59 Candles, 59 Things – part thirty nine

Forty seventh thing: The next entry in this series of things that make me happy is new experiences.  Since retiring, I have had a number of new experiences that have enriched my life, making my new “normal” exciting.

Some experiences, such as taking guitar lessons (a life-long dream) turned out differently than I’d imagined.  It was hard – awkward, painful and clearly not for me.  Others, blogging, yoga, meditation, writing, culinary knife skills – I truly enjoy.

This past weekend, I attended my first opera, “Orpheus and Eurydice”produced by the Opera Grand Rapids. Loving music, theater and dance, I was intrigued and was sure it would be great.  In truth, it was more than I could have imagined, it was magical.

Photos courtesy of Opera Grand Rapids Facebook page

Due to my unfamiliarity with this story I sought out a synopsis via Wikipedia, finding that it is comes from mythology, a subject I’d loved in high school.  The story is compelling, a love so great that after his wife Eurydice dies tragically, Orpheus travels into Hell to bring her back.

The staging was set in modern day, simple yet dramatic and very effective. There were three leads, dancers and a chorus, a small cast I learned (compared to grand operas).  The orchestra (while not visible from the pit) was amazing as was the haunting music.  There was a screen along the top of the stage which supplied translation of the lyrics making the story easier to follow.

“Orpheus and Eurydice” was fascinating and performed beautifully – the singing and acting conveying a deeply moving love story.

I’m so grateful to my dear friend for sharing her love of opera with me.  It was the highlight of an absolutely stellar girl’s weekend and a new experience that I’ll never forget.

Photos courtesy of Opera Grand Rapids Facebook page

For more on this series, “59 Candles, 59 Things” just click on 59 Things under categories.

Adam Lambert in Concert

Last Saturday, my sister and I attended Adam Lambert’s concert at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort.  Having been die-hard fans since his first audition on American Idol (which he should have won!) this is my second (her third) time seeing him perform.

When we saw him last, he was touring with Queen (there’s an earlier post on that concert). He was brilliant – the vocals so beautifully echoing the magnificent, gone-too-young Freddie Mercury. Bliss.

This time, Adam performed his music including a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” which rocked the house.  Adam is a natural and gifted performer, singing and dancing, while flashing that gorgeous, mega-watt smile – truly riveting to watch.

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59 Candles, 59 Things – part thirty two

Fortieth thing –  For the next thing that makes me happy in this series, there is only one thing I could choose given the events of this weekend.

I finally got to see The Who!!!!!  This is a bucket list item for me, now completed.

There were times that I wasn’t sure it would happen. Keith Moon, their wildly talented drummer, passed away in 1978 followed by the passing of John Entwistle, their bassist, in 2002.  Sadly, I wondered if I would get to see Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend perform. After buying our tickets last year for an October concert date I received a text alert cancelling the concert indefinitely. Roger Daltrey was taken ill with meningitis.  This was scary news indeed and I opted to hold my tickets while praying for his recovery.

Prayers answered, Roger recovered fully and I received another alert that the concert was back on for February 27th. Happy days indeed.

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Main Floor, 29th Row, Center, seats 1 & 2 – sweet!!

A little backstory….I fell in love with this band back in 1969 with the release of “Tommy”,  listening endlessly, memorizing every lyric and nuance. Genius!  When “Who’s Next” came out in 1971, I was at the record store with cash in hand.  My first love bought me “Quadrophenia” in 1973 which I thought was pure brilliance.  The die was cast, I loved these guys and my love never wavered. I dreamed of seeing them in concert, never imagining I’d be 59 before it happened.

On Saturday, 2/27/16, we boarded the Detroit People Mover and headed for the Joe Louis Arena.

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It was a windy 46 degrees as we waited to enter, I noticed that the majority of the attendees were somewhere between Spence and my ages, not surprising.

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Right about now, I’m beside myself….

As with all good things, we still had a wait on our hands….the opening band had to perform and then the stage reset for The Who.  At almost 9:00, the house lights dimmed…

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OMG!

