przed: (tt howard/jay awwww)
I've been back from London for nearly a week, but this is the first time I've opened my computer. I've been utterly shattered (see icon), no doubt from a combination of jet lag, getting Ros to all her various activities, stepping up Taekwando to four times a week, and seeing two concerts this week (Taylor Swift for Ros, and Joan Armatrading for me.)

And logging onto LJ for the first time in a week, I see I've missed the deadline for Yuletide nominations! Oh noes! Actually, this has me wondering if I should skip out on this year entirely, given that the TKD training is going to get more intense, not less as the year progresses, and it's entirely likely that I won't have time to write anything anyway. But on the other hand, I always enjoy writing for Yuletide and would be sad to miss a year. Shall have to mull that over.

Since it's late, and I'm still feeling shattered, I'm going to do a short summing up post on the London trip (which was absolutely amazing), and a few assorted odds and sods.

London, Mr Cumberbatch, other theatre and sundry friends )

Taylor Swift )

Joan Armatrading )
przed: (OK Go by glowinglogos)
It's been a good week for concerts.

Tonight, Stewart Copeland was playing at the Royal Conservatory's concert hall. He's started a sorta improvisational classical ensemble along with pianist Jon Kimura Parker, and they were doing a program of both Copeland's own compositions and pieces ranging from Bach to Prokofiev to Aphex Twin. Since I was seeing it by myself, I indulged in a first row seat, and ended up right in front of Stewart's drum kit.

It was a fantastic concert, and made me vow to see more classical concerts at the Conservatory. Their performance space is fab, they always have good people in and it's only ten minutes from my work. I really have no excuse.

On the other end of the spectrum, on Sunday night I went to see Kaiser Chiefs with a friend. As always, Ricky and the gang were fantastic and totally know how to work the crowd. As a bonus, they followed up I Predict a Riot with The Who's Pinball Wizard. The friend I went with is also a huge Who fan (we're seeing The Who's farewell tour this coming fall) so it was the icing on a very tasty cake.

I was happy to make the Kaiser Chiefs show, because on Friday and Saturday I'd been flattened by one of those colds that made every joint in my body ache. Fortunately it had progressed to the point of just being annoying by Sunday.

Tomorrow, I leave for MediaWest for the last time. I've been going since 1994, with a couple of breaks for Ros-related reasons, but with fewer people coming every year it seems like a good time to call it a day.

Nick Cave!

Jul. 31st, 2014 05:39 pm
przed: (OK Go by glowinglogos)
We're off to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds tonight, and whilst poking around for set lists from this tour to see what older album I needed to swat up on, I came across the trailer for a sort-of documentary about Mr. Cave that's coming out soon.

The film is basically a fictionalized version of Cave's 20,000th day on earth, and has him talking about the creative process with friends and collaborators.

Where else are you going to get Kylie Minogue, Ray Winstone, and Nick Cave in the same place? (And there's apparently a very interesting scene where Nick meets up again with Blixa Bargeld, his former, very long-time collaborator whom I still miss seeing on tour.)

I haven't been this keen to see a film in a long time.
przed: (the who - target)
Just got back from seeing The Who, and it was brilliant.

They're touring Quadrophenia, which is my absolute favourite Who album, but I still nearly didn't go to the show. The last time I saw them Roger's voice was shot, and now that John's dead, and Pete and Roger are seriously into Old Rock Star Geezerdom, I wasn't sure about going. But I called my usual Who-going pal, and she was game if I was, so I got tickets, and I'm so glad I did.

I'd seen them do Quadrophenia live once before, but more as a theatrical piece with lots of guest singers doing various parts, and that was fine. Tonight it was just the band doing it more or less as it was on the album and it was really tight and powerful. Roger's voice was in fine form, and he even managed the high notes of Love Reign O'er Me. Pete's voice, interestingly, is the one that's shot now, but he's morphed his singing style into this bluesy growl that's really interesting, so it's okay, and his guitar playing is as fantastic as ever. The rest of the band (including Pete's younger brother, Simon) is good, but Zack Starkey on drums is possibly even more brilliant than ever. He's like Keith Moon without the drug addiction and alcoholism.

They did Quadrophenia as a single, unbroken set with no patter, and then did another 45 minutes of some of their bigger songs with much speaking to the audience. The crowd was totally into it, and got even more into it as they did the big hits like Who Are You, Baba O'Riley, and Won't Get Fooled Again. Though I have to say, it's pretty amusing to hear an arena of middle-aged rock fans (and I count myself in their number) singing "It's only a teenage wasteland" at the top of their lungs.

