2016 Music Recap: Live

19 Dec

Here’s the deal with me, and I know I’ve been over this several times and in several forms. In my formative teenage years I became a folkie. I appreciate a great songwriter. I’ve seen and see quite a few of them, and I count many of them as my friends.  There’s a vibrant and wonderful live music scene in this town/state I live in, and that’s pretty dang awesome. Lots of local and regional acts of amazing talent and virtuosity in bars and listening rooms every single night of the week.

However…however. I’m coming into my own as a “big show” junkie. I found that out this year and I think I embraced it…so much so that I plan on amping it up even more in 2017 if possible. There’s nothing like the feeling that being at a concert with thousands of other excited people brings. This sounds weird coming from me because I generally structure my days with priority number 1 being “avoid people in person at all costs,” but I had a few concert experiences this year that brought me out of my intro-shell. Most of them involved pop music. Most of them involved singing very loudly. Most of them involved me stalking down an iconic song to hear it live. For instance:

Vanessa Carlton: The Mucky Duck

“You know I’d walk 1000 miles if I could just see you.” That song was on repeat in my college years, and it was cool to hear in an intimate room like The Mucky Duck. Vanessa put on a great show all around.

Carly Rae Jepsen: ACL Moody Theater
“Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe.” One of THE iconic hits of mid-2000’s pop. Everyone knows this song. They may hate it, but they know it. Luckily Carly Rae has plenty of fans who love it, and we all sang along at the top of our lungs. Super fun. (The Vlog)

Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding: Cedar Park Center
This show is where mine eyes were opened to the glory live pop hath wrought.  Ellie is perhaps at the part of the mountain of her career where she’s pretty dang near all the way up to the top except she’s got more to climb and no one’s really sure how high the mountain is.  I’ve followed her on social media all year and the woman never stops playing shows across, almost literally, all the continents.  It’s incredible.  She has earned every hit and every accolade. As with my album review, Ellie’s show is one hit after another.  High energy, and still very accessible.  She broke it down with a few acoustic guitar tunes, played some drums, and danced her ass off.  I left a much bigger fan than I was when I walked in, which is really what you want out of a live performance. (The Vlog)

Maya Rudolph

Maya Rudolph and Princess: Paramount
One of my comedy heroines has a Prince cover band, and they were scheduled to play the Moontower Comedy Festival…in what turned out to be the week that Prince passed away (stop it, 2016). I would have them the pass of all passes if they canceled, but they did not. Maya and her partner Gretchen Lieberum gave an incredible tribute to a room full of bummed out people, which ended in everyone rushing the stage, dancing and singing loudly. A lesson in music and grief, and how they work together. (Same Vlog as above!)

Mary Chapin Carpenter - Austin, TX

Mary Chapin Carpenter: All Over
One of the more recent excursions so I don’t need to rehash a TON, but…as the aforementioned Vanessa Carlton song says, I will travel 1000 miles just to see Mary Chapin play. She’s a true pro, because I have seen her play solo, I have seen trio shows, I have seen full band shows, I have seen her swap songs with Shawn Colvin…whatever the tour set up, there are always new songs and different arrangements and she does a Q&A (I am the one that asks MCC what books she’s reading), and I ALWAYS leave feeling a little more able to conquer the world than before. It’s joyful and meditative at a Mary Chapin show. I hope whoever reads this finds their artist that does that for them, and while I would LOVE to think it’s MCC for EVERYONE!!!!…I know you guys all have your people. Seek them out. (The Vlog)

Taylor Swift Formula 1 Austin, TX

Taylor Swift: F1 Circuit of the Americas
It was not just a concert, but a full on mind-blowing experience. I love Taylor’s music, and since I am kind of spoiled with seeing people I really like pretty close up, I was a little wary of how this whole thing was going to go down. As you can watch in the vlog, we had a whole day to get where we needed to be, and we landed some prime standing spots close to the stage. It was an incredible, immersive experience where I sang louder and with more joy than I can remember, well…ever. Taylor is a boss of a writer, performer, and business person and it all came together with 80,000 people at Circuit of the Americas. 10/10 Would Do Again.

Whatever it is I seek at these shows, I intend to find more of it in 2017. A shared collective joy is part of it. An illumination either into the artist’s craft, or their ability to connect with me among hundreds or thousands of others, or just leaving feeling surprised at what I felt. I love that feeling. The “Whoa” factor. More of it, please.

1 Response to 2016 Music Recap: Live



December 19th, 2016 at 2:28 pm

I saw my first big show (Adele) in a very VERY long time. And, I loved it. Loved. It. But, I probably won’t be immersing myself in more any time soon. I’m terribly happy for you, though. Go, Jana!

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