“You feelin’ good tonight, New Jersey?”

IMG_1442Care to share? Photo credit goes to me, por favor.
I have a super sweet camera that managed to get these killer shots all the way from (almost) the lawn. In the rain. Boom.

Man, do I love concerts. Those massive sold-out stadium shows are the best, but any venue will do as long as the music’s good. I always walk out, ears buzzing, feeling high as a kite. When your favorite (or even not-so-favorite) artists bring their A-game, you know it’s going to be a good time.

Concerts seem to be all I want to spend money on lately. I went years without going to any, something I truly regret. In between my very first concert experience (7th grade, N*SYNC Pop Odyssey, Giants Stadium, what up) and the free shows at college, I didn’t go to any. Taking Back Sunday and Gym Class Heroes came to Lock Haven in my first and second years. The next two years, I wasn’t interested (T-Pain and Drake, meh). I drove out to the Bloomsburg Fair with one of my roommates in my senior year to see David Cook—I was obsessed with him for about a year after he won Idol.

I love music (who doesn’t?) so after college, I vowed to start treating myself.

  • August 2010: Allison Iraheta, Orianthi & Adam Lambert | Bethlehem PA
  • June 2011: Glee Live Tour | East Rutherford, NJ
  • November 2011: StarKid SPACE Tour | New York, NY
  • May 2012: Adam Lambert & Train | Point Pleasant Beach, NJ
  • August 2012: Daughtry | Bethlehem, PA

It’s really not that many (and there’s a definite trend), but I don’t care. Sunday night I added another to the list:

  • August 2013: Gavin DeGraw, The Script & Train | Holmdel, NJ

I went with my mom and sister. It was a spur of the moment purchase—we had concert fever—that ended up being a really great show, not that we expected to be disappointed. I have so much respect for musicians who sound just as good live as they do in a studio recording and all three sounded fantastic.

Gavin: I’ve loved him for what feels like forever. He covered JT’s “Mirrors” and then morphed it into “I Don’t Wanna Be” which was perfection and made me really miss One Tree Hill—seasons 1-4 obvi, because that shit got way too cray after the time jump(s). He sang some old faves, “Not Over You” and his new single, “Best I Ever Had.”

The Script: I totally forgot they were Irish until Danny started talking to us. Then I melted; I go crazy for delicious accents (more on that later—my rhapsodic gushfest on Matthew Rhys is still a work in progress). I loved “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” which is the first song that got me hooked on them and of course, the epic “Hall of Fame.” They definitely amped up the energy and got us good and ready for the main event.

Train: After seeing them in a much smaller venue (Jenks Club) last summer, I was pleasantly surprised by their stage presence. Patrick was incredibly gracious—he was snatching people’s iPhones from the front of the crowd and taking his picture with them from the stage for almost two whole songs. Then when all the “mermaids” joined him on stage, he didn’t turn away a single kid who wanted a photo or autograph when the song was over, even as they were starting to be shooed off by security. He was engaging; he made us laugh and told us how beautiful we were. I think saying “if the whole world was like New Jersey, we would be a magical planet” was maybe pushing it a bit, but it was still appreciated. There was even the unexpected fun of a brief “Can’t Hold Us” cover.

I love when live acts try to get a massive sing-along going. Danny did it with “For the First Time,” and Patrick got the full capacity of the Arts Center (17,500 people!) to croon “Marry Me” with him. Not to sound cheesy, but I love how it shows the sheer reach of music. It’s an oddly comforting feeling to share your favorite songs with thousands of strangers in a singular moment.

I was especially overwhelmed when Patrick praised the state for its strength. Without getting too deep, he briefly touched on Hurricane Sandy before donning a Sea Bright shirt for a beautiful performance of “We Were Made for This.” Punched me right in the feels. #JerseyPride

The crowd went all out for “Drive By” before dissolving into hysteria for “Drops of Jupiter.” I don’t think these guys can go anywhere and NOT sing that song. And finally, the show closed by bringing out Ashley Monroe (who had stopped by for a couple duets), Danny and Gavin for a cover of The Band’s “The Weight.”

This may be my last concert for a while, not because I can’t afford it (well, technically I can’t) but because I can’t find anyone to go with me. My friends are all responsible and shit, saving their money for stupid adult stuff like loan payments and gas tanks. Sigh.

I guess I’ll have to live vicariously through you guys—who are you seeing over the next few months?

P.S. My YouTube channel is full of highly embarrassing videos of a personal nature—college days and family stuff and whatnot—that are really only out there because I didn’t want them to be stuck on Facebook forever. Soooo, if you promise not to snoop around (or do and don’t judge too harshly), here’s the link to my half-heartedly assembled video from the show. My apologies for the streaks, my Flip cam wasn’t getting along with the spotlights.

Winner

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