Category Archives: Concerts

Aimee Mann at The Sheldon 5/6/16

Tonight we saw Aimee Mann at The Sheldon in St. Louis. This was our second time seeing her; the first time was a couple years ago at The Pageant. The Sheldon felt more intimate, which may have been due to the fact we had front row seats. !!!

I found out about this concert from Aimee’s Facebook page about an hour before the presale. We bought tickets immediately and ended up with these. Pretty great, but also slightly awkward when the lights were on and we’re just a few feet away. 

Anyway, per usual, Aimee sounded great. Plus she’s tall and seems slightly socially awkward which makes her instantly relatable to me.

I knew three of the first four songs. I don’t remember hearing The Moth before but it was soothing to listen to, just like the rest of her songs. 

I LOVE Goodbye Caroline and Jamie, Aimee’s piano player, made it that much better. I don’t think she had a piano player the last time we saw her, and oddly enough, earlier today I was thinking the only thing missing from her music is piano. No longer!

After Labrador she told a story about a friend of hers, a bass player who always introduces his songs in the most literal way possible. Like if a song was called Beautiful he’d say “This is a song about being beautiful. It’s called beautiful.” Aimee thought that was great because she’s never been the type of musician to tell a story to segue into a song; she’s always thought it’s better to just play straight through. 

Then she said “This is a song about wanting someone to save me. It’s called Save Me.” She has a dry sense of humor and her deadpan delivery was hilarious.  

Save Me is actually one of the first songs of Aimee’s that I knew; I heard it in college a lot and then rediscovered it when I realized the Magnolia soundtrack is nearly all Aimee Mann and wonderful. 

Anyway, she did Save Me and then four other older songs. 


After these she said she was going to play a couple of new songs from her record that’s going to come out in early 2017. She knows there a reason it takes so long for albums she puts out herself to come out, but can never remember. 

For this one, she decided to think about what she thinks people think of when they think of Aimee Mann. She assumed they thought of sad, depressing, acoustic songs. So she decided to do that, but to a level never seen before. A friend of hers asked what the songs were about and she said “what most of my songs are about; mental illness”. In text that doesn’t come across as humorous, but the way she said it was in a very funny self deprecating way. So her friend said “that’s what you should call the album”. So that’s what she’s doing. LOL. 

Photo courtesy of Trace


I usually hate when musicians play new stuff at concerts but I loved both of these songs. 
Stuck in the Past is an oddly specific song about a spouse leaving their significant other to go on a mission to Mars. Aimee said she has friends that want to do this and she never understood the thinking–“they realize they’re never coming back, right? What does the other person say? Have fun?” I like songs about space (Space Oddity and Rocketman). Space is fascinating and scary and very lonely seeming to me, so any song about traveling there has a built in sadness to it. I like feeling that. 

When she introed Good for Me she said “get out your handkerchiefs!” but I do this thing where I zone out while listening to music and have no idea what the lyrical content is, so I was fine. 

She played a song called 4th of July and then asked for audience requests. She said she didn’t remember all of a lot of the songs people were yelling out, but made an attempt at Amateur. Her piano player Jamie looked up the notes on his computer. 


Aimee, meanwhile, couldn’t remember how to start the song and guessed at what the lyrics were. 

“I think that you’re a jerk. 

But I’m pretty sure I liked you at one time.”

That’s probably the gist of it, but she abandoned that song pretty quickly and instead played I’ve Had It, a song from her first solo record that she wrote when she was touring with Jon Brion. 

Then she played one of my favorites, Red Vines. 


 I just love these lines:

“And I’m the only one who knows

That disneyland’s about to close”

Then, as she said she would, she left for about two minutes while the audience clapped and then came back for an encore. 


Both songs from Magnolia. Wise Up is the song from that movie that made me really take notice of Aimee Mann. It’s really powerful–“it’s not going to stop til you wise up.”


Then they all left again only to return seconds later with Aimee saying “we remembered another song!” Then they played Deathly, another great one. 

And that was that. 


This concert didn’t start until 9pm, which is late for us. But with no opening act they were done by 10:30pm and I would have been content to stay and listen to more. Aimee’s music is so mellow and relaxing. 

We stuck around after people had cleared out and I got one of the guys to give me a set list and Tracy got one of Aimee’s guitar picks!


Then as Tracy was driving us home I got this notification. 


Ack! (By the way, follow me for infrequent tweets about the St. Louis Cardinals and pop culture.)

It was a great night, and totally worth the lack of sleep I’m going to get tonight. 🙂

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Heart at The Fabulous Fox in St. Louis 12/1/15

Tracy and I have been fortunate to go to concerts of most of our favorite artists, but one that had eluded us for years is Heart. They’ve come to St. Louis, but always to the Riverport/Verizon/Holloywood Casino Amphitheatre. We have no patience for that venue–it’s hot, takes us 45 minutes to get there, and what seems like hours to get out. We refer to it as the Amphitheatre of Death.

We were beyond thrilled to learn Heart would be coming to one of our favorite venues, the Fox Theater in St. Louis, and bought tickets immediately, despite the show being on a Tuesday night. 

