It's 'Wicked' baby!

A co-worker called me the jet-setter today. I guess you could call me that … Kates and I get back from vacation on Sunday. I take Monday off. Tuesday I’m back at work, but you think my vacation is over? Ha! …On Tuesday night we were in Chicago for a Second City performance, tonight we were back in Chicago, down in the splendor and ornate architecture of the Oriental Theater to see ‘Wicked.’ And tomorrow night we’ll be at yet another Brewers game…

I love it.

If you’re not familiar, ‘Wicked’ is like the prequel to ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ although this musical is told from the side of the witches. The audience follows, Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West (Who knew she had a real name?!) from the birth of her emerald green body to youth, during which she attends a Hogworts-like institution with her sister -- Nessarose, later known as the Wicked Witch of the East -- where she meets and becomes friends with none other than Glinda (the Good Witch who changes her name from ‘GA-linda’ because nobody can pronounce it correctly).

You can imagine the rest. The two best friends quarrel over the golden boy on campus and the popular and pretty Glinda wins him over -- all this as Elphaba also tries to save the animals from having their voices erased (Now you know where the cowardly lion and the flying monkeys came from). … But where the second act starts with Dorothy’s arrival in Oz, the show is cleverly drawn out so the audience never actually sees Dorothy. Instead many ‘Wicked’ scenes start or end where Dorothy was leaving or entering ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ including a scene that begins with Glinda standing at the edge of the yellow brick road, waving and shouting something like ‘Byyyyyyy-eeeeee! Yep, just follow that yellow sidewalk aaaaaalllllll the waaaaaaaayyyyy!’ She then turns toward the crowd and mutters, ‘Gee, I hope they find it. I’m not very good with directions.’ … The show also takes various lines from “The Wizard of Oz” for some good comic relief. (Nessarose: “What are you doing here!” … Elphaba: “There’s no place like home.”)

Soon enough we see the demise of the Wicked Witch and follow her to her death. (but does she die?)

Currently starring in the Chicago version is former Saturday Night Live star Ana Gasteyer. She was great, as could be expected. But Kate Reinders, who starred as Glinda, stole the show, playing her role as a bombshell, but far out blonde, resembling Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde or Kristin Chenoweth, the West Wing’ star who played Glinda in previous ’Wicked’ shows.

The music is pretty good. The scenery is amazing (heck, there’s a giant, mechanical flying monkey hanging over the first 10 rows of seats!. And it’s a Broadway show! …Overall: B+

SEE ALSO: another great review here

ADDED DEC. 19, 2005: From the Washington Post -- Season of The Witch: 'Wicked' Casts Quite a Spell


Making my home town proud

Not my hallowed high school alma mater, but I'll bet Ooooooooooo-lathe! was abuzz about this one!

... And talk about a punishment.

Teen vomits on teacher, told to clean police cars


Vacation 2005!

Weeeeeeeeeeee'rrrrree Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

In perhaps one of the most spontaneous moves kates and I have pulled, we left on our road trip to Ohio one day early, deciding at about 1:30 p.m. last Tuesday that we should go camping for a couple nights before getting to Ohio on Thursday ... we had contemplated going to the zoo, but backed off because of the afternoon heat. Then Kates brought up an earlier notion of going camping. I made a quick call out to Indiana Dunes, they said we had a good chance at getting a site that night, I looked at Kates and said 'you go shopping, I'll pack the car, we can be out of here by 4:30' ... and that's exactly what we did!

We made the trek through downtown Chicago's rush-hour traffic, zipped over the Indiana (AKA: the armpit of America) border and pulled into Indiana Dunes State Park a little after 7 p.m.

I'll give you the rest in pictures ...

We were up at 6 AM on Wednesday (not by design!), ate a quick breakfast and took a hike! Imagine the Rocky Mountains covered in sand and you have Indiana Dunes.

... And the trail leads to Lake Michigan. MUCH better than the ocean, if you ask me.

... Another view of the Dunes.

We barely got in our dinner before some good thunderstorms rolled in, canceled our campfire and forced us into our tent for the evening. We survived though, packed up Thursday morning and were on the road by mid-morning.

We arrived in good 'ol Toledo late Thursday afternoon and were in Detroit a couple hours later for the Tigers-Twins game.

My stadium review: LOTS to look at! A fantastic fan experience that features a carousel and food court behind home plate, wonderful statues in left field and kiosks with Tigers history throughout the stadium ... but the food and souvenirs are pretty dang expensive compared to other stadiums I've visited ...

