the Taco John’s off Hwy 59 & the interstate is closed at 1 a.m. ☹ I once again would like to thank 105.5 Triple M for the incredible prize package, and would encourage everyone to become a Triple M member.  As they say “membership has its privileges!!”  We had an unforgettable evening, and Triple M made it possible!!
 (0) Comments
Tags :  
Social :
People : Dave Matthews


Share This: | More


 

[Bonnaroo] Day Two, Soaked Through

Friday, Day Two Whew! Today was roasting!  I was up before 8 am without any sort of alarm (which is very unusual for me).  It is just too hot to sleep.  Our tent/makeshift pressure cooker evidently must be vacated by 7am sharp.  Awesome Tennessee.  Awesome. While strategically planning my next cool-off session, I got to see a tremendous group of bands.  Luckily, concerts/events don’t begin until at least noon, so we had time to putz around camp before heading off for an epic day of concert hopping.  Definitely crossed some must-sees off my list today. We started with Tokyo Police Club (so glad Conan is performing again tomorrow, avoided one conflict!) and stuck around at the Other Tent to see Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.  I discovered I had heard of him/them before and really enjoyed their set.  Before the band got on stage, from my perch on the side of the stage, it was really difficult to figure out who was in the band and who were friends of the band.  After a group huddle to focus the band (and friends?), it was time to hit the stage.  Definitely a highlight to see this moment:



She & Him were full of energy, despite the sweltering heat.  I’m glad they pump air and blast fans from the back of the stage or Zooey/M. Ward and the rest of the band would’ve been drowning in their own sweat like the crowd.  I think Gregor will have to step up his game to win Zooey’s heart.  One dedicated fan had a friend hoist him up on their shoulders to attempt to give her a bouquet of flowers.  Gregor claims he’ll have to reevaluate his strategy and instead go for one of the backup singers and hope for an in.  Still scheming…. Les Claypool was definitely another highlight.  I’ve never seen him live before and only recently started listening to any of his stuff.  With frequent mask changes and crazy instrumental tricks, his show was great.  And Kings of Leon were totally meant to play the GIANT What Stage.  As natives of Nashville, they worked their way up through the stages of Bonnaroo and finally played a stage where they honestly felt they had “made it.” And now for some pics!

Tokyo Police Club

OK Go

and of course, Zooey, probably sweating sugar and sunshine -Abby Braatz
 (0) Comments
Tags :  
Social :


Share This: | More


 

[Bonnaroo] Arriving at Bogaroo

Thursday, Day 1 Unfortunate lesson learned today.  When traveling to Bonnaroo (even if you have special contest-winning directions and access), it always takes longer than you initially think to get to the fun part of seeing concerts.   By the time we finished setting up the tent, it was well after dark and exhaustion had set in.  So, I sadly missed Miike Snow as I waited in line for our passes.  Very, very :( But after tonight, I could not be happier that we sacrificed saved gas mileage for a four-wheel drive vehicle.  We arrived on the campgrounds after picking up our appropriate wristband to a sloppy, muddy mess.  I watched countless vehicles get stuck and then have to be rescued by a tractor as we cruised right through the muck to our outlined campsite.  Hopefully it won’t rain again anytime soon, the ground definitely doesn’t need it! See full size image As for Centeroo, it's actually smaller than I imagined.  Fewer stages than what I’ve experienced at Summerfest, but tons of space for the big-name acts.  The second largest stage, the Which Stage, is massive.  We'll have to wait and see how big the biggest stage will be (What Stage) for Kings of Leon.  Should be ridiculous based on what I've seen so far! Time to hit the air mattress :)
 (0) Comments
Tags :  
Social :


Share This: | More


 

[Bonnaroo] En Roote to Bonnaroo!

