Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

This was our 3rd trip down to Chula Vista to see Dave Matthews. We had fairly good seats in August 2010 and had the most fun of any of the concerts we went to that year. In September of 2012 we got tickets for the lawn, which is about as far away as you can get, but we brought a blanket, and had a fun and relaxed night. This year I was on it! I was waiting as the Citi presale started and got in really early. I was really happy when my “best seats” search came up with tickets for GA-PIT! We have been there before standing for Kings of Leon in 2010 and with seats for Sheryl Crow (and Kid Rock) in August of 2011. For Sheryl Crow we got really lucky with front row seats in the center of the stage!

The lesson we had learned in 2010 at the Kings of Leon, is that standing in tight quarters for a few hours can lead to very sore feet. So the next general admission – standing concert we went to we decided to get Dr Scholls gel inserts. It was great that time and every time since. If it weren’t for gels, we would likely avoid standing sections at concerts! Neither of us could find our gels the weekend before so we went out to get new ones. The morning of the concert (Friday) we decided we should be prepared so we cut down our gels to put them in our most comfortable shoes. We were both struggling to get them in. I’m pretty sure that Jenny was the first one to figured out that her old gels were already in her boots! I’m glad I checked before I gave her a hard time. All I could say was, “Oops, mine too!”

We got to Sleep Train a little early, but had to wait at Will Call to get our tickets. We settled in to a place to stand about 50-60 feet away from the center of the stage. The crowd was excited but mellow. Once the band came out some were more mellow than others. A guy standing right behind me started yelling as soon as the band started to play… “F***** Yeah – Give me some of that”, nonstop. The band was opening with an acoustic set, in fact Dave Matthews was singing all by himself for the opener, Little Red Bird and this guy was yelling at the top of his lungs about a foot from my ear. He was jumping around and banging in to everyone around him. I get being excited, we had great tickets, and the music was starting. However, after about 45 seconds of this, with no end in sight, I started to worry this would not end. So rather than turning around and getting angry with the guy, I turned around started jumping up and down with the guy and joined in with his yelling. It took him a while to get it. I think he even tried to give me a hug, but eventually he took a breath and the guy with him said, “Can’t we just watch the show”. I replied, “Exactly!”, turned back around and enjoyed the music. This guy got fired up a couple more times, but at a much more tolerable level from that point on.

The second song was a very energetic acoustic version of Bartender with just Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds. This songs starts with some unique guitar sounds with the help of a steel slide, monk-like chanting, and has a spiritual feels throughout the song. If being served wine by a bartender could only lead to resurrection we’d have one more reason to drink more wine!

Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds play Bartender Sleep Train San Diego 2014

Although it was an acoustic set the full band was still out there for most of it. I would love to see more of the acoustic stuff! One of my favorites of this set was a song I had not heard before, Old Dirt Hill. As usual they played it much differently than the video I link to, but that is a great reason to see Dave Matthews live. I really love the lyrics to this song.

Dave Matthews acoustic set Old Dirt Hill Sleep Train September 2014

A couple of songs later came a fairly mellow song, Snow Outside. A song of how we change with commitment, and what we bring to a life together with another person. I have a reasonable video of it, but not the full song, and not as good of quality as the one I linked to, which had a very similar vibe.

Dave Matthews acoustic version of Snow Outside San Diego 2014.bmp

This was followed by Tripping Billies. I got a reasonable picture of Boyd Tinsley’s solo during this song. It’s hard to get a good clear picture, when he’s playing. Lot’s of motion!

Boyd Tinsley - Tripping Billies solo - San Diego September 2014

The electric set started with Minarets. After only about 30 seconds of “F**** Yeahs” from the the screamer, who had somehow ended up right behind me again after the break, he quieted down again. It was much less irritating since this was the electric set, and somehow it almost seemed to fit the moment. Still glad it didn’t go on for long!

Dave Matthew - Minarets - San Diego September 2014

There was a bit of a break after the first song, with Dave Matthews giving us some one liners. Of course that fired up the screamer’s “Give me some of that”… I was relieved when the final one liner came “OK, everyone take your medicine”, and the song When the world Ends kicked off.

Dave Matthews singing When the world Ends San Diego September 2014

The next song they played is my favorite Dave Matthew song to dance (really more just moving along) to – Seven.

Dave Matthews sings Seven at Sleep Train in Chula Vista CA.bmp

Apparently Dave Matthews likes to move to this song too. I got a good picture of him moving and pointing out into the crowd.

Dave Matthews points to the crowd during Seven - Chula Vista CA

Just a couple of songs later, they played my favorite song to sing along with – Crush. I got a couple of short videos of the song, but I ruined the intro to the first video by singing along. Never a good idea for me to sing near a mic! The song has a great violin solo near the end, that was absolutely amazing live.

Dave Matthews focused on the intro to Crush - San Diego September 2014.bmp

The next song, Digging a Ditch, has great lyrics. The song is is slow… deliberate and calming. A good anger management – take a break – be alone and clear your mind song! After a couple of energetic songs, it is also a good one for the band to cool off with!

Dave Matthews Digging a Ditch Chula Vista CA September 2014.bmp

A few songs later, toward the end of the electric set the band played a very dramatic (including the video backgrounds) of Drunken Soldier. I got some great video of the song and was able to get this screen cature… love it when you can see the sweat!

Dave Matthew Drunken Soldier - Sleep Train San Deigo - 5 September 2014.bmp

Drunken Soldier transitioned into a mellow, jazzy introduction for the Lovely Ladies as they joined the band on stage.

The Lovely Ladies join Dave Matthews on stage at the end of Drunken Soldier San Diego September 2014.bmp

There were few more songs to finish out the electric set, all with the Lovely Ladies, including a great cover of Sledgehammer to close out the second set.

Dave Matthews sings Sledge Hammer San Diego CA 2014

Dave came out alone to start the encore with a solo performance of Some Devil. A very simple but powerful song that quieted the crowd and got us ready for the next three songs of the encore.

Dave Matthews kicks off the encore with a solo vocal of Some Devil San Diego 2014.bmp

The next song, So Much to Say, was one of the few songs that I recorded more than 30 seconds of. I had a full 3 minutes recorded. If I had know how good the video would turn out I would have finished recording the complete song. I love the way this song starts, very simple, staccato guitar rhythm and Dave Matthew’s voice. The simple white lights were perfect for this song intro.

Dave Matthews So Much to Say intro San Diego CA 2014

The lyrics are about holding pain inside, and this leads to a very cool transition in the song. “Keep it locked up inside, don’t talk about it… talk about the weather!” Then the beat, changed, the rest of the band joined in, and even the lighting transitioned.

Dave Matthews So Much to Say transition San Diego 2014

The song’s vocal ends with a chorus of “So Much to Say”,

Dave Matthews So Much to Say chorus San Diego CA 2014

but the song’s instrumentals just transitioned straight into Anyone Seen the Bridge. I either snapped this picture of Dave Matthews and Boyd Tinsley during that instrumental or during the next song Too Much.

