After Music Midtown, I gave myself a week’s rest and then launched into an insane but awesome week with three shows, with the last one taking place in—you guessed it—Atlanta.
On Tuesday, Oct. 2, I went with some friends and colleagues to see David Byrne and St. Vincent at The Ryman—from the front freaking row!! Seriously, I am pretty sure I got the first two seats sold: row AA, seats 1 and 2. The show was amazing. I don’t even know how to describe it with meaningful adjectives. It was weird, arty, captivating… it was perfect. David Byrne and Annie Clark are both weirdos, but in their own distinct ways.
Three days later, on Friday, a friend and I went to see Mary Chapin Carpenter (at The Ryman again). I don’t know if I’ve ever blogged about how back in high school I listened to country music (I hope my mom is grateful that was my worst teenage act of rebellion), but I did. Keep in mind that this was in the mid-90s, before pop-country, back when singers like Reba McEntire and Pam Tillis were topping the charts and Faith Hill was just getting popular. Anyway, Mary Chapin Carpenter was pretty popular then, too, and as soon as I heard her smart lyrics and soft voice on her album “Come On, Come On,” I was hooked. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for her, and I’m glad I was finally able to see her play live.
But good lord, let me tell y’all: My friend and I were the youngest people in the audience by about 40 years. I’m not even kidding, the number of blue-hairs was astounding. Now, I imagine that back in the 90s Mary Chapin Carpenter’s main demographic was people my mom’s age. But my mom is nowhere near her 70s today, so I have no idea what was going on.
The next morning, I dragged my tired ass out of bed and drove Ian and I down to Atlanta (that made our third trip in four weeks for those of you paying attention) to see another show that night. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit who it was, so keep in mind that this is our Year of Live Music and we’re trying to pack as many shows as we can into it.
Journey, Pat Benatar and Loverboy.
And it was EPIC.
I’m serious, it was an awesome show. The venue was an amphitheatre with a lawn, reminiscent of Starwood. We took a blanket and chilled out on the grass as we listened to the music over the course of the night. The people-watching was superb; teens were dressed up in classic 80s gear, cougars were out in full force and we saw quite a few mullets (both ironic and genuine).
We were mainly excited about seeing Pat Benatar, and she did not disappoint. She and her husband/lead guitarist, Spyder, have been touring together for nearly 40 years, and you could tell they had it down. As with most concerts involving aged rock stars, we were a bit nervous about how she would sound, but that worry soon proved unfounded. Her voice is still strong and smokey and she hit every note as she bounced around the stage, kicking ass completely.
I’m a Journey fan in the sense that I will scream-sing “Don’t Stop Believin’” along with every other asshole around whenever it happens to get played, but I was really surprised at the show that they put on. Their lead singer since 2007, Arnel Pineda, is Filipino and apparently does not speak much English beyond Journey songs*, so we were intrigued to find out if Journey had become essentially a cover band of itself.
Dude sounds exactly like Steve Perry. I’m not kidding, he killed it. He’s a true 80s ballad showman, too—running around the stage, dropping to his knees and grabbing his heart, reaching out to fans in the front rows. It was a sight to behold.
We have a break in our live music schedule, at least for a little while, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to having a bit of downtime. But who am I kidding, it’s not like I don’t have 100 other things planned over the next several months. YOLO, right?
*Thanks to a commenter, I now know that he does, in fact, speak English. I had heard previously that he did not, so thanks for correcting me!