Oh, my god, you guys!

Heather and her mother have season tickets to the Broadway series at the Assembly Hall and the last show of the season was Legally Blonde: The Musical. Unfortunately for Heather’s mom, she was feel under the weather and, lucky me, I got her ticket!

I didn’t have high expectations – I like the movie, but wasn’t sure how it would work as a musical – and ended up being very pleasantly surprised! The plot moves along at quite a sprightly clip, seeing as how they have to get most of the movie PLUS songs into approximately the same amount of time, but the numbers a cute, the songs are listenable (if not entirely memorable), and the production we saw was really quite good!

Bruiser (her chihuahua) steals the show, though – he’s only on stage maybe four times, but each time I forgot entirely about what else was happening and I’m pretty sure the entire audience just went ‘Awwww…’ until he finished his scene.

If the touring company pops up near you, consider spending a very enjoyable couple of hours with Elle and company!

In which awesome concert is AWESOME!

The last time Muse came anywhere near here, I was in Hawaii at one of my friend’s wedding. When Liz and I heard they were coming through Milwaukee (which was the closest – get your act together, Muse, and go to Indianapolis next time!)…on a Wednesday…we immediately bought tickets! (Okay, we hesitated a little bit, but hardly even worth mentioning.)

AND IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH THE 5 HOURS OF DRIVING AND 4 1/2 HOURS OF SLEEP LAST NIGHT!

We drove up to Chicago first where we met Liz’s friend Nichole who then drove up the rest of the way to Milwaukee.

A group I’d never heard of called Passion Pit was the opening act and I thought they were really good – sort of Arcade Fire-y, but with the love child of the lead singers from The Music and the band whose name I can’t think of but their lead singer has a super-high voice and they have a song with the word hurricane in it. You know the one I mean.

And then it was time for the main event!

(Oh, lame, I have to remember to always turn Richard landscape to record video in the future. Boo!) ETA: Oh! I think I was actually clever and managed to crop it better!

Their set was amazing! Those three pillars rose up and down, so they could be on the stage or in the air at varying heights and for a lot of the time they left the drummer up a bit so we could see him. Matt Bellamy had a super-fun reflective guitar – a spotlight would shine on it and he would direct the beam around the audience and they had a TON of lights and lasers going on.

Seriously impressive!

Oh, and did I forget to mention his AWESOME PIANO?!?!?! I don’t have a picture of it because I couldn’t get a clear one, but it has a glass top and there are lights sort of embedded in the top that light up corresponding to what he’s playing. It doesn’t sound that exciting when I describe it, but trust me, it is. Back me up here, Liz!

The venue was a LOT smaller than I was expecting – I know Liz and Nichole saw them at the United Center in Chicago which seems much more appropriate, but this place was only maybe half again as big as where I saw Kylie. To be fair, the place is actually quite big, but they hadn’t sold the third tier of seats. Have confidence in yourselves, Muse!

Am I forgetting anything, Liz?!

Note: On our way home, it soon became apparent that civil war had broken out between Wisconsin and Illinois while we’d been in the concert. We seriously hit the most bizarre construction I think I’ve ever seen and the most UNhelpful detour signs I KNOW I’ve ever seen. All I have to say is well done to Nichole for somehow getting us back to Chicago safe and sound. If it had been me on my own, the fourth time I passed the Hospitality Inn, I would have said ‘Screw it, I’ll figure it out in the morning.’ 😉

ETA2: I did take another clip of video and I forgot that this one shows off his spotlight guitar! And since Liz wanted to see it, here it is:

(Seeing them now, I wish I’d let Richard run a bit longer, but at the time I really wanted to see everything for myself…)

How could I forget the most exciting part of Chicago?!

I MIGHT HAVE KIND OF SEEN LADY GAGA WALK RIGHT BY MY CAR!

No, seriously. While I was waiting in the car for Claire to bring our bags out of the first hotel so we could repark and move into the second hotel, a blonde woman wearing big sunglasses and, literally, a garbage bag gown, walked past the car with two security guys, a photographer, and a couple of people carrying a variety of photography equipment.

‘Huh. I wonder if that was Lady GaGa,’ I thought.

Then little clusters of people with their phones out started hurrying past and I heard one guy on his phone say that it WAS Lady GaGa!

So, yeah, I may have kind of actually seen Lady GaGa randomly on the streets of Chicago on her way to a photo shoot.

It was pretty awesome.

I’m a Little Monster!