Dave Matthews and Boyd Tinsley jamming during the encore - San Diego 2014

I left my camera in my pocket for much of the encore, just enjoying the music and the night. A little dancing with Jenny, and a very satisfied feeling at the end of the show. What a great band, what terrific entertainers! This well definitely not be my last Dave Matthews concert!

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Note/Credit: Although I had quite a bit of video of the concert, putting everything in order, especially a couple of months later, would have been difficult without looking at the set list for this show. Most of my videos are partial songs as I like to capture the feel of the concert but still want to be able to just put the camera away and enjoy the moment. I did find several full song recordings from this concert and I linked to those versions of the songs when I found them. One that didn’t fit into the post was this one that included, Don’t Drink the Water and Drunken Soldier. It’s a little rough, but I like it, reminds me of being there!

Faux Sunset 18 September 2013 Green Flash Concert Birch Aquarium-001

This year, 2014, will be our fourth year with season passes to the Green Flash Concerts at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. We have had some terrific times in past years and are really looking forward to the shows this summer. The concerts are the 3rd “hump day” of every month from May to September. The venue is fantastic and the timing perfect with the show scheduled to give everyone a great view of the sun setting into the Pacific Ocean. I haven’t seen a green flash yet, but as you can see in the above picture it is just a matter of time… maybe a long time, but I’ll keep hoping!

One of the things I love about the Green Flash concerts is the chance to discover great new music. KPRI has consistently found very talent acts for every show I’ve been too. We usually buy our tickets in December as soon as they are available. This is before the acts are even announced. At some point in the spring, this year seems a little later than usual, the schedule starts to fill in. I check the KPRI and Birch Aquarium sites for the Green Flash concerts regularly to find out who we’ll be seeing. What looks like a full schedule for 2014 is now posted.

The year will kick off on May 21st with Joan Osborne and Birds of Tokyo.
Although I didn’t recognize either act by name, I love Joan Osborne’s song One of Us. I really enjoyed listening to many of her other songs on YouTube… I really enjoy the mixture of 60’s folk, with a heavy dose of blues. Birds of Paradise is a successful alternative rock band from Australia. My favorite song from their new album is Laterns. I’m sure we will enjoy this show. It will be a good way to start the summer off.
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Update 21 May 2014: The first show of 2014 included two very strong performances.

Birds of Tokyo at Green Flash Concert May 2014

Birds of Toykyo came out strong. They are a young and energetic group. This was the most stress I’ve ever seen a group put on the temporary stage above the tide pool behind the Birch Aquarium. I would not be surprised if they need to replace some boards after that performance! I knew I would like Lanterns, but also loved much of their other music. My favorite other songs were Circles and Plans.

A paraglider showed up between the two acts and continued to soar overhead through much of Joan Osborne’s performance.

Paraglider over the Green Flash Concert May 2014

Of course everyone loved the song “One of Us”, in the middle of Joan Osborne’s set, but it seems like everyone loved her other songs as much as I did.

Joan Osborne lit up the Stage at the Green Flash concert May 2014

She gave a terrific overall performance playing some older songs and some new songs off her new Album “Love and Hate”. She has a wonderful voice and can really deliver. Her song Shake Your Hips got everyone moving. Off her new album – Work on Me, is a hauntingly beautiful song of loss and heartbreak – really terrific.

As a side note the speakers were really loud again for this concert. This happened for the first 2 shows last year, but got better for the last 3. I really didn’t notice it as much as last year, but in the end it was worse. My hearing was affected in my right ear of a couple days and I heard ringing in that ear for about 4 days. Luckily no permanent damage. I think I will be giving up my favorite location in front of the stage for the next show though!

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The schedule is a little sketchier from this point on as it is not listed on KPRI’s website yet so I’m assuming there may be more acts on some of the below dates, but I’ll go with what I see for now on the Birch Aquarium site. Update: The full schedule is now up on both sites. Check it out.

Wednesday June 18th – Eric Hutchinson & Scars on 45.

Eric Hutchinson’s a young guy, but he’s a singer songwriter and from what I see very talented. I’ve heard his song Rock and Roll before and really like it. His song OK, It’s Alright with Me was familiar and then I saw the version sung by Casey James on American Idol several years ago a little further down on the YouTube list. This took me back. Casey James wasn’t a one of my favorites that year but he sang this song really well, and seeing some of the old judges took me back.

If you are my age, Scars on 45 is a familiar sounding name. There was a group – Stars on 45 – on the radio in the late 70’s. They created disco beat music that strung together medleys of popular songs.

Scars on 45 is a very different type of music (thankfully), with a lot of acoustic songs online. I love acoustic music, and this group seems to do it well. I really like Crazy for You and Only A Game. This video for Give Me Something shows a different style – nice song.

Wednesday July 16th local favorite Steve Poltz.

He has been there every year, usually in September. I’m sure we will have a fun night at his show. Last year he played some recently released music that I really enjoyed, so it will be interesting to see what’s new this year. He is a terrific song writer, a very funny guy, and a solid performer.

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Update 17 July 2014: We had one act not on my original schedule last night.

But first a little about the venue and the night. I knew as I walked down the hill toward the ocean from work that we would have a terrific view that night. The air over the ocean was extremely and unusually clear. I’ve never seen such crisp and clear views of the water. We weren’t disappointed!

Greenflash Concert at Birch Aquarium 16 July 2014 - unusually clear sky with crisp views of the ocean and a terrific sunset

The Tolan Shaw Band is a young group but I like their musical style (bluesy mixed with youth!) and they have some good original songs online at their website TolanShaw.com. My favorite song of theirs on YouTube is Come Back. The Tolan Shaw Band provided a relaxing way to transition from work and traffic to enjoying a happy Wednesday in La Jolla.

The Tolan Shaw band at the Greenflash Concert Series 16 July 2014

Steve Poltz was Steve Poltz. He is an undeniable original! He can also be an acquired taste. Having seen him 5 times, I am definitely at the point of really enjoying his unique brand of entertainment. Whether he has a band or it’s just him, he will grab your attention. He had 3 new songs for us last night. He started the night with a touching tribute song to Tony Gwynn. Toward the end of the night he sang Folk Singer, a funny ditty about being a washed up folk singer. And after inviting a couple on stage to dance to a romantic tender song, he broke out his third original song… something to do with nipples! As usual he had plenty of stories and plenty of friends in the crowd. My favorite song of the night and probably my favorite Steve Poltz song was I want my friends to be happy. (Note: This link is from the 2013 Green Flash.)

Steve Poltz entertaining the crowd at sunset at the Greenflash Concert Birch Aquarium July 2014

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Wednesday August 20th Marc Broussard and Tyrone Wells.

A couple of singer songwriters sounds like the perfect night to me. Even though I’ve never heard of either of these guys I’m looking forward to this one.

Marc Broussard’s music is full of surprises. He really can’t be nailed down to one genre – very versatile, and I’m fine with that. You can find some examples of his music on the music page of his website. I really liked the song Lonely Night in Georgia from his album Live at Full Sail University. Most of the music on his site at the time I looked seemed to be a mix of a mix of folk, jazz, and blues. The first song I listened to on YouTube Home, has a very southern feel to it. I love southern rock, and I really like this song. The second song I listened to was a cover of Al Green’s Love and Happiness. He did a great version of this R&B song. I think we’re going to enjoy Marc Broussard.

