November 30, 2012

The Time I Went To See Melissa E // Music

Ah. Lucky me! I got to stroll through the doors of The Chicago Theatre a few weeks ago. For what? CAUSE I WAS HOLDIN' TICKETS TO MELISSA ETHERIDGE, BABY! My parents have seen her a handful of times, my mom is a huge fan, and her first four albums were constantly played during my upbringing. Like Talking Heads and so many others, Melissa Etheridge found a cozy little place in my musical soul making her a bucket list artist; someone I had to see in my time. When I first found out she was coming here sometime in the late summer for a November show, I told my ma all about it and sent her all the fancy pre-sale ordering e-mails XRT was sending out and hoped she would come through in making that our show for this year, especially since we couldn't make it to David Byrne/St. Vincent together. She pulled through and we put it in our plans.

Of course, we started off this concert experience just like we would any other; dinner at Greek Islands beforehand, one of our favorite restaurants. 

saganaki, an obvious choice.
So since my mom is a seasoned Melissa E show go-er, she clued me in on exactly what I should expect as we listened to a CD I had made specifically for the drive there that was chocked full of Melissa Etheridge, Florence, Talking Heads/David Byrne- our usual lineup. The general sum-up was "You're never gonna see any other woman rock like Melissa does", that, and of course, she told me about the guitars. She told me all about how she does all these guitar changes and how she uses a different guitar for each song. I knew she would rock, there was no doubt in my mind, which is why there was no problem with me being so adamant about going in the first place. Let's be honest, this was my mom's 5th Melissa show, and while she loves seeing her live, she just wasn't super amped on it until we were in the car on the way there belting out 'Like The Way I Do'. That's okay, the excitement eventually found her and after dinner, we cabbed over to the theatre where the excitement then consumed us. My tradition for every show there is that when I get into the actual main floor entrance, I just walk all the way to the front of the stage for some time to check out the set close-up, make nice with the guards up there, and get a good look at the crowd. I feel some sort of bizarre attachment to that theatre that makes me feel like I should somehow buy it, manage it, and love it forever [or maybe just get a job sticking the letters on the marquee?].


yay! Set close-up
The set to this particular show was intricate as ever; lava lamps, rugs, tons of amps, decor, and of course a drum from Leavenworth Junior High- her hometown. When I was done with my scope-out routine, we attempted to actually find our seats, and they were good ones in the center section; Row B, seat 406/408. We got an even bigger slice of lucky when two women two rows in front of us turned to ask us if we wanted to switch seats with them, and they had the aisle seats. That's a delicious two-fer and we took it. They were a group of friends who had bought tickets separately, yet managed to gain compliance with awesome attendees in order to switch it up so they could sit together. How awesome.

My ma and I in front of the stage before the show!

Here's the showdown! 

 She came on stage with such a bewitching spirit that night; looking around, moving easily to the beat. She was extremely chatty with the crowd as she led us along in the passenger seat of her Chevrolet. She drew so many influences from her upbringing and raw roots with this album. Her attentiveness with the crowd could have almost been mistaken for a typical blues show where the artists mutters through a collection of thoughts while the notes take their words and string them to a melody. This album was a lot slower paced and focused heavily on it, rightfully so since this tour is titled after her latest album; 4th Street Feeling. She threw a lot of her old jams in there which was my main highlight along with some of the awesome life advice she threw out in between songs and some of it couldn't have come at a better time. I was a tad shocked there wasn't a bit more from her Fearless Love album, just a song, but after 12 albums, not including her Christmas album and greatest hits, I guess it becomes rather difficult to cut it down to even just 20 songs. What it boils down to is that I just wanted to see Melissa Etheridge in concert. It wasn't about loving every song on her latest albums, it was about experiencing an artist live I've thoroughly enjoyed my whole life and see her with the person who was responsible for that. Melissa looked great and sounded great. She mixed up the songs really nicely too. One minute you were rocking out and the next you'd be swaying along somewhere in the crowd. The lights she used were fantastic as well. A lot of variation, which was great and sort of gives it the feeling you're getting that much more out of the show. I felt really lucky to be seeing her perform live, especially within the walls of The Chicago Theatre. We were around such an awesome group of people, too, many of which had attended shows in the past. An awesome crowd? That always seals the deal on a concert. 

