Garth Brooks and The Deadly Red Bull

A few weeks ago we went to one of six Garth Brooks shows in Sacramento. As you may know, I’m a huge fan of music in general… and I believe the best test of how good (or bad) an artist is is to see them perform live. I went into the Garth Brooks experience trying to temper my expectations. After all, he was “in his prime” twenty years ago and for most people, the voice starts to age. Garth was absolutely amazing… he sounded like the Garth Brooks of old and I was completely amazed by his energy… we actually saw him at his second show in one night! He sang all of his old songs… something that really makes me happy because I hate going to see an artist and all you hear is new music that you can’t sing along to!

There was a bit of a disaster, however. You see, for Lent this year I gave up soda… and the concert we were attending started at 10:30pm. I decided that I would try something new and have a Red Bull, to help me stay awake. Well, I was definitely awake… but unfortunately it severely upset my stomach. So much so that we ended up having to leave early, taking our friends with us. Thankfully they were super understanding, but I not only felt physically awful, but bad that they had to miss out on part of an amazing show. Note to self… that stuff is definitely not healthy and I will definitely not be drinking it again!

Willie Nelson

This past Saturday Mike and I headed to the Greek Theater at UC Berkeley to see Willie Nelson. I was really excited about this show because I’ve always loved Willie’s voice. I grew up hearing my dad and his band play Willie’s songs. As it turns out, it was a pretty disappointing show. We got there a little late, but the first band (Shovels & Rope) was actually pretty good. The second band (Drive-By Truckers) was terrible. Like singing off key and instruments out of tune terrible.

When Willie came out, he kicked off his set with “Whiskey River”. From the very first note it was clear that his voice is definitely not what it used to be. He was never really a strong singer, but he definitely could carry a tune… basically every song he did the “sing-talk” thing. It was kinda sad and disappointing, but then again he’s 81 years old.

The Greek, on the other hand, was a pretty cool venue. It’s an 8,500 person outdoor amphitheater with a very cool vibe. The weather was beautiful (although it got a little windy) and the sound was pretty good!

The Greek Theater
The Greek Theater

All in all, the night was a bit of a bust. We left early because we had stuff to do the next day. Like 5 songs into Willie’s set early. Boo.

Favorite Song Friday – “Red”

Over the past year or so, I’ve begun to doubt Taylor Swift. Her music has become more and more pop, which is fine, but then it makes me mad when she wins country awards. Not to mention she’s not exactly amazing live.

My thoughts about her changed a little bit with her performance of “Red” on the Country Music Awards a couple of weeks ago. I’ve liked the song from the beginning with all of its great color references.

Losing him was blue like I’d never known
Missing him was dark grey all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you’ve never met
But  loving him was red
Loving him was red

This acoustic, harmonized version featuring Allison Krauss and Vince Gill¬†is absolutely stunning and I can’t get enough of it! Happy Friday!

Zac Brown Band 2013 Tour

I know that I’ve been terrible about posting lately, but life has been super busy. When I’m not working (I spent two days in Oregon this week), I’m running (it was peak week – I knocked out 40 miles, including a 22 miler yesterday!). I know, excuses, excuses.

I did manage to fit in a concert this week РI entered a raffle at work and won tickets to see the Zac Brown Band in the Intel Suite! Obviously, I love country music, but this went so far beyond my expectations.

Brig & I At ZBB
Brig & I At ZBB

I’ll start with the bad part of the show… the opening act, Niko Moon. He even has a crappy web page. He’s a rocker, but not like country rock. Rock rock. Which really felt odd – in fact, there were even some boos from the crowd (who came decked out in plaid, cowboy hats, and cowboy boots). You could hardly understand the words to his songs and it completely rubbed me the wrong way.

Zac¬†Brown, on the other hand, was phenomenal. I always judge a band by how well they play live. And man, can they play live. His band includes¬†seven members (two drummers/percussionists, two guitarists, a violinist, a bassist, and of course, Zac Brown). Each of them is absolutely amazing at their instrument and almost all of them stepped out to play something that wasn’t their main instrument. Mid-show they did a great acoustic set that showcased their absolutely perfect harmonies. Some of the jamming they did was spectacular – not only did they play like crazy, but you felt like they were seriously having fun. And like you were a part of their jam session.

Not only did I love their music, but they did some amazing covers including “Enter Sandman” (seriously, a country band that kicks ass on a Metallica¬†song?!), the Eagles’ “Seven Bridges Road”, and James Tayor’s “Frozen Man”.

However, their encore was quite possibly the best encore I’ve ever seen a band do. They came out and started with “Uncaged” from their new album by the same title. As that song drew to an end, it just sort of morphed into Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”. Like an amazing version of it. From there it morphed into one of the fastest, most impressive versions of Charlie Daniels’ “Devil Went Down To Georgia” that I’ve ever heard. It was absolutely amazing.

I will definitely be seeing the Zac¬†Brown Band again – they’re like the¬†Dave Matthews Band but countrified. If they come to a city near you, it’s definitely worth the price of a ticket!

Same Trailer Different Park

One of my latest music purchases is Same Trailer Different Park by Kacey Musgraves.

Same Trailer Different Park
Same Trailer Different Park

When I first heard her on the radio not entirely impressed.¬†However, since then I’ve heard a few more songs and fallen in love with her tell-it-like-it-is style of songwriting and singing. She wrote or co-wrote all twelve songs on this album and is credited as a co-producer. She really tells the story in each of her songs, something that is really lacking in a lot of today’s pop country.

While her songs come across as fairly depressing, they’re about real life and real people. One of my favorite lines is from “Silver Lining”: “If you’re ever gonna find a silver lining¬†it’s gotta be a¬†cloudy day.¬†” Love, love, love it! Definitely a great album worth the money… can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Favorite Songs: “Blowin’ Smoke”, “Follow Your Arrow”, Merry Go ‘Round”, “Silver Lining”, and “My House”.