Dear Fellow Music Enthusiasts, For those of you unable to attend the Bonnaroo Music Festival this year, I hope these blog posts allow you to live vicariously through a 22 year old college student on her long-awaited pilgrimage.  Hopefully I’ll inspire you to embark on your own musical odyssey.  For me, the countdown is nearly at zero.  We’re all packed up and ready to go and we’ll soon be en Roote to Bonnaroo! I couldn’t be more excited to head down to Tennessee.  I am an obsessive planner, so I’ve be reviewing the lineup and stage schedules for weeks.  However, my friend Gregor will be taking a more focused approach:  get Zooey Deschanel to dump Ben Gibbard so they can run away together.  We’ll see if that plan works out....  Perhaps Regina Spektor is available instead. Thanks to generous friends and family, we’ll arrive and camp at Bonnaroo in style.  I’m not an avid camper, but I think I’m ready for anything.  Now the trick is weighing who to see.  Decisions, decisions! My MUST see: Miike Snow, Stevie Wonder, Phoenix, Regina Spektor, Weezer, She & Him, Jay-Z, and Kings of Leon Artists new to me that are of serious interest: Disco Biscuits, Tokyo Police Club, Japandroids, The Temper Trap, and Les Claypool With pit stops at the Silent Disco and the Brooery, we’ll see if I have time to sleep! I’ll be posting throughout the festival and sending photos too, so be sure to check back!  Thank you to all who voted for me, thanks to you my dream is coming true!  Here we go!  Wish us luck! Abby Braatz
 (1) Comments
Share This: | More


 

Backstage Blogger Review: John Mayer is Musical Napalm @ the Bradley Center 3/1

Despite only knowing I had tickets to this show for a couple of weeks, waiting for the show to finally get here seemed like an eternity!  During the days leading up to the concert, I listened to as much John Mayer as I could.  My friend Lisa and I grew more and more anxious for February to end (not just because of Jimmy's prediction of an early spring!), and we also grew more anxious about what we would wear and say to someone so famous! Finally... March first was here!  We both got off of work early to head to Milwaukee.  The ride in the car consisted of a lot of great conversation, mostly circling around John Mayer and singing along to his songs as we drove.  When we got downtown, we started off the evening right with no traffic problems and an awesome parking spot!  We ate at a very secret restaurant, disguised as double agents on a mission, and we left to complete our mission through dark, underground tunnels. Upon arrival at the Bradley Center, we stashed our coats at our fifth-row seats and went to take in the view from the 200- and 300-level seats.  Though nobody was onstage yet, we knew we'd have such an amazing view on the floor!!  We got a few pictures in front of the stage with each other before our 8pm meet-and-greet meeting time "under the stairs of Lobby A on the east side of the building."  There, we met a group of other excited fans, waiting for their chance to meet the star.  A 16-year-old had tickets for her birthday, several radio personnel from Milwaukee area stations and their local winners were there, as well as a family who seemed to me like the biggest fans of all:  their daughter (I assume) had a scrapbook she made of John Mayer.  I guess thinking of myself as a "big fan" is really just relative... It seemed like we waited for hours.  Finally, at about 9pm, they took us backstage. We walked into a white, cement hallway with fluorescent lighting, pipes and ducts visible in the ceiling.  A curtain about 100 feet into the hallway separated us from the reason we were there.  Another 30 minutes later, and the commotion started... none other than musical genius John Mayer had come out from the curtained-abyss, ready to sign merchandise and pose for pictures! The line moved along pretty quickly.  It quickly came our turn:  we were going to MEET John Mayer!!!  :D  Not knowing what we would say or how to act, we walked up to him as he asked our names.  Lisa and I had John sign our ticket stubs and Battle Studies albums:  "TO MEGAN!  <3 John Mayer," with a completely-illegible signature, of course.  YESSS!!  John asked us how we would get back into the concert with sharpie all over our tickets.  Our very quick-wittedness ;) came in handy, as we told him we'd just have to have him come let us in if they didn't let us!  We were beaming upon meeting the celebrity, and we posed for a picture with him, his arms around us, wearing huge smiles for the camera.  It was all over so quickly--probably just a couple of minutes from start to finish, and the only thing we could say on the way out was what every other person in that hallway probably said to their company as they left:  "WE JUST MET JOHN MAYER!!!" We entered the arena and re-found our seats, only to find 3 other girls there.  They were in the wrong section, but at first my heart jumped a beat--how could they have double-booked our seats!?  We got everything straightened out and enjoyed what was left of Michael Franti and Spearhead.  We only caught the last few minutes of their set, but they put on a great show!! After the stage crew changed the set, the second moment we had been waiting for finally happened:  the lights dimmed, the music started, and John's shadow began to emerge on the screen in front of the stage.  The audience roared as he entered the stage with his electric guitar, opening the show with a fantastic rendition of "Heartbreak Warfare."  Our cameras went up right away, trying to get the best shot, the best light, the best view of the guy who we couldn't stop talking about:  "WE JUST MET HIM!!!!" John put on a fantastic show!  He showed a little bit of his humorous side on stage, played songs from several of his albums, and he played a new song for us that he recently wrote in a hotel bathroom.  John's talent at playing the guitar cannot truly be appreciated until you see him live--he is *truly* musical napalm!  Little jam sessions with his band members were my favorite parts of the night--just to see him wail away on his guitar, hearing every note he played, knowing he spent hours working to play those riffs just right, seeing the passion he has for playing in the contortions of his face--it was as if he was in a room by himself, pouring his emotions and soul into his music, and we just happened to be there, listening to and watching him spew his life into his music. I cannot thank Triple MMM enough for giving me this experience!  Lisa and I had a night out that we'll certainly never forget, and I left the Bradley Center that night with a newfound appreciation for John and blues guitar and more pictures than I can count.  I got home to find out that my eyes were closed in the picture we got with John (go figure!), but I'm still going to call it a frame-able night.  :)  I'll definitely have to see him again next time he's in town! --Megan Buege
 (15) Comments
Tags :  
Social :
People : John Mayer


