Bucket List Concerts: Dr. Dog

A week ago I finally got to see Dr. Dog after three years of loving their music. Over the past few years that I’ve been a fan of their music, all of my attempts to see them failed. I was either out of the state while they were in my city or I had no way of getting myself from college to the venue. When I first started listening to Dr. Dog, I quickly found that I preferred their live album to their studio recorded work. There was just something about the way they sounded during their performance that made me feel like I was experiencing something special. When Dr. Dog announced the release of their latest album Critical Equation, along with an accompanying tour I bought my tickets right away. Their Detroit date miraculously fell on my first day of summer break and I knew that I would definitely be in town for the show.

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When my semester finally ended, the only thing on my mind was seeing Dr. Dog. I had been listening to all of their music in preparation and I was getting ready for a great concert. I didn’t want to get my hopes too high, but I definitely was excited. When I got to the venue I weaved my way through the crowd toward the stage and found a spot that was close to the action. One thing I noticed is that I was definitely one of the youngest people there. I’d say that most of the fans were between 25 and 35 years old and they were all having a great time. As I waited for Dr. Dog to take the stage, I wondered which songs they would perform. They have a huge catalog of music and it would take them all night to play every single fan favorite, but I knew that they would for sure play their most popular songs as well as songs from Critical Equation.

IMG_1039As far as the performance goes, it’s undeniable that Dr. Dog is incredibly talented. They knew exactly when to bring the energetic fire to songs, but they also knew when to pull back and take a more emotional route. The band and the fans worked together to create a dreamy concert experience. I danced, sang, and cried along to their songs, and felt the music in my bones. That doesn’t happen at every show, so when it does I get excited. Dr. Dog was so comfortable up on stage, and it was refreshing to see a band that commanded the energy of the room through music so effectively.

 

Dr. Dog’s song “Shadow People” is one of my favorite songs of all time, so when the opening line rang through the venue I was content. Honestly, I think that the band could have performed that song on a loop for an hour and I would have been completely happy about it. Although, I was happy about the variety of songs they chose to add to the setlist. They played all of my favorites and helped me appreciate their newer songs as well. Like I said, they do their best work live.

-Swaggie Maggie

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Bucket List Concerts: The Killers

I’m not the first or only person to say this, but I’ve been a fan of The Killers since I heard Mr. Brightside for the first time years ago. It was one of those songs that was just so addictive, you had to look up the artist and listen to everything they’ve put out. Over the years, Miss Atomic Bomb, Dustland Fairytale, and Sam’s Town became my anthems and The Killers claimed a spot on my bucket list concerts.

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In August when the band announced their tour dates for their newest album, Wonderful Wonderful, I was beyond excited. The Detroit date was finally one I could make, and I had enough money set aside from my summer job to buy a general admission ticket.After months of anticipation, the day of the concert finally arrived!

I’ve said this a few times before about different shows I’ve been to but seeing The Killers was sort of an out of body experience. I can compare it to the line in The Great Gatsby when Nick Carraway says “I was within, and without”. I could feel myself dancing and singing and experiencing the show, but I also felt like I was watching myself and the rest of the crowd enjoying every moment. The power of music never fails to astound me.

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The Killers are also insanely talented. They sounded even better live than they do on their albums, which often times does not happen. They are also energetic and considerate of their fans. Lead singer Brandon Flowers stopped to acknowledge that he understood that people were there for different reasons, but we were all experiencing the same thing at the same time. It was pretty cool if you ask me.

If you get a chance to see them live this summer during festival season, you’re in for a treat! I know this isn’t the last time I’ll see the band on tour.

-Swaggie Maggie

 

 

Bucket List Concerts: Paul McCartney

 

I’ve given myself a few days to calm down and I’m still riding my concert high. On Monday I got to see Paul McCartney, my idol, in concert. McCIMG_7967artney had permanent residency on the “number one person to see live” as number one for as long as I can remember. For a Beatles superfan and music lover in general, Paul McCartney is as good as it gets.

My dad and I have a tradition of seeing classic artists together. We’ve seen The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and more. For my birthday this summer he bought tickets for McCartney’s second Detroit date in the brand new Little Caesars Arena. We had been holding onto the tickets since June, and in the months between my birthday and the show, my excitement had built immensely. Every time I even thought about seeing my idol, I got teary-eyed.

The day had finally arrived and I was freaking out. I couldn’t sleep at all the night before thanks to the butterflies in my stomach. I was actually nervous to see him. Even though I knew he’d be beyond fantastic, there are always nerves that come with checking something off your bucket list. My dad and I drove downtown, parked, and approached the new stadium. The place was packed with fans both young and old, all ready for the show to begin. Once we found our seats, it was only a matter of minutes before Paul and his band took the stage.

