August 26, 2015

Concert Story #9: Christina Aguilera

Presented by Summerfest and Kiss FM
Christina Aguilera
Marcus Amphitheater
July 1, 2000
Age 17

The pop stars keep on rolling with Christina Aguilera at Summerfest 2000.  I remember vaguely being a bit surprised how short her set was, but I know that at that time she only had one album out so it was understandable.  More importantly though, I was impressed with her vocals and how amazing she sounded live.  You can not deny that woman’s talent.  Out of all of the pop starts from the late ’90’s and early ’00’s, she was clearly the best vocalist in my opinion.  My brother, someone who I dragged to many many concerts with me, accompanied me on this show with my friend Andrea.  The month after this concert I would compete in our local Junior Miss (now Distinguished Young Women) competition and use Aguilera's "What A Girl Wants" as my dance soundtrack (and took third place if your wondering).

Andrea and I and my brother in the background, who I promise isn't always so creepy looking!

I can not for the life of me remember who the opener was, but from the looks of it, I'm guessing another boy band.

And then the lady of the hour came out!

The necessary white outfit of the night:

And of course, yes, I still have the confetti from this concert as well!

August 19, 2015

Consert Story #8: Backstreet Boys

Presented by Sears naturally

Backstreet Boys
In The Millennium Tour
BMO Harris Bradley Center
November 4, 1999
Age 16

Hot on the heels of seeing *NSYNC I was on to the next boy band, Backstreet Boys!  Again, as a result of my very sheltered childhood, I had very little idea who the Backstreet Boys where.  My friends in high school had started to teach me about them and *NSYNC, but I was always a little bit more familiar with *NSYNC then BSB.  My parents treated me, my friends Kelly and Cathy, and possibly my brother (not 100% on that one) to this concert.  It was the first concert I had seen “in the round” where the stage sat in the middle of the arena and could be seen from all angles.  Our seats where amazing, almost center of the circle and just a few rows up.  It was the closest I had been to such a high quality production and the choreography was so impressive.  Kelly, Cathy, and I were cheerleaders at the time and we had worn our high school cheer coats to the show, which I remember elicited some nasty remarks from another group at the arena.  It was one of the earliest memories I have of total strangers hurling insults at me just because of something I wore.  Besides those few comments though, things settled down once the show started and boy was the show was great!  BSB made use of the entire stage so you weren’t left feeling you were ever on the wrong side of the circle.  They had a ton of great dancers and even though Kevin had injured his arm or shoulder beforehand (his arm was in a sling), he still performed at the top of his game.  Like *NSYNC, BSB also had a portion of the show were they flew into the arena.  I'm not sure when this fad became popular, flying into the audience, but I still see it at shows today and it's awesome every time.  That night was such a great time and still I remember being so excited on the car ride home with my friends and talking non-stop about it.

Starting the show off looking serious boys

Saying "Hi" with their "tough" pose

Nick Carter, of course my favorite, singing it!

The prerequisite white outfits of the night

And like most pop acts during this time, they flew threw the crowd

Final bow and goodnight!

Saved the confetti from this one as well!

August 12, 2015

Concert Story #7: *NSYNC

I LOVE that this was sponsored by Clairol Herbal Essence

Opener: Jordan Knight
Boys of Summer Tour
Marcus Amphitheater
August 8, 1999

Age 16

And so it begins….my pop phase (although it's probably not a phase if I still attend pop concerts regularly)!!!  I grew up very sheltered.  My parents would make my brother and I go run outside and play in the fields, read, or do something creative.  We did watch television but not much.  As I result of this upbringing, I had no idea about *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera, or Britney Spears until I got put into public school with kids that had MTV and listened to the radio (I listed early to the rock station, oldies station, or AM radio with baseball games – apparently I was an old man).  Well, when I hit public school, my new found friends quickly informed me of what I should be listening to and *NSYNC was a big one.  Girls at school had pictures of Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez up in their lockers, which at that time I had never even had a locker before!  Things went bananas when my mom took me, my sister, and younger brother to see *NSYNC at the Marcus Amphitheater in 1999.  Contrary to the pictures, our seats where pretty good.  Naturally my sister came with so she could check out Jordan Knight from NKOTB doing his first solo work as the opener.  He was pretty good I must say, but of course I loved *NSYNC better.  At one point they flew through the crowd and the furthest they reached was directly above us!  With my sister and I being 5’9”, we jumped on our seats and tried to reach them but alas, they where still a few feet above our heads.  I remember they did a section of songs where they went through covers of songs from the decades and I did not like that except the Jackson 5 song they sang, because who doesn’t like the Jackson 5?!  Overall though the concert was a blast.  I was 16 and in full on "boy crazy" mode, what better to help that craziness than seeing a boy band with a few thousand more hormonal teenage girls? This concert was my first real big “pop” concert and really started me on a roll of many more to come!