Share This: | More


 

Sesame Street Live: Nov 14, 2009

Sesame Street LiveKatie 004 Sesame Street LiveKatie 009 Sesame Street LiveKatie 010 Sesame Street LiveKatie 012 Thank you very much for allowing us to go to Sesame Street Live. We were SO excited! We went to the 10:30 am show on Saturday, the 14th, and were all up early because we couldn't wait to get there! We all had our favorite characters, and were anxious to meet them in person at the Meet & Greet! We got to the Coliseum and were able to go right to the front of the line, which was really special! Once they fixed some lighting problems, we were able to go right in and find our seats! With our excitement building, we waited for the tour staff to come and get us, and we were thinking we were pretty darn special with our "Meet & Greet" stickers on! After lots of dancing around, we got to go to a special room and meet our 3 favorite characters: Big Bird, Elmo and Cookie Monster! Bella LOVES Cookie Monster and got to give him a big hug!  Elmo's fur was really soft, and Big Bird was REALLY tall! We got to take pictures with them all, and then got ready for the show to start! The show was, "1,2,3 Imagine with Me!" and the characters imagined going to all sorts of fun places with Sam the Mail Lady.  One of our favorite parts was when Bert went under the sea and swam with glow-in-the-dark fishies and danced with a big octopus! The S.S. Rubber Duckie came afloat with Bert & Ernie, and was pretty neat too! We love to dance, so dancing to the hula with the characters from our seats was a real blast! All of our favorite characters from Sesame Street were there: Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Count Van Count, Abby Cadabby, Rosita, Oscar, Bert & Ernie, Zoe, Grover, Tully the Monster and Little Bear! The show lasted 1 1/2 hours, and when it was over, we were sad it ended, but couldn't wait to tell all of our friends about it! Thank you for a truly magical day- You Rock!! Sincerely, Avery, Bella & Maddie
 (2) Comments
Tags :  
Social :


Share This: | More


 