Although I was not familiar with Tyrone Wells, after listening to some of his music online I know we are going to love this show. In fact I’ve downloaded a CD and an EP of his music from iTunes. Really talented singer! Great traffic jam music – very calming.

The first video that came up when I Google him was Sea Breeze. This definitely peaked my interest. You can stream his latest album on his website TyroneWells.com and there are links to download any or all of his CD’s from iTunes. He has tons of music… another favorite – And the Birds Sing. This video of Beautiful Girl, Beautiful World is amazing – he has one very happy fan for sure!

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Update 26 August 2014: We enjoyed every minute of the August show.

The weather had been cloudy most of the day, but it started to clear up as the sunset approached. We met a couple of my wife’s co-workers and were visiting right at sunset. If there was a Greenflash I missed it and the sunset. The view was still great even a few minutes later.

Just after sunset August 20th Green Flash Concert at the Birch Aquarium

Tyrone Wells came on stage with no introduction… the new crew at KPRI took awhile to get their act together. When he started singing he immediately had everyone’s attention though.

Tyrone Wells at the Green Flash Concert August 2014 at the Birch Aquarium

What a great voice. This venue is a perfect place to see a singer songwriter like Tyrone Wells. Beautiful views, warm breezes, and a setting sun (sounds a bit like a KPRI commercial) and a small area so you can get up close and enjoy the show. I recognized about half of his music as I have been listening to the CD I downloaded from iTunes in my car for about a month. In fact it was the only CD I brought (accidentally) for our road trip to the Grand Canyon. There were a couple of high points in the performance. He did a cover of the song Ain’t No Sunshine (video is the same song different venue/night) with a ton of emotion. He also sang a new song that really got me Brother. Made me think not only of my brother, but of a couple of best friends.

I expected another mellow act from Marc Broussard, but I guess I had forgotten the music I heard online. High energy from start to finish. I pulled this picture from a video of the tune Shine.

Marc Broussard and band playing Shine Green Flash Concert August 2014.bmp

Loved the song. Right before he sang this one he thanked San Diego for an export we sent to southern Louisiana a few years back. Although he didn’t mention any names, I’m betting he was talking about Drew Brees. He was a lot happier about that move than anyone in the crowd!

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Wednesday September 17 – Augustana & Paul Cannon. We’ve seen Paul Cannon a couple of times and enjoyed his laid back attitude and music. Augustana is out of San Diego and has some interesting music out there. Their single Boston has a haunting lyric and sound. They have a new album and a new single Ash and Amber, that I also like.

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Update 17 September 2014: Paul Cannon and Augustana were a strong finish the 2014 Green Flash Concert series. As always the venue was at least half of the show.

Sunset at the September 2014 Green Flash Concert at the Birch Aquarium

Paul Cannon has a strong voice and is just the act you want to see after a stressful day at work.

Paul Cannon Green Flash Concert September 2014

He focuses you on what’s important in life – the connections you make and the people you meet and love. His laid back attitude and life advice is just what I needed to relax. Some great music, breath in, breath out, let it all go and relax! What a terrific way to spend a Wednesday night. I usually have a beer or two at the beginning of the night, but I’m taking a medication that doesn’t mix at all with alcohol, so no beer. I didn’t miss it all.

Dan Layus of Augustana was another big surprise.

Dan Layus of Augustana Green Flash Concert September 2014

I keep seeing new acts (for me) at the Green Flash every year, and I keep being surprised. Instead of the whole band, it was just Dan, and alternately his guitar or the keyboard. I will definitely be listening to more of him! He’s a very talented singer. All by himself – riveting. My favorite song of the night was a new song he played in the middle of his set. I haven’t been able to find the song online. He said that he wasn’t sure when it would be released. His acoustic version of Boston was awesome, and my favorite, but I loved all of it.

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Other Green Flash posts and more: Live Music Posts (Favorite Artists and Favorite Venues)

When we bought our house a little over a year ago we decided to add an upgrade for surround sound wiring in the family room. Although this was a fairly expensive upgrade considering the much lower cost to put in wires before the drywall was even up. However, it was not expensive compared to what it would cost after the drywall was up, so we went for it. We did save about a third of the cost by only having the wiring installed, and not adding the speakers. I’m comfortable cutting drywall, connecting wires, and repairing any drywall that needs to be patched. The upgrade was supposed to include “caps” on the ceiling, which I assumed would make my life even easier because I would know exactly where to cut the holes for the speakers, but there were no caps in place when we did the final walk through on the house. Although there was a little push back the developer agreed to put in caps when I pointed out that the title of the upgrade was “Surround Sound wiring with caps”

Last month I bought a set of 6 inch two-way speakers so I could install the speakers. I got out the tools/supplies I would need: a utility knife to cut the drywall, a stud finder, a ladder, a wire cutter, a wire stripping tool, a drop cloth, and a Phillips head screwdriver. The speakers came in pairs and each speaker pair included a set of instructions, a tool to remove the grills, and a template for cutting the speaker hole.

Like most of my weekend projects, I have never done this before, so I expect I will learn somethings along the way and have a few surprises. Once I had everything I needed handy I got right at it.

Step 1: Climb the ladder and remove the first cap.
Step 2: Close your mouth when the amazement of no hole under the cap fades…

Removing Surround Sound Pre-Wiring Cap

Apparently (at least it was apparent after I removed the cap) the installer had screwed the cap directly into the ceiling. Since, this was not what I was expecting it caused me to immediately become more cautious. Even though I was less comfortable I decided it would be fine as long as the caps were positioned on the ceiling in the same locations as the speaker wires. They looked like they were right but I wouldn’t know until I cut the hole.

Step 3: Mark the studs around the cap location with a stud finder to properly place the speaker.
Step 4: Use the provided template and a pencil to mark the cutout location.
Step 5: Use a utility knife to cut the drywall along the line.
Step 6: Stop cutting when you feel a stud behind the drywall as you push the utility knife into the drywall.
Step 7: Remark the studs in the correct location (even if it is in the center of your first marked cutout).
Step 8: Redraw the cutout in the correct location.
Step 9: Be thankful you didn’t cut further before you found that stud!

Locating and marking the first speaker hole.bmp

Step 10: Double check there are no studs behind your marked cutout. OK, triple, then quadruple check that there are no studs behind the marked cutout.
Step 11: Carefully cut along the correctly marked cutout lines with your utility knife and remove the piece of drywall.
Step 12: Note the speaker wires behind the cutout.

Speaker wires behind the first cutout

Step 13: Sigh of relief… only 4 more to go!

Before moving on to the other cuts I wanted to complete the process on one speaker, by installing it, connecting it, and hearing the sweet music come from it!

Most ceiling speakers do not “mount” to anything in the ceiling. They clamp on to the ceiling using turnout clamps that move into position and tighten up as you tighten the screws on the front of the speaker.

