Sunday, July 24, 2011

Top 5 Performance Moments

Concerts. Plays. Large venues. Small venues. Day. Night.

I love going to shows of all kinds and witnessing the gifts that so many people have been given. Ever since my first concert, when my mom brought me to see Neil Diamond, I have had an appreciation for music, for the arts- for talent.

Some highlights:
Most random: Weird Al Yankovic
Most rebellious: Skipping a day of high school to see Mariah Carey at the Mall of America
Best concert I was dragged to: Justin Timberlake & Christina Aguilera
Most sweaty: Various Warped Tours
Most ridiculous (almost): Bought tickets to Raffi, but friends bailed, so gave them up to mom's friends to bring their kids.
Most people on stage singing a Beatles song: Unknown order show- 4 bands (15-20 people) on stage singing "Hey Jude"
Most irritating: Bowling for Soup talking about nothing for 10-15 mins between each song.
First musical I was obsessed with: Starlight Express
Favorite song from a musical: "Endless Night" from The Lion King
Favorite cover performance: "In Your Eyes" performed by Jared Mahone

So many times, there are those moments that stick with you - that transcend the performance itself and become something bigger. Those "you had to be there" moments that when you see it, you feel lucky that you were able to witness. Here is my list of my top 5 favorite moments from any performance.

Honorable Mention 1: Roster McCabe live in studio.
In undergrad, my amazing friend Tanya and I had a radio show on our campus radio station. For the most part, it was pretty general - play some songs we like, talk about songs, bands, shows, music, life, and all around randomness. We weren't going to win any Peabody Awards or anything like that, but we had an absolute blast. Some of the coolest days were when we were able to bring live bands into the studio (the only show that attempted this) for performances. Tanya went to high school with the lead singer of Roster McCabe, so she got half of the River Falls campus to become obsessed with them. She pulled some strings, and was able to get the boys to come in and do an acoustic performance for our listeners. In the words of Jeff Parker, which were repeated about 6 times during their time in the studio: "Uhh-mazing!"

Honorable Mention 2: Goo Goo Dolls
My favorite band of all time is the Goo Goo Dolls- the first time I saw them was in high school when they performed at the Minnesota State Fair. The show was great! And that is when they solidified themselves as my favorite. But the best part came at the very end. Their encore consisted of them singing "I Want You to Want Me." And just about for the entire song, confetti was being launched into the crowd. So much energy, and a great finale to an unforgettable show.

5. Elton John
One of my "Bucket List" shows, and it finally happened in 2010. All I need to say is 10 minute piano solo in the middle of "Rocket Man." Self-explanatory. Unbelievable.

4. Anthony Rapp & Adam Pascal
I saw RENT for the first time when it was on tour in St. Paul. Not going to lie, I wasn't that impressed. It was good, but after falling in love with the movie, the play was a let down. Then, the announcement came that it was closing on Broadway, and Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal, two of the original cast members, were going on the farewell tour of sorts. So I decided to go again. The two of them made the entire show. You could see the chemistry and the power that only the two of them possess. They were born to play Mark and Roger. And when they sang "What You Own," a song that features the two of them, that's when you could see the magic.

3. Naturally 7
Naturally 7 came into my life during the NACA Northern Plains regional conference in 2006. At these conferences, bands, comedians, magicians, singer/songwriters, and performers of all kinds have a showcase, where they get about 15 minutes to dazzle the crowd of college students, hoping to be booked at their schools. N7's showcase was, without exaggeration, easily one of the best performances I have ever seen (if not the best). Their style of a capella, which they call Vocal Play, is unlike anything you will ever hear. I am so glad they are starting to gain some international attention, thanks in part to Michael Buble, because everyone needs to know who they are.

2. Idina Menzel
For the whole story, read this post. But this night was one of those moments- being in the mountains. Being in a place as beautiful as Red Rocks. The sun setting. The orchestra. Idina's powerful voice. When she sang a slow, soulful version of "Finale B" from RENT, and had the entire crowd singing those powerful words, "No Day But Today," you couldn't help but get chills.

1. American Idiot
My favorite performance moment came on an epic adventure to NYC with my friend Rose. We lucked, or I suppose "friendshipped" our way into getting tickets to see American Idiot, the Broadway show that features all Green Day music. I reluctantly decided to go along with it, and I am so glad she talked me into it! The show was great- not a whole lot of plot, but the music is GREAT!! (and I only like GD a little bit). By the end, the story wraps up nicely, and leaves the audience moved. But the most unbelievable moment is the encore. The curtain lifts up, and all of the cast members are on stage with acoustic guitars, and they all start singing "Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)." On the night we saw it, it was the last show for one of the cast members. So they sang it to him. 19 amazingly talented people singing their hearts out, dedicating one of the most heartwarming songs ever created, and saying goodbye to their friend. It was simply... perfect.

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