We were far enough back that I didn't get a really good picture of Pete or Roger, but I did get a nice one of the whole stage when they were doing Love Reign O'er Me. This way to the pic )
przed: (OK Go by glowinglogos)
Just got back from seeing Kaiser Chiefs at the Opera House, and it was a fucking brilliant gig. I've never seen a KC show that wasn't brilliant, but this one was even more awesome than usual. We managed to get two rows from the front--forgot my camera though, dammit--and I pogoed to every song in the set. (Apparently the Tae Kwan Do is doing it's job, 'cause I couldn't have done that a year ago.) Ricky was his usual awesome self and whipped the crowd into a frenzy from the start. He stood on the barrier right in front of us to sing one song--man, do I wish I'd had my camera for that moment--and did his usual journey to the bar for a pint in the middle of a show. (I was relieved he didn't crowd surf to the bar like he did that last time he was in town, because my friend and I were in a direct line between him and the bar.)

There was a good mix of old songs and new, but the biggest thing for me was that they did Love's Not a Competition as the first song of the encore. I adore that song, and I've never seen them do it live before, so I was ecstatic. (Shall have to get my Pros vid to that song up on my YouTube channel ASAP.)

Here's the video of their latest single, which they also did tonight and was pretty darn fun live.

In short, YAY!!!!!!
przed: (li'l me mad men style)
Just got back from seeing The Decembrists, which is always cause for celebration. The Sweetie and I see them almost every time they play T.O., and they are always a delight. (No other band I know regularly uses words like panoply or avarice or attrition in their lyrics.) Tonight was no exception, even if they didn't play my favourite song from the new album. (I've actually started to vid that song, so I shall be coy and not reveal what it is. But hopefully there will be a Pros vid to it before too much time has passed.)

In celebration, have a pic of the band, doing their usual pseudo-historical, whimsical thing:

As we were leaving the concert, the snowstorm they've been promising us for the last two days was well into whipping itself into a frenzy. Fortunately we got home well ahead of any whiteouts. And in more exciting news, my employer has already declared tomorrow a snow day, so there will be much skiving off working at home happening tomorrow. (Ros is very excited that Mommy will be home for the day. I have a feeling there will be cookies baked at the very least. And possibly tobogganing done, if we can slog our way to the local hill.)
przed: (a-ha)
Well, I'm back from...

and seeing a-ha one last time. This time at Wembley Arena, with a sold out crowd of fellow fans.

What a sold-out Wembley crowd looks like, and other photographic evidence... )

If the jetlag doesn't take me down tomorrow night, I hope I'll get up reviews of the theatre I saw. Including Martin Shaw in The Country Girl. Which was...interesting.
przed: (a-ha)
I found out about a month ago that Howard Jones--yes, that Howard Jones--was coming to town and playing the Mod Club. I knew I had to get tickets.

I adored Howard back in the day. I was watching City Limits (the first music video show in Toronto) on a Sunday night in 1983 when they played his first video for New Song. I immediately called my music-obsessed friend [ profile] canadiansuzanne and we were both all "Did you see that video?! Wasn't it amazing!" I proceeded to haunt Sam the Record Man every week until they finally got in the U.K. import of the 12 inch single of New Song. I listened to his albums constantly through high school and university, and saw him every time he came to town, including his very first North American gig, at the Concert Hall. (He was responsible for getting me into Eurythmics, since the only reason I saw them on their Touch tour was because Howard was opening.)

It was pretty awesome seeing him in a small venue, much like the Concert Hall gig, and with an audience who love the songs and the performer as much as I do. From the opening notes of Pearl in the Shell, it was an awesome night. And it all really caught fire with No One Is to Blame, with the audience singing along to every single word. (Astoundingly, he said no one in the U.K. really knows that song.) The final two numbers, What Is Love and New Song, of course, just blew the top off an already wonderful experience.

Jones is as lovely a performer as he was back in the day. He's warm with the audience, a funny storyteller, and gets obvious pleasure when the audience knows the songs as well as he does. I'm so glad I got the tickets. (The Sweetie came too, and while he's not nearly the fan I am, he still had a good time.)

To round out my '80s music day, I got something I've been waiting for in the mail today )
przed: (a-ha)
Saw my penultimate a-ha show last night, on home turf this time, and with a friend from university I'd dragged along. The audience energy was a bit lower than the New York show to start--Toronto crowds are always a tough sell, and the opening act, an older country singer, didn't have nearly the energy that Sondre Lerche did in NYC--but by the end of the show they were almost as crazy energetic as the New York crowd.