Michael Franti: Sept 27, 2009

[gallery link="file" columns="2"] Tonight was one of the most electrifying and powerful evenings of my musical life.  The power of the performances and the energy brought forth by all parties was absolutely awe-inspiring. The evening started with the power of Mother Nature. Thunder roared down State Street as we walked towards the Union Theater. Lightning sparkled and stretched across the sky, reflecting in the lake as we stood in line at the door to get in. Once safely inside, the sky opened up and let loose the hail, crashing on the roofs, the cars and the ground. We would soon find out that this was nothing in comparison to energy of the show that we were about to see. The audience was full of anticipation and excitement waiting for the opening band, Trevor Hall. Finally, Trevor hit the stage with full force. He rocks a style I can best describe as folk rock reggae. The energy and force of this trio rang true across the stage and the fans. Rocking choruses and smooth reggae groove filled the air as the fans danced and rocked below him. Each member had their chance to show off their abilities through personal solos including a keyboard harmonica solo by Hall.  The three seemed to be having a blast. The strong lyrics of songs such as "The Lime Tree" and "Unity" and poetic delivery showed clearly why he was invited to play with Franti. The excitement continued to grow in anticipation of Franti. The stage was set as everyone milled about and met their neighbors. As the lights went down, we saw an amazing set depicting what looked like a small Jamaican village complete with a set of size 50 Converse Chucks hanging from the power lines. As Franti began to play I noticed that one of the most amazing things about a Michael Franti show is the diversity of the audience. In his songs he sings of unity, community, compassion and acceptance - things much easier said than done. But, looking across the crowd, you can see these ideas embodied. Every race, color, religion and age group seemed to fill the concert hall, all together to rock. Franti jumps from style to style, playing everything from rock to reggae, pop to hip hop, jazz, blues, and even disco. Every song he does has the power to bring all together with hands in the air, waving and clapping like I've never seen before. This one room of 1,300+ people all in unison feeling every beat of the drum and thumping strum of bass. Even the slow acoustic songs packed a powerful punch, with guitar strumming and Franti belting out powerful poetic lyrics through his amazing voice. The crowd sang at the top of their collective lungs, knowing every single word. The fun and enthusiasm that Michael has for his music and his shows is clear. He playfully threw in nods to past greats with segues into the Grateful Dead, Michael Jackson, and even a little Tainted Love. He kept the crowd lively and energetic with clapping, singing and jumping around; there was never a dull moment. One of the highlights had to be when he brought three audience members on stage, gave them all guitars, and had them rock out to some Nirvana. At first the younger of three had no idea what was going on, but as the band rocked Nirvana from the wings, they realized it was their chance to be themselves and be free, regardless of their inability to play an instrument. The show ended way too quickly with Michael inviting all the children in the audience up on to the stage for "Say Hey". This was further proof of the crowd's diversity, with children ranging from probably 8 years old and up jumping onto the stage. This song was Franti's rocking thanks to all of his fans - for the first time in their 15 years as a band, they now had a top 40 song. When the show ended, Franti jumped back into the crowd and started signing tickets and CDs, shaking hands and hugging all the fans that came out to see him. He took time to greet each and every guest that came down to the stage. Heading backstage brought out all the musicians, happy to chat and enjoy the company, band members and guests. Pictures were taken, more signatures, birthday wishes were written, and even a few bottles of beer and wine were shared. That ended the evening for me, walking down the now peaceful streets of downtown Madison, with the storms gone and the stars shining. Peaceful with the memory of the show I just enjoyed - a quiet contrast to the high energy in the Union Theatre. If there is one thing that I learned tonight, it is that if you ever want to feel a part of something - the community, the state, the world, or even the universe, your first stop should be a Michael Franti concert. There is truth in the line that "Everyone deserves music". There is no better place to see the joy, power, comfort, love and happiness that music brings us all. --Dan Kroninger
 (6) Comments
Tags :  
People : Michael Franti


Share This: | More


 