Step 14: Pull the speaker wire down through the cutout.
Step 15: Separate the wiring and strip about 3/8 inch of the sheathing from the wire.
Step 16: Remove the speaker cover so you can access the screws for clamping the speaker to the ceiling.
Step 17: Connect the speaker to the wire from the ceiling.
Step 18: Ensure the rotating clamps are rotated in and insert the speaker into the cutout.
Step 19: Tighten the screws in the face of the speaker until it is held firmly in the hole.

Connect and install the speaker in the ceiling cutout.bmp

Step 20: Remove the cover from the speaker wire cutout near your media center.
Step 21: Connect each speaker wire to a “hot” speaker wire coming from your stereo receiver until sound comes from the newly installed speaker.
Step 22: Mark the wire to match the speaker location if it is not already marked.

That’s all it takes to do one speaker location! Not too bad, but a couple of lessons learned.

For the second speaker I was more careful. After marking the cutout location and before cutting I checked the cutout location for ceiling joists very carefully. Of course I found an unexpected one. Due to the width of our family room there was a support beam running across the house right where I had marked my cutout. Although the speaker cap was on the side of the beam closest to the wall, it didn’t look right, so I cut on the other side of the beam = jackpot – second set of speaker wires located. I installed the speaker, connected it, marked the appropriate wire and prepared for speaker 3.

Speaker wires were on the opposite side of the support beam than the surround sound cap

I had gotten lucky with speaker 2, but the fact that the speaker caps were not marking the actual location of the speaker wires was a big concern. The last 3 speakers were all lined up so they would be in the same void between joists. If I got the first one right I would be good to go for the rest. Unfortunately, when I pulled down the cap and marked the joists I found that the cap was almost perfectly centered on the junction of a joist and the beam! I was pretty sure which side of the beam to look on, but had no idea which side of the joist the wires would be on. This time, ignoring my previous logic, I guessed that the speaker would be closer to the wall. I think I let my “wishes” get in the way of logic. I wanted these speakers closer to the wall, so that is where I check. No joy – my first empty hole.

Third cutout with no wires in sight

It was time to call the builder and complain about the way the speaker caps were placed and get some assistance locating the wiring before cutting any more holes! It took about a week to get the speaker wire installation technician out to locate the wires, but he was very helpful. He located the wires, drilled an access hole in the ceiling joist, and pulled the wires into the void I had placed the cutout in. While he did that for the first one, I cut the last two holes. He quickly pulled the other speaker wires and I had the last three speakers installed less than 30 minutes later. Once I connected and tested the whole system I installed the speaker covers and then took a break to enjoy the fullness of the new sound system.

Sorround Sound speaker with cover installed

I still have to patch the holes from the speaker caps (and my one small extra cut) and do some touch up painting, but we were able to enjoy the surround sound while watching a movie that night. As expected there were some surprises, and I learned a couple of lessons along the way, but I’m glad I saved some money on the speaker installation, and we’re very happy with the way it turned out.

2013 Collage

Last year, 2013, was a very good year for me. Although it will be hard to beat I’m hoping for an even better 2014!

In 2013 I checked a major accomplishment off on my Bucket List, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon and had a great time in Washington DC that weekend! In order to make that happen I ran over 500 training miles including two half marathons, the San Diego Half Marathon in March 2013, and the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in San Diego in June.

We had a great time camping near Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park with family. Although I’ve been many times, this was my first trip to Idaho with Jenny. We spent our first anniversary enjoying downtown Boise, went white water rafting, and biked the Boise green belt on the 4th of July, then headed north for a couple days in beautiful Stanley Idaho. For my birthday we had a terrific weekend on Santa Catalina Island. the trip started out fast with my first zipline experience, and we also had a terrific time hiking in the hills around Avalon and just relaxing in our hotel and at the Descanso Beach club.

We enjoyed our third year of Green Flash Concerts at Birch Aquarium and lots of other live music including a few of my favorites Sara Barelles and One Republic at the SDSU Open Air Theater, John Mayer and Phillip Phillips at Sleep Train Amphitheater, Steve Miller at the fair, and Fleetwood Mac at one of my favorite venues – the Hollywood Bowl.

We closed on our new house on 31 December 2012, so we had all of 2013 to get settled in. This inspired me to start a new category for my blog: Weekend Project. Although I got a good start on the house, there are plenty more projects to tackle over the next few years.

For 2014 I will do this a little differently than last year with a top 10 count down of predictions for 2014!

10. Week-end project – install surround sound speakers!

9. Develop an Android App and publish it to Google Play.

8. Weekend Project – Improve the storage in our garage so we can park 2 cars in the garage at once (novel idea)!

7. Our 4th consecutive season of Green Flash Concerts at the Birch Aquarium.

6. Bucket List (progress) – Complete at least 35 new (never been on hikes) in San Diego County.

5. Bucket List – Walk across the Grand Canyon not once but twice on a rim to rim to rim hike!

4. Check at least one item off my Bucket List in the travel section. Need to coordinate this with a few people so I’m not picking one now…

3. Visit family and friends in Iowa, Nebraska, Idaho, and even here in California!

2. One of my daughters will get engaged! (OK cheating on the prediction side of things as it happened on January 2nd.)

1. Bucket List – rock a grandchild to sleep in my arms!

I hope your 2013 was unbelievable, and your 2014 is unstoppable! Happy New Year!

Phillip Phillips jamming with fellow musicians in San Diego October 2013
We became huge Phillip Phillips fans during American Idol a couple of years ago. He was one of my favorites from the beginning of the season. We love his first album and although we love his singles “Home” and “Gone, Gone, Gone”, it’s the songs on the album that he wrote that are my favorites. Songs like “Where We Came From”, “Can’t go Wrong“, “Man on the Moon“, and “So Easy”. He also took us all the way back to the beginning with his version of Thriller, the song that he played at his Idol audition…

Phillip Phillips putting on an energetic show in San Diego October 2013

We’re looking forward to more great music in the future from Phillip Phillips and hope to see him again soon.

John Mayer and band kicking off his 2013 San Diego show with Queen of California

John Mayer started out with a song from his 2009 Born and Raised Album – “Queen of California“. It’s an energetic song and a good way to get a large crowd going. I skipped his 2009 concert in San Diego because I wasn’t sure his style of music would work in such a large venue. Of course I would love to see him play a smaller venue, but he had no problems filling the Amphitheater with music. The entire crowd, from the front row to the lawn, was up and rocking for “Queen of California”.

The sets for the entire John Mayer show were awesome. They inspired me to consider adding Monument Valley to my Bucket List; however, my wife has been there… a long drive, take a look, and then either stay at the $500 a night hotel, or leave! Let me do a little more research on this one before I “put it on the list”. Most of the sets were desert scenes, with skies that looked like they were pulled directly from Space.com… like the stars in the sky for “Queen of California”. But they also had sunrises…

John Mayer sings Something Like Olivia as the sun rises at Chula Vista Ca

super moons,

John Mayer sings in front of a super moon set San Diego 2013

falling snow…

John Mayer San Diego Ca - Monument Valley with falling Snow background-001

large dangling stars, and falling rose petals (I thought those were BBQ Pringle’s until my wife corrected my mistake). The huge burning bush hanging over the stage after the bands first exit was a good sign they would be back…

Burning Bush after John Mayers first exit was a good sign that he would be back

to sing in front of burning bushes rising from the desert floor…

John Mayer with Burning Bushes rising from the desert floor

Really interesting sets! But the sets were just sets, the real show was the music. The biggest surprise of the night for me was just how well John Mayer plays the guitar. I knew he played the guitar, but my main focus with his music in the past was his lyrics and singing. What made the night for me was John Mayer’s guitar skills.