The band played exactly the same set, and did the same awesome job, though Morten was a bit ragged at first. He blew the opening of Forever Not Yours, and I wondered if he was going to make the sustained high note in Summer Moved On. He was obviously struggling with the high notes all through the song, and was pacing the stage during the musical break leading up to that note, but then he totally nailed it and the crowd went nuts, and he was awesome from that point on.

I brought my camera, and managed to get a few not bad shots of the band, so here you go...

Magne on keyboards, and Morten taking a brief swing at the drums

More pics this way )

I've got tickets to one last show, at Wembley Stadium at the end of November. (They've just announced they're playing a gig at the Royal Albert Hall that will consist of all of Hunting High and Low. I'm sorely tempted, but I shall hold firm at three shows.) I felt surprisingly emotional at the end of both these shows, knowing they'll never play either of these cities again, but I also felt incredibly lucky to have finally seen them.
przed: (a-ha)
It's way too late, and I'm supposed to be getting up early to hit the Met, but while the feelings are fresh I wanted to do at least a short post about tonight's a-ha concert.

It was awesome!

Okay, not that short.

While they may not do the banter of other banters, they're still phenomenally charismatic performers, their stage design is wonderful (they had this full video screen behind them with this wonderfully designed video to back up all the song), and, in the shallow end of the pool, Morten Harket is as wonderful looking in person now as he was back in the day.

They opened with Foot of the Mountain, my fave track from their last album, and went on to do a raft of my favourites, including Analogue (probably my favourite a-ha song ever), and Summer Moved On (darn close to second.) Morten managed to hold the extended high note in Summer Moved On exactly as long as he should have.

Other highlights included The Living Daylights as an audience singalong, The Sun Always Shines on TV in the first encore (I tried to call the Sweetie during that one, but have no idea if I succeeded due to the high level of sound in the theatre), and, of course, Take on Me as the final encore.

I met a grad student from Norway in the line, Hanna, who'd dragged her Bulgarian fiancé along, and hanging out with them was just the icing on a very lovely cake. She has been a huge fan for a long time, and we both went crazy for most of the same songs. And after the concert was over we all went out for drinks and munchies afterwards.

I'm so very glad I did come down for the concert, and incredibly glad that the Sweetie kept the home fires burning and encouraged me to have a good time.

And on Monday I get to do it all over again when they play Toronto!
przed: (li'l me mad men style)
I just got an e-mail that tickets for a third a-ha concert on May 8 have gone on sale. And I've got one! (It's increasingly looking like the promised Canadian dates aren't going to materialize. And hey, if I've got a job in the fall, I still might go see them in London, which was my original fallback plan.)

It's not quite Oslo. Then again, NYC in May is going to be a lot warmer than Oslo in December.
przed: (li'l me 3)
Just got back from seeing Kaiser Chiefs, and oh my god were they amazing. I screamed my way into near laryngitis, and it was totally worth it. (It was all for Ricky. During Oh My God he kept encouraging the crowd to scream louder and louder, finally topping it with "I don't want any of you to have a voice tomorrow." Well, yep, I reckon I won't.)

Ricky is a totally maniac. He jumped into the crowd multiple times, both crowd surfing and strolling around and once, near the end, to walk across the bar of the Mod Club and pour himself a pint. He's also a complete genius at stirring up the crowd. (Anyone who can bully a Toronto crowd into going as beserk as they did tonight is a miracle worker.)

On a personal aside, it was awesome that they started and ended with the two songs I want to hear the most: Spanish Metal from the new album started them off, and Oh My God was the big rousing finish. In between there wasn't an ounce of fat in the whole set; it was all fast, rocking numbers, no ballads allowed.

Next up, Franz Ferdinand in just over two weeks. Yay!

Nick Cave!

Oct. 3rd, 2008 11:56 am
przed: (li'l me 3)
We managed to score babysitting on Wednesday night so we could see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Kool Haus. Cave was one of the things the Sweetie and I bonded over when we first met, and we never miss an opportunity to see him live.

The set Wednesday was a lot sloppier than usual--the Bad Seeds are usually an incredibly tight outfit, but Cave seems to have entered a phase where he's going for energy over finesse--but even so, it was a pretty darn powerful performance. (I still miss long-time Seed, Blixa Bargeld, though. Blixa left the band a few albums ago, much to my chagrin. Blixa and Nick on stage together was a wonderful, wonderful thing.)