U2 @ Soldier Field, Chicago, Sept 12

[gallery order="DESC" columns="2"] U2 has been around literally my entire life. When I was 10, The Joshua Tree was released to international acclaim. I think this was my first awareness of U2 and their ticket to international pop stardom. In high school I was envious of all the kids in my class who had tickets to Achtung Baby and Zooropa – never realizing that some of their best stuff since Joshua Tree was still yet to be released. Here was a band that released new music and new albums in an effortless manner. At the time I wasn’t able to rationalize how huge of a sensation they were… and continued to be. Half a life time later, after two of my favorite albums All you can leave behind and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb were released in the early 2000's – still neglecting to see them on tour because of life getting in the way: new jobs, having zero money, paying a mortgage, having kids – I never expected this group of high school friends from Dublin to still be kickin’ it thirty odd years after they first played together after answering Larry Mullen’s “musician’s wanted ad.” Continually missing U2’s live performances was a thing of the past as I now had tickets to their North American tour kick off concert at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL! I won them (the goddesses were smiling down on me) through a drawing at 105.5 Triple M in Madison, WI. The fact that I had tickets to the biggest international music group (possibly in my lifetime) did not necessarily sink in until I was at Soldier Field on September 12th waiting for U2 to take the stage. We got our “inner-circle” bracelets at will-call and kept making our way closer and closer to the main stage.  As we crossed into the “Red Zone” a security guard gave my husband and me masks in the likeness of Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratically elected leader of Burma who is under house-arrest … for the past 14 years. We made our way to the last part of open area in the “inner-circle.” It was near these ramps that bridged the inner circle to an outer-circle. I had heard much about the stage and how U2 wanted to connect with their audience in more ways. This included performing on an outer circle so that many in the crowd could see them better. It also included this stage design that resembled a rocket or lunar-landing device with a mega screen broadcasting the events onstage that encircled the lunar device. After Snow Patrol did their set we waited about 30 minutes more before U2 came out to perform. David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” began in a very crisp and eerie way as the crowd at first hushed and then hysterically started screaming for U2. And the lunar craft lit up in red and white lights and U2 climbed on stage. The set began with singles from their latest album: Breathe, No Line on the Horizon, Get On Your Boots, Magnificent, and Beautiful Day ending with a snippet of the Beatles' Blackbird. The crowd was already jumping but everyone started singing along when U2 began playing “Elevation”. For some time I had been trying to move my way closer to the stage. I started smelling a “sweet” type of smoke and looked around attempting to take it the entire experience in. Next to me was a father with his 5 year old son. The boy, who had ear-plugs in, was looking around at all the people in the stadium. He was on his father’s shoulders most of the time (when security wasn’t telling him to get down) – and he asked his dad, “can we go home? I am tired.” And his dad kindly explained to the boy, "Son, I brought you here because this is the biggest rock band in the world. And you will never forget this moment.” That comment sank in for me. From that point on, I attempted to forget my camera and my video app and concentrated on immersing myself completely in the experience. I looked around at the ends of Soldier Field and looked out across the field; there had to be close to 80,000 people there sharing this exact moment. At this point in the concert, U2 began playing thirty years worth of hits. By far, they were the most gracious band I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing live. I’ve seen lots of big names, but none worked the crowd or acknowledged the crowd quite like U2.  