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2013 Rock and Roll Fame Induction Ceremony

Posted: April 22nd, 2013 | Author: Shawn | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

I will say I wasn’t real excited by the line up being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. They were all fine acts and I enjoy a lot of their music but none of them stood out for me as an artist that really attracted me at any point in my life. But being that the ceremony was going to be in Los Angeles(Nokia Theater) for the first time in 20 years, and I live in Los Angeles I figured I should make an effort to see it.

Last year I attended the ceremony in Cleveland at the Public Auditorium. I was particularly excited to see the Beastie Boys inducted as well as Gun’s N Roses. It was a really fun time with a number of interesting performances and some very intriguing speeches. That feeling put me in the mind frame that I could see something special this year.

The show started off with performance that made me feel great about going right out of the gate. As the opening number Randy Newman, whom would be inducted later that night, fittingly performed “I Love LA” with Tom Petty, Jackson Brown and John Fogerty joining in on guitar and each singing a verse; a once in a lifetime performance and the first of many throughout the evening.

The night was full of great combinations of artists, Don Henley with Randy Newman – Gary Clark Jr, John Mayer and Booker T Jones performing for Albert King – Heart with Jerry Cantrell, Mike McCready, and Chris Cornell – Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins with Rush and the final Jam with a bunch of people (See video Above).

It was a wonderful night with lots of interesting moments and certainly worth the trip. Looking forward to seeing it again when it is broadcast on HBO on May 18th. If you have the chance to go to one in the future make it a point to go just for the opportunity to see all the 1 time only performances.


Upgrade your seats at U of Texas as a Benchwarmer!

Posted: November 8th, 2011 | Author: Shawn | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Pretty cool program that the University of Texas has running for the Longhorn’s home basketball games.  Basically if you are in the upper level you can get a wristband that allows you to fill any open lower level seat until the ticket holder for that seat shows up.

This allows people with upper level seats to get a better view of the action for a while and it helps fill up the lower part of the arena making it a better overall atmosphere and a “fuller” look for TV broadcasts.

And when the original ticket holder shows up they are just instructed to the the benchwarmer “Thanks for keeping it warm!”

Nice innovative idea from the folks down there in Texas.  Read more about it the University of Texas Athletics website.


MythBusters Live Stage Show!

Posted: November 3rd, 2011 | Author: Shawn | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Are you a fan of the popular Discovery series MythBusters?  Well Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage are going on a 28 date live tour across the US with their show entitled “MythBusters Behind the Myths”.

What the show will be exactly isn’t clear but they are touting on-stage experiments, audience participation, rocking video and behind-the-scenes stories.  Knowing how they approach their TV show it should be a very interesting and entertaining production.

Tickets go on sale Novemeber 11th and the tour starts on January 6th in Modesto CA.  See all the dates at http://www.mythbusterstour.com/.


Move over Touchdown Jesus!

Posted: October 31st, 2011 | Author: Shawn | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Brian Kelly, head coach at Notre Dame, would like to see some changes to Notre Dame Stadium .  Not sure how the Fighting Irish faithful would feel about this?  Two of the biggest “improvements” Coach Kelly would like to see is the installation of a JumboTron and Artificial Turf.

Notre Dame is probably the center of historic college football tradition and these two “features” are probably the antithesis of college football tradition.  I understand where he is coming from and the improvements this would be for the game day experience for both the fans and the teams but this would be a pretty big shake up and realistically I don;t see these things coming anytime soon.

Read more about it at The Post Game


Primus – Arlington Theatre – Santa Barbara, CA – 10/21/2011

Posted: October 24th, 2011 | Author: Shawn | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

My wife, Karin, and I made a little excursion over the weekend up to Santa Barbara to catch one of our favorite bands, Primus at a venue we haven’t been to before, the Arlington Theatre.  We could have seen them the following night closer to home at the Wiltern in Los Angeles but decided to try something new and getaway for the weekend.  It is about a 2 hour drive from our house so we drove up Friday afternoon and spent the night.

