Sunday, May 31, 2009

Absolutely Fantastic!

Have you seen the movie, "This is Spinal Tap"? What about "A Mighty Wind"? If not, you should (although I will say that some may find Spinal Tap offensive. Hilariously offensive). It was our love for these movies (along with others directed by Christopher Guest) that inspired us to buy tickets to see "Spinal Tap: Unwigged and Unplugged" in Detroit this past Friday night. It was a completely different kind of concert from last week's Billy Joel/Elton John show but again we had a fantastic time. My stomach still hurts from laughing so much.

Featured in the concert were Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Michael McKean. Not only are these guys all incredibly funny actors but they're also pretty great musicians as well. They performed songs from both movies, with all of the heavy metal Spinal Tap songs getting new acoustic arrangements. There were also a lot of video clips and just general comedy throughout the night. The banter between songs was just what you would expect from guys like this. Harry Shearer seemed to do a majority of the talking with Michael McKean saying a lot too. Our big surprise was how quiet Christopher Guest was. He really seemed to prefer to stay in the background, letting the other two lead the way. A bit disappointing. As longtime fans of "The Simpsons" we've been pretty big Harry Shearer fans so it was great to hear so much from him too although it did feel like we were being spoken to by Principal Skinner all night (except for the time he said, "Release the hounds!" in a Mr. Burns voice).

One big surprise was when they opened up the floor for questions and answers from the audience. Aides roamed the floor level (not us on the balcony) and let people ask the guys any questions they wanted. Questions ranged from where the guys met and how they started to playing together to whether or not Christopher Guest kept in conact with the dog he worked with in "Best in Show" (his response to the woman - "Are you OK?") with a "Which way to the bathroom" thrown in for good measure.

I don't know if I could pick a favourite part of the evening, I loved it all. "Stonehenge" was definitely up there along with "Old Joe's Place".

All in all, another fantastic evening. Of course, we've just used up our concert budget for about 5 years so don't expect any more exciting reviews from me for a long, long time!

(note: that is not my photograph, it is taken from We didn't bring our camera)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Great Night Out

Last night was a night I had waited for for a long time. This is the third time Billy Joel and Elton John have toured together but last night was the first time I managed to get there. We saw Elton John on his own a few years ago(and loved it!) but Billy Joel is someone I've always wanted to see in concert so seeing them together seemed a great combination. I thought I was going more to see Elton John than Billy Joel but I've got to say the Billy Joel blew me away. I was completely shocked at how great a show he put on. Really amazing.

I was afraid we were going to miss the beginning of the show because 1) we had a long wait crossing the border, 2) traffic was at a standstill on the highway, and 3) I really had to hit the bathroom before we could even get to our seats. The show was scheduled to start at 7:30 and it was 7:40 before we got in our seats but fortunately things didn't get started until 7:45. Perfect!

They started off with 4 songs that they did together, 2 from each artist. Then Elton John and his band took the stage for an hour. It was amazing but because we had just seen him in 2006 the show we saw last night was a lot the same as what we saw then. He also did two songs back to back that he clearly loves but that didn't seem to connect with the audience very well (Burn Down the Mission and Madman Across the Water). The jerks behind us (I'll get to them) were yelling "Move on!" at one point.

When Elton John was done, Billy Joel took the stage for an hour. He was amazing, from beginning to end. His band was made up of a group of multi-talented (most of them played several instruments) musicians and he really talked a lot and interacted with the crowd, which Elton John didn't do at all. I was a bit surprised by his potty mouth but he was really funny. He even poked fun at some of his previous traffic accidents and his ex-wives. He chose great songs and is a fantastic live performer.

I was so excited to be there that I was on the edge of my seat for most of the night. I could hardly sit still. We were pretty high up and it was hard to see but I didn't care. It was great to be there. As I mentioned earlier we had some twits sitting behind us. They were singing along a little too loudly and then talking loudly when they weren't interested in the song. Before we were into the second song Nick had his chair kicked, he'd been hit several times with a program and had a pizza box dropped on him. During the show I got beer spilled on my purse and shoes twice. They did settle down for most of the show but they were a bit of an annoyance.

Because it was a combined show, neither artist could do as many songs as I would have liked to hear. My favourite songs by each of them are little known ballads so I didn't get to hear those. For those of you keeping track you can hear them here and here. They each did some fantastic songs though and it was great to hear them combining on some of the classics.

The show ended at 11:15 but because of traffic it took us over an hour and ten minutes to get onto the highway. It was a distance of two miles but it's all so poorly laid out with bad traffic lights and we got steered out to a bad exit so it took us a ridiculously long time. We were feeling pretty badly because our friend who was babysitting needed to work this morning but she was really understanding when we rolled into the house after 1:00. Fortunately she only lives across the street.

It was such a great night, we're so glad we did it. Now we've got another concert to look forward to next week when we see the actors who played musicians in Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind. That should be a great night too.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Wesley Update

Last week's post was a Darcy update so I thought a little Wesley update might be in order.

This kid is absolutely cracking us up lately. His personality and sense of humour seem to be developing really quickly and he's got us laughing all the time. One of his new favourite tricks right now is to crawl into our bed, or Darcy's bed and lie down, pulling the covers up over him. He makes sure you're watching him the whole time and as soon as he lies down and pulls up the covers he laughs like a maniac. It's not that funny a trick but you can't help but laugh at his reaction.

He's also fascinated with animals, especially dogs. He makes a little "woof woof" sound (his sounds more like "hooo hooo") whenever he sees a dog, cat, squirrel, bird, any sort of small animal. There's a small dog that lives a couple of houses down and he'll often bark at the window when anyone walks past. Wesley wants to walk past there all the time to see if he can get the dog to come to the window and bark. There are also a couple of dogs near Darcy's school bus stop which thrills him to bits too.

I haven't been posting much lately because we've been going outside a lot. Wesley wants to be outside every opportunity he gets. Some of that is so he can see and hear dogs but other than that, he just likes to run around, climb things and colour with sidewalk chalk. This is definitely going to be a summer of scraped knees and grass stains. He's having the time of his life and we love watching it.

His separation anxiety really seems to be improving as well. When his Wednesday night babysitter came this past week, instead of crying he started waving goodbye to me. That's definitely a sign of improvement! We were all pretty excited about that.

This weekend is a trip to Cambridge to spend Mother's Day with my family and to celebrate my nephew Lucas's fourth birthday. We're looking forward to a great weekend.