They became more energized as the crowd responded to their music. How can you make ten and twenty year old songs, songs that you’ve sang over a thousand times sound as energetic and as fantastic as the first time you ever preformed them live? No idea. But U2 did it and convinced me that this show could have been their one and only concert of the decade. The last part of the concert was my favorite as the band got into some of their older stuff. Bono turned the microphone over to the crowd who sang the first two verses of I Still Haven't Found What I'm looking For acapella for him. He then concluded it with a snippet of Stand By Me by Ben E. King. Bono and The Edge did a powerful acoustic version of Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of - with The Edge hitting the high notes. I never realized what a beautiful tenor voice The Edge had until I witnessed him on backing and lead vocals in this version. More songs followed - some that I'm not quite sure they've played live before: Unknown Caller, The Unforgettable Fire, City Of Blinding Lights, building into a hyper sing-a-long of Vertigo. The ramps began moving over us at this point and The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Bono would walk literally over us to the outer circle to be closer to the fans in the seats. There was one point in the concert that I was literally underneath Bono as he sang on the bridge above me! By this point in the concert, U2 had been playing well into a 2nd hour. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight, Sunday Bloody Sunday/Oliver's Army (Elvis Costello snippet), Pride, and MLK followed. We were requested to put on our masks during “Walk On.” So while Desmond Tutu appeared on the screen above the stage and praised Americans for their international awareness and charity and the band got ready to play, people all around me put on their masks in preparation. The only people given these masks were those in the inner circle, which set us apart from others at the concert in an odd way. I didn’t realize that we were a select group. Initially I thought everyone had them. It wasn't until we were walking to the El, winding through the sidewalks of the Museum campus in a sea of U2 fans that people were asking about our masks and if we were something special! During the moment Walk On was played, Amnesty International came out to the outer circle wearing their masks to bring awareness to Aung San Suu Kyi’s plight in Burma. It was an incredibly moving experience. I have completely come to appreciate that Bono and U2 use their celebrity to bring awareness to social justice issues across the world. And it didn't seem weird - they had seamlessly orchestrated and integrated the experience into their concert. Bono is very pro-American and respectful of the role that our country has played on the international theater. Even though I might not always agree with our politics, it was really kind of cool to hear someone as famous as Bono pat the US on their back for all the good that we do in the world. Then they finished their regular set with Where The Streets Have No Name. U2 came back out onto stage after a brief interlude. The entire concert Bono had been wearing a black leather jacket with what appeared to be rhinestones outlining the seams of his sleeves. However when he came out for the encore, the rhinestones radiated red lasers - LED jackets are the new thing! An old-school microphone, which I imagine were used in concert halls of old, dropped down from the ceiling and illuminated in bright red lights. The band broke into a rousing and crowd-participating rendition of One. Bono used the microphone as a swing and began hanging from it and swinging across the stage. They finished the first encore with Bad. But they weren't quite finished. Larry Mullen, Adam Clayton, and the Edge came out and waved and then grabbed their instruments and began the second encore with Ultra Violet. Bono then came out to the roaring crowd finishing the song and immediately transitioning into one of my personal favorites: With or Without You. Because of our location, the spotlights from the right side of the stage shown directly at us part of the time. It was during this song that Bono came to our side of the stage. He was literally 10 feet away singing my favorite song. He was looking directly at the group of people I was standing with at this part of the stage. The spotlight came up behind him and illuminated him from behind. It was shining directly into my eyes... and he stood there, looking at us, passionately singing this classic. Twenty years of frustration of missing U2 concerts melted away at that moment. I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to stand up. The concluding song was Moment of Surrender from No Line on the Horizon. It was such an appropriate last song with gospel and choral overtones. The mood was perfect, the crowd now in a relaxed and breezy chant, waving cigarette lighters and cell phones illuminating the stadium in what Bono called "the Milky Way galaxy" of our own. U2 gave an appropriate farewell to their audience by going to each corner of the stage, waving, and bowing to their fans. Then they marched off stage with their arms on the shoulders of their bandmates and then down one of the rear ramps into the tunnels of Soldier Field. I will not forget that moment - ever. I know this blog cannot do the experience justice. However, I have to write it to commit the experience to memory. I am grateful to Triple M for giving me this opportunity. It was such a serendipitous experience and treat to journey to Chicago and experience U2 live (at the kick off concert nontheless!) of the North American leg of their concert. --Jill Underly
 (6) Comments
Tags :  
Social :


