October 07, 2015

Concert Stories #15: Default with Greenwheel

Opener: Greenwheel
Rock Stage – Summerfest
July 3, 2002
Age 19

Normally I dread opening acts, I have even refused to go to a concert when I knew the opening act was a band I hated (at Summerfest - were you must get there early to reserve your spot and wait through the opener), but on the flip side, opening acts can expose you to something you may have not come across on your own.  The first time this happened to me was when my brother and I went to Summerfest to check out the band Default.  The opening band was Greenwheel and we walked in half way through their set and as soon as we heard them, we were hooked!  Ryan Jordan is the lead singer of the band, which is from Missouri.  He sang with such passion and intensity in his voice and his band mates matched it.  My brother and I immediately bought their CD Soma Holiday and if I remember correctly, we both wore out our own copies and had to get new ones (oh the days before mp3’s).  We would go on to see them again (coming in another Concert Story) and in 2007 they would change the name of the band to Go Van Gogh, which is sort of when I stopped paying attention.  I will forever love Soma Holiday though, it brings back such great memories of my late teens and early 20s.  

The headliner Default, who we were there to mainly see, gave a great show as well!  I was starting to go through an angst filled phase after a confusing first year of college and "Deny" and "Sick and Tired" from The Fallout were on regular reply on my discman, yeah I'm old, I carried around a discman!

Overall it was a great night at Summerfest that night.  Saw a band that let me dance (I wouldn't say dance, but I also wouldn't say moshed, basically jumped around like an idiot?) out my confusion and found a new one to love as well.

Here is the video for "Breathe".  If this sounds familiar, Melissa Etheridge covered this song for her album Lucky and earned a Grammy Award nomination for it (and in my personal opinion ruined it forever but I guess the Academy disagreed with me on that).

"Breathe" is good, but "Shelter" is probably my favorite

I have also created what has the potential to be the worst playlist on Spotify.  Each week I'll add my favorite songs from the artist I've seen this week.  Check out what I have so far, if you dare!

September 30, 2015

Concert Stories #14: Jewel

My only and truly awful picture of Jewel that night
Roadhouse - Summerfest
July 2, 2002
Age: 19

Jewel was a really big presence during my teenage years.  Pieces of You came out when I was twelve and like the rest of the country, I loved it.  I will remember that album forever because I'm old enough to be one of those people that transitioned from cassette tapes to CD's.  For my birthday I saved up my allowance and gift money and got my first boombox ever with a CD player in it.  As additional gifts I got three albums: Jewel's Pieces of You, Metallica's Hero Of The Day (single release), and Eric Clapton's Change The World (single release).  And yes, my music taste is really that diverse!  Pieces of You got heavy rotation in that boombox, "Foolish Games" and "Amen" are probably my favorite tracks from that album.

Fastfoward to 2002, Jewel had come out with two other excellent albums Spirit and This Way.  She was a pretty big star by 2002, which was why I was shocked that she would play the Roadhouse (a free stage) at the Summerfest music festival.  This was the first time that I experienced such a an enormous massive crowd at a Summerfest free stage.  I went with my sister and we got there a few hours in advance, yet we were still very far back with our seats.  It was great to see such an amazing turnout and the crowd really showed their appreciation when Jewel hit the stage.  It's always a great time when you know every song an artist has to offer and this was one of those shows.  Jewel sounded great live and seemed really thrilled to be playing.  I also remember her yodeling I believe.  An odd skill but if I had that talent I would flaunt it too!

Here's "Foolish Games".  Hearing it takes me back to my teenage years.

Here's one of my favorites from Jewel's Spirit album "Down So Long"

September 23, 2015

Concert Stories #13: O-Town

Pabst or Riverside Theater
2000 or 2001

Somewhere along the line I saw O-Town.  Yes, the band put together by MTV, but you know what?  They were surprisingly great live! As usual, my brother received these tickets for his birthday and was forced to take me along with him.  It was the first concert I had been to where everyone in the audience got something free - a glow stick!  It seems rather simple now, but at the time I thought it was a pot of gold.  

Lugo opened the show.  If you are wondering who that is, me to (sorry Lugo).  Then O-Town came out and gave a great show.  They had a lot of energy and I remember that they sounded good live (they did not appear to be lip syncing from what I recall).  The choreography and presentation was also very tight.  Before the show I had really wondered why I was going, why didn't I let my brother take a friend? But after, I was really glad I had forced my way along with.  Absolutely a fun night!

The opener Lugo

September 16, 2015

Concert Stories #12: Bon Jovi

VH1 and MGD Presented

Bon Jovi
Opener: Eve 6
Marcus Amphitheater
July 8, 2001
Age 18

This was my first of many, many Bon Jovi concerts.  I had no idea who Bon Jovi was until “It’s My Life” came out in 2000.  I remember watching them perform on the Rosie O’Donnell show and thinking that they were amazing.  My sister was like “Hey idiot, here’s their greatest hits CD”.  Then I realized who they really were.  