 
The crowd consisted of older adults and lesbians, which was to be expected. We were elated that there was no opening act and the show began shortly after the 7:30pm scheduled start (I’m a 35 year old “older adult”.)

When Ann and Nancy walked out the first thing we noticed is how much weight Ann had lost.

  
She looked great. She wore her hair in loose braids which could easily make someone look like they’re trying too hard but it worked for her. Tracy told me both sisters are practicing wiccans; their flowing hair made sense to me for that reason.

Before this show, Nancy was the member of Heart I didn’t have a mental picture of, but she certainly made an impression on me Tuesday.  

Performing “These Dreams”

  

One of many guitar solos

  
As a rule, I hate “jams”. I find it so self indulgent when musicians make a song last twice as long as it needs to because they’re busy doing fancy schmancy things on their instruments. I require words to feel connected to a song. But on Tuesday, when Nancy did it, I was completely mezmerized. There’s only one word to describe her: badass. 

Tracy  took several videos during the show, but “Crazy on You” was the peak of Nancy’s baddassery.

I mean, seriously.  If you don’t watch that whole clip, here’s a snapshot of the 1:20 mark.

 I can’t do that, and I’m 26 years younger than her. 

Speaking of our significant age difference, watching Nancy perform was confusing for me. I knew Heart had been around since the 70s so my rough calculations of her age placed her as way too old for me years old. But she was like a little pixie on the stage, jumping around and dancing while playing her guitar faster than my eyes could comprehend. I’m never impressed by male guitarists. Nancy commanded the stage and exuded an a energy that was undeniably attractive. 

  

That sums up my feelings on sexuality. The energy within a person draws me in much more than the package that energy is radiating from.

I wasn’t the only one in the crowd that felt the energy coming from the stage. I heard many deep male voices yelling “yeah!” and “turn it up!” during quiet moments which was hilarious and awesome. Yeah feminism! 

 
Tracy diligently wrote down the set list as they played. 

 
I don’t think of myself as a Led Zeppelin fan, but apparently I am when these women are performing the songs. 

  

Heart, you were worth the wait.

Tori Amos at The Peabody Opera House in St. Louis 8/1/14

Last night i saw Tori Amos for the (apparently) fourth time.

The first time was when I was 14, in the fall of 1994 at Shryock Auditorium in Carbondale. This was my second concert (the first being Soul Asylum/Spin Doctors) and I’d only agreed to go because some friends of mine were going. The highlight of this show for me was my friend Tom and I realizing we had the power to make the whole audience start clapping when Tori hit high notes. We clapped first, then everyone joined in. It was awesome.

I had a much bigger appreciation for Tori in 2001, my senior year of college when I saw her at The Fox in St. Louis. I was sitting in the nosebleed section somewhat near my friend Ben, who would later become my roommate for a year after college and really made me a Tori fan by giving me a bunch of her music. My takeaway from that show was her performance of “Jackie’s Strength”, which I wasn’t very aware of before then but has since become one of my favorite songs. I love when that happens.

Tracy informs me that we saw Tori together at The Fox in 2002, but my memory is unable to differentiate that experience from 2001 so I will have to take her word for it.

Last night’s show was at The Peabody Opera House.

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Tori was on the stage with just her pianos.

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We were in row C which ended up being the sixth row which was pretty great.

I would love to learn how to play the piano. Tori is so advanced she can play the piano and her keyboard at the same time.

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She did a thing called the Lizard Lounge where she performed covers of Copacabana and Rattlesnakes.

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Her lighting scheme involved a lot of laser type lights. They reminded me of those school pictures from the late 80s/early 90s. Thank goodness my schools never used those backgrounds.

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I was glad to be so close because she’s so expressive; smiling and throwing her hair back dramatically.

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She’s also really funny. Right before playing “Happy Phantom” she talked about how she hadn’t played it in so long that she needed to have the song written in front of her to remember it. She said the great thing about going through menopause is you forget things but since you don’t remember them it doesn’t matter. Then she said, “fuck it, if I fuck up, we’ll do it over. We’re musicians, right? That’s what we do. …….. Good thing I’m not a pilot.”

She concluded the main set and thanked us for being so great.

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She came back for a short encore.

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That was during “Tear in Your Hand”, another one of my favorites.

“Maybe she’s just pieces of me you’ve never seen.”

She again thanked us for being the best ever, and was off for the night.

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Later she posted her setlist on twitter, which is a nice touch.

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Chaka Khan at The Fox 6/20/14

When I was in my early twenties and not opposed to going out after 9pm, Tracy, Dan and I went to Novak’s, a now defunct gay bar in The Grove. Dan and I were newly out of college and taking it all in; a crowd of (mostly) lesbians, alcohol, and loud music. Still, the atmosphere was similar to other bars we’d been in…until “Tell Me Something Good” by Chaka Khan came on.

