A Long Time Ago, in a Far Away Land, lived a Beautiful Princess named Brooke.
Brooke heard through the grapevine that her one of her Favorite! Singers! Ever! was playing a concert at HER college. This Favorite! Singer! Ever! was Jason Mraz. Since this was A Long Time Ago, he hadn’t yet released his ridiculously catch smash hit “I’m Yours.”
Would you like me to sing it so that it gets stuck in your head? No? Ok, fine.
As luck would have it, this was during the time when Brooke was Very, Very, Single. There was not a handsome Prince that she could convince persuade drug think of to escort her to the concert. She did what any smart Princes would do, and called her BFFs.
“What’s he sing?”
(One of her BFFs may or may not have been her dog.)
On a rare stroke of inspiration, she decided to ask her Mom, the Very Wise and Beautiful Queen, to travel with her to the Concert.
“Nah. You listen to weird music,” the Queen decided.
Fortunately, Brooke learned through the magic of Facebook that one of her College Friends WAS going to the concert. They agreed to meet up at a local microbrewery and imbibe some kickass beer prior to the show.
Clearly, I don’t need to tell you that the concert was amazing. It easily ranks as one of the best decisions of my life. We got to hear some of the rough tracks off “We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things,” which he had available in acoustic EP form. I have them. Nyah Nyah.
And Brooke lived happily ever after. The end.
One person who SERIOUSLY REGRETTED her decision to not come to the concert was my Mom, who got some of those tracks on a mix cd that I made her, and realized that she loved Jason Mraz with a passion almost equal to mine. She made me promise to let her know if I was going to get concert tickets any time in the near future. She had learned her lesson. 😉
Fast forward to last spring, and I read that Dar Williams was coming to perform in Harrisburg. Right away I got tickets, and let my mom know that we were going.
“I don’t think I’ll like it,” she protested. “I don’t know any of her music.”
We went. Dar was deathly ill and still gave an amazing show. We both cried, and Mom admits that she would totally see her again if given a chance.
This year, I was trying to brainstorm for an amazing gift for her birthday. One that would be appropriate both for the fact that I’d moved out, and allow us to spend some time together, and one that was suitably exciting to mark her (CENSORED)th birthday. As luck would have it, Colbie Caillat was scheduled to perform near us two weeks after her birthday. I checked with Army Boy, and he was all for the idea. Tickets bought, shopping done.
Except I may have gone out and gotten her both of Colbie’s albums too. WHAT. She needed to be prepared.
Last Thursday, we got our Girls’ Night Out, and got to see an amazing live show. After seeing Ben Folds a couple of weeks ago, I was subconsciously not expecting to enjoy the concert quite as much as I had his. Thus, I learned that low expectations are for jerks.
The opening act started promptly at 8pm, after we’d had time to peruse the merch and find our seats. Justin Young came out with his guitar, a keyboard player and a box drum. He’s a beanpole of a guy, tall and thin with his hair pulled back in jaunty dreds. When he started playing and singing, he brought to mind what the result would be if Jason Mraz and John Mayer had a baby. With dreds.
He had a lovely voice, and some of his songwriting was remarkably soulful. Unfortunately, his newest work isn’t available in album form. It’s something that I will definitely be keeping an eye out for.
Side Note: What is UP with people who yak through the whole opening act? I get that you mostly buy tickets to a concert to see the main performer. I can count on one hand the number of opening acts that I’ve seen that weren’t incredible. I’ve been lucky enough to see Kate Miller-Heidke, Joshua Radin and Erin McKeown, among others. Usually I end up walking out of there with a cd, or a new band to look up on iTunes. To me, the opening act is a bonus. It’s a treat to sit and be exposed to someone completely new, and decide whether to add them to your personal catalog of artists.
At the Ben Folds concert last month, the talking from the lobby while Kate Miller-Heidke was performing was so loud, everyone was distracted and turning around to see WHAT THE HELL was going on back there. The woman beside me and I were ready to stand up and yell “SHUT UP!”, but refrained from doing so since it would be adding to the general disrespect.
While we were enjoying Justin Young’s set, some women a row back that seemed a little older than my mother were talking and cackling so obnoxiously that they got evil eyes from everyone sitting around them. The concertgoers around us, all younger than this mature group, were saying “Wow, clearly they’re either too young to be here, or too old.”
That’s my public service announcement of the day. If you go to a concert, shut the hell up during the opening act. People want to relax and enjoy the whole concert, not just the part that your teeny-tiny loudmouth brain is waiting for. You make me stabby.
Around 9pm, the band came out and started to play the opening number. Colbie came out right as she started singing, and the whole auditorium erupted into cheers. It was a fun crowd to be with- some mothers and their young daughters, dressed in their best with glitter on their cheeks. Teenagers in swingy skirts with gorgeous long hair and a little bit of makeup, chattering excitedly with their best friends. Crunchy earthy types, in their indie glasses and Tom’s shoes. People that you could tell were subscription holders, who seemed slightly out of place, but still keeping an open mind.
Colbie live and in person was far BETTER than she is on her recordings. When she opened her mouth to sing, I was stunned by the complexity and richness of her voice. I was expecting her deep alto, but the complete control with which she sang every note was extremely impressive. Even her upper register, which she uses infrequently, was clear and perfectly on pitch. It took me a couple of songs to wrap my mind around the fact that, WOW, she was an incredible performer.
Despite the fact that she was one of the most gorgeous people I’ve ever seen, she seemed completely comfortable onstage interacting with her band. She sipped tea during the performance, and took at break at one point to answer questions that audience members wrote in a journal that was left on the merch table before the show. Among them? “Are you really a blonde?” To her credit, she answered with honest and humor. (Yes, btw.)
I got a distinct “one of the guys” vibe in the way she modestly stepped back at times to let the instrumentalists take the spotlight. The band was pitch perfect as well, and they were joined by Justin Young on the backing vocals and some notable duets, including “Turn Your Lights Down Low”, a Bob Marley cover that is currently on repeat on my iPod. It makes me think of summer nights, ceiling fans and light gauzy curtains swaying in the breeze.
But really. Throughout the show, Mom and I kept whispering to each other, “Holy. Cow. Look how gorgeous her hair is.”
“I know. I kinda want to touch it.”
“Does it make me a lesbian if I think she has a really great butt?”
“I don’t think so. I was just thinking the same thing. That makes it fact.”
So yes. She was officially added to my list of “girlcrushes,” along with Jennifer Nettles (CALL ME!) and Lea Michelle. Not sorry. I don’t think Army Boy is either.
After what seemed like only minutes, the band was taking their bows and leaving the stage. Mom looked at me in dismay.
“She didn’t play ‘Bubbly!’”
While I didn’t blame her, because she’s probably sick as hell of that song, I figured that she’d be back out for an encore and play it then.
The two of them did a version of “Lucky,” one of my absolute favorite songs, which Colbie sings WITH Jason Mraz. Since it appears on Jason’s latest, “We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things,” I had totally forgotten that Colbie might play it as well. That was the highlight of the show for me, and that song will totally be featured during my future completely hypothetical wedding. 😉
After I was hoarse from cheering and dancing, they closed the concert with “Bubbly,” complete with new, gospel-inspired soulful intro. And audience participation. Strangely, it was a musical audience and all sang along in the same key.
Mom was totally on a concert-high the next day, and I’m glad that I was too, as it gave me some of the extra oomph that I needed to get through our first Singers concert. Since I’m not the most intelligent sometimes, I’d cheered a little too much the night before and my vocal chords were all kinds of pissed when I tried to make them do delicate, pretty things the next night.
Totally worth it. Happy Birthday, and Mother’s Day, Mom.