Pimping Saturdays – Music Edition: Old 97’s “Big Brown Eyes”

I grew up in a very musical household and have a deep love and appreciation for music.  If I could pick my dream career, I’d travel the world playing piano and singing.  I can’t sing or play piano, though, so I have to settle for listening to Sara Bareilles.  If I had to choose between being blind or deaf (not a choice I ever want to make), I would choose to be blind.  I don’t know if I could ever deal with the depression that would come with realizing that I would never listen to music again.  Never hear the opening to “Daytripper” again?  I can’t even imagine how terrible that’d be.  Even though I already love music, certain things get me extra pumped up about it (i.e. concerts).  Since the Maroon 5 concert last week, I’ve been listening to Neon Trees on Spotify, which led me to subscribe to my friend, Sarah’s, Justin Timberlake playlist, which gave me withdrawls for The Lumineers album that I’ve listened to at least once a day since I bought it last month.  I listened to The Lumineers at work this week, which made me think about R.E.M. for some reason.  So I listened to them, which made me think about the Old 97’s, so I listened to them next.

I remember listening to the Old 97’s on The Adventure Club in the 90s. When I met Olga, she had tape recordings of Old 97’s CDs/tapes from her brother.  She even let me copy them from her.  That’s a true friend, folks!  I’m trying to get rid of my DVDs and CDs now (finally got rid of the last of my cassette tapes last year), but I haven’t been able to part with my Old 97’s CDs yet.  I have the songs on my computer, iPod, iPhone, and cloud drives, but I still can’t part with the  physical discs.  At this point, I should say that my favorite type of song is what I call a Happy Broken Heart song.  These are sad songs with upbeat tempos.  One of my favorite Old 97’s Happy Broken Heart songs is “Big Brown Eyes”.  Fans of the Old 97’s know this as a classic tune that was actually recorded on two different albums.  To me, the biggest difference between the two are the lines, “I’ve got issues, yeah / Like I miss you, yeah”.  I think Rhett Miller sounds more desperate on Wreck Your Life than he does on Too Far To Care, and I like the desperate version better.  [Insert joke here]  On that note, please enjoy this Happy Broken Heart song!

Random Saturdays – Concert Edition: Maroon 5, Neon Trees, and Owl City

Early Wednesday evening, my boss offered me two tickets to the Maroon 5 concert on Thursday night.  She and her husband bought tickets for their 10-year old for Christmas, but they got better tickets via work (they both work for the same company).  So, she offered them to one of my managers, who turned them down because she had a bunch of family obligations that night and only knew Adam Levine from The Voice.  My manager suggested that our boss offer the tickets to me.  My first reaction was, “Wow, what a nice gesture!”  My second reaction was, “Well, it’s a School Night and I don’t know if I like Maroon 5 enough to stay out late on a school night.”  My third reaction was, “Who do I know that could go at the last minute?”  My fourth reaction was, “I’ll have to deal with traffic and crowds.”  My fifth reaction was, “I need to pull the stick out of my ass and go.”

After talking things over with my boss (who agreed to let both, me and Erica, get off work a bit early so we could go and who also assured me that my manager volunteered to cover my on-call duties for that evening), I decided to go.  My boss did warn me that one of our out-of-town coworkers would be using the third ticket, but I was willing to brave Stranger Danger for a Girls Night out with Erica.  I was afraid that Erica wouldn’t be able to go because she has a husband and a baby that don’t allow for much last-minute-concert stuff, but Richard cordially agreed to watch Eva for the night.  At work, the next day, my boss told me that the third guy backed out, so we now had an extra ticket.  Erica’s sister-in-law, Julie, accepted our offer to go.  She had a baby a month after Erica did, and neither of them have really been out and about as adults without babies and/or husbands since then.  We were all very excited.  Julie was also a full-blown Maroon 5 fan, so we knew she’d be lots of fun at the concert (to be honest, she’s fun shopping for toilet paper, so you can only imagine how much fun she’d be at a concert).  Erica swore she didn’t know any Maroon 5 songs and only recognized Adam Levine from tabloids and The Voice.  After a quick YouTube search, she realized that she did know and like Neon Trees, though.  At least we were all going to the concert together and at least one of us recognized at least one song from each band.