We arrived at our hotel, Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort on the beach in mid afternoon and checked in.  We chose the location because it put us right on the water and it was a short walk to State Street and the venue.  State Street in Santa Barbara is wonderful because there are a bunch of restaurant, bar and shopping options all within walking distance.  Additionally the Arlington Theater is near the north part of the commercial district right on State.

This gave us a bunch of options for dinner, which is always good, except you have to make a decision.  We ended up going to the Natural Café.  It is a nicer, counter service, healthyish type place.  Food was great, the service friendly and best of all it was right on our way from the Hotel to the Arlington.

Finally we arrived at the theatre about 30 minutes before the show was about to start.  Entering the door we knew we were in for an experience very different from seeing a show in the LA area.  Whereas we would empty our pockets, be frisked then wanded with a metal detector in LA, in Santa Barbara we handed over out tickets for them to tear (no barcode scanners, another big difference) and walked right in.

The theater has an amazing look.  Like most of Santa Barbara it has a Spanish mission architecture inside and out.  In the main room the sides are built with a village facade to make it look like the theater is outdoors in the middle of a town square.  The lobby had a movie theater like refreshment stand selling soda, popcorn, candy etc.  They also had an outdoor patio with a bar, but dinks had to be consumed on the patio and could not be brought back into the theater.

The layout is fairly typical of old theaters; two aisles making 3 sections on the main floor and approximately 40 rows back and around 30-40 seats across.  There was also a small balcony that was probably about 10 rows deep.  The show wasn’t sold out, maybe 75% sold and the balcony was sparsely populated.  Lucky for us, we were in the 3rd row with a very up close view of the show.

Finally, a little after 8:30 PM, Primus took the stage.  For those of you that don’t know Primus is a 3 piece quirky hard rock band lead by innovative bassist Les Claypool.   There were no openers so they came right on and jumped in to some of their more known songs, I’d say hits but I’m not sure any of their songs would classify as such.

I must say the sound and the musicianship was spectacular.  I’ve seen Primus a number of times over the years and the sound clarity can be really hit or miss as with any hard rock show.  This was by far the best sounding show I have seen them play and it really exemplified the skill of all 3 musicians.  It also made us appreciate the close view that much more, as you could watch them perform flawlessly with seemingly effortless execution.

They played for about 90 minutes running through a variety of songs in their catalog with a number of extended jams.  Then they left the stage for an intermission while the crowd was treated to number of Popeye cartoon shorts.  After about 20 minutes they came back to perform their latest album, Green Naugahyde.  Finally ending the show with a 2 song encore putting the show just a little over 3 hours in total length.  After a short walk we were back at our hotel and ready for sleep.

Great experience all around.  Wonderful accommodations, great area surrounding the venues, very interesting venue, and a great show put on by truly professional musicians.  I certainly look forward to going back to the Arlington and catching another show.


An Adventure to Notre Dame Stadium

Posted: October 4th, 2011 | Author: Shawn | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Notre Dame Stadium

My grandfather has a theory; a trip without adversity isn’t worth remembering.  First thing he always wants to hear about when I get back from a trip is what problems I had.  Sure he enjoys hearing about all the beautiful sights and fun activities but if everything went as planned he doesn’t consider it a successful adventure.  So when I got home my grandfather was certainly happy to hear about my recent trip to Notre Dame Stadium to see the Fighting Irish take on the visiting University of South Florida Bulls.

Four out of the last 5 years I have headed to South Bend, IN with a group of friends for the first game of the College Football season.  I’m not an Irish fan myself but I enjoy college football and tailgating and there is plenty of that to be found in South Bend.

We arrived at 7 AM on game day to get a choice tailgating spot.   My group had 8 people, 3 vehicles and a bunch of food and drink.  Be bought four spots in a grass lot across the street from campus.  The extra spot giving us plenty of room to set up our kitchen, bar and space to run a continuous game of cornhole.

The weather was beautiful.  We got set up and enjoyed some great food, drink and the company of all the fans around us.  College football tailgating has to be one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a Saturday and Notre Dame has to be one of the best tailgating spots.

After 7+ hours in the parking lot we headed over to the Stadium.  It was still sunny out and we got in just before kickoff.  It is truly an amazing stadium.  It holds 80,000+ people but is configured in a way that there isn’t a bad seat in the house.  The Midwestern charm of all the ticket takers and ushers is greatly appreciated and adds a nice touch to the overall experience.

