Tag Archives: concert

Smilers in Concert

Went to see Aimee Mann on Friday at the House of Blues. She’s promoting her new album, @#%&*! Smilers (and yes, it’s pronounced as you might expect, though she also gave an alternate pronunciation of “Effing Smilers”), which just came out last week. Of course, this meant that most of the audience either hadn’t heard the new songs, or had only heard them a few days before. Old favorites like “Save Me” tended to get cheers as soon as people recognized the intro music. With the new stuff, people were quieter, as if they were waiting to hear the song for the first time. But they all got applause in the end.

In the past, when we’ve gone to the Anaheim House of Blues, we’ve tried to eat at Downtown Disney. It always proves problematical, with restaurants either not taking reservations for parties of two or not having any reservations left. This time we just ate near home and drove up after dinner. We got there after the doors opened, but before most of the audience arrived, and managed to claim a spot dead center in the main floor, much closer than we’d ever been to this stage.

The opening act was Rebecca Pigeon. She was quite good, and a good match stylistically. (Too often, you only get one — or neither. We still joke about “Corn Mo” who opened for TMBG a few years ago.) She started with “Tough on Crime,” which Katie figures has to have a Heroes video in it somewhere. Interesting fact: it turns out she’s married to David Mamet.

By the end of the opening act, the house had filled up considerably, and was respectably packed by the time Aimee Mann took the stage. Continue reading

Tori Amos Comics & Concert

Now this is cool: Image Comics will be releasing a graphic novel anthology with stories based on Tori Amos songs next summer! And Colleen Doran is illustrating one of the stories! (Her blog is where I heard about it.)

We went to Tori’s concert on Saturday at the Grove of Anaheim. The standing-room show was good, though there were some snafus getting to it, made worse by the fact that they opened the doors about 45 minutes late. So late, in fact, that they gave up on security checks and just started letting people in. By the time it started moving, the line snaked all the way along the side of the theater and down at least one side of the (rather spacious) parking lot.

Her current album, American Doll Posse, is based around a fictional quintet of singer/songwriters, each based on a different facet of her personality, and she performed as three different personas: Pip, Santa (no relation), and Tori. Which should have been more fun, but there was just a bit too much self-parody in the performance.

She brought a band again, which I think helps keep her from the slow-everything-down tendency she showed on the Originial Sinsuality tour (Katie calls it “elf disease,” after the way the elves of Lothlorien speak in the Lord of the Rings movies). Except for an endless vamp at the end of “Waitress,” this concert moved much more than the last two we’d seen.

It was good to hear stuff from Choirgirl Hotel again. It’s been notably missing from the last few concerts we’ve been to. And there was a surprising amount of stuff from her first two albums as well. (Full set list at Undented.)

I’ve seen Tori in concert 6 times: Once in 1999 at Irvine Meadows, when she toured on a double bill with Alanis Morissette, twice on the Scarlet’s Walk tour from 2002-2003 (Universal Amphitheater & the Pond), twice on the Original Sinsuality tour in 2005 (Royce Hall & the Greek), and this show at the Grove. My favorite was the Scarlet’s Walk tour. I reviewed the Universal show during the first few months of this blog, though I don’t seem to have written anything about the one at the Pond.

Update: The Beat has more on the comic project, including a title, Comic Book Tattoo and additional contributors.

The Weird…

Weird Al Yankovic: Straight Outta Lynwood album coverLast night we went out to the Orange County Fair to see “Weird Al” Yankovic in concert (the Straight Outta Lynwood Tour). I don’t remember how we managed it, but we got tickets for the fifth row, putting us about 10 feet from the stage. We were off to the side, maybe 20–30 feet from Al’s microphone, but still, it was the closest we’d ever been at a stadium concert.

(Being off to the side put us right by the speakers, which was an odd experience, as the drum beats resonated at the frequency of the human ribcage. On percussion-heavy songs, it was sort of like having an audio pacemaker.)

As always, he put on a fun show. If you haven’t seen him in concert before, all the major songs are done in full costume, with comedic video clips (mostly from his mid-1990s TV show) running between sets to allow time for costume changes. In the middle of the show, he always does a medley of other songs, just to get as much in as possible into a 2-hour concert.

As for being near the front, thankfully he didn’t come to our section for the audience-walk during “Wanna B Ur Lovr,” (a truly annoying song). We did get covered with red and white streamers at the end of “Canadian Idiot,” and (speaking of Monopoly money) fake $100 during “I’ll Sue Ya.”

$100 bill, Weird Al style.

One surprise: A couple of minutes into “White and Nerdy,” he suddenly stopped, said, “There’s no reason to do this song. Radio, Radio”—and the band proceeded to do a straight cover of Elvis Costello’s “Radio, Radio.” During the encore, he explained they’d had some technical difficulties, and did the song from the beginning (though without the costumes and the Segway).

Another surprise: He performed “Albuquerque.” All 10 minutes of it. *shudder*

After the concert we explored the fair a bit, then left to go to Borders to pick up Harry Potter, leading to the second part of this story…

For now, I’ll leave you with this final thought: We all have cell phones, so come on, let’s get real.

Lightning Storms and Aimee Mann

We drove up to UCLA last night for an Aimee Mann concert, and somehow, despite all the rain on the way up and back, we managed to not need our umbrellas at all.

The concert was great, and very different from the last concert we saw at Royce Hall just by virtue of having a full band behind her (Tori Amos performed solo last time we were there). It was also very different from the last time we saw Aimee Mann, at the House of Blues last summer. For one thing, she was focusing on songs from her new album, The Forgotten Arm.

It was also much more interactive than either of the other two concerts. What stuck in my mind was the request section. She had everything set up so that people would write the request on a piece of paper and leave it on the stage, but when she got to the break, people were shouting out titles. One guy came prepared with what looked like a balsa glider and wrote his request on that, adding that it was his birthday. I don’t remember his request, but she improvised “Happy birthday to the paper airplane man.” I’ve seen singers who get talkative, and singers who improv silly songs, but it really felt like the house was much smaller than 1800 people. (Of course, you could still make a drinking game out of the number of times she says “Thank you so much” after a song.) Continue reading

Original Sinsuality

I was going to write a review of last night’s Tori Amos concert at the Greek Theater, but I realized I already wrote most of it about the Concert at Royce Hall back in April.

We got tickets for this one because it was a new tour, and we figured there was a chance it would be a different type of concert. Eventually it became clear from her newsletter that it was going to be the same type of show—just her, a piano, two organs and a synthesizer—but hey, we liked the last one, and we already had the tickets!

As it turned out, it was the same type of show, but a very different selection of songs. I tried to write down everything I remembered her playing last night, and compared it to the list from the last concert, and there are only 5 songs in common, all from the new album!

Some of the interesting bits: Continue reading