Nice closeup of John Mayer at Sleep Train Chula Vista Oct 2013

His second song was Wildfire, this is my favorite song off his new album Paradise Valley. When he swings into the “You look fine, fine, fine; put your feet up next to mine” chorus, I just can’t help singing along. I’m pretty sure I said, “This is my favorite John Mayer song” about 6 times throughout the night and I found several more favorites he didn’t play for us in my John Mayer music collection on iTunes when we got home! If I had to narrow it down to 3 songs it would be “Gravity”, “My Stupid Mouth”, “Waiting on the World to Change”, and can’t leave out my favorite John Mayer song of all time… “No Such Thing” (which he said he was playing for the first time on this tour). OK that was more than 3 but it still leaves out several others that I really do love including a lot of songs on his newest album like “Dear Marie”, “Waiting on the Day”, and a song that he put the guitar down for and played on the piano – “I Will be Found”.

John Mayer Playing Piano and singing I will be Found San Diego October 2013

I have a new-found appreciation for John Mayer’s overall musical talent, especially his ability to play the guitar. I will never again doubt his ability to make a big venue work. Although we have seen some terrific concerts in 2013 including Imagine Dragons, One Republic, Steve Miller (also a great guitarist) and Fleetwood Mac, I can say without a doubt that this was my favorite show so far. If you get a chance to see John Mayer live, don’t miss out.

More: Live Music Posts (Favorite Artists and Favorite Venues)

San Diego Rock and Roll Half Marathon - MCM Bound
I’ve put in a lot of miles (hundreds), since I had the thought of creating a playlist to motivate me during the Marine Corps Marathon. This Saturday my run will put me over 500 running miles in the last 8 months. All of those miles have given me some additional perspective on what type of music works to get me going, to help me keep rolling along, and to keep going when I feel like stopping. With the long runs I’ve done in the last month or so, I’ve also got a better idea of when I’ll be at those different points. At this point I expect everything past 18 miles to be in the “keep me going” part of the playlist!

So what “gets me going”? If I’m running 5-6 miles, I can throw on some Aerosmith and AC/DC and that will get me moving, but when I’m facing a 26.2 mile run, I’ll need some of that, but I’ll also need some much more subtle “get going music”. The rolling along stuff is all about the rhythm and the beat of the music. The keep me going music has to touch the part of me that motivates me to run in the first place, and the part of me that seek challenges and just refuses to give up.

I hope to finish in under 4:30, but I better give myself some cushion. I figure that an hour should be plenty. I started by sorting through my digital music and picking upbeat, inspirational, or meaningful music. After the first cut I was up to 9 hours and 40 minutes of music… way too much. Cutting was actually harder than adding the songs to begin with. This was partly because I love all these songs, and partly because I’m not sure what will keep me going past 18 miles yet.

Anyway here’s the 5 hour and 22 minute playlist:

Name – Artist
Sex On Fire – Kings Of Leon
Heartbeat –  The Fray
Everybody Learns From Disaster – Dashboard Confessional
Home Is Where The Heart Is – John Butler Trio
If It’s Love – Train
Pickapart – John Butler Trio
Black Horse & The Cherry Tree – KT Tunstall
Hey, Soul Sister – Train
Here We Are – The Fray
Beautiful Disaster – American Hi-Fi  Wild Fire – John Mayer
Close To You – John Butler Trio
(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To – Weezer
Semi Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind
Better Than – John Butler Trio
Kryptonite – 3 Doors Down
Sweet Child Of Mine – Guns N’ Roses
Good People – Jack Johnson
The Mountains Win Again – Blues Traveler
Save Me San Francisco – Train
Treat Yo Mama – John Butler Trio
The Outsiders – Needtobreathe
Ugly American – Blues Traveler
Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall
King of Anything – Sara Bareilles
But Anyway – Blues Traveler
Walk On the Ocean (The OC) – John Mayer
Sitting, Waiting, Wishing – Jack Johnson
Be Ok – Ingrid Michaelson
Come On Get Higher – Matt Nathanson
48 to Go – The Fray
Wrong Way Down A One Way Road – John Butler Trio
Canadian Rose – Blues Traveler
(I’ve Got To) Stop Thinkin’ ’bout That J- ames Taylor
Girl I wanna make you sweat – UB40
Hole In My Soul (Live) – Aerosmith
I’ve Seen Better Days – Barenaked Ladies
Zebra – John Butler Trio
Taylor – Jack Johnson
Island in the sun – Weezer
Revelry – Kings Of Leon
This Is How A Heart Breaks – Rob Thomas
Head on Collision – A New Found Glory
Follow Me – Uncle Kracker
Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson
Jumper – Third Eye Blind
Flavor Of The Week – American Hi-Fi
Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
Run for Your Life – The Fray
Won’t Turn Back – Needtobreathe
Be Still – The Fray
Where The Story Ends – The Fray
This Ain’t Goodbye – Train
Sk8er Boi – Avril Lavigne
All For You – Blues Traveler
Everyday – Dave Matthews Band
Help! –  Beatles
Wicked Game – Phillip Phillips
One Life Stand – Damon Castillo Band
Accidentally in Love – Counting Crows
Better Together – Jack Johnson
Something Beautiful – Needtobreathe
A Sunday Kind of Love – Etta James
Brick By Brick – Train
More Time – Needtobreathe
Surround Me – Ben Taylor
Calling All Angels – Train
Lay ‘Em Down – Needtobreathe
Smile – Uncle Kracker
Every Breath You Take – UB40
Turn Me On – The Fray
At Last – Etta James  (Hope to finish on this one…)
Waiting on the Day – John Mayer
These small hours – Rob Thomas
Marry Me – Train
1961 – The Fray
Clarity- John Mayer
I Won’t Look Back – Needtobreathe
Love Me Do – Beatles
Holiday in the Sun – Weezer
Somethings Gotta Give -John Butler Trio
Someday – Rob Thomas
Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
Daughters – John Mayer
Someone Like You (One Fine Day Soundtrack) – Shawn Colvin  – Update:  I actually finished around here, but only because I listened to some songs twice!
21 Things – Alanis Morissette
Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight – James Taylor
The Fighter – The Fray
Better Days – Goo Goo Dolls

Now I just have to hope that me and my IPOD battery last this long! I’ll be trying this playlist out on the next two long runs to see how well it works. If there are any changes I’ll post an update. When I’m running with my son I don’t usually listen to music until after the halfway point, but I think we need to run our own pace for the next couple runs to get the most out of the training and work out what pace we want to run. We each need to try out our own strategies and we are running out of time.