... We spent Friday at the Toledo Zoo. If you see one zoo, you've seen 'em all ... until you've seen this hippo!

... On Saturday, we were in Cleveland. Saw the outside of the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame (didn't have enough time to go in ...) and spent some time on the Lake Erie harbor before heading over to Jacobs Field for the Indians-Mariners game! A dream come true.

From the day it opened in '94 and through watching those great Indians teams of the '90s, I had long wanted to visit this stadium. It was everything I had seen in pictures and imagined. Yet, sadly, compared to the standards of Comerica, this stadium already seemed dated ... On the other hand, the food and souvenirs weren't nearly as pricy. Plus it was cap day!

After thaaaaaaaaaaat...

We loaded up the car Sunday morning in the Toledo rain and drove through monsoons to reach the Indiana border (AKA: the armpit of America), made a couple stops for food and gas, battled traffic in downtown Chicago and arrived at our doorstep about seven hours later ...

... and already planning for vacation 2006!


Dinner & A Movie!

Happy Birthday Kates!

... and let the vacation begin! After a weekend at the family farm, we were down at Wrigley yesterday (Cubs win!) and today spent a relaxing day at home while she had a union meeting (ouch!).

Ah, but the night would be better. After the gift giving (some flowers, a copy of the new Harry Potter book and a 'Friends' DVD) we went out to dinner at The Olive Garden.

...and THEN, a night at the Drive-in. Nothing like it. Tonight's showings were 'Charlie & the Chocolate Factory' and 'War of the Worlds.'

Now, 'War of the Worlds' I saw last week, and didn't mind seeing it again, for whatever it was worth. But 'Charlie' was something I couldn't wait for any longer. I haven't seen the original, nor do I really care to. Every clip I've ever seen of it kinda creeps me out, period. ... It was only paying attention to and reading all the buzz about the new 'Charlie' that I even began to learn about the plot and the fact there's a classic book behind it. Beyond that, it's a Tim Burton film and in the true spirit of Burton, I can't see why you wouldn't be at all attracted to the vibrancy and film magic this release pledges.

... and it delivered, for the most part. I'll admit it did drag at times, but I laughed hysterically at some parts (especially when the 'Welcome' show explodes in front of the candy winners and Willy Wonka) and the film had some groovy (seriously, I thought it was good stuff!) music to pull it along. And the acting -- even the kids -- wasn't bad. All in all, a worthy flick.


This means War?

“ … The movie's not-so-hidden subtext involves the way Ray blossoms into a real father in the face of incredible danger and a balky teenage son. I leave it to you to decide whether destruction of much of the Eastern Seaboard might be too high a price for civilization to pay for one man’s maturity.”

That read, I caught ‘War of the Worlds’ with a buddy tonight. Steven Spielberg throws a lot of punches, but doesn’t deliver a knockout. … The plot thickens (and takes your breath at times) as Tom Cruise’s character runs through a mess of people being sizzled to ashes and then leads his two children through mobs in a race to escape the alien creatures.

That’s pretty much where the movie ends. What follows is an odd farmhouse scene with Tim Robbins that falls flat and only stalls the climax, which is jammed together in an ending that never really explains itself.

It also leaves us all asking where the heck did Robbie come from?

The only true positives out of this movie are, of course, the special effects and gut-wrenching 9/11-like destruction and Dakota (Can you believe she’s only a kid!) Fanning’s mostly believable performance.

But this movie, while worth seeing for the decent summer blockbuster it will be, is no ‘Independence Day.’ Instead, Speilberg reuses too many of his old tricks from ‘Jurassic Park’ and runs this one into the ground faster than ‘AI.’
2 ½ out of 5 stars.

Here’s some reviews that wrote it better than I could have …
From the Rocky Mountain News, By Robert Denerttein
From the Associated Press, By David Germain
There's a whole page of reviews here!


Counting sheep

I was turned on to this story this morning as I made my daily commute to work, while listening to arguably the best morrning radio show in this region, perhaps the country. Eric told the story so hilariously that I couldn't help but laugh and immediately google it when I logged on to my computer at work ... bursting with more laughter as I read it aloud to my cohorts.

I'm so bad.

Referring to the animal instinct that instructs certain species to follow one another, Eric wondered something like, "Can you imagine being a sheep and seeing that guy jump. He was probably thinking, 'aw man! Now I have to go ...'"


Summerfest '05 - Night III

Headed back to work today, yes. Weekend over, not quite yet.