MELISSA ROCKED OUT ON DRUMS! She just got up along side her drummer and laid down an awesome little set. This was absolutely awesome. She played the harmonica as well as strummed a billion chords on numerous different guitars and even played some of them whilst laying on her back sprawled across the stage. Definitely an experience. To have it end with 'Like The Way I Do' was just absolutely stellar, she rocked the house, and I'm pretty sure I rocked my body to the core. Of course, like the end of every show ever, I make my way up to the front of the stage in attempts to get a glorious setlist! ACCOMPLISHED! [and I never thought I would at this one].

The fantabulous 20 song setlist!

The breakdown process! This is always incredibly fascinating to me just HOW fast they
break it all down and pop it into a truck for the next show. The crew for her show was exceptionally
friendly. I was really shocked I walked away with a few souvineers from this one!

Afterward, my mom and I were buzzing, but she kept emphasizing how much she has really mellowed out.
She is still incredibly captivating, but she said that no one EVER sat at her shows and during a few songs on this latest tour, there were a few sitters. It didn't get me down. It was almost intriguing to see her in the in-between phase of being able to really impress while calming down and turning over a new page in terms of performance. At the end of it all, I got exactly what I wanted- seeing yet another bucket-list artist at The Chicago Theatre. It's just too exquisite. Here's to the next one.

If you like Melissa Etheridge, you might dig this other artist I thoroughly enjoy; Lissie who reminds me of a younger version of Melissa E. I had the chance to see her live at Reggie's a couple years ago and luckily got to meet her and of course, I wrote all about it.

Any shows you plan on attending soon?

November 15, 2012

The 25% Mindset // November

This is something I've been wanting to put into written word for some time now. It's something that I've been able to verbally convey to some extent, but haven't yet conquered finding the time to type it out , until now. It's kind of a heavy topic, but maybe not, it definitely doesn't have to be, it just depends on your viewpoint. For me, though, it kind of is. It's the best way for me to have some kind of definitive bright spot, something to look forward to, something to remember. You see, if you ever met me in person, you'd think I was this energetic, outgoing, spunky, funky chick that's got enough spare energy to bottle up and sell, and that's very true, to some extent. However, if you really know me well, you would know I spend a lot of time tied up in the sad sack. There's no real reason or real way to pinpoint the reason for this. Mind you, that makes it sound extremely fluffy and I'd almost rather have you think that, and even more so, I wish it were "fluffy". Life isn't always wonderful, but it's about stumbling into those moments or experiences that make you feel it is to the fullest degree. Basically, right now, being 24 years old almost feels like a burden along with having this marvelous freedom that's only going to be here a short time longer. It's a mixed pot of outings, friends, work, being unsure about work, being unsure about money, being stressed about money, wanting freedom whilst fearing it, uncertainty with the future, hating the future, hating the present...all that delicious stuff that the ones walking around in their 20's get to experience. Most of the time, that's not even a thought exclusive to the younger set. It's that feeling that when you're happy, you feel as if you'll be happy forever, but when the sad hits, it seems like the only feeling you'll ever possess. It's a grouping of feelings that I am all too familiar with, but there's also beautiful things to be experienced in this life that seems sort of mundane and unsure of it's purpose, and that, my friends, counts for something.

Breaking it down this way sometimes seems a bit negative, as I stated before, but it's necessary for me to write about because it's how I've been feeling for so long, whether it's the "right" or "wrong" way to go about life, it's just how I choose to see it. The 25% carries a big significance for me. It's sort of the thing that keeps me here; the thing that keeps me going, the thing that I look forward to, the thing that makes me laugh out loud when I'm alone on a Thursday afternoon. The 25% is necessary because it is made up of the small things. And the smallest things tend to have some of the greatest outcomes and make some of the biggest differences. What makes up this percentage? And how can the other 75% seem so melancholy? It's not just that. It's not that I'm sad sacking 75% of my life, it's just that some of the things I find myself doing, that aren't necessarily enjoyable, or they are the things that I'm just doing until I get to what I'm really here for. I am a happy person, at times. I feel like my head is not quite wired like the rest of 'em and it's hard sometimes, too hard. What happens often when I'm swimming in the depths, is that I find the smallest things do generally pull me out of such a rut, which is why this perspective works for me real well.