Things didn’t go so well for the Fighting Irish.  They fumbled on their opening drive with South Florida returning it for a touchdown.  They turned it over again early in the 2nd quarter and just generally didn’t look sharp.  It was that kind of day for the Notre Dame.

This is when things took a turn.  At the end of the 1st quarter the announcer notified the crowd of a strong thunderstorm 100 west that was approaching quickly.  Throughout the second quarter you could see the lightening on the horizon moving closer.

At the half-time whistle the stadium announcer quickly came on and let the crowd know the game was being suspended because of the approaching storm.  We were told to seek shelter in the stadium concourse, the nearby Joyce Center (basketball arena) or one of the adjacent buildings that they would be opening up to accommodate the crowds.  From there we were to wait further instruction.

We were all very unsure of the situation.  All of the weather reports showed thunderstorms throughout the night.  It seemed questionable if the game would every get restarted.  We waited around for a while then headed back to the car.

On the way back we heard some very loud thunder from some uncomfortably close lightening strikes.  We were quite happy to at least have the shelter of the car.  We sat in the car missing some rain and listening to the radio.  After about a 2 hour delay they announced that the game would resume in about 30 minutes.  This was exciting and surprising.

We headed back to the stadium.  The rain had stopped but the seats were certainly wet when we arrived back.  Amazingly I would say 75% of the fans returned to the stadium after the long break.

Notre Dame came out in the second half with a reborn energy, finally scoring midway through the 3rd quarter.  Then early in the 4th quarter South Florida was able to get in the endzone again.  At this point it looked like Notre Dame had let it slip away.

Then with about 5 minutes left in the game and Notre Dame down 23-13 they suspended the game again for lightening.  We quickly headed for the car figuring that the game was over regardless if they started playing again or not.  We got soaked with some very heavy ran on the way back to the car.  At this point we decided to make our 4 hour drive back to Dayton, OH.

We listened on the radio as we drove home and after a short 30 minute break they came out to play the final 5 minutes.  Notre Dame made it interested scoring again to make it 23-20 but couldn’t collect the onside kick.  Meanwhile we were driving for 4 hours in an absolute downpour with multiple lightening strikes visible in every direction for the duration of the drive.

So as a live entertainment and venue enthusiast what did I learn from this experience?  First always expect the unexpected.  You never know what is going to happen but make the best out of whatever it is.  The weather can change very quickly.  It went from a spectacular summer day to a dangerous lightening storm in less than an hour.   Never underestimate the weather.  Finally listen to venue officials and know the situation.  Most people acted very responsibly but there are always a few who try to push the line.  In these types of emergency situations you really need fall in line for the safety of everyone involved as well as your own.

We made it home safe and had a great story to tell; one my grandfather was sure to appreciate.


Sit or Stand?

Posted: September 29th, 2011 | Author: Shawn | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

I just read an interesting article on Yahoo Sports about a Cleveland Browns fan who was recently kicked out of the stadium for standing too much.  I think this is a very interesting topic because it applies to many different types of events and I am sure it is something we have all encountered.

The crux of the problem is that some people feel more involved in the event if they are standing up, while others would rather sit back and enjoy the game or show.   For obvious reasons these two types of people are going to mix like oil and water.

As Chris Chase astutely pointed out near the end of the article, you pretty much have to go with mob rules.  If the crowd around you is standing you have to join them, or sit and look at the backside of the person in front of you.  On the flip side if you are the only one standing in your section you are a jerk for not sitting down.


Hockey Fan For Life

Posted: September 12th, 2011 | Author: Whitney | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

In addition to being a huge concert nerd, I was born and raised an LA Kings hockey fan. As young as I can remember, my dad has been taking me to Kings games at The Forum in Inglewood. He would take my brother and I to games every once in a while, and on our birthdays.

I think this is where my love of traditions at venues came about. One of our traditions was to arrive to the games early so that we could get autographs from the players. Then, we would walk across the street to Sizzler, the only reputable restaurant around, for dinner, and then back to The Forum for the game.