Update:  See my post on running the Marathon…Marine Corps Marathon 2013 (Washington DC – 27 Oct 2013)

Steve Miller Band

Steve Miller Band is one of the few bands to have been in my album/cassette/CD collection continuously since the 70’s. Probably due to the Columbia Record, Tape, and eventually CD club and of course the fact that I love the music. The Steve Miller Band was not on my bucket list but he is definitely high on my all time favorite music list. His Greatest Hits CD is in my car and has even been in my CD player a few times over the last couple years. I don’t have to listen to the CD to hear the music though, he still gets plenty of airtime on my favorite radio station.

I enjoy seeing music at the San Diego County Fair. We usually get together early to talk and get a little warmed up for the concert at the Fair Beer Gardens. We’ve seen the Doobie Brothers, and Train the past two years. The crowd is huge, and for Steve Miller Band they were all very much into the music. He started out with several of his greatest hits including Fly Like an Eagle, Jungle Love, and Jet Airliner. There was no evidence of his age, 69, in his singing or playing. This is the first time I’ve seen him live and I watched the performance closely. I’ve always loved the music and his voice, but I under appreciated his guitar skills. There are some great guitar licks in his music and he delivered them with perfection.

After warming the crowd up with some of his greatest hits, he switched things up and played some classic blues music. He released a CD in the last few years with some of the great blues songs on it. Sonny Charles who sang backup and entertained with his dancing for many of the Steve Miller Band original songs sang the lead vocals for these songs. He has a great blues voice and really worked the crowd. Then the band played some of the lesser known songs off some of the early albums. Still sound good, definitely didn’t sound like 40 year old music. To give the band a break Steve Miller played an acoustic set, basically a medley of hits, and there are a lot.

Steve Miller Acoustic set

Then the band came back out and finished up stong with some more hits like Abracadabra and some of my favorite Steve Miller music like Dance, Dance, Dance (great lyric), Rock N Me, and the Joker. I spent part of this time in a very long beer line, but could still see bits of the stage between the standing crowd. Got back in time to see the big finish and do a little dancing. Even got my youngest son to move a bit!

Of course after the concert we had some hearty fair food… Texas Sized Bacon Donuts (I actually liked this a lot), and a fried Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. Said our goodbyes and wandered through some interesting stuff on the way back to our car. I’m not really a carnival or fair person, but after seeing a concert at the fair each of the last three years, it is starting to grow on me a little.

More: Live Music Posts (Favorite Artists and Favorite Venues)

Shot of Griffith Observatory from Griffith Park Trails

We enjoy getting away to Los Angeles for the weekend. My wife has family there and there are tons of things to do in LA. All we need to put together a great weekend is one good reason to go up there. This time it happened to be Fleetwood Mac at the Hollywood Bowl. They are playing several places in Southern California, but we have a busy summer ahead and had conflicts for the other shows. Also we have been wanting to go to a show in the Hollywood Bowl for quite a while. This was our chance. I will say that as good as I have been at getting pretty good seats to concerts over the last few years, this was an exception. The American Express presale just about sold the show out. It sold out quickly once the regular sale opened up. Note to self: Get an American Express before the next concert season opens up.

Hollywood Bowl sign Fleetwood Mac

I clicked buy tickets the moment the regular sale opened and the best seats were in the top section… way up there. We had a great time though. We got hotel rooms about 3 blocks from the Hollywood Bowl so we walked to and from the concert. I definitely recommend doing that if you get a chance. Didn’t have to worry about parking, or driving after the show. Even though the seats were not great we had a great time and the music was great. As usual my camera still managed to get a couple of fairly decent shots. This one is right before Fleetwood Mac took the stage.

Hollywood Bowl 25 May - Fleetwood Mac about to start

This photo was taken during one of their first songs.

Nice picture from the top of the Hollywood bowl - Fleetwood Mac

Like a place, music can quickly take me back to an earlier time and intensify my memories. This concert brought back a lot of good memories of my teenage years in the 70’s. Fleetwood Mac sounded great that night and the few videos I took captured the great sound, unfortunately I choose to sign along… I really cannot sing! When I’m singing I cannot hear how bad I am, but hearing these recordings confirmed for me that I should sing very quietly or lip synch!

On Sunday morning we slept in and walked to Hollywood for a late breakfast at a famous diner… famous but since I don’t have anything good to say about it, I’ll leave out the name. The food was less than average – and we were very hungry. Then we packed up and headed out for a day of exploring in Griffith Park. Google Navigation took us on a round about course to the park entrance and then announced as we drove past the park on the 5 freeway that we had arrived. Another note to self… don’t search for a Park and put that in for Navigation directions, it will only get you close, not to an entrance. We were able to follow the signs from that point and got safely to the park.

Griffith Park is large and there are tons of trails. I’ve done lots of hiking in Mission Trails Park in San Diego, but this is like that parks really big brother, and then throw in a Greek Theater and an Observatory. There was a lot of traffic in the park, but we planned to hike up to the Observatory anyway, so we found a parking spot near a trailhead that looked like it was heading the right direction and set out on our hike. The initial trail was very steep with almost no people, but once we climbed quite a ways up the trail it joined one of the main trails that meander through the park. A short distance down the main trail we took this picture in front of another “short cut” trail that headed directly down toward the Observatory.

Hiking to Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park

These short cut trails, like the one we came up are very steep and we had decided on the way up to not try to descend on the same trail. We were pretty sure we would end up sliding not hiking down it. For the same reason we decided to avoid this short cut trail, stay on the main trail, and enjoy the scenery. The views were terrific. There was a little haze but not that bad for LA. I would love to do this hike after a nice rain when the skies are completely clear. I took lots of pictures, but these two were from my favorite angle. The Griffith Observatory has the LA cityscape in the background.

View of Griffith Observatory with LA cityscape in the background

View of the Griffith Observatory from the parking lot

Eventually the trail led us to the observatory. Although the Observatory was built in the 1930’s it is in terrific shape. It was renovated recently, so I’m not sure what it looked like before the renovation. Now it looks almost new… except they don’t build things this well anymore. The observatory is not designed for scientific use, it is designed to expose regular folks to space observation. The dome on the left has a 12 inch telescope and the dome on the right is designed for studying the sun. The large dome in the middle is a planetarium, with regular shows. By the way, the planetarium shows are the only thing that they charge for. Everything else is completely free.

This is a view from the roof of the Observatory. You have views in every directions!

View from the roof of the Griffith Observatory

Here’s an example of some to the details in the construction of the Griffith Observatory. I love the Art Deco style of the observatory.

Checking out the details on the Griffith Observatory

It was Memorial Day weekend and there was quite a crowd in and around the observatory. We were still able to check it out without too much hassle, but as we finished up our tour around and through the building a very large crowd arrived. Not sure where they all came from… seemed like they had just unloaded several tourist buses at once. We filled our water bottles and headed down the road toward our parked car. This was a lot shorter than the trail and we didn’t have to worry about sliding.

