Category Archives: Music

Fists and Falsetto: the Baltimore U2 Concert

Note: pictures and video follow the story.  It’s worth it

I admit it.  We went a little crazy with 360 U2 concerts this season.  But each one’s unique, and the show is so awesome it is worth it.  In May we saw U2 a mile high with Myntha; it was a passionate, crazy show.  We were on our feet jumping and screaming the entire time, even though we were at the top of the second tier of the stadium.  The energy at that show was CRAZY, probably because Denver waited for over a year, its first date cancelled due to Bono’s back surgery.

I looked forward to this show because we were going with my sister (in-law) Noelle.  She has just beaten down lymphoma, and we were looking forward to a kind of celebration.  For months I wasn’t sure she would feel well enough to go.  This time we had GA tickets and got there when the doors opened.  We were about 5 people deep from the outer loop (we didn’t have RED tickets, the extra cost of which goes to the RED charity foundation).

The show opened with Florence and the Machine.  I have to say, I had heard a couple of songs but didn’t really know them.  Now I am a fan.

The weather was hot and sticky and the crowd was definitely Baltimore. People kept trying to push in front.  I had to go back out and get some water for Noelle ’cause I thought she was going to pass out (she was tachy, sweaty, pale, etc.).  I was chosen for my expert crowd-moving abilites.  Which was good, the crowd almost didn’t let me back and I got lost for a moment.   Meanwhile people kept pushing to the front and we had been up there standing for 3 hours…waiting.

Then the mood suddenly shifted.  These two drunk dudes were trying to weasel in and finally the upfronters just weren’t having it. They were moved and moved by crowd dynamics with yelling, swearing, and jeers.  One of them landed in front of Noelle.  Literally in-front so his heels were touching her toes and his back at her chest.   It was extremely uncomfortable for her (U2 wasn’t even up yet) and it was just going to get tighter.  She confronted him about this and he INSISTED he was there the whole time.  But he clearly wasn’t…because well….we were there the whole time.  Suddenly his mood changed and he turned around and got in her face, violent like.

It was tense.

The guy next to her (who was like 6’6″ and built) leans over and says to squirrel dude, “You need to chill out.” Then squirrel dude pulls his fist back aimed at Noelle…or the other guy.

And then POW!

I don’t know exactly who punched who but I heard the sound looked over and saw blood, punches and suddenly where there was no space was a huge hole.  I grabbed Noelle and Tompaul and I put her between us and bear hugged her.  We tried to shield her (and us) from the fight.  But we couldn’t absorb into the crowd. Squirrel dude had a brother, who was also drunk, and they tried to tackle the other guy.  It took forever for security to come.  FOREVER.

Punches, Tompaul and I bear hugging Noelle, more punches.

Then all three got taken away. Much to the dismay of the crowd the tall guy was also lead off…and then the concert started.  Noelle felt bad, because this guy was just trying to protect her … and so she LEFT to go make a statement.  She also didn’t have her phone…meaning we didn’t know what had happened.  Because the big guy came back to the concert.  But no Noelle.  We asked and it took 20 minutes for security to find where she was.  Remember she was weak looking, and recently finished chemo.  I won’t lie…neither Tompaul or I could focus on the concert.  FINALLY security came back and said they couldn’t get her back to the front where we were….but this is where she was sent:

She was at the feet of Bono, front row RED ZONE.

Our view wasn’t to shabby either…and the sound was fantastic.

The stadium was full capacity (over 80K).

Nashville you are coming up….

One of the early songs was The Fly, which is Tompaul’s favorite…to things strike me: 1. EVERYONE is singing along, which I couldn’t hear with earplugs in. 2. HOW Amazing the sound is…the camera doesn’t even capture it.

Here comes Bono (I wish they allowed better cameras in so I could have focused better). The “59” on the hand means that person showed up 59th in line before the show.

Come back…what kind of hair gel do you use???

“You were talking like it was the end of the world . . .”

These bridges move by hydralic lifts.

Emoting.

I love the Crazy Tonight opener

I’m on the Edge of glory.

A rare up-close performance by a man who’s otherwise tethered to his drumset: Larry Mullen.

Each of the members walked on by, including Adam Clayton.

Bono says, “Hands OFF!”

I said, Hands Off!

“Ultraviolet” for the stunning encore. The show dazzled from start to finish–just like Bono’s jacket here.

We have this treasure…

After an amazing Thanksgiving, crazy midnight madness shopping in Hagerstown Tompaul Stephanie and I are using our respective laptops welcoming the Sabbath with some retro tunes.  By retro I mean circa 1995.  With our latest Jars of Clay album we received the vinyl self titled album.

In 1995 at a Fellowship of Christian Atheletes retreat I heard Jars of Clay for the first time and it blew my mind.  I owned maybe 2 Christian albums and rarely listened to them.  Mostly because the quality was not as good as my regular music.  The lyrics were sappy and the music was a farce.  It was like eating the cheap store brand vanilla ice cream instead of Bryer’s Vanilla Bean.  You know what it is supposed to resemble, and you keeping eating hoping you will be satisfied, but you know you never will.