The lesbians went apeshit. I can only compare it to the Oprah’s Favorite Things SNL skit. (Full clip of that HERE.) Like visitors to a new planet, Dan and I watched the Bud Light fueled metamorphosis taking place as everyone realized what song was playing and began screaming. But all of the excited lesbians, one intrigued us more than the others. There was a woman sitting alone on a stool at the bar, and for some reason she was holding a balloon. No one else had balloons; just her. As the song played, she was hopping around on that stool and her face was full of a joy I haven’t seen since.

Last night Tracy and I attempted to capture some of that lesbian at the bar holding a balloon joy, as we went to see Chaka Khan for the first time. The people watching at The Fox was nearly as good as that night at Novak’s.

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I took this photo to capture the essence of the woman with the white on top, black on bottom haircut, but now I am noticing the woman with the tiger on her shirt. Talk about animal print!

We settled into our seats in the 10th (!!!!) row.

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Chaka was actually the opening act, as for some reason the O’Jays had top billing. She came out shortly after 8pm, and opened with “I Feel For You”, a song I associate with the roller skating days of my youth spent at The Great Skate Train.

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Chaka looked great. For some reason I was picturing her as a frail, immobile older woman who would have to perform from a chair the whole time, but that was not the case. She worked the whole stage.

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She comes across a bit like a drag queen in my photos but that’s not how she looked in person.

Everyone was taking photos. The person in the distance really went for it. She was taking photos with her iPad. That’s a new one.

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Somewhere towards the end of her performance she did “Tell Me Something Good”.

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She had the crowd on their feet and singing along and she sounded great, too.

Then she left the stage briefly and came back to do “Ain’t Nobody” and “I’m Every Woman”.

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And that was that. I only know a couple of the O’Jays songs and thanks to The Apprentice I can’t help but associate “For the Love of Money” with the vile Donald Trump, so we left before they took the stage. We went to the grocery store and were home by 10pm. No regrets. We are a long way from the days of going out to Novak’s after 9pm.

BeyoncĂ© at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis 12/14/13

Tonight we saw Beyoncé perform live for the first time.
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She’s another person on our concert bucket list; someone we’ve waited a long time to check off.

Her opening act was a guy named Luke James, a guy with a good voice who I found over sexualized and disgusting. At one point his “choreography” consisted of sticking his hand down his pants. He’ll probably end up famous, which is the only reason I mention him.

After Pervy Perverson was done there was an intermission which was more entertaining than his performance. There was lots of fun music being played, including one song that made nearly everyone get up and begin performing a dance my friend Dan informed me is called The Wobble.
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Oh, to have that kind of confidence.

Also during the intermission Trace and I saw our friend Rich who I’ve known since college.IMG_2319
We’re drinking Straw-ber-itas. Rich said they now sell Cran-ber-itas but he can’t find them anywhere. Apparently the Cran-ber-ita is being billed as a winter drink, so you can imagine what a horse’s ass I felt like drinking a Straw-ber-ita in December.

On to BeyoncĂ©! By the way, I can’t help but pronounce her name Be-yonce (rather than Be-yon-ce). Tracy and I have done this ever since we heard Joel McHale say it that way on The Soup. Be-yonce.
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BeyoncĂ© has a flair for the dramatic. The first song was “Run the World (Girls)”. A video played where everyone was in white, then the screen slowly lowered, and the white video started meshing with dancers appearing on stage, and finally, BeyoncĂ©, also dressed in white.beyonce run the world
We do this song in Zumba, so I love it for that reason. After some other songs she did another song we do in Zumba, “Get Me Bodied”, which I really love. (I couldn’t help but do the moves in my head.) I believe during this song she was in this black outfit with a baseball cap, all sparkly.IMG_2330
She reminded me of Janet Jackson in Rhythm Nation.

Now a word on wind machines. Beyoncé loves them.IMG_2334
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It was pretty hot by this point; I could have used a wind machine myself.

Then, in a (relatively) safer nod to P!nk, Beyoncé attached herself to a zip line and flew to the stage near us!
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The first song she did on this stage was “Irreplaceable”.IMG_2341

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She’s singing to me here.
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She moves like a glistening piece of sculpture.

Then she did “Love on Top”, my jam.
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The dancing to “Love on Top” is so adorable. It’s like this but without BeyoncĂ© being pregnant:


That video makes me LOL because of who you see in the audience: Lady Gaga dressed as a man and Katy Perry wearing a block of cheese on her head. Oh, 2011.

Then she covered “Survivor” from her Destiny’s Child days, and zipped away. 😩
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Back on the main stage, she did “Crazy in Love”, probably my favorite song of hers after Schoolin’ Life.IMG_2370

At other points in the show there was smoke and fire.IMG_2381

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“Single Ladies” was another high point.IMG_2383
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I can’t watch this dance without thinking of Dan, the same friend who educated me on the Wobble earlier in the evening. Dan could perform this dance when it was popular and I’m fairly sure he still could.

After performing “Grown Woman”, “XO”, and “Halo”, BeyoncĂ© introduced her mostly female dancers (two guys) and all female musicians. Another reason to love BeyoncĂ©.IMG_2398
And after about two hours and many costume changes, that was that.
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