I am realizing that the stark contrast of something that you really enjoy-something that feels like it goes beyond the surface of enjoyment, something that resonates with who you are and what you like- versus something that you don’t necessarily enjoy wholeheartedly is how you distinguish between things that make you “come alive” so to speak. Rich moments in life are most obviously rich when compared to those that surround it. So from those personal conclusions I will link that to concert context. There are “bad” concerts, good concerts, and really good concerts.
I am recently coming off of a concert “binge” weekend; back-to-back concert nights in two different cities. Night one’s concert was Andy Grammer and Train in Alpharetta, Georgia at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, the following night we traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to see America and Michael McDonald at The Woods Amphitheater.
Honestly it had been a while since two concerts affected me as these did. Sure I have been to some good shows in the past year but these were more than just “good”.
My mother, sister, and I are no newbies when it comes to being fans of Train or Andy Grammer. Together we have seen the bands nine times in cities such as Nashville, Charlotte, Maryville, Kingsport, Atlanta, and Alpharetta.
Train shows are really, really good or average dependent upon the attitude of the lead singer Pat Monahan. We have seen shows in which it is very visible that he is merely going through the motions of a show and we have seen dates in which he appears to be thoroughly enjoying the crowd and the night. The setlists are nearly comprised of the same songs each time, they have been at it for a while now as a band and have a pretty consistent fanbase.
Each time I get the privilege of going to one of Andy Grammer’s tour dates I conclude with confidence that he is the best live performer that I have seen- and that is saying a lot. If I could describe his shows and set with three words it would be: present, genuine, and energetic. Andy’s face says it all. When you watch him it is as if he gives off the aura that there is truly no place he would rather be. He is so genuine in his song writing and is a lyric genius. The use of the word artist in place of terming a musician is not in vain when describing Andy.
So… with those things in mind:
In one of Andy’s early songs he states the lyric “this is the one thing in my life that I know for sure, there is no turning back now” when describing his relationship with music. It’s an incredible thing when someone can say something of the such of themselves and have that validated by admirers/observers. There is no doubt that his statement is true when you experience a concert of Andy’s. He is an impressive performer to the degree that it leaves me, as an observer, thankful that Andy was gifted and made to do music as he does.
It is very noticeable when a set feels manufactured and like its creators are merely going through the motions. It doesn’t feel like that at one of Andy’s shows. That is what I mean when I explain that Andy is present.
Unlike previous Train concerts we have been to, this date Pat and the band decided to create a show that was a chronological experience through their albums (this is my favorite layout of sets; such as the Eagles “History of the Eagles” tour). Due to this choice of layout, they preformed songs that are loved and missed by long-time fans as well as reintroduced obscure songs from past albums that never made it into the mainstream (yay for those). This alone significantly contributed to the special atmosphere of the night.
I am unashamedly a lover of going to see the same band/artist over and over and over. But I must say that sometimes the show and the songs lose their awe, for me at least, after a few times. I say that to say this, Train’s set and songs felt like the first time again. It is inevitable that after a concert, when you have seen a band/artist/tour more than once, it gets compared to previous dates by those in company. When we gathered back in the car for the long ride home the statement was not so much critical comparison but a general consensus that “that was the best time we have ever seen them”; as a fifth-timer that says something.
“Drops of Jupiter” may never get old…
Location, location, location. If the artists made the first concert night unique the venue was to much credit on the second night.
The Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel is where upscale outdoor accommodations meet quilts on the ground. It was the most “chill” concert atmosphere that I have yet to experience. I love concerts but rarely do I feel necessarily relaxed at a concert. The Woods has been done right. It has the feel of Nashville yet it literally is in a cubby in the woods. It is well decorated and was accompanied by Nashville foodies- food trucks. (The Grilled Cheeserie ROCKS)
It has been the only concert that I have ever been to that I laid down for most of the show. If you are familiar with the legacy of America or Michael McDonald you understand why laying down, on a quilt, in the grass, was fitting. It is more something to hear rather than to see.
See what I mean?
The curse of concert binging
As much as I love packing a weekend with concerts there is apparently an unspoken curse against our binging.
The last back-to-back concert trip we partook of was the two days prior to my high school graduation. On the way to the second concert, Kenny Chesney in Charlotte, NC., my Volkswagen unexpectedly had significant mechanical problems midway and forced us to have the car towed, my sister came to the rescue, and proceed driving nearly at the speed of light in order to not miss the show. It was an ordeal and towing is never cheap, as well as mechanical work.
(I should note that we keep our cars serviced as they should be and they are reliable the other 365 days of the year)
This go around on the way home from Alpharetta my sister’s vehicle lost basically all function while on the interstate. Dash board functions, interior lights, radio, and headlights. Luckily we made it off the exit. Mind you this is at midnight, we always drive all the way home after concerts (which is exhausting). We were desperately seeking a non-sketchy hotel but that just did not happen for us. Instead we barely made it to a Days Inn. Three women, midnight, 3 hours from home, no extra clothes, nothing. The car died completely, and the wrecker arrived at 3:30am. It was definitely a night to remember. This location was sketchy as in the doors were on the outside of the hotel and someone tried to sell my mother “donuts” at 2:00am in the parking lot. *laughing*
P. S. Related Gems (Andy concert footage from past shows)