The first time I saw them was at the Marcus Amphitheater and I went with my sister to the show.  I definitely fell in love with Bon Jovi after this show, my sister though, refused to see them ever again!  Apparently they didn’t sing one of their main hits (I can’t remember which one) and she swore off them and to this day has still not seen them again!  I have gone on to see them countless times.  I love going to their concerts because the crowds are so diverse and everyone knows every word to the songs and sings them so passionately.  It's a great experience.

The main memory I take with me from this concert is not exactly a pleasant one though.  We had parked a little over two miles North of the amphitheater.  When walking to the show, a man came at me and thankfully my sister pulled me away in time.  There’s more to that story, but it’s very disturbing and I'm grateful I was too young at the time to understand how disturbing it was.  Let’s just say I refuse to walk alone, in the dark, on secluded pathways anymore (a good rule of thumb for anyone).  I also got stuck with scars on both my feet!  I wore these leather mules (stupid I know) and they cut into both my feet and to this day, the scars are still there.  

Besides the craziness before and after the show the main point is that the concert was amazing!  All that stuff happened and it still could not stop me from falling in love with Bon Jovi.

It almost looks like Jon isn't wearing any pants right here, but he is, just some really really tight ones!

Richie and Jon singing together.  I hope one day they can get back together, they are such a great match.

Eve 6 was their opener.  I'm a huge fan of them and they were awesome.

September 09, 2015

Concert Stories #11: *NSYNC

Presented by Kiss FM

No Strings Attached Tour
BMO Harris Bradley Center
November 18, 2000
Age: 17

*NSYNC the second time around was much better and more polished than the first show I saw in 1999.  Just over a year after their first stop in Milwaukee, *NSYNC presented a full on production in support of their No Strings Attached album.  The stage, outfits, choreography where a vast improvement in such a short time.  The boys started off being lowered down from the ceiling dressed as marionette dolls, which went along from their music video for "Bye Bye Bye".  And like many concerts, they ended the night with a portable stage that rolled them out towards the back of the arena.  I can not remember who I saw them with, most likely my brother again and I think Dream was their opener, do you remember them?  They sang that song "He Loves You Not", which I loved at the time!  I also think Baha Men of "Who Let the Dogs Out" was also an opener.  

Here are some of my photos from the night:

Opening the show up from the ceiling! 

 Looks like  ballad here based on the real "emotional" look from JT on the big screen

In this section of the show, JT did a beat boxing solo.  He was surprisingly really good. 

 Instead of flying through the crowd like their first show, they "rode" through it this time.  Which was probably way more comfortable than harnesses.

 They got the towels out! Must have been working up a sweat, haha.

I think this was the Baha Men, I vaguely remember hearing "Who Let the Dogs Out" and this looks like it could be them, not a 100% on this.

September 02, 2015

Concert Stories 10: Britney Spears

I love seeing who presents the concerts, here it's "Got Milk?"

Britney Spears
Opener: BBMak
Marcus Amphitheater
July 8, 2000
Age: 17

See this photo? Yeah, that's how awesome this concert was!

OMG this was a great one for me and one that I'll never forget!  My brother was a huge Britney Spears fan (and myself as well).  He got these tickets for his birthday and was pretty much forced to take me along with him.  We had awesome 2nd row seats right in the center section!  A little bit before the show started a security guard saw that I had a camera with me.  Cameras were not allowed in the show and he mentioned it to me but also mentioned that if I keep the flash off and don’t take too many pictures I should be good.  That piece of advice came in useful as I followed his directions and got many great photos, and I should mention everyone around me got stopped by security because they all used their flashes (side note: who uses a flash at a concert? It really is pointless).  

But on to the show, man was it great!  I do not care if Britney sings live or not, she gave such a great show.  The choreography, the costume changes, it was a full on production.  It was such a blast and a fun night that I will remember forever.  Before her, BBMak opened, remember them?  Probably not, they sang that song “Out of My Heart”.  They gave a pretty standard show and I remember I was a bit annoyed that when they threw their towels into the crowd, the 10 year old boy next to me caught both!  Revenge would be mine though as Britney Spears threw her pink cowboy hat into the crowd that night and not only did I beat that boy to it, I beat the woman in front of me as well.  Being 5’9” I snatched that cowboy hat out of the air above her head.  She grabbed on to it as well, but let’s just say I played basketball and “boxing out” was the one thing I was good at.  Needless to say, she was pretty po’d at me but I was so excited and thrilled that I caught her hat!  Fast forward 15 years and I still have that hat, what I'll do with it who knows but people still mention my boxing out skills to this day.

And here's her hat in all it's bent up glory!