Where was I Thursday night? Oh, that’s right!

IT WAS AWESOME! It is actually impossible for me to verbalize the level of awesome that this was, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

She is an amazing performer and, I am convinced, a lot more talented than people give her credit for. And I know she’s kind of weird, but I think she thinks of herself as more of a performance artist, that Lady GaGa is some sort of very intricate installation piece of modern art. I mean, at one point, she is eaten by a giant Fame Monster and then is reborn wearing a bikini spouting showers of sparks (I’m still not sure how she walked because there were also sparks coming out of the bikini bottoms too, but somehow she managed it.). The only way that would be even more performance art-y is if she was locked in a perspex box suspended from a bridge!

And she talked to the crowd a lot which I really liked because it sort of hinted at a depth to Lady GaGa that you might not know is there just from watching her music videos or seeing pictures of her outrageous fashions. She also played a song from the new album she’s working on and it was very different from her dance/pop songs so far – very sort of down and dirty southern rock – and she played the hell out of the piano while draped, upside down at one point, across the top of it. Very impressive to say the least.

Like at the Kylie concerts, I did find myself a tad underdressed – sparkly makeup and crazy high heels and feather boas and Lady GaGa-inspired fashions abounded (and a lot of the girls were dressed up, too!). So keep that in mind if you go see her – plan to dress to the nines!

I will leave you with a quote from one of her conversations with the audience:

‘Remember that you’re a superstar and YOU WERE BORN THAT WAY, MOTHERFUCKERS!’

So true, Lady GaGa. So true.

Why so fabulous, GaGa?!

During my recent intense love affair with Lady GaGa, I have come to a mathematical conclusion:

Lady GaGa = (Tori Amos ÷ (Madonna x David Bowie))Bob Mackie

Behold! (You may not want to watch it if you’re at work – not that there’s anything super-racy, but it’s, you know, Lady GaGa…)

No, I don’t get it and, yes, I know, she can be a little unsettling (There’s something about her Claw that just unnerves me!) but that’s all part of why she’s fabulous!

Jfoewoajnkdajsoifejawl!!!!!!1111!1!

As usual, I’m a couple months behind the musical times so if you’ve already heard Mumford and Sons, OMG, aren’t they great? but also, Why didn’t you tell me about them?! More in a moment, but I really can contain myself no longer. WATCH THIS!

AMAZING, RIGHT?! I mean, this really pushes all the right buttons for me:

  1. Banjo? Check.
  2. Upright bass? Check.
  3. Jangly piano? Check.
  4. OMGBOOKSHOP? Hell, yes, check!
  5. Super talented, scruffy, musical-type, British dudes? CHECK!

The only bad part about being so far behind is that tickets are already sold out to all the venues around here they’re coming to. Boo! 😦 Seriously, Jillian, they’re coming to where you are and I was THIS close to just buying tickets and working out the logistics of convincing you to a) let me crash on your floor and b) come with me to the concert, but, alas, they’re all gone already.

So I will have to content myself to listening to their album over and over and over. And over (Seriously, I listened to that song up there for the first five hours of the day today.).

And over.

Guess what Wednesday night was!

IT WAS KYLIE NIGHT!

The venue was much smaller than where we saw her in Sydney – I guess she’s just not famous enough in the States to play the United Center (although she should be – she is a fabulous entertainer and I have no idea why she’s not more famous here!) and the smaller space kind of limited her show. It was still full of lights and lasers and dancers, but she couldn’t do things she likes to do like fly herself in on a giant sparkly crescent moon or drop dancers from the ceiling (though she did still manage to make her entrance atop a giant, silver skull [no, I don’t get it either, but if Kylie wants a giant, silver skull, Kylie can have a giant, silver skull!]).

She still put on an amazing show and the crowd was super-enthusiastic – I hope we’ve convinced her to come back again and not make us wait another 20 years before she does! It was basically a highlights tour of the best numbers from the Showgirl tour and the Kylie X tour – she did cabaret Locomotion and the shower version of Red-Blooded Woman (and opened with Light Years – yay!) along with the newer songs from X.

She sang for two hours straight and even gave us an impromptu, a capella version of Your Disco Needs You (and even took it to the opera all on her lonesome – Kylie, you rock! Whoo!) when there was a short break for technical difficulties with her bassist’s guitar. Very impressive!

We had a great time (we are very blurry there, just pretend we are dancing – I am woefully out of practice with my Edward self-portraits) and both agreed – and I’m not even going to put it in small font this time – that she put on a better show than Madonna.