Jars of Clay was a group I listened to because they were good, not because they were Christian.  As time JoC has changed.  I remember in college everyone owned their first album, but as their music grew I continued to enjoy them.  I will say though that many of the subsequent albums did not grab me like their debut, that is until Who We are Instead.  When I first heard Who We are Instead it revolutionized my listening.

In honor of Jars of Clay I present my favorite songs in no particular order:

  • World Apart (Joc)
  • Drummer Boy (Drummer Boy)
  • Closer (Closer EP)
  • Revolution (11th Hour)
  • Dig (Furthermore: from the studio)
  • Redemption (Furthermore: from the studio)
  • Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows (Front Yard Luge)
  • Work (Good Monsters)
  • Dead Man (Good Monsters)
  • Grace (If I Left the Zoo)
  • Liquid (JoC)
  • Oh My God (Good Monsters)
  • The ENTIRE Who We are Instead Album but especially Jealousy

I would have to say my top JoC albums are

  1. Who We are Instead                                                                                            
  2. Jars of Clay                                                                                                                           
  3. Good Monsters                                                     

I think what always gets me is how they seem to have worshipful music in the vein of the Psalms.  It can be praise it can be despondant.  They were the first group, in my mind, to create music that described the Christian walk as it was.  Sometimes it is fabulous and sometimes it sucks.  Sometimes you look at the world and think how can God be there when the whole world is just so jacked up.  But he is, and the Christian doesn’t have to be fake, the Christian just has to be real.

Music and All God’s Creatures

Recently I have discovered two major muscial acts.  The first is Neulore. Their album Apples & Eve is one I could hit repeat on again and again.  I downloaded it on iTunes.  They describe themselves as folk, but it is unlike any folk I have heard, they are part Weepies part AutoVaughn.  They are from Nashville, check them out.

The second is Parry Gripp.  His song Baby Monkey (Going Backwards on a Pig) is free this week on iTunes. I unsuspectingly downloaded it and was hooked.  Apparently he writes songs for Hoops and YoYo…another awsome part of life.

Vinyl Madness…

Vinyl sales are climbing.  In 2006 less than a million records were sold.  2009? 2.8 million.  This doesn’t even count used vinyl sales.  Tompaul and I have been collecting vinyl for years, maybe 10?

Tonight we found Record and Tape Traders and increased our collection.   I guess that is appropriate since it was our 5th wedding anniversary.  What did we find?

Okay we might have gone crazy with the Johnny Cash…but hey they were all in good condition.  We already own the U2 under a blood red sky on vinyl but this one was in better condition.

Meaning of the Mix

My favorite thing about iTunes is how easy it is to make mixes.  Tompaul and I have been making each other mixes for as long as I can remember…definitely since we started dating.  I am not even sure how many in all we have made.

In truth the only other person I have made a mixes for is my friend Myntha.  No wait…I made one for Mary Heather called Pink Rain.  I think in all I have made Myntha  about 4 mixes. Out of Apathy, Bitter, Sweet, and Winter: Death of Reverence.  And now Broken.    I make music mixes when I am feeling good.  If I am making a mix it means I am in tune with my soul, my id etc.  When I am feeling intellectually constipated my music mixing ability stops.  It goes into hibernation…unused.  I feel that when I make a mix I have something I want to say.  When I am overwhelmed with work, residency, I have nothing to say.  My brain is silent.  Since starting fellowship I have mede a total of two mixes Broken and Longing.  I am also working on a mix I started quite a while back.

So here I present Broken:

1.  Ambulance –  Eisley
2. Rise Up – Diane Birch
3. World Spins Madly On – The Weepies
4. Love the Way You Lie – Eminem
5. Mess Of Me – Switchfoot
6. Hero – Jars of Clay
7.  The Wanderer –  Johnny Cash (w U2)
8.  Fighting Furies – Charmaine
9. Fix You – Coldplay
10. Forgive Me – Jars of Clay
This is Longing.  The full title is Longing: Songs of A Time Travelers Wife. I compiled it while Tompaul was away.  It’s a tale of waiting, bitter sweet.  It was the space I was in when starting fellowship, living in a new city and waiting for Tompaul to come home.  He was gone almost a month and while I was waiting I had alot of heavy things on my plate. Job search, Noelle being ill and the uncertainty of that etc.

Longing:  Songs of A Time Traveler’s Wife

1. World Spins Madly On – The Weepies
2. Swallowed In The Sea – Coldplay
3. Hometown Glory (Radio Edit) – ADELE
4.  Mirrors & Smoke  – Jars Of Clay
5. Shiver – Coldplay
6. Vegas Baby – The Weepies
7. Girl Named Tennessee  – Needtobreathe
8. Hey, Soul Sister – Train
9. Birdhouse In Your Soul – They Might Be Giants
10. With Or Without You – Grits
11. Gotta Have You – The Weepies