Our tickets weren’t anywhere near the stage, but I didn’t mind. I just wanted to be in the same room as him. As soon as the lights went down my heart felt like it stopped-the show was starting. When I say I cried through the whole show, believe me. I cried through the whole concert. I still can’t actually believe that I got to see my idol, the number one person on my list, live in concert! I got to see an original Beatle singing and performing the songs that he’d written so many years ago. Songs that transcend time and touch people’s souls to this day.

Paul McCartney was an amazing performer. He ran around that huge stage playing guitar, bass, ukulele, piano, and singing. He sang close to 40 songs and kept his energy high throughout the night. Between songs, he’d stop to tell a story about how he’d written the next song or something funny or sentimental about it. I’d love to sit with him and hear all of the stories he has about his days with The Beatles.

It’s hard to pick one favorite moment from the night, so I’ll mention two. The first was when he played “Here Today”. The song was written for John Lennon after he’d passed away, and McCartney explained that the song was in the form of a conversation they never got to have. His performance was truly a beautiful tribute to Lennon. I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the crowd of 20,000 people.

 

 

My other favorite moment of the concert was when McCartney sat down at his piano to play “Hey Jude”. As my favorite Beatles songs, and one of the most powerful and beautiful songs of all time it was something I’d been waiting to see live for a long time. I sobbed, sang along, and will never forget how it felt to witness my idol sing my favorite song in person.

 

If I ever have the chance to see Paul McCartney again, I will 100% take it! He’s an amazing performer who has reached across generations of music lovers to spread his message of love and acceptance.

-Swaggie Maggie

Bucket List Concerts: Queen

When I think of historically iconic bands, Queen always comes to mind. Their music, their look, their talent and their demeanor worked together in harmony to create a legendary group. My younger brother and I have bonded over our love for Queen’s music over the past couple of years, so when I heard they were going on tour with Adam Lambert I knew I had to take him!Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

At first, I was skeptical. I remember saying to my brother “you know it’s not going to be the same, right?”. On one hand, my fear was that Adam Lambert would try to become or impersonate Freddie Mercury, which is an impossible task. On the other hand, I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough tribute to Mercury.

We arrived at the venue and were surrounded by both young and old fans who were just as excited for the show as we were! As we settled into our seats and the lights went down, I could feel my anticipation grow. As soon as Queen and Adam Lambert hit the stage, I knew it was going to be an amazing performance.

IMG_6560The Vocals, instrumental abilities, lights, and overall vibes of the show were unbelievable. Every aspect of the performance was spectacular, and there is nothing I wished they’d do differently. Lambert put his own flair on the vocal arrangements while still paying tribute to their original glory, and he even mentioned to the crowd that “there will only ever be one rock god in eternity called Freddie Mercury”. With today’s technology, the group was able to remember Mercury by playing video of him performing back in the day, while the band played along in real time. It really was a special show.

If Queen and Adam Lambert stop by a city near you, I highly recommend going to see them! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

-Swaggie Maggie

Bucket List Concert: Green Day

As a huge fan of Green Day since singing “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” in my elementary school choir, I’ve always been attracted to the ‘F-you’ attitude of the band, and the bad-ass tunes they continue to produce after all these years. In high school I’d blast “Basket Case” and sing along at the top of my lungs, and after watching the documentary Broadway Idiot on Netflix last winter I became obsessed with the entire American Idiot album; not only the music but the process and the execution as well. To put it simply, I’m completely and constantly in awe of Green Day.

When I heard that the rock band was going on a short North American tour following their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the release of their latest album I was instantly pumped to try and get tickets. I’m so lucky that my Dad was able to get great seats, take me to their show on a Monday night, and give me one of the best concert experiences out there. On the way to the show I had butterflies in my stomach, and stars in my eyes…I was about to see Green Day!

The buzzing sensation that I felt during the concert still resonates in my bones, and I think that’s a true testament as to how much energy they bring to their performance. They took the stage and played a perfect mix of old and new songs. I’m going to be completely honest, I think I cried about 7 times during the concert. Who would have thought I’d cry at a Green Day concert? I was just filled with a crazy amount of emotions and a beautiful sense of pride as I was watching the show, and I think that’s all you can really ask for when finally seeing a band you idolize.

One of the best moments of the concert was when Billie Joe pulled a young girl onstage with the band to finish singing a song. I can’t remember which song it was, but I remember him saying “Do you swear to God you know the words?!” before motioning to the security guards to get the girl up there. For some reason, I thought stuff like that only happened in movies, but there I was watching this girl’s dreams come true. And she totally rocked it!!

At this point, I’m very tempted to buy another ticket to see them again when they come back to my town this spring, and I’m excited to learn more about the band as a whole through research and exposure.

-Swaggie Maggie