Monday, April 29, 2013

The Time I Touched Gavin Rossdale...

This weekend, The Hubs & I attended the 23rd Annual Edgefest. Typing that makes me feel a little old because I went to several Edgefests in my teens. Eventually, the line-ups stopped interesting me. But this year, it peaked my interest once again. Mainly because of one my favorite bands of all-time was playing - BUSH. (It'd be silly to try and make this suspenseful since the title basically gives it away.) And a friend of mine, Lyndsay, hooked us up with tickets!

Twenty bands played (though we didn't hear them all), but our favorites of the day, in order in the pics below, were.... The Neighbourhood, Robert DeLong, Fitz & The Tantrums, AWOLNATION, Deftones and last but most certainly not least, Bush!

I enjoyed basically all the bands we saw, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't the most excited for Bush. I have been a Bush fan for...seriously, almost 20 years. (Ugh, so many things in this post are making me feel super old...) I vividly remember standing in line at a music store in the mall, waiting for buy a copy of their first album. Posters of the band were on my wall. I even had a framed head shot of just Gavin Rossdale hanging in my room. As we stood near the main stage, waiting (im)patiently for Bush to take the stage, my excitement grew. Ryan was a great sport and allowed me to fully geek-out through the entire set. We sang along to every song, jumped up and down when necessary and threw our hands up every time the band told us to. I don't think I stopped moving until the music stopped.

And right smack in the middle, the most amazing thing happened. The band started playing a familiar melody, but one that was not their own. It was "Come Together" by the Beatles. (I miiiight have screamed my head off at this point. Possibly. Maybe.) As we sang along, we watched Gavin Rossdale disappear into the crowd. As I searched for him, Ryan nudged me and said "BABE!" I looked toward him to see Gavin Rossdale himself climbing up the sound tent, about 15 feet from us! I could not contain myself.

There he stood, right in front of us.

And just when I thought it couldn't get ANY better, it did. Because he climbed back down the sound tent and walked DIRECTLY in front of us. No, seriously. I reached out my hand and brushed his shoulder. Gavin Freaking Rossdale!!!!!! (Check out the video below that Ryan captured.) I couldn't stop shaking after, and spent the remainder of their set in a bizarre, adrenaline induced state. 

I cannot imagine a concert experience topping this for a long, long time. As my brother said when I texted him about it, a lifelong dream - fulfilled.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Lumineers - Concert "Review"

Even though I attend a LOT of concerts, its been a while since I've blogged about one. Last night, two of my best friends and I went to see The Lumineers (from Denver, CO ::coughcough::), and they gave us all a totally "blog-worthy" show! 

Britt, Me, Kim
Let me talk about the opening acts first because both deserve mention. I tried to snap a couple of pictures, but the lighting for both of their sets were not super "cellphone camera friendly". So, instead, I'll link up to YouTube.

First up was Jack Wilson (and band). I was impressed with them. You know, sometimes the very first openers just aren't up the par, but they definitely were. He has a very smooth, melodic tone and his band (complete with a trumpet player!) was quite good and really together.

Next was Sam Doores + Riley Downing and the Tumbleweeds. Brittany had seen them before, and promised I was in for a good show. She was definitely right. They were so much fun to watch/listen to! The song I linked above is one of their slower songs, but I assure you, they can GET DOWN. I really enjoyed them and plan to get their album soon.

Moving on to the main attraction - The Lumineers! I've been a fan for a little over a year - before their big hit "Ho Hey" hit the radio waves. (Sorry to get all hipstery here, but its true.) As soon as I heard them for the first time, I was hooked. Sadly, as often happens for me, I jumped on the fanwagon about a week after they had played a small show here. So, I was left hoping they'd come back soon. Well, within that year, they absolutely blew up and had a strong enough fan base to play at Verizon Theater - which happens to be my favorite venue.

As soon as they started to play, I was absolutely giddy! I've had a handful of concerts in my life that left me a bit disappointed because it was obvious the band/singer was better in the studio than live. The Lumineers were almost the opposite! I LOVE their album and listen to it often...but hearing them live stepped it up one more level.