For Sunday night we had decided to catch a play at a small playhouse in Beverly Hills, the Beverly Hills Playhouse. It is an upstairs venue and has very limited seating. We got the tickets on Goldstar which not only saved us money, but is much easier to search for an event on a particular day that other sites I’ve used in the past like Theatermania. The play, Years to the Day was a terrific two-man play with one scene. Two old college friends, now in their 40s, meet up for a “face to face”, 4 years to the day they last met (hence the title). The acting was GREAT! The play was funny… intense… dramatic… and full of surprise revelations and things that were not completely revealed. We can’t wait for the sequel!

Before the play we had dinner at Si Laa Thai Dining across the street from our hotel and about 8 blocks from the theater. This place rocks. The food was excellent, the service was better than great, and the main dining room was nicely decorated. We will go again if we are in the area. After the play we had a small desert at Al Gelato which is about a block from the playhouse. The service was very good and the small gelatos hit the spot. The pizza at Al Gelato looked like a good choice for dinner too if you want to be really close to the theater. We were still tired from the long Saturday night and the hike so we headed back to the hotel to hit the sack. We planned to get an early start on Memorial day.

The next morning we had a light breakfast at the hotel and headed toward Santa Monica Beach. I’m training for the Marine Corps Marathon and was looking forward to a short beach run on Santa Monica Beach boardwalk. This is one of my favorite places and I hate to miss a chance for a visit. The weather was perfect and I had a good run. I wasn’t sure if I was going to run 3 or 4 miles, but thought these flags were a good place to turn around.

Santa Monica Memorial Day

I met my wife back on the pier and we wandered around it for a while, the weather was perfect. Although I was pretty sweaty she let me put my arm around her for this picture.

On the Santa Monica Peir after my run

As we left the pier we took our shoes off and hurried across the hot sand to walk at the water’s edge back to our parked car.

Santa Monica Beach and Pier

The first summer weekend at the beach was pretty busy. I thought about jumping into the water, but decided not to get all wet and salty for the drive. It would only be a short drive to my brother-in-laws house for a BBQ and some time in the pool. We had a good visit, but then it was time to head back to the real world… sort of… San Diego and the coming work week… with lots of pictures in the camera to sort through and a post to write – check!

Crowd watching the sunset Green Flash Concert 2012

This year, 2013, will be our third year with season passes to the Green Flash Concerts at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. In addition to supporting the Birch Aquarium, it is a great way to spend a summer “hump day”. The 3rd Wednesday of the month from May until September, Birch Aquarium transforms their tide pool area overlooking La Jolla and the Pacific Ocean into a stage and with the help of KPRI. The Green Flash concerts are all about great music, but they also have some tasty and healthy food, adult beverages, and the most spectacular view of any music venue in San Diego, or anywhere else I’ve been.

Bastards Green Flash 2012

The line-up for 2013 has a similar feel to past years, some new acts with current hits, some local Southern California groups to make us feel at home, and a couple acts I’ve never heard of but I’m sure I’ll enjoy… I always have. The year will kick off on May 15th with Bob Schneider and Alpha Rev. I like the sound of some of music Bob Schneider has on YouTube and I’m looking forward to seeing him live. I love the Alpha Rev song Sing Loud, great sound and lyrics.

On June 19th two powerful new women will be entertaining us, Vicci Martinez and ZZ Ward. Vicci Martinez will start the night off. She was on Season 1 of the voice, not one of the shows I watch regularly, but I like Vicci Martinez. Her song Come Along, which in a different version of Come Along song by Vicci Martinez and featuring The Voice coach Cee Lo Green is getting a lot of play time on the radio. The first time I heard ZZ Ward’s song Put the Gun Down on the radio I thought it might be Adele, it came out about the same time as her James Bond theme song. While ZZ Ward didn’t get the same recognition for this song, I like it’s raw sound more than the more “polished” and produced Skyfall.

On July 17th The Fixx, a British blast from the past, will rock us. Songs like Red Skies, Saved by Zero and One Thing Leads to Another were big hits in the late 70s and early 80s… big MTV hits.

A couple of Southern California acts will close out the year. Matt Costa , we have not seen before, but I like some of his music online. Steve Poltz we have seen several times and always enjoy both his music and his humor. (Update Jul 22 2013: Delta Rae was added to the August show, with Matt Costa. Won’t want to miss this one! Her new song with Lindsey Buckingham – If I Loved You, is terrific)

I’ll come back to this post throughout the year to add something for each show. If you’ve never been to one of these concerts and live in the area, I recommend checking them out. My guess for the best show of the year will be June 19th, but they should all be entertaining, and the venue is spectacular.

Update May 18 2013: We attended the first Green Flash concert of 2013 last Wednesday. The weather was overcast and there was no sunset, but it was still a beautiful view from our favorite location.

vercast but beautiful view from Birch Aquarium May 2013

Alpha Rev started the night out. The first thing we noticed, after 2 years of hanging by the stage was that the speakers were much louder than usual. Actually kind of hurt the ears. Maybe I’m getting old? Anyway, rather than move back, we moved a little forward past the front of the speakers and it was tolerable. We enjoyed Alpha Rev, but we were in for an expected treat when Bob Schneider came to the stage. I had heard the song 40 Dogs regularly on the radio, but I had not listened to his other stuff. He is a singer (great voice)… song writer (some sad, funny, irreverent, and eclectic stuff) and played solo for this show. With the help of his looping machine he was able to put together a very full sound when he wanted to with guitar, keyboard, and percussion. I’ve found some of his music on YouTube, a great example of one of his sadder songs Blow Me Back To You. What you don’t hear in this in version is the deep fullness of the lows in this song – live it was rumbling. I couldn’t find one of my favorites (made me laugh so hard my eyes watered), but here’s a good example of what I liked about his music: Trash. Finding new favorite music is a great reason to go to the Green Flash concerts.

Bob Schneider Green Flash May 2013

Update June 20 2013: The June 19th performance of the 2013 Green Flash Concert series got off to a fast start when Vicci Martinez came on stage. Here hit “Come Along with Me” is not her only terrific song, she has a great voice that came through very clear even when the rest of the music was blasting away.

Vicci Martinez blasting out a vocal

There were still some issues with the volume of the music. The volume was again in the painful range and the mid-ranges were completely distorted for both acts. We go to lots of concerts and have no problem with loud music, but this is affecting the quality of the sound. We plan to move back next time, but hopefully they will fix the issue.

The sun was extremely bright at the beginning of the performance it was a relief when it moved lower and I could watch the show without shielding my eyes. The pictures were easier to take too.

Vicci Martinez at the Green Flash Concert 19 June 2013

ZZ Ward started out with the song that first made me notice her on the radio, Put the Gun Down.

ZZ Ward singing Put the Gun Down at the Green Flash 2013

The sun started to set shortly after ZZ Ward started to sing. One of the best sunsets we’ve seen at a Green Flash Concert over the last 3 years.

Very Nice Sunset at the Green Flash Concert June 2013

I don’t know if anyone caught an actual green flash, but the conditions looked about right as the sun got lower.

A little early but the conditions look right for a Green Flash

Here’s another shot of ZZ Ward. Not hard to tell what she is about to sing… WooHooHoo… love that part of the song.