It should be noted that I have no idea what the proper capitalization, punctuation of *NSYNC is.  I saw one way and ran with it..
*NSYNC starting the show off from above! Look at all those hands in the air!

Their pose here reminds of Charlie's Angels a little bit

Some snazzy costumes there

Remember those track suits?  And JT on the big screen!

Their final waive goodbye!
Yes - I even kept the confetti that came down at the end of the show!

August 05, 2015

Concert Story #6: No Doubt with Weezer

No Doubt
Opener: Weezer
Tragic Kingdom Tour
Marcus Amphitheater
July 2, 1997
Age 14

Gwen Stefani is my sister's favorite musician, I mean FAVORITE.  I can not stress this enough, she loves anything Gwen related, including of course No Doubt.  Naturally, when No Doubt came to town in 1997 my sister got tickets for herself, her boyfriend, her friend, and a 4th person but the 4th person couldn’t go so my cool 18 year old sister had to drag her dorky 14 year old sister with her!  The concert took place during Summerfest, if you do not know what Summerfest is, Google it.  Summerfest is awesome and I’m so lucky I grew up 20 minutes from it!  

We had bleacher seats at the Marcus Amphitheater, which were a ways back but we had a great center view of the stage.  Weezer opened and I was too young to know much about them, but years later I would realize how incredible they are and loved that I had caught them early.  No Doubt ruled though.  It was their first headlining tour supporting The Tragic Kingdom album and just so much fun.  We had some smokers sitting right in front of us which was a little distracting at first (I was raised in a smoke free environment and my dad would shut anyone down who dared to light up around us), but they left the concert early for some reason and that was great for us.  My sister and her boyfriend took their seats in front of us and then we all danced and jumped all night long to “Just A Girl”, “Spiderwebs”, “Excuse Me Mr.”, and so many more awesome tracks.  If I thought I was cool when I saw Richard Marx with my friends, my cool rating went up higher now (only in my head of course).  Getting to see these two awesome bands with my cooler older sister and no parental supervision had me thinking I was hot stuff.  

Only downside to the night is that I wore some typical ’90s “Delia’s” style shoes, white sneakers with big platforms, which cut into the back of my heals.  A small price to pay and also a price I will pay for many years to come as I’ve never learned that breaking in new shoes at a concert isn't the best idea.

July 29, 2015

Concert Story #5: Nashville Now

My ticket stub with Pam Tillis's signature upside down on it!

Pam Tillis and Bill Ray Cyrus
Celebrity Theater
Opryland USA
June 24, 1993

Age 10

Five weeks in and I'm already out of order!  While searching for some photographs I found this ticket stub for attending a taping of the show Nashville Now.  While it's a taping of a television show and not a concert technically, both Pam Tillis and Billy Ray Cyrus performed at this taping, so I'm including it!  In the summer of 1993 my family took a road trip from Wisconsin, down through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia.  When we were in Nashville we visited the Grand Ole Opry, Dollywood, and Opryland USA, which is where Nashville Now was tapped.

Already a country fan, I was super excited to see not only a television show taping, but also, the great Pam Tillis.  "Cleopatra, Queen of Denial" had just came out that summer and I was obsessed with that song.  I couldn't believe my luck that she just happened to be performing at the same time we were there.  The legendary Billy Ray Cyrus* also performed during the show as well.  After the show both Ms. Tillis (she was such a idol to me, there's no way I can call her by her first name alone) and Billy Ray Cyrus gave autographs to the crowd and were incredibly nice and gracious.  Getting Ms. Tillis' autograph on my ticket (which is upside down you may have noticed), totally made the road trip for me.  

Now here are some truly terrible photographs from the tapping, remember, it is 1993 here, no iphones or fancy cameras for this family.

*I'm almost positive Billy Ray Cyrus performed at the taping.  I think my excitement for Ms. Tillis was so overwhelming my memory is a bit foggy again, but I think I remember my brother meeting his hair idol at that time!

You can probably see Ms. Tillis the best here, with the guitar

July 27, 2015

EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2015

This year I finally made it out to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  I am a huge lover of space and the great unknown, so this airshow has been on my list of must see's for years, especially since it's just 90 minutes away from me!  We went on Sunday, the last day, which must have been the wind down, but in a way it was perfect.  The weather was worm and gorgeous, there were a lot of people but after dealing with the Summerfest crowds, there were not too many people.  Food prices were very affordable and I also enjoyed that you could bring your own food and drink in as well.  

Here are some snapshots from the air show, I hope to get to go back and see the legendary night show one year as well!