Their set list was stellar. They played everything from their album (including my very favorite - the moving "Charlie Boy"), a couple of new tunes (that made me SUPER excited for their next album) and also did a couple of awesome covers - like "Subterranean Homesick Blues" by Bob Dylan and "Ain't Nobody's Problem" by Sawmill Joe. And since it seems that the telltale sign of an amazing show for me is if they make me'll all be happy to know that they brought me to tears TWICE. I have a special place in my heart for bands that really want to connect and share a moment with their fans, and The Lumineers absolutely strived for that connection.

That being said, I must vent a little a lot. Because the crowd last night did NOT make that job easy for them. Maybe I'm getting old, or maybe concert-goers are getting younger (read: less mature), but I witnessed some of the most disrespectful behavior at a concert that I've seen. Three "major" incidents last night left my friends and I embarrassed that this is what represented DFW.

First, the infuriating show-talker. You know the ones. They talk through the ENTIRE concert. I find this to be an issue more at venues where its standing-room-only or with a Pit. (Which is where we were last night.) I could tell you basically the entire 3 hour conversation the people standing behind me had...which really sucks when you are trying to just be in the moment, enjoying soaring music.

Second, the deplorable phone-out-the-whole-time-r.  Now listen, I am not trying to be a hypocrite here because obviously I took several pictures last night. But that's precisely what I did. I took a FEW pictures, most of which were at the very beginning of the set, and then my phone went into my purse where it stayed for the remainder of the show. What I'm talking about here is the person who stands there with their phone in the air, trying to record every song. What really killed me is that 4-5 times during the show, Wesley (the lead singer) asked everyone to "Please put away your phones and cameras and just be present with us." And yet people STILL recorded every song.

I promise I'm almost done...but its my blog and I can write what I want to (write what I want, WRIIIITE what I want to...). Lastly, the gosh-darn beach balls. I am NOT hating on beach balls at every concert. Not in the least! I quite enjoy them at outdoor shows, especially those like The Flaming Lips, where they are absolutely acceptable. But an inside venue in the middle of a slow, touching song is NOT the time to toss the 20 beach balls you smuggled into the crowd. There was a moment during "Slow It Down" when there were so many beach balls going that everyone was completely distracted and the poor band looked like they were ready to pack it up and leave the stage. (At one point, a stage hand even grabbed a ball and popped it with scissors!)  Luckily, several people near us where just as annoyed by them as we were, and collectively we were able to grab and deflate two of them.

One of the dreaded beach balls.

But, enough of me sounding like the grumpy old lady who should just stay at home. ;) And WOW, that turned into an epically long post. Sorry for the ranting! I truly, truly enjoyed The Lumineers and cannot WAIT until I get another opportunity to see them live.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Colorado Trip - Day Four & Five

On Sunday morning (our fourth and final full day in Colorado) we slept in and had an early lunch before heading to Colorado Springs to visit the Garden of the Gods. Ryan had been here once before, and his description made me all the more excited to see this natural wonder.

The drive to Colorado Springs was gorgeous, and as we started to approach the Garden, it got even more beautiful.

We entered the park area and started the climb to around 8000 feet. (This was 3000 feet above Denver, the "Mile High City".)

As soon as we stepped out of the car, I was truly affected by altitude for the first time on our trip. I was dizzy and light headed and as we started our hike, it only got worse. I took longer than usual at each stop, trying to regain my footing as I read each plaque.

The natural stone structures were so breathtaking, but unfortunately, so was the altitude, haha. I felt terrible not being able to keep up with Ryan. I know I made the experience less awesome for him. (I really am sorry, babe.) But, it didn't stop me from appreciating the landscape.


As we were walking on the trail, we encountered a herd of mule deer. Like so many of the other animals we saw on our trip, they were just going about their business, unaffected by us. It was truly amazing. Ryan got a quick video as they crossed the trail one by one. 

To put this into perspective, Ryan is 6'3.

After I'd gone as far as I could on the trail, we got back into the car and drove to the top, taking pictures along the way. 

THE Garden of the Gods.

I don't think I've seen much that was more beautiful than the views from the top.
This might be my very favorite picture from the entire trip. I want to live IN THIS VERY SPOT.

After returning back to Denver, we ventured out to grab dinner and call it a night since we had to fly out the next morning. We decided to try a diner we had seen on Diner's, Drive-In's and Dives, Sam's No. 3. The downtown location was super busy and we couldn't find any parking, so we headed over to the location just outside of the city.