Anyway, to celebrate, here's a link to Cave performing Red Right Hand at Glastonbury in 1998. It is possibly my favourite Cave song ever (I'd love to vid it, but the bastard is 6:30 long) but even better is the fact that I was in the audience for this performance. (Squint really hard and maybe you can see me and the Sweetie, over there, off to the left. *g*)

przed: (the police - ghost in the machine)
Just got back from seeing The Police. (Their third time in Toronto, my second time seeing them.) It was an astoundingly good show, as expected. I didn't have the anticipation I had back in July, but some things seemed even better. It certainly helped that we had amazing seats.

Sting was in fine form, Stewart was his usual crazy self but my love for the band, as always, is centred on Andy. He's still an extraordinary guitarist and his solos were pure pleasure for my brain. And he won points for impiness by staying on stage between the second and third encore and milking the audience for applause. I cheered louder then than at any point in the show.

And now, since I'll be up at 6 dealing with a baby who mostly handled being babysat pretty darn well, I must crash.
przed: (groovy)
We just had our first baby-free night out together (courtesy of our lovely friends, N and J who did fab babysitting duty) and used it to go and see Thomas Dolby. Yes, that Thomas Dolby, the She Blinded Me With Science dude. And man, it was a fabulous concert.

It didn't hurt that he opened with Airwaves, my all-time favourite song off The Golden Age of Wireless, which makes it a very special song indeed. (Wireless was one of the first albums I bought with the money from my very first part-time job in high school and it holds a special place in my heart.) It was just Dolby and his equipment and a totally jumped up audience, and it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. He then did a number of other songs (including a cool, stripped down One of Our Submarines) by himself, before bringing out a horns section. Specifically, the Jazz Mafia Horns. More specifically still, three members of the JMH. The concert without them was great. With them it went to a whole new level. They did a lot of numbers from Aliens Ate My Buick that were tailor-made for a horn sound, Hot Sauce and The Keys to Your Ferrarri, and the sound just took your head off. Even the finale, with a jazzed up Blinded Me With Science and the audience doing enthusiastic imitations of Magnus Pike's "Science!" was a revelation with the horns.

So now we've picked up Rosalind and put her to bed and I really have to put myself to bed before I crash.
przed: (the police - ghost in the machine)
Just got back from seeing the Police's first Toronto show, and it was a blast. Even if we were sitting in the extreme nosebleeds. (I'm very much looking forward to November, when the boys swing back through Toronto for their third show here and we have awesome seats.)

The show opened with a bang, Stewart's gong and Message in a Bottle. They did so very many of my favourites (So Lonely, King of Pain, Synchronicity 2, Dee Do Do Do) and some unexpected gems, including an amazing arrangement of Voices Inside My Head/When the World Is Running Down. And when they started Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic and I realized that Andy had switched from his red Stratocaster to his sunburst Telecaster, I was one very, very happy fangirl. The Strat's nice and all, but Andy can just make that Telecaster sing. /guitar geekery

And now it's time for this very tired fangirl to go to bed.
przed: (scissor sisters)
1. It ain't a party till the tits come out. So said Ani Matronic introducing, what else, Tits on the Radio.

2. Jake Shears lost his virginity in Toronto. Or so he says. (We'll assume he wasn't just playing to the Toronto audience.) He offered the further detail that he was, and I quote, "fucked up the ass by a hot construction worker." Ah, Jake, how we love you.

3. The Scissors Sisters are totally the hardest working band on the planet. And their disco version of Comfortably Numb makes a killer end of concert rock out.

And now I shall haul my fortysomething butt to bed. (It's probably a good thing I won't be able to do late concerts for much longer. Eventually, it'd kill me.)

Brit Night!

Apr. 6th, 2005 12:47 am
przed: (dr who)
Had a lovely time tonight.

It all start with seeing Duran Duran at the ACC with my guy and [ profile] sooguy. (It was sooguy's Christmas present from the two of us.) The concert was awesome, the most enjoyable I've seen in a long time. They opened with Sunrise, my favourite track from the new album, and closed with a kick-ass version of Rio, and everything in between was pure bliss. Particularly good were The Chauffeur and Say a Prayer, two tracks I've always loved. And though he's not really a Duran fan, my guy got bouncy during Girls on Film.

The crowd was insane, myself included. It was kinda fun to see a bunch of thirty and forty somethings turn into screaming sixteen year old girls for an evening. (I'll have to see how much of a voice I have left for teaching tomorrow. *g*)

After getting home from the concert, we watched the tape of the new Dr. Who. I quite enjoyed it. Eccleston's version of the Doctor has the potential to get really interesting, I think, even if he's only going to have the thirteen episodes to do it. And Billie Piper's Rose was less of a "pop tart" (the big guy's phrase, not mine) than her promo pics led us to suspect. Can't wait for next week's episode.

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