Share This: | More


 

Coldplay @ Alpine Valley, 7/25/09

[gallery order="DESC" columns="2"] My first thought when I think of the Coldplay concert last weekend is immediately mad props to Manny, head of backstage security at Alpine Valley.  I’ll get into the details later. When I first heard the news that I had won the contest to be Triple M’s Backstage Blogger at the Coldplay concert four days later my first thought was literally, What should I wear? And honestly, that question did not come from simple vanity.  Of course, I wanted to look good when I got to meet Coldplay backstage, but more importantly I was seriously wondering about my comfort.  You see, July 25th marked two months until my first baby is due—which raised serious questions about comfortable footwear, wearing just enough clothes so as not to overheat, and making sure I could disrobe quickly and efficiently when the need to go to the bathroom struck.  I’m not sure Triple M has ever had another 7-month-pregnant Backstage Blogger. If I am the first, I am honored. My instructions were to meet an official person from the Coldplay management at the will call window by 7pm and then be escorted backstage for my official meet and greet with the band.  My husband, Christian, and I got to Alpine Valley plenty early, bought a poster for Coldplay to sign (part of my winnings was a beautiful Coldplay plaque with their discography—which Capitol Records wisely sent to MMM before the show so the pregnant lady wouldn’t have to lug it around at the concert), used the bathroom (of course) and waited as instructed at will call.  Well, 7pm came and went and no one at the will call window had any idea who we needed to meet.  At 7:20pm, still no sign of the person we needed to meet, feeling like our chance to go backstage was quickly slipping through our fingers, we decided to take matters into our own hands.  A woman who was one of the gate managers (and the one who told us that the Dave Matthews Band concert the weekend before had the worst, rowdiest crowd she had ever seen…hmmm) deftly hooked us up with Manny, an official looking guy with the word SECURITY emblazoned on his shirt.  He was head of backstage security, never up by the entrance gates, and looking for a group of people just like Christian and I who were waiting to go backstage.  Needless to say, the rest of the group we were supposed to be with was already backstage, and due to the confusion, Christian and I got our own personal escort down to the coveted backstage gates.  Thanks Manny!!! The official meet and greet was neat and tidy. Christian and I, along with contest winners from Milwaukee, Chicago, Rockford, and elsewhere were put in a line to efficiently have our minute or two to say hello to the guys, get a quick photo snapped by the record label rep, and have our Coldplay paraphernalia signed.  It wasn’t quite the leisurely conversation I had dreamed up in my mind, “How’s Gwen?  Is Viva la Vida biographical? Chris, do you feel like in his recent performances Kanye has stolen some of your signature dance moves?”  But, in the two minutes we had, we did have a laugh—that I was either having a baby or had a great affinity for beer (that was Chris’ joke), I told the guys to play well because though she’s in utero, my daughter can still hear everything, and drummer Will quipped that I had their youngest fan with me, negative 2 months.   Really nice guys. My favorite part of the meet and greet was simply observing Chris Martin’s pre-show attire.  Of course they look rockin on stage with their matching retro army gear.  But to see rock-star to the max Chris Martin wearing a red t-shirt, skinny gray sweat pants (circa 1985) and Asics running shoes.   Who woulda thought…? The show was spectacular.  From beginning to end a well produced, thought-through visual and audio masterpiece.  I am a big fan of their music, which pleasantly they didn’t deviate from too much, staying pretty true to the originals.  But, coupled with the buzz of the crowd, some fantastic lighting, video effects and other crowd-enticing elements (butterfly shaped confetti, huge yellow balloons let loose into the crowd during, you guessed it, Yelllow), the concert showed me a new depth to the emotional, anthematic power of their music. A few highlights for me were the middle of their first set starting with In My Place, when Chris really amped up his stage presence and almost sprinted back and forth from the ends of the stage.  Then they played Yellow, a bit faster than the studio version, complete with yellow lighting and the aforementioned yellow balloons, which consequently held yellow confetti that exploded upon the balloon popping.  Great visual.  And a new favorite of mine, Glass of Water, (found on the recently released Prospekt’s March, an epilogue to Viva la Vida) a happy song in a 7/4 time signature for you music theory buffs out there.  The video visual effects on the hanging ball screens that matched the meter of the music were super-impressive. At a couple points in the show, the guys took the music to small stages up in the crowd.  We sat five rows up and ten seats over from one of these stages.  It was so awesome.  While Chris did a solo version of The Hardest Part, the skies opened up and rain poured down on the whole spectacle.  It was so beautiful (and even more beautiful that our seats were just enough under the canopy of the amphitheater that we didn’t get soaked—sorry lawn crowd!). Though we waited an hour and a half to get out of that crazy parking lot, tired and pregnant, it was entirely worth it!  Thanks Triple M for the opportunity, thanks Manny for the backstage escort, thanks Coldplay for the free live CD with highlights of your tour that you gave to everyone at the show, and thanks Chris for wearing those ugly Asics on stage just so I felt like I knew something as a Backstage Blogger that no one else knew. --Betsy Ezell
 (4) Comments
Tags :  
Social :