The food LOOKS great, but was actually just average. We both wondered if the original location would have been better than this newer one. But, it was still yummy.  
Then we headed back to the hotel, packed our things and enjoyed a movie in bed.

We woke up early Monday morning just in time for snow to start falling. There was a good 1/4 inch accumulated on the cars by the time we left for the airport at 8am.

Ryan making faces at me as he brushes off the snow.

 We basically spent the entire day traveling...

And once again, it was a super turbulent flight (though no airsickness bag was needed this time, haha). Poor Ryan's hand suffered the consequences as I gripped it for dear life. I am so lucky to be married to the kind of man who offers me his hand every time we hit a bump (or took off/landed). 

So, now we are back in Texas, begrudgingly. But, hopefully not for long. read that right. We haven't set a date or made it 100% official, but we took this trip with the intent of deciding if we wanted to potentially move to Colorado, and after our visit, we were certain its where we belong.  So, here's to crossing Item #2 off my 30x30 list...and here's to seeing how this unfolds.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Colorado Trip - Day Three

I woke up on day three REALLY excited about the Rocky Mountain Arsenal/National Wildlife Refuge. Mountain. Wildlife. Refuge. If you know me at all, you know why those three words got me pumped!

I might have griped at Ryan when he posted this picture on Facebook, because even after losing 30lbs, all I can see is how much I have left to lose. After he basically told me to get over myself, I realized he was this is my attempt at doing just that. ;)

This Wildlife Refuge used to be an Army chemical weapons manufacturing facility (hence the name...) but in the 1990's was restored to be a home for over 300 species of wildlife, including deer, bison, coyotes, red fox, rabbits, ducks, birds and one of our favorites, prairie dogs! Before entering the Wildlife Refuge, we walked through the museum to learn the history behind this 17,000 acre property.

It was so strange to think that during the 20th century, you might have to sport one of these bad boys on the very property that now provided a home for so many animals. 

Ryan loved looking at the chemical weapons control panel.

I took a moment to appreciate the Army switchboard, thinking how far women have come since the days when this was one of few jobs "acceptable" for a woman. 

After we left the museum portion, we got back in the car to drive through the wildlife refuge. We had barely crossed through the gates when we spotted a few rabbits and about 20 prairie dogs hanging out near the trail.  Similar to the deer at Red Rocks, they were not the least bit affected by our presence. (Unlike the rabbits, who scampered away.) They almost seemed to pose for the camera. They were talking to each other and carrying on. Ryan and I had so much fun watching them do their prairie dog activities!

As we rounded the corner, we entered "bison territory". I had so hoped there would be some close to the trail, but they were all grazing in the middle of the field.

I've always really loved ducks, and the Wildlife Refuge had seven different species. We were instructed not to get out of our cars, so I wasn't able to get very good pictures, but I loved seeing them all in the ponds on site.  We also saw a few mule deer, but they were pretty far away as well.

We also caught a glimpse of some of the bird species as they flew across our path.
On our way out Ryan pointed out the window in time for me to see a GIANT hawk nest in the trees. We soon realized that there was one in every tree in this area of the refuge. It was quite a site.

After our morning adventure at the refuge, we grabbed lunch at the hotel and headed back out to explore the other side of the downtown area. They had a beautiful park area that Ryan had noticed on our first day in the city.
Ryan loved when the buildings were "labeled" to explain their history.
The building directly across from us was the Denver Tramway Power Company (dating back to 1901, per the signage) which had been turned into one of the largest REI's I've ever seen. 

They are in the process of restoring two old trollies for downtown tours. I can't wait to come back and see the city this way. 

We wandered down the walking trail a bit and found some really beautiful art under the highway. Ryan & I immediately saw the message - We are all equal. Nature included. It was really a striking statement.  

A little further down was the Centennial Gardens...
 ...which was, unfortunately, closed.

We headed back to the center of the park just in time to see a kayaking class in progress. We grabbed a seat and enjoyed the breeze as we watched them navigate the river.


Around dinner time, we loaded back into the car and headed just northwest of Denver to spend the evening with our friends, Brent, and his girlfriend Caley.

They live in an area that was just a short walk from a little lake with a mountain view. It was so pretty, and the weather was perfect.
The picture truly does not do it justice.
It was nice to just "unplug" and enjoy the company of a couple of really cool people after a busy day. Life in Colorado seems pretty darn awesome...

To be continued...