ZZ Ward has the WooHooHoos down pat

ZZ Ward has a ton of good music. My favorite song of the night was Charlie Ain’t Home.

We had a great time, but were partially deaf for an hour or so. Great night, and great music – definitely up for some more of that!

Update July 19 2013: We were a little later than usual getting to the July 17th performance of the 2013 Green Flash Concert series thanks to horrendous traffic getting out of Sorrento Valley. We decided to just relax and get there whenever. The first act Bushwalla was already started when we got there. The crowd seemed much bigger than the two sold out shows we had already been too in May and June. I have to admit that by the time we got our food, beer, and got settled in Bushwalla was done. There were new speakers inside though so we heard a few relaxed acoustic songs and at least one rap song… wish we had seen his act.

Our plan after two months of painfully loud and distorted music was to move to the back. However, the crowd had filled every nook and cranny.

View of the crowd, the ocean, and The Fixx at Birch Aquarium Green Flash Concert 17 July 2013

The only reasonable spot left was our regular spot right in front of the speaker. In fact a little closer than usual. Really too close to even see the whole band all at once.

The Fixx Green Flash Concert July 2013 laid back bass player

The Fixx still have all of their skills. They delivered the music like the old pros that they are. I was completely unfamiliar with the first 4-5 songs, but they were good and there were a lot of fans in the crowd that knew the words. I was surprised that my favorite song of the night was “One Thing Leads to Another”. The line “But when the wrong word goes in the right ear I know you’ve been lying to me” had more meaning to me this time than it didn’t back in 1983. There were no “lines that grabbed me” in the other hits. “Saved by Zero” still sounded like an 80’s MTV video hit to me. Their big finish song “Red Sky’s at Night” didn’t have any meaning to me, but it definitely is a cool song. The guitar in that song really makes it good for me.

The Fixx Green Flash Concert July 2013 classic lead guitarist player

I got a reasonable sunset picture too, the size of the crowd made it much harder to get a good angle, but I love the trees surrounding the tide pool area at the Birch Aquarium.

Sunset at Birch Aquarium 17 July 2013

And a pretty amazing shot of the moon with my little compact Nikon 9100.

Moon over the Birch Aquarium 17 July 2013

It was another fun summer evening at the Birch Aquarium. We’re looking forward to the other two concerts to come.

Update Aug 21 2013:The August lineup was a strong one. Due to the late announcement of the second act there was some confusion and maybe argument about who was the headliner. I enjoyed both acts so win-win.

Matt Costa Aug 2013 Green Flash Concert

Matt Costa’s music is eclectic with good lyrics. His song Good Times is his best know song, but he had several good tunes. He has a smooth steady voice and the band played a great set. Although I enjoyed the music, I have to admit to being distracted by the sun as it went behind some clouds…

Sun through the clouds Green Flash concert Aug 2013

and finally set.

Sunset August 2013 Green Flash Concert

Usually the sunset is at the beginning of the second act. This seemed to be part of the compromise on who was the headliner. Either way, it was another terrific sunset that blessed us!

Delta Rae has one of my current favorite songs on the radio… If I Loved You

Delta Rae at Aug 2013 Green Flash Concert at Birch Aquarium

I have to admit to being very surprised by this group. I expected one lead singer, the lead on If I Loved You, but there were absolutely 4 very talented lead singers in this group. Two brothers (Ian Hölljes, Eric Hölljes), a sister (Brittany Hölljes), and the lead on If I Loved You, Elizabeth Hopkins. My Wife liked the voice and vocals of Eric, on keyboard the best. Here’s one of his songs – Morning Comes. I have to admit he had a terrific voice, but I didn’t have a favorite. I loved them all, and well definitely be adding this group to my list of favorite bands! I look forward to more music from them and to seeing them play again. Be sure to check them out online!

Delta Rae - all great voices at Birch Aquarium Green Flash Aug 2013

Update Sep 21 2013:There were two local acts for the September’s Green Flash Concert. Pulling into the parking lot I knew there was a different kind of act, and a different crowd for tonight’s show. There were several groups of people tailgating! Great idea when you are getting ready to see Steve Poltz!

Paul Cannon September Green Flash Concert 2013 - Birch Aquarium

Paul Cannon opened the night. This was the second time we saw him, he opened for Matt Nathanson at the Green Flash Concert in July 2012. The first thing I noticed was he had flip flops on… this surprised me because he was barefoot last time. The flip flops were gone by the time he stepped up to play though! He has a very rich voice and I like his music. A very relaxing act to listen to as the sun sets over the Pacific (or at least appears to).

Faux Sunset 18 September 2013 Green Flash Concert Birch Aquarium

Next up was Steve Poltz. There was a bit of confusion on the introduction… Steve snuck up on stage early and introduced Madison (KPRI’s morning show host), to introduce him. His first song about Friends was my favorite of the night, it definitely struck a cord with me. He is a very talented musician, and a rare individual.

Steve Poltz with some help on 18 September at the Green Flash Concert Birch Aquarium.bmp

If you have never seen Steve, definitely check him out live. Be sure to do some tailgating first and hit the gym for at least a few weeks prior, you never know what you may need to hold over your head.

Steve Poltz crowd surfing at Green Flash Concert September 2013

Another season of Green Flash concerts in the books… we love these concerts. There are times when we feel a little rushed getting there on a Wednesday night, traffic may not always be the best, but once we get there it is “the best venue” I’ve ever been to! KPRI always has great music lined up, and the food and refreshments are terrific. This was our third year with season passes and I hope we decide to do this again next year.

Other Green Flash posts and more: Live Music Posts (Favorite Artists and Favorite Venues)

Train San Diego 30 July 2012
We had a great time at the San Diego Fair last night with friends, fried Twinkies, and Train. We managed to miss the traffic nightmare on the 5 thanks to a route our friend Mary showed us last year on the way to see the Doobie Brothers. Parking wasn’t as bad as we expected either, so we had time to have a sandwich and some lubrication before heading up to get our seats. There was no opening act so Train actually started before dark which was a change. The crowd was definitely ready for the show and very fired up.

Patrick Monahan belting one out of the San Diego Fair Grounds

Patrick Monahan is great at getting the crowd into the show. They played a lot of music from their new album including the first single – Drive By. I was amazed that the crowd knew every word. Patrick Monahan sang every other line in the song, and the crowd was right there to fill in the missing parts. They also sang a couple of cover songs, one Eagles song and an awesome Journey song. One of the most memorable parts of the show for me was when Pat Monahan called a young lady up on the stage to dance and sing along to Bruises a fun song about reunions. He asked her if she knew the lyrics, which although she said she did (to get up there), she had no idea, but definitely enjoyed being up there. The most shameless thing she did was pull out a camera, posed with Pat Monahan, and stretched her arm out to get a once in a life time picture with him (hope it came out!).

Train is one of my favorite groups and seeing them is definitely a Bucket List thing, even if it is the second time… Seeing them with a great group of friends made it that much sweeter.

Patrick Monahan singing Journey song in San Diego

Patrick Monahan singing Journey song in San Diego

More: Live Music Posts (Favorite Artists and Favorite Venues)