Share This: | More


 
Listen Live (WMMM)
Playlist (WMMM)
2 Minute Promise
Submit
World's Worst iPod - Barry Manilow Copacabana
As you can probably guess, Kitty was on vacation so Jonathan managed to get Barry Manilow's Copacabana on the air this morning for the World's Worst iPod. The song actually made it to number 8 back in 1979. All you Fanilows out there enjoy....
Read More
World's Worst iPod: Kajagoogoo "Too Shy"
Gotta love the '80s! Depending on who you're talking to, Kajagoogoo's "Too Shy" is either a song that defines the decade, in a good way, or it's a song that gives all other '80s songs a bad name. It made it to #5 on the charts in...
Read More
Discover & Download: Bad Suns
This Week's Discover & Download is: Bad Suns - 'Salt'
5 Things You Probably Didn't Know about Birthday Boy Neil Young
Happy 69th birthday to my favorite self-proclaimed "rich hippie," Neil Young. I remember when I was a kid, I hated Neil's voice. I didn't even particularly care for his songs CSNY albums, but the guy grew on me, and he's now one of my...
Read More
World's Worst iPod: Mac and Katie Kissoon "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep"
There was a lot of love this morning for a song that made it up to #20 in 1971 for the brother sister team of Mac and Katie Kissoon. The pair hailed from Trinidad and this was their only Top 40 hit.
Freebies for Veterans
Today's the day to thank a vet! Many restaurants are doing their part to say "thank you" by offering free food items. Since restrictions vary depending on where you go, you may want to call first to make sure you understand what you need to do to...
Read More
Discover & Download: Guster
This week's Discover & Download is: 'Simple Machine' by Guster.
World's Worst iPod: Robbie Nevil "C'est La Vie"
"That's just the way things go," croons Robbie Nevil in the soong "C'est La Vie." Despite the fact that the theme seemed to fit the way a lot of people feel today, there just wasn't enough to support playing it in its entirety. Released...
Read More
 
Recent Blog Posts
World's Worst iPod - Barry Manilow Copacabana
As you can probably guess, Kitty was on vacation so Jonathan managed to get Barry Manilow's Copacabana on the air this morning for the World's Worst iPod. The song actually made it to number 8 back in 1979. All you Fanilows out there enjoy....
Read More
World's Worst iPod: Kajagoogoo "Too Shy"
Gotta love the '80s! Depending on who you're talking to, Kajagoogoo's "Too Shy" is either a song that defines the decade, in a good way, or it's a song that gives all other '80s songs a bad name. It made it to #5 on the charts in...
Read More
Discover & Download: Bad Suns
This Week's Discover & Download is: Bad Suns - 'Salt'
5 Things You Probably Didn't Know about Birthday Boy Neil Young
Happy 69th birthday to my favorite self-proclaimed "rich hippie," Neil Young. I remember when I was a kid, I hated Neil's voice. I didn't even particularly care for his songs CSNY albums, but the guy grew on me, and he's now one of my...
Read More
World's Worst iPod: Mac and Katie Kissoon "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep"
There was a lot of love this morning for a song that made it up to #20 in 1971 for the brother sister team of Mac and Katie Kissoon. The pair hailed from Trinidad and this was their only Top 40 hit.
Freebies for Veterans
Today's the day to thank a vet! Many restaurants are doing their part to say "thank you" by offering free food items. Since restrictions vary depending on where you go, you may want to call first to make sure you understand what you need to do to...
Read More
Discover & Download: Guster
This week's Discover & Download is: 'Simple Machine' by Guster.
World's Worst iPod: Robbie Nevil "C'est La Vie"
"That's just the way things go," croons Robbie Nevil in the soong "C'est La Vie." Despite the fact that the theme seemed to fit the way a lot of people feel today, there just wasn't enough to support playing it in its entirety. Released...
Read More
Categories
Archives