By 5 p.m., me and my colleagues all but abandoned the entertainment department and headed up to Summerfest another night to catch our respective bands. For me, it was the Gin Blossoms. … I hadn’t thought about seeing them until about a week ago when one of the features reporters (whose age would trick you into thinking she‘s a bigger fan of ‘50s classics) mentioned her affection for the Gin Blossoms and wrote a story about them. The brief conversation made me start to recall all the Gin Blossoms songs I so loved years ago and how their “New Miserable Experience” album was the first CD I ever bought. It would be a mistake, I thought, to pass up a chance of seeing them …

So I boarded the bus ONE MORE TIME and rode it up to the Summerfest gates ….I bought the worst, dried up Culver’s ButterBurger I’ve ever tasted ….and walked to the Potawatomi Pavilion to grab a seat. About 7 p.m. now (Gin Blossoms would be on at 9:30 p.m.), I was somewhat surprised to see maybe only a dozen people sprinkled throughout the long rows of benches …. After all, Styx was playing one of the larger stages at 8. I had walked past it on my way here and the space was already jammed with people, and you could hear the buzz throughout the grounds for that performance. Even I thought about maybe going to catch a little bit of Styx before returning for Gin Blossoms. ….Still, I held on to the seat I had -- fourth row, center stage -- and took in yet another cover band, The Johnsons, although this one seemed to put more of a rock spin on the songs I’d been hearing all weekend ….

BUT THIS, I must tell you, presented probably my favorite moment of the entire Summerfest weekend, when the Johnsons played their version of “Hey Ya.” … Picture: I’m sitting with a group of 20-something white guys and girls in front of me and a group of middle-aged white men behind me. To our right is two full rows of white, teenage girls in skimpy outfits standing on the benches and dancing to each song. But THE MOMENT the opening notes and drum beats of “Hey Ya” come out, suddenly a rush of black guys in baggy clothes and girls in skimpy outfits are overflowing the aisle and seats to the left of us, jumping, bouncing, clapping and shaking “it like a Polaroid picture” like you’d never seen before. …For those of us watching, huge smiles erupted on our faces, enamored at this fun scene playing out in front of us. To watch these white girls to the right of us and then an entirely separate crew of black culture on the left shake it all out was something that could hardly be put into words, and you almost didn’t want it to end …but then, as quickly as the group appeared, song ended and all of the energy was gone. …

Until …

The Gin Blossoms entered the stage. I rediscovered my love for the Gin Blossoms on this night ...

With every song, the memories flood back. “Follow You Down” equals sitting at DCI in the summer of ‘96, testing liquid crystal displays with my headphones on and hearing Mix 93 play the song over and over every couple hours. … “Until I Fall Away” equals laying on our basement floor in the summer of ‘94 and waiting for VH1 to play the music video because I so loved the song…. “Til I Hear It From You” equals standing in the Olathe South parking lot during band camp in the summer of ‘95 and singing to the song on a car radio with Erin Jenkins. … I popped “New Miserable Experience” into my car stereo on the way up and to see these guys playing the songs live was far better than I had imagined -- and I adoringly sang to every song, even the ones I’d forgotten I knew, enjoying every second of it. The guitarists were so fun to watch and the lead singer walked among the first couple rows of people on almost every song, grabbing hands, interacting with the crowd and over and over accepting people’s cell phones to sing into them. “Alison Road” and “Found About You” were mixed in with a couple new songs from their upcoming album and then the one that this particular crowd had been waiting for -- “Hey Jealousy.”

….the encore: a one song jam of dueling guitarists standing on either side of the stage. Awesome.

Home at about 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday. My ears numb. Barely a voice to speak. My throat burning and chalked full of a weekend’s worth of second-hand cigar, marijuana and cigarette smoke. Yet still bursting with energy. … My weekend is over.


Summerfest '05 - Night II

Woke up about 11:30 a.m. Had some leftover pizza for brunch and did some errands while Kates got ready to go. …By about 2 p.m., we were off to Summerfest with one goal in mind -- get seats for Ben Folds.

It poured rain almost all the way up to Summerfest and continued once we were there, but after experiencing the monsoons during Fountains of Wayne last year, we came more than prepared this time with ponchos and umbrellas. …As we strolled through the Summerfest grounds, almost all of the ground stage seats were empty -- until we got to the Miller Lite stage where Ben Folds was scheduled for 10 p.m. Forget the rain, forget the fact it was only 3 in the afternoon, the seats, as expected, were already filling quickly. So we parked ourselves about center stage, 12 rows back and sat, and waited …

Nonetheless the bands that preceded Folds were pretty awesome and kept the crowd energized amid the conditions. The first group “The Heroes” played loads of hits from then (ABBA, Cyndi Lauper, Prince) and now (Gwen Stafani, Outkast, Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson … in fact they were responsible for some of the many versions I heard throughout the weekend of “Hey Ya,” “Rich Girl” “Hollaback Girl” and “Livin on a Prayer). Fronted by a guy and a girl who matched every cover note dead-on, they were probably my favorite cover band of the weekend …..The Heroes were followed by a similar cover band, called the Sweet Tarts, but other than the female singer’s long blond dreads and smacking tambourine, they weren’t any fresher…..one more band at 9 -- a group of long-haired Nickelback like guys [I don’t remember their name because 1) I don’t like Nickelback … and 2) By this point, the only person I was interested in seeing was Ben Folds].

... and then it was time to haul out Ben’s piano.

Count it: my seventh time seeing him and it never, ever gets old. Every show is full of the same old, often humourous Ben Folds antics, yet he throws a few new spins in every time too. For this one, it would mark the first time in three years he’s played with a band (a drummer and bassist -- like Ben Folds Five reincarnated), rather than going solo on his piano. Added to that, he has a larger repertoire with his new album, "Songs For Silverman" released in April …

The crowd already on its feet, Ben and the band appeared, the cheers erupted and the pounding piano began as he opened with “In Between Days” …That followed with a few more songs off the new album (“Jesusland,” “Thank You,” “Bastard” …) and some of Ben’s usual comic relief -- this year he teased about why he had been moved from the Piggly Wiggly stage he’d played previous years to the Miller Lite stage. He took that and announced his next song, a tribute on his new album to his daughter “Gracie.” The song, of course, starts with a delicate piano medley, then continues into the sweet lyrics of the song. After the opening piano intro, however, the band completely blind-sided the crowd with a 180-turn and stormed into a speedy, punked-up version of the song! It was GREAT! And once finished, Ben quipped “That was the Miller Lite version of ‘Gracie.” …We sang our lungs out to “Landed” and then the band left Ben alone again, as he went into some of the old Ben Folds Five tunes, playing “Brick,” the sentimental “Evaporated” and of course directing the crowd to back him up as the trumpets and saxophones on “Army” … When the band returned again, more BF5 songs -- “Where’s Summer B” -- which were soooooo good to hear with a live band once again, and some of the songs from his last album, including “Zak and Sara” and a crowd-raising version of “Rockin’ the Suburbs” during which we sang our lungs out again and Ben stole the bass guitar for a portion of the song …..More songs included the always popular “Philosophy” and on and on …The encore: “One Angry Dwarf” with an extended jam and, as always, Ben ending the show by throwing his piano stool and bouncing it off the keys for a dramatic final punch…

We were on our way home in no time, setting into bed a little before 2 a.m. Three nights down, one more to go ...


Summerfest '05

Ah… the day I’ve been waiting for all summer long -- the return of Milwaukee’s Summerfest … the Big Gig! … World’s Largest Music Festival!

There are few things throughout the summer (ok … maybe a Cubs game at Wrigley) that match the rush of hopping on the shuttle from the park n’ ride and arriving at those pearly white gates and giant red lettering that reads ‘Summerfest.’ It’s all I’ve waited for all winter and spring -- the 10-day Milwaukee festival on the lake that’s loaded with delicious food and top-notch music, all for the cost of a full-tank of gas.

I located Eddie and Matty again; we took in some food, the bands and the crowds. For $3 Matt and Ed shot golf balls toward the island in the middle of the lake. A hole in one won a new car -- too bad, by the time we got there Sunday afternoon someone already had won it. We competed together in a few arcade games and stopped to listen to a few bands that caught our ears …including one amazing jam band -- think Jason Mraz paired with Hootie & the Blowfish -- playing on this tiny stage, hidden away from much of the hub-bub. I’d tell you the name of the band, but I honestly didn’t understand the pronunciation and the name scribbled on a white board was too hard to read.

By 5:30, we had some seats at The Potowatomi stage and were ready for what was to come, starting with U2 Zoo, a cover band playing the songs of you know who. And they played the parts perfectly -- shades, stocking caps, guitars and all. Between the dead-on songs and the acting, you might have believed they really did just come from playing Live 8 in London the day before. The guys played a lengthy set of almost every U2 fave that lasted nearly three hours …..At about 9 p.m., a Jimi Hendrix-like guitarist by the name of Greg Koch took the stage and wowed the crowd, with few vocals and non-stop guitar jams that ranged from Pink Floyd, to the Beatles to some of his own stuff ….

THEN, it was time to bring on the keyboard prodigy himself, Mr. Steve Winwood. The band included Winwood on a keyboard/organ, a couple guitarists, a sax player, drummer and bongo player that produced sort of a samba sound that was hard to get used to on some of the songs. Added to that, the Winwood band started with some newer stuff that few people knew and some members of the crowd were getting a little unruly (at a Steve Winwood concert of all things!) and started throwing bottles at people who refused to stay seated -- it’s a concert people! You stand, dance and soak in the energy that comes from the music ….Things picked up a little when Winwood played “Bring Me a Higher Love.” Things picked up A LOT when he grabbed an acoustic guitar and jammed at center stage with the other guitarists before streaming into an awesome version of “Back in the High Life.” ….He kept the crowd going with “I’m a Man” and a few Traffic songs, including “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and left the stage. But you knew the crowd was stirring to hear one more song, and after a few minutes of non-stop cheering, Winwood and the band came back out and sounded the opening chords of you know what -- “Gimme Some Lovin.”

…..Winwood’s show ended a few minutes after midnight and then we fought the mad rush to the shuttle buses …

…I was home and in bed by 2.


My Fouth of July

Two days until the Fourth of July, but I got my dose of fireworks tonight.

I met Matty and Eddie up at Miller Park for the Brewers-Pirates game. We sat in the right field bleachers and spent more time conversing with the family in front of us then watching the game. Besides, the Pirates had the early lead. It finally got interesting when the Brewers tied the score; it got really interesting when the Brewers rookie sensation Ricky Weeks popped a homerun in the bottom of the eighth to win it for the Brew Crew.

But the sight of the night was a darkened Miller Park and the fireworks exploding beyond the right-centerfield.

One late night down, three to go. How far I can go …


About this blog

I'm a news junkie. I believe baseball is still the national past time. I think music is the greatest discovery ever made. I'm easily excited by simple things. I'm just an average, middle-class guy who makes his living by writing.

That's the basis of this blog and the shameless musings I publish here.

It's a place for you to get a glimpse of the things my family experiences.

It's a place for me to talk about the music I'm listening to, and the bliss it brings me. A place for me to cheer or bemoan my sports teams, and write about my ups and downs of following them.

It's a place to share what I'm writing, and what I'm reading. The things I'm thinking. My photography. The things that make me laugh. My beliefs. My aspirations. My fantasies. My memories. My favorite places on the Web.

It's a collection of things I think you should see, read and hear.

Meetings and interviews

(Revised: 11.22.2011)

A list of some of the notable people I’ve met and/or interviewed during the course of my life and career ...

(And for more on why people like me tend to name-drop, read this from Stuff Journalists Like.)

Ben Folds, Darren Jesse, Robert Sledge (Ben Folds Five)
Frank Thomas (baseball player, Chicago White Sox)
Jennifer Knapp (singer)
Claude McKnight (Take Six)
Bernie Miklasz (sports columnist)
Michael Wilbon (sports columnist)
Bob Holden (Missouri governor)
Herman Boone & Bill Yoast (the real-life coaches made famous by “Remember the Titans”)
Mike Kroeger (Nickelback)
Al Molinaro (actor)
Paul Ryan (United States congressman)
Paul & Morgan Hamm (Olympic medalists)
Jim Doyle (Wisconsin Governor)
Jenn Wertz (Rusted Root)
Kirk Hinrich (basketball player, Chicago Bulls)
Dawn & Drew (podcast pioneers)
Peter Tork (of the Monkees)
Toby Lightman (singer)
Joe Esposito (Elvis Presley’s best friend)
Mo Rocca (comedian, TV personality)
Richard On (O.A.R)
Imogen Heap (singer/songwriter)
Jimmy Stafford (Train)
Brian Rosenworcel (Guster)
Tracy Lawrence (country artist)
Bob Feller (baseball hall of famer)
Ron Santo (Chicago Cubs legend, broadcaster)
Rollie Fingers (baseball hall of famer)
Buzz Aldrin & Jim Lovell (astronauts)
James Blunt (singer)
Paul Meany (Mute Math)
Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits)
... Barry Williams (aka Greg Brady, The Brady Bunch)
... Billy Williams (baseball hall of famer)
... Ferguson Jenkins (baseball hall of famer)
... Andy Pafko (pro baseball player, 1943-1959)
... Regina Spektor (singer/songwriter)
... Hillary Clinton (former First Lady, New York Senator, 2008 Presidential candidate)
... Charles Kelly (Lady Antebellum)
... Chris Culos (drummer, O.A.R)
... Marty Stuart (country singer)
... Ingrid Michaelson (singer / songwriter)
... Don Newcombe (Brooklyn Dodgers, 1956 Cy Young and MVP winner)
... Sam Llanas (The BoDeans)
... Todd Mohr (Big Head Todd & the Monsters)
... LeRoy Butler (former Green Bay Packers All-Pro)
... Tom Hamilton (bassist, Aerosmith)
... Windell Middlebrooks (actor, "Miller High Life deliveryman")
... Harold Ford Jr. (former congressman, NBC analyst)

... Celine Cousteau (filmmaker, explorer, granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau)
... Shawn Johnson (U.S. gymnast, Olympic gold medalist)
... Meghan McCain (political activist, writer, daughter of U.S. Sen. John McCain)
... Blake Mycoskie (Founder of TOMS shoes)
... Frank Warren (Founder of PostSecret)

Concert sightings

(Updated: 03.02.2014)

Here's a list of the bands I've seen since, or at least the ones worth remembering ...

... Ben Folds, 10 times (including five with the 'Five')
... Blues Traveler
... Toad the Wet Sprocket
... Rusted Root
... Counting Crows (three times)
... Jars of Clay
... Take Six
... Jennifer Knapp (... a sweet acoustic performance to celebrate her debut release ...)
... Five for Fighting
... The Proclaimers
... Barenaked Ladies (twice)
... Dave Matthews (in an acoustic show with Tim Reynolds)
... Sister Hazel (twice)
... Nelly Furtado (... it was early in her career and it wasn't great.)
... Edwin McCain
... Guster (five times)
... John Mayer (twice)
... Avril Lavigne (... I watched from backstage while she performed acoustically in a mall.)
... Rufus Wainwright (... thought he was awful)
... Shawn Colvin
... Steve Winwood
... Gin Blossoms (July 2005 and July 2008)
... Toby Lightman (Nov. 2005)
... The Fray (twice)
... Alanis Morissette
... O.A.R. (four times)
... Imogen Heap
... John Kay of Steppenwolf
... The Go-Gos
... Pink
... Toto
... Mat Kearney
... James Taylor (twice)
... James Blunt
... Mute Math
... The Grass Roots
... The Buckinghams
... Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone (twice)
... Lindsey Buckingham
... Augustana
... Dashboard Confessional (twice)
... Regina Spektor
... Stevie Wonder
... The Polyphonic Spree
... The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
... Ingrid Michaelson (twice)
... The Hush Sound
... OneRepublic
... Jason Mraz
... Death Cab For Cutie
... Sheryl Crow
... Goo Goo Dolls (three times)
... Parachute
... Michelle Branch
... America
... Mates of State
... Fun.

My first-ever concert was an oldies concert sponsored by one of the local stations in Kansas City that my dad got tickets to. It featured The Buckinghams, Gary Puckett & the Union Gap, The Turtles and Three Dog Night ... By the time I saw them, they were has-beens. But it was the night was a thrill nonetheless.

My first modern concert would have been R.E.M. during their Monster tour in spring '95 ... But my mother put the kebosh on that one because there was a tornado watch in our area. It never rained a drop, it turned out to be a beautiful night and I was stuck at home (I love you, Mom!) ...

Truly, my first modern concert was a Hootie & the Blowfish show in summer '96.

My Lists

I tend to make a lot of lists ...

And I've published a lot of them during the life of this blog ...

So here's your one-stop-shop for My Lists ...

Albums I really dig

(Revised: 3.04.2009)

A list of albums I really dig -- not including compilations, soundtracks, live albums or greatest hits collections ...

In no particular order …

... Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
Ben Folds: Songs For Silverman
Shawn Colvin: A Few Small Repairs
Matchbox Twenty: Mad Season
Sister Hazel: Fortress
Brian Wilson: Smile
The Beatles: Abbey Road
... The Shins: Wincing The Night Away
... Belle & Sebastian: The Life Pursuit

... Guster: Ganging Up On The Sun
... Toby Lightman: Little Things
... Lisa Loeb: Firecracker
... Dixie Chicks: Taking the Long Way
... The Who: Tommy
... Death Cab For Cutie: Narrow Stairs