Don’t stay away so long next time, Kylie!

Just a side note…

…Josh Groban made a guest appearance on Glee tonight (Are you watching this show? Because you totally should be!) Here’s what I want to know, though:

How can Josh Groban be so cute (“Josh Groban loves a blousy alcoholic.”) and yet still be an emissary for Satan?!

It’s just not fair. (Watch Glee! Wednesdays at 8:00 [CST] on Fox! )

Sunday was U2 day!

…AND THEY WERE AWESOME!!!!!!!111!!!!1!

THEY PLAYED A REALLY GOOD MIX OF SONGS FROM THE NEW ALBUM, OLD SONGS, AND…A SONG FROM ACHTUNG BABY AND ZOOROPA!!!! (Still nothing from Pop, but since I think I’m the only person in the entire world who likes that album, I can’t honestly say I blame them.)

THEIR SET WAS SUPER-COOL AND THEY MADE GOOD USE OF THE WALKWAY – YES, BONO DID RUN AROUND IT…TWICE EVEN! BUT I KNOW YOU KNOW WHO I’M ABOUT TO SHOW YOU A PICTURE OF…

YES, THAT BLURRY SPECK ON THE SCREEN IS THE EDGE! HE’S SO SUPER-AWESOME – HE’S WEARING OUR SHOES AND, WHEN HE WENT TO PLAY THE KEYBOARD ON CITY OF BLINDING LIGHTS, HE PLAYED WITH HIS PICK BETWEEN HIS FINGERS! HOW IS HE SO SUPER-AWESOME?!!!!

/crazy capslock/

Summer blockbuster tally, part 5

So, I’ll be honest, I basically wanted to see this movie because The Edge was in it. Sure, it sounded interesting – a discussion of the electric guitar between The Edge, Jimmy Page, and Jack White – but mostly, I went to see The Edge, who, if you know me at all, you know I love.

But I also left now harboring a huge crush on Jack White, in all his Southern Gothic glory.

And on Jimmy Page, who it turns out is basically the maestro, king, and grandfather of electric guitar.

The movie was fascinating – I didn’t want them to stop talking! It traced a little bit of their origins about how they got into music and the guitar, specifically, but also talked about how they approach the guitar and their music-making. Each of them have very different approaches to the guitar – the Edge is all about effects and how he can manipulate the sound of the guitar to match what he hears in his head; Jack White has gone back to the basics – the guitar he plays looks like it’s made out of cardboard – and, while interested in different sounds, is very much about stripping things back to its origins; and Jimmy Page is just amazing.

I don’t know how wide a release this film is getting, but if it’s playing anywhere near you, I would highly, highly recommend going to see it.

Summer blockbuster tally: 4-1-10

p.s. – Yes, the Edge wore our shoes. He’s so awesome (and still my favorite, despite Jack White’s undertaker chic suits)!

p.p.s. – The Edge also sort of made fun of himself a la Bill Bailey by showing the difference between how the riff from Elevation sounds and what he actually plays. He’s so great!

I really need to go to more concerts…

Last Tuesday I went to see Grizzly Bear. Who were awesome!

The concert was about three hours away, but we managed to arrive right on time (we missed the openers, Here We Go Magic, but I still bought their CD based on the three minutes of their last song we heard). I was really impressed with them live – they use a lot of layering and looping, so I wasn’t sure how it would work live. The answer is awesomely.

I was particularly impressed with the bassist, who was working very hard, doing double and triple duty playing not only the bass, but the flute, clarinet, and bass clarinet, and singing, too. When he pulled out the flute, I was like ‘Okay, I can do that, too’ but he lost me after that. That and all the electronics he was juggling, too – it looked very complicated!

All in the family…

So my dad, in addition to singing in a barbershop quartet (Four Wheel Drive – and, no, they don’t wear striped blazers) is in a trio called Stringtown Lane (guitar and miscellaneous instruments, rhythm guitar, and bass) and they were featured on the public radio station in town, WILL-FM, on a program called Live and Local to promote a gig they had this evening.

They played a few songs (including their own versions of various traditional/international folk songs, Margaritaville, and Sloop John B), discussed zombies, and my dad told a joke about Margaritaville that I think is funny but no one in the studio laughed.

I went to their gig this evening with my mom – the weather was beautiful, they had a good turnout, and sounded very good.

So go here to hear a bit of Stringtown Lane!