It’d be cool to go see Neon Trees in a smaller venue sometime.

Normally, I only go to concerts to see New Kids on the Block (the first band that I learned about on my own and liked as a kid, and they are way hotter in their 40s than they were in their 20s, so it’s too bad that I peaked when I was 6).  My friend, Heather, flies in from out of town and I have a group of local gals that are equally devoted to the New Kids.  We make it a huge event and shake what our mommas gave us like we’re trying to make rent.  It’s so much fun!  When it comes to other concerts though, it’s so expensive, such a pain to deal with parking, I don’t like crowds, and did I mention that it’s expensive?  So I usually prefer to just listen to music and tune in for a performance on SNL if I’m feeling adventurous.

The first single off their new album that’s due in April.  I love that they still do their Motown dance moves onstage!

I ended up enjoying myself at this concert way more than I expected.  Erica and Julie were fun and we got to talk, joke, and enjoy the crowd together.  We had nosebleed seats, but it also made for great people watching.  We missed most of Owl City’s set, which is fine since none of us were big fans anyway.  Neon Trees were good, but there were alot of young kids in the crowd and the band definitely caters to a teenagers-and-older crowd.  Maroon 5 put on a thoroughly entertaining show, though.  The band sounded great!  Adam Levine was more modest and less douchey than I always assumed he was.  The band seemed to be enjoying themselves, which translated well onstage.  The lights and visual effects were cool.  There was a confetti bomb towards the end that was pretty.  At one point, Adam Levine pointed out a fan who had a sign saying, “Adam You Are My Idol”.  He thanked her profusely, said he was grateful to be where he was, said that he was humbled that she held such a high opinion of him, and then told her that even though he was grateful for his success, his only regret in life is that he didn’t get an education.  Then, he encouraged her and all of the other kids in the crowd to make the most of their opportunities at school.  It was kinda funny and cliché, but also very charming and endearing.  I sang along to most of the songs, bobbed my head, and just enjoyed myself in general.  Erica also realized that she was familiar with most of the older Maroon 5 songs, so she didn’t feel completely lost music-wise.  Julie was a bit embarrassed that Adam Levine kept pointing to her and singing to her because she’s married and it made her feel bad for all of the girls in the crowd that weren’t getting his attention.

My favorite part of the concert, though, was the crowd.  I normally hate crowds of people.  It just takes too much energy out of me even seeing them, much less dealing with them.  Our seats were so far away though, that I just sat and looked at everyone down below.  I also empathize with others (perhaps too) easily.  So, when I’m around people who are in a bad mood, I feel bad.  If I’m around people who are happy, then I’m happy too.  When you’re in a huge arena filled with people standing up, singing at the tops of their lungs, dancing, and celebrating, then you feel it.  I ate it up like it was candy!  I found myself randomly bursting into laughter.  When Julie and Erica went to raid the sales booths during the start of Maroon 5’s set (to avoid the crowds), I sat in my chair with no friends to protect me, and just laughed with joy because everyone else was so happy.  It was truly awesome and amazing because I just felt so connected to all of the good things in people, the world, and the universe.  I don’t know if it’s common for people to feel like this in an arena filled with people when they tend to be introverts who avoid people and strangers most of the rest of the time.  I’d be interested to learn if other people like me feel like this at concerts.

I didn’t recognize this song, but it was a pretty big deal at the show.  After watching the video, I get it — it’s about human connections.

Funnily enough, Amanda went to a smaller free concert in Dallas that same night.  Later, we talked about how going to these concerts reminded us that we actually like concerts because of the happy vibes flooding from the crowds.  So we might start trying to get cheap/crappy seats to more concerts so that we can feed off of other people’s happiness, but, you know, in a manner that isn’t as creepy as this sentence sounds.