Although it was special father-daughter bonding time that solidified my love for hockey, I still love the fast pace of the game, the fights, and of course the food. No other sport seems to compare, even after all these years; baseball and football are too slow and basketball has too many games and I hate the squeaking noise their shoes make on the court.

Who else is ready for hockey season? I am!


Amos Lee – The Orpheum – 8/20/11

Posted: August 21st, 2011 | Author: Whitney | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I go to a lot of shows. I admit I have a problem – but that’s the first step, right? On Saturday night, I went to see singer-songwriter Amos Lee at the beautiful Orpheum Theater in Downtown Los Angeles.

The neighborhood is a little rough around the edges, but it seems like it’s trying to emerge as a new hip area of LA. For my first visit, I went to their website (this was pre-VG), where I found info on where to park. There are paid parking lots near the venue, but recently learned that there is free street parking after 7pm. I haven’t eaten anywhere around the theater, but I’m pretty sure it’s safe to assume there are plenty of good places Downtown. There is a cash bar inside the theater as well.

The theater itself is incredibly beautiful and almost immediately takes me back to another era – it’s ornate and cozy at the same time. It’s a bigger venue, but it still feels intimate, no matter where you sit (no standing room). For the Amos Lee show, we sat in the second row of the balcony – plenty of leg room and a great view of the stage. I’ve also sat downstairs, where you can’t get a bad seat, as well as higher up in the balcony area, which isn’t as fantastic a viewing experience, but could be worse.

I’m a big fan of “finding” new bands and artists, so I love going early to shows to watch the opening acts. Tonight’s opening act did not disappoint. I hadn’t heard of Calexico before they went on stage, but I was instantly smitten with the band. They’re a great combination of Latin and indie, and they had a great energy on stage. And, they instantly won the crowd when they played a Beatles cover. Amos Lee played songs from his Mission Bell album and had a full band to support him. He did do a couple of songs sans band, which was really refreshing.

All in all, a great show at a fantastic venue. The Orpheum is slowly climbing my favorite venues list! Now, time to download a bunch of Calexico’s music on iTunes!


The Troubadour – Top 10

Posted: August 13th, 2011 | Author: Whitney | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Ever since attending my first show at The Troubadour in 2004, I’ve been hooked. After seeing Christina Perri (“Jar of Hearts,” “Arms”) and Honeyhoney here on Thursday, I’ve come up with my top ten list as to why I love The Troubadour.

1. It’s a small, intimate venue.
2. Finding new music through opening acts or great-up-and-coming artists. The Troubadour has a great mix of established artists, as well as less well-known bands. And, who doesn’t love finding great, new music when coming early for the opening acts.
3. Convenient parking. I usually park in the tucked away parking lot directly across the street from the venue. Although, the parking fees seem to be based on the attendant’s mood that day, instead of a set price… On Thursday, it was $10. Otherwise, you can try your luck at street parking.
4. Good, convenient food options. My personal favorite is Hamburger Haven, which is just down Santa Monica Blvd from the venue (try the Sassy Cheeseburgers). There’s also Dan Tana’s, where you may run into the band or some celeb. But, there are also sandwiches from the Pavillions deli, numerous small restaurants in the area, or there’s even a little grill inside the venue that make pizzas, sandwiches, etc.
5. Good drinks. The bar at The Troubadour has decent drinks, which is important. Also, if you’re lucky enough to get a VIP Access Pass, there’s a second bar upstairs and a cleaner bathroom…
6. There’s always a good crowd and vibe here. Everyone is genuinely excited to see the artist and have a good time.
7. Sitting or standing. I’ve learned over the years that standing in a crowd of people for 4 hours isn’t my thing, so I usually opt to sit upstairs in the balcony.
8. Great location. The Troubadour is located on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood, right next to Beverly Hills.
9. The history. The Troubadour has seen some really amazing artists over the years and for some reason, the history seems to ooze from the walls.
10. Nightlife. There are lots of options for after the show, including The Abbey, the famous gay bar.

Now that I have you excited about all that The Troubadour offers, visit their site and find your next show! Visit www.Troubadour.com or check out their iPhone app!