The opening number had the massive crowd on it’s feet. And unlike any other concert I’ve been to – NO ONE EVER SAT DOWN FOR THE NEARLY TWO HOUR SHOW! Seated on the aisle, I moved into the aisle, singing and dancing my 59 year old ass off – as was everyone (except Spence, who enjoyed it but tends to not sing along, nor dance at concerts).

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There are no words. To say this was epic understates the joy I was experiencing.  I felt like I was 16 again.

Losing my mind a bit……

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Tommy
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Behind Blue Eyes

In my 59 Candles, 59 Things series, this is probably the largest post (at least so far) but it was hard to edit myself.  Suffice it to say, attending this concert with Spence at my side made me incredibly happy!

Rock on……

 

 

 

Just Three Songs?

From our third Writing 101 assignment participants are asked to free write about the three most important songs in our life.

My first thought “ugh”.  Not because I don’t love music but rather because I LOVE MUSIC.  In order to complete the assignment without completely losing my mind I’m going to slightly alter it to choose my three favorite albums.

  • Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell
  • Aqualung by Jethro Tull
  • Live at the Troubadour by Carole King and James Taylor

The first two were easy enough since I owned them on LP, cassette, CD and full downloads to my iPod.  The third I happened upon quite by accident at my neighborhood Blockbuster check-out counter which featured a CD/DVD pack of a live performance by the incomparable Carole King and James Taylor.

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Court and Spark:  The brilliance that is Joni Mitchell is never brighter than on this compilation (in my humble opinion).  I know the words to every song and they still evoke emotions at age 58 though in a different way than they did when I discovered it in high school.  The songs are lyrical, painting musical pictures.  Her voice resonates.  I have listened to this during happy times but also when nursing a broken heart. It is in a word…..divine.

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Aqualung represents the “rock chick” that I was at 16 and still am today.  This album was being released at the same time I went to see Jethro Tull in concert.  Having already discovered an earlier album by them, I was excited about the new release.  I’d never been to a concert but cannot  imagine a better performance than what I experienced that night. Ian Anderson, the lead singer and player of the flute, (that is such a defining instrument in their body of work), was electric.  I was mesmerized, gob-smacked, mind blown.  The songs are stories crafted inside of music that you can’t explain in words.  If you made me choose one song from the album, it would be “Locomotive Breath”.

And lucky me, last fall Spence and I traveled to see Jethro Tull in Buffalo, New York.  (see my earlier blog post “Flash Back – Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, then and now” for more about that experience and some little known trivia…..intrigued? I hope so.)

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Live at the Troubadour is like a gift from the gods.  First of all, the life work of James Taylor and Carole King, two of the most gifted singer/songwriters is without equal (again, I’m blogging so I get to state my opinion but sense I’m not alone). Spence and I have listened to this CD (and watched the DVD) so many times it would be impossible to guess. These are songs that are lovely, evocative and so interwoven into our lives and memories that you couldn’t extricate them if you wanted to – and why would you want to?  Listening to this music brings tears to my eyes, a smile to my face and  an overall sense that everything is right with the world.

So there you have it.  Not so hard an assignment once I tweaked it a bit.

Adam Lambert & Queen – What a concert!

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The loss of the great Freddie Mercury as the front man of super group Queen left a vacancy too great to fill.  His voice, remarkable and unmistakeable.  His energy and showmanship – one of a kind.  Such a loss to the music world.

Years later, American Idol contestant Adam Lambert takes the stage with an epic voice, performing at a level not seen before or since on Idol (in my opinion).  He had millions of viewers spellbound.  How he didn’t win, I’ll never understand but was there any doubt he’d be successful? A star was born.  And he performed with Queen on the show – there was something so perfect about it.

When my sister called me early this year to let me know that Adam Lambert and Queen would be performing near us, it took about a second for me to reply “I’m in”.   This had to be good.

And it wasn’t just good, it was LEGENDARY.  Crafted with songs we love, performed with panache, camp and those guitar riffs that can only be Queen.  And within this rock and roll concert, moments of poignancy and tenderness as Adam and the band paid tribute to Freddie Mercury.  With the beauty of technology, Freddie performed again with Queen and in duet with Adam.  It was special and magical.

And though he left us too soon, I have to believe that somewhere, Freddie is smiling. I know I was.

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