The 25% is what we're dreaming about experiencing during the 75% we're living.

I find myself living in complacency more often then not, if I'm lucky to have even that in my grasp, and not to mention, I'm the most anxious person alive. That's not necessarily the worst state to live in, but sometimes, it all seems to drag on and throw me on my head every now and then. There are large amounts of that 75% that make me cling so hard to that smaller number that makes up my whole.To explain it differently, it's one of those times when you're driving and you're feeling low, real low, and you don't know what the hell you're doing here anymore, and then you see it- that sunset. That amazing sun that's going down in all the right ways; it makes the clouds look absolutely beautiful, the sky is splashed in faded colour, and that sun gives you hope that tomorrow is a better day and a brighter time. And then it hits you, THAT'S WHY YOU'RE HERE. To see that, to think a rational thought, to feel at ease, to see something that you had no control over, and have it move you to pieces. THOSE are the things that make me love being alive and make me want to stay alive. It's those things you see, feel, or experience that are so beautiful, so magnetic, so memorable, that it makes you feel like you're going to cave. The 25% gives you that reassurance that good things, whether they be big or small, do linger just around the corner, you just have to keep living to experience them. Want other glorious examples? Sure you do;

It's the things like, when you want to hear one of your jams whilst driving, and all of a sudden it comes on the radio or your shuffle takes care of it. GLORIOUS! The 25% is the loud laughs you share with your friends on a Thursday night at their place, when you're so caught up in the moment you don't care whether or not you're heard in the apartment next door, it's receiving that set list from the show of the musician that helped shape your life at one of your favorite venues, it's that exceptionally random conversation you have with a stranger that makes some sort of impact on you, it's letting the music move your emotions; letting it take you from happy to sad or the other way around, it's that both hands on your face when your being kissed kind of feeling, it's seeing the architecture that's so astounding, you take a minute to look at it.  The 25% is vital, and it's happening all the time, you just have to look for it, scoop it up, and make it part of your whole. Sometimes it's easy to pass it up, I mean, really easy to pass up and other times, you have to cling to it, especially in times when you're not sure what you're really here for. The times where it's not apparent can seem terrifying, but then you just have to go digging.

in visual form;

See the way his hand falls in this picture? I remember it upon my face.
I       remember       that       feeling.
I remember thinking that this was such a darling shot and that I'm so
glad I have his wonderful affections caught on camera. THAT is the 25%

The 25% is getting something like this in your camera roll, that marvelous sunset.
And more rarely than not, your favourite musician will absolutely change your life,
in the middle of a packed venue, my favourite venue, and make you feel like your
artistic side should not be taken lightly. THANK YOU, FLORENCE WELCH
for making the 25% feel like 100%.

Cookies I made for my queen, Florence Leontine Mary Welch
and the rest of the band, Florence + The Machine. Her receiving these?

The 25% are these setlists, acquired from amazing shows from amazing places.
1. Florence + The Machine (H.o.B April 2010) 2. Natalie Merchant (Chicago Theatre 2010) 3. Chairlift (Lollapalooza 2012)
Getting the set list makes it that much more official and just gives you something awesome to put on your wall.

the 25% is taking walks on a summer day like this with one of your closest friends.

The 25% is dancing in Grant Park at your first Lollapalooza. HELL YES!

Of course, the 25% is your bed. YOUR bed.

The 25% is re-living those childhood memories, ice cream trucking at age 24. CLASS.

 The 25% is getting to see Concorde in person. I would have LOVED to have flown in this aircraft
and I'm stoked I got to see it and admire the hell out of it. IT'S BEAUTIFUL!

The 25% resides in your house on Christmas morning.
The 25% is the feeling you have rushing through your body  on
one of your favourite coasters with awesome people by your side.
What an amazing day this was. I love what all of us are doing in this picture.
All, in all, the things above mean endless amounts, looking at these pictures literally gives me the same feeling I experienced as it was captured, but they aren't the only things that mean a lot. There are a million examples and viewpoints of this subject, and I'd love to hear about them from you. These experiences are something to cherish. 

What's in your basket of 25%?