...sit down and get a cup of tea or coffee, folks - this one's a long one.
Ok, I have to start this with a little history. Every year, almost without fail, I go see a little band called Chicago
- it's my night to sit on the top of a mountain and enjoy the air and the music. A mountain, you ask? Yes, the Mountain Winery (formerly known as the Paul Masson Winery) has a concert schedule every year, and it's not too bad.
Anyway, this year I was really excited about seeing Chicago since it was going to be the first show I see this year. The next would be in October (in just over a week) to see a favorite acapella rock group, and we would be taking the kids with us (to their first concert ever). This was going to be the only concert I would get to go to with just DH.
This year, there was a conflict - DH was going to be on his yearly camping trip when the concert rolled around, but he promised to come down off the trip for an overnighter with me. I took the day off from work (as I usually do when he goes camping, so that I can have the house all to myself and stitch) - what I didn't count on was that I got a most horrible cold that day, and spent it blowing my nose, sneezing, and drinking more tea than what was dumped in Boston Harbor for that little party they had a while back.
DH came home and found me sick, and asked if we were still going. Well, of course! Nothing was going to stop me. I would medicate myself with some DayQuil, and off we would go. In retrospect, that was a very intelligent thing to do. We dropped the kids off at his parents and went off to have some dinner and enjoy the music and each other's company.
When we got there, I cruised the t-shirt booth (bought three) and then noticed the booth for the local classic rock radio station that was promoting the show. We were initially after a keychain (because a favorite one is slowly falling apart), and saw that they had a contest box there - to win tickets for the upcoming Annie Lennox/Sting concert. DH teased me a little for entering (he didn't), I told him to leave me be because of my cold, and off we went to sit down and talk about all manners of things while we waited for Chicago to hit the stage.
I promptly forgot all about the contest entry.
Fast forward to one week ago today. I was wearing my favorite of the three Chicago t-shirts, when a co-worker came in and told me all about the Sting concert - he had gone to Las Vegas to see it, and brought me a Cirque Du Soleil coffee mug (a really nice one). I regretted not getting the tickets for the Shoreline show months ago, but they were pretty expensive, and I still had CATS and the Vegas GTG ahead of me when they had gone on sale. So I had to live vicariously through the co-worker. Later that day he caught me and said I should visit Sting's website
because the playlist was running there. So, off I went to my desk to bring up the site and immediately listen. On the 5th song in, my cell phone rang, and I answered because while I didn't recognize the number, I was expecting a call from my doctor's office with some test results.
It was the radio station. I'd won the tickets. The Karma Train rolled in and gave me a present. The co-worker was greener than the landscaped grass outside. I was bouncier than Tigger while waiting for the day to arrive.
The concert was on Saturday. We dropped the kids off at his parents again so they could stay overnight, and headed off to find something to eat before hitting the concert. The good thing about going out with DH is that we actually talk about things - all manners of things - and we don't have the kids to interrupt us. It's a very good thing.
When we got there, I drooled over a couple of shirts and swore I would be back to collect one and we trudged off to find out where we could sit - we had lawn tickets, and the lawn was starting to fill up. We staked out a good spot about halfway up the lawn, just off center from one of the big projection screens and could still see the stage (even though it was tiny). After putting the blankets down, DH noticed that some folks had chairs and wondered aloud what the deal was. I pointed him to a Guest Assistance worker, and we found out that the chairs are rented for $5 each. DH didn't want to do it, but the gentleman next to us said we should get the chairs, else our backs would be killing us by the end of the show. So, off my hero went to get us chairs. I thanked the man after DH left, because I knew the ground was damp. Damp translates to cold after the sun sets when you're sitting on a lawn.
After we set up the chairs we talked about past concert experiences we had had (separately), and then the show started. First up was a 20 minute set with Sting's guitarist Dominic Miller - he was great! Especially when he started up a version of Sting's 'Shape of My Heart', and the man himself came out to sing it. Wow. I got chills. Mr. Miller was honest with us - he was there to promote his first album and that his wife's birthday was coming up and she wanted some heavy rock.
Hey, at least he's honest about it - and what a way to promote a first album. You don't get a lot better than opening for Annie Lennox and Sting - especially when they're the hottest ticket to have this season.
After a short break, and darkness settled, Annie came out and started her set. There aren't words descriptive enough for me to tell you about this woman's voice. I was in absolute awe. I had always wanted to see the Eurythmics in concert while I was growing up, and I never got the chance since they'd broken up (and she had gone solo) around the time that I was financially able to get tickets for myself. This was a dream come true. I really was starting to feel content when those very familiar piano notes that open 'Walking on Broken Glass' started up. That was probably about halfway in - from there, the show just took off. 'Missionary Man', 'Sweet Dreams Are Made of This', 'Why'... One right after the other, she kept those vocally strenuous songs going... and going.
I shouldn't forget to mention the incredible rendition of "Here Comes the Rain Again" that she did - with just her sitting at the piano. It was bluesy and soulful - it gave the song a totally different feel. Having heard the original version on Virgin Radio this morning made me realize how wonderful it was hearing that version in concert. *THAT* should be recorded and released because it was... outstanding.
When she finished, it was as if we'd already seen one complete concert and we still had the headliner to go. Yes, headliner. I noticed the marquee when we were walking into the ampitheatre and they had Sting's name in HUGE red letters. Annie Lennox's was under his in small black letters. I *know* he's a huge draw and highly successful, but it's pretty sad when someone as accomplished and popular as Annie Lennox is taking second billing in small letters under Sting's name.
Anyway, after about a half hour of reconfiguring the stage, Sting came out. I settled in to watch the second part of a really great dream. You see, The Police was another one that I always wanted to see growing up, and never got the chance to. Then Sting went solo, and I really couldn't afford the tickets because he was instantly popular. I didn't give it much thought over the last couple of years, because his shows sold out incredibly quickly, and usually weren't anywhere close by that we could get to and get home from in a single night (not without LOTS of driving really late at night). Then *this* happened.
I'm still sighing happily when I'm not bouncing that I got to see Sting.
But how do I begin to describe this show? Awesome? Magnificent? Incredible? Oustanding? I could gush and gush and go on and on. But I won't. It was simply amazing - a really great show. There were the old songs: "Roxanne", "Every Breath You Take", and the newer ones from "Sacred Love", and lots of inbetween like "Englishman in New York" (which, incidentally, was the song that was playing on the website when they called and told me about the tickets) and "Fields of Gold". One of the best parts was when he started up "We Can Be Together Tonight", and Annie Lennox joined him on stage for that partway through the song. Oh boy, was that beautiful! The energy and fun they had with that song was catching... He also sang one song with Joy Rose (one of his backup singers) that I didn't recognize, but that didn't matter. Her voice was incredible. If *she* doesn't have a record contract, I'm surprised because she's probably the next Anita Baker waiting to happen (for those who don't know who Anita Baker is, get thee to a used CD store, or to wherever you buy CD's and get yourself one of hers - jazzy R&B that's out of this world).
I suppose I should mention that Sting had a couple of things to say at the top of the show: first off, it was the 101st show of the tour - this brought quite a bit of applause. Secondly, it was his 53rd birthday that night - that brought about one second of stunned silence