Tag Archives: Rascal Flatts

I Couldn’t Have Asked for A Better Introduction to the World of Live Music

ImagineDragons20You may have noticed that I love live music.  I went to more shows, concerts and music festivals in 2013 than I even had time to write about for you!  Muse, Alabama Shakes, Center of the Universe Festival, Seether, ScotFestRascal Flatts, Jay-Z, and Zac Brown Band all in 2013, and it was marvelous!  (I think I may be forgetting some smaller ones too…oops!)  If I’m given the option, I will pick something with live music over just about any other form of entertainment.  I don’t even have to know who the performers are, just give me music.  This is the kind of enthusiasm worth sharing and passing down.  In an effort to infect someone else with this passion, this weekend I took my nephew to his first concert, and, man, did we pick a great one. Nico Vega, The Naked and Famous, and Imagine Dragons played at the BOK Center to a sold out crowd, and it was awesome.

Nico Vega

Nico Vega

Nico Vega opened, and although we missed the first song or two, the set was great. With her bouncing blonde ponytail, sparkling jumpsuit and contagious energy, she definitely got the crowd moving. Nico Vega’s lyrics and impressive voice definitely deserve a search on Spotify.

The Naked and Famous

The Naked and Famous

The Naked and Famous were next.  They come from New Zealand.  (I don’t know what that has to do with anything other than I want to go there.)  Their opening visuals were stunning, but their first song took my by surprise. The match up of vocals and beat were unusual, but not bad. Not something I could dance to, but it was definitely interesting. By the end of the song I enjoyed it.  The rest of the songs were wonderful, and I particularly enjoyed the male vocal lead and guitarist. They all had great stage presence and energy, and The Naked and Famous have earned a couple of spots on my playlist.

Imagine Dragons Radioactive

Imagine Dragons- Radioactive

The main attraction took the stage in a swirl of light and fog. Imagine Dragons were even better than I expected. Dan Reynolds exudes enthusiasm and passion for his work and his audience. Never was that more apparent than this evening. The Imagine Dragons frontman became visibly emotional when talking about the importance of tonight’s performance. “This is a special night,” he said.  “Probably the most special night of the tour.”
All of the proceeds for the show went to the Tyler Robinson Foundation.  Tyler Robinson was introduced to the band three years ago when Tyler’s brother sent an email to Dan Reynolds. Tyler was sixteen and had cancer and was coming to a performance. The two struck up an unlikely friendship. One year ago Tyler succumbed to his illness, and Imagine Dragons teamed up with the Robinson family and the Tyler Robinson Foundation was born. The Foundation assists families with the unseen costs that all too often accompany a battle with childhood cancer.   With Tyler’s family in attendance, they dedicated Tyler’s favorite song “It’s Time” to their lost friend, and the crowd lifted up their voices to join in. I have never heard a more beautiful choir sing, and it don’t know of an individual there who wasn’t moved.

ImagineDragons46

Then the party started.  These guys seriously rock.  They’re a new(ish) band, having formed just five years ago, and since then have skyrocketed. Even after winning a Grammy for “Radioactive” this year, you get the distinct sense they have a hard time believing that playing for a sold out arena is actually part of their lives.  They have fun with their shows, and a concert is always so much better when you can tell that the people on stage have fun with it and truly love what they do.  Imagine Dragons love what they do.

BGCTIE15Between Dan Reynolds and guitarist Wayne Sermon playing the drums that scattered the stage, Wayne’s seriously awesome guitar solos, and the enormous confetti filled balloons that made an appearance during “Top of the World”, I think my nephews first concert will be far from his last.  He might even let me dance next time, because, let me tell you, refraining from dancing at this one was hard….really hard….really, really hard.  Once again, I left the show with no voice to speak of (which my nephew thought was hilarious), a new t-shirt, some great pictures to go with a perfect introduction to the world of live music.  Before we made it back to the car, he was already asking about the next one.  Enjoy it, kid.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

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My Wish For You…Cassadee Pope, The Band Perry & Rascal Flatts

photo (23)My best friend finally got her Christmas present…hey, no judgement! Rascal Flatts and The Band Perry had been scheduled to visit our fair city in January, but they were struck by illness and had to reschedule.  This is the first time that I’ve seen any of these acts perform, but I know most of their songs by heart, so we were all kind of bummed when they were rescheduled.  I’m just grateful they rescheduled on a date that my friend could actually attend.  She doesn’t live in Tulsa, so that was definitely a concern.  The important part is, we finally got to go to the concert…even though it is now closer to next Christmas than the one for which the gift was intended.  Don’t worry, I did not try to use this concert for either a birthday present or next Christmas…she wouldn’t let me.  Would I do that? No!  Maybe not…probably…okay, no. I wouldn’t do that.

pope2The delay in scheduling meant that Cassadee Pope, winner of the Voice’s third season, was joining the tour. I don’t know who the original opener was going to be, but Ms. Pope impressed me. I’m not a regular viewer of The Voice, and it isn’t because I don’t enjoy it. It just doesn’t stick to a real regular schedule.  Well, apparently it does, but it requires more memory space to remember when it comes in than I’m willing to give television…well television that isn’t Doctor Who or Sherlock…or Supernatural anyway. Every single episode I’ve watched I have thoroughly enjoyed though.  I love the fact that it is a positive show that works at uplifting the contestants and furthering their careers even if they don’t move to the next level.  It seems as if everyone gets something from the experience that is going to help them as a singer and performer.  The point is, Cassadee Pope has a strong, clear voice that carries a ballad like Wasting All My Tears just as well as the get-up-and-move Champagne. This girl not only has the pipes to bring in the crowds but she also has the stage presence to keep them coming to her live shows too, let me tell you. It wasn’t all sweeping white bell sleeves up there. She knows how to work the crowd.  She has a new album coming out on October 8th, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from her.

They had this line of people who waited on the floor to enter the tunnel under the stadium.  We had no idea what they were in line to do….so we started making up stories. When they entered the tunnel we waited for them to emerge somewhere else.  We thought they were there for pit passes (the area right in front of the stage), but they didn’t show up there.  So we waited….and waited.  Apparently it wasn’t the line for pit passes.  All other logical ideas (we came up with) exhausted, we started making them up.  The agreed upon story was they were tribute for the performers. (Hey, you have to keep yourself entertained while you’re waiting for the act to start.)  After Cassadee Pope performed they started to trickle out a few people at a time…I still have no idea what was going on there.  If any readers happened to be at this show (or others with similar mysterious happenings) please help me satisfy my curiosity!  Otherwise I will continue to make stuff up.  Trust me, it gets increasingly fantastic, and I don’t want to know where that goes since I started at tribute.

It is kind of like when someone told me about this show Amish Mafia.  Have you seen it?  (And down the rabbit hole we go.  I would say I’m sorry, but…I’m not)  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how an Amish mafia worked.  The purity and simplicity of living that I associate with Amish society just didn’t mesh with the mafia.  Now, of course, people are people and no matter their society or upbringing there are always the good and the bad.  However, with very little technology, and very little that is traditionally associated with the mafia…No electricity, no cars, technology that hearkens back to another era.  (Do they even have guns?)  No matter which way I sliced it…this did not jive with my traditional idea of how mafia works.  What would they do?  Extort protection chickens?  Pay me in furniture or I’ll mess up your carriage?  How would this work exactly?  I just couldn’t wrap my head around this concept, and I didn’t manage to catch the television show for months….months.  I asked everyone if they’d seen this show.  Friends, family, wait staff….yeah, even wait staff.  Then I finally watched the show and I was incredibly disappointed.  There was nothing about paying for protection in livestock!  It was kind of boring in comparison to what I’d created in my head. (Trust me my mind is not a boring place…maybe frightening, but never boring.)

perryintroAnd…..we’re back!  The Band Perry took the stage after Ms. Pope…ladies and gentlemen that family rocks, and they have TALENT. These performers kicked it off with their chart topping hit Done and kept right in rolling, mixing in a bit from The Lumineers and Fun along the way.  For a genre bending fan like me, it was perfect. They got the crowd involved, not just hyped up and excited, but involved. Kimberly Perry was intent on getting the crowd to sing along with…well everything. She commented that while we may be here to hear them sing, they were here to hear us sing with them…and we did…a lot. (Well, you give me a song I like, and I’m singing anyway, whether you want me to or not. Truthfully, I don’t even have to like the song, I just have to know it!  It works out better for everyone when you want me to sing.) I have been a big fan of their sound since their single If I Die Young exploded onto country music charts, and they played all of my favorites along with new stuff too.  Some of it Kimberly said they’d just finished writing with Brad Paisley.  That is one that I can’t wait to hear on the radio!  The visuals were fantastic, with video screens behind them, they turned the performance into something that felt like we’d stepped into the scene of a music video. Neil, Reid and Kimberly Perry played and sang their hearts out for us last night, and there is nothing better than watching a big stage show like that and knowing the performers are giving you everything they’ve got and loving it!

Reid was all mysterious looking with his plum colored jeans, boots, black t-shirt and black cowboy hat pulled low. Neil looked a bit like a rock star with his dark hair plastered to his forehead and black leather vest. Kimberly, she was the country diva with a bit of bad girl thrown in to drive the boys nuts.  Seriously, she was wearing a corset style top made from a material that was a kind of nude and black toile with bright orange piping that was mirrored in the orange ribbon lacing that trailed down the length of the black lace skirt.  The bad girl showed up in her over the knee black leather high heeled boots.  They were awesomely amazing! (Wow, I’m not typically into the fashion thing, but that was awesome.)  During the show one or more of them would pause at the front of the stage or just in front of the screens and the front stage lights would go down, and they’d be back lit.  All the crowd could see were their silhouettes, and it was really visually stunning.  Talk about working a crowd…

photo (21)Rascal Flatts was, of course….they were just, wow.  Now, my voice was already a bit ragged after The Band Perry, but they were playing all my favorites.  Some acts aren’t that great live, but they are awesome in the studio.  Rascal Flatts is amazing no matter where they’re performing.  They opened with Life is a Highway, and just kept running from there.  They pulled some of my favorites out of their collective hats.  I’m sure the people surrounding me were thrilled that my voice probably gave out and they could no longer hear me sing, but yeah, I was still singing….with everything.  The did a short selection where Jay played the grand piano and sang Moving On.  It was FANTASTIC.  Someone handed Gary LeVox a cowboy hat and he made a comment that he looked like Jason Aldean in it, there were fans (like the kind you wave in front of your face to create a breeze, not the kind that scream and ask you to autograph their chest…although those were present as well, I’m sure.) with their faces on them that a fan handed and he sang with one in front of his face.  Just in case you didn’t know, Joe Don is incredibly good looking…we grow them pretty in Oklahoma. Jay is just a funny guy.  The three of them took a few moments to pull up a stool to the front of the stage and introduce each other, and that may have been my favorite part of the show.  Jay’s cracking jokes, Gary’s fixing his hair that had gotten smushed during his hat wearing episode and Joe Don’s up their laughing at both of them. (Did I mention we grow them pretty in OK?  ‘Cause, whew!)

The crowd could actually sing…like mostly in tune and everything.  During Broken Road the guys stopped singing and the crowd kept going and it didn’t sound bad at all.  That doesn’t usually happen, so kudos to us!  I mean, I didn’t count since I’d lost my voice, but…I was there….and singing!  It was a really good mix of old favorites and music from their latest album Changed.  Rascal Flatts have had several songs over the years that have featured predominantly in the song track for my life, and I’m pretty sure they covered all of them in this show.  So memories, both good and bad were swimming all over that arena.  Cassadee Pope joined the trio on stage to sing a duet with Gary that got him a bit choked up.  I can certainly understand why, their voices complement each other well, and they both know how to tug on a listener’s heart strings. *Sniff*

The point being this was a great concert overall.  It left me asking myself the question…Do I like the big arena shows or the small venues better? I mean really.  There’s something to be said for all the screens and the pyrotechnics and wowza type effects, it is just awesome.  Then again, the small venues offer the intimacy of somebody on a stage just playing their music, no gimmicks, no distractions…As a fan in Tulsa, I’m lucky, I can pick the BOK center and seats where I can feel the fire from the pyrotechnics on my face, or Cain’s where I’m close enough that the guitar can melt my face.  I don’t really have to choose between the two.  Whew!  What a relief!  I do have to say that the small venues to offer up better pictures that what I can provide here, but I can only work with what I’ve got, folks.

If you had to choose would you pick the big venues or the small venues?  What do you like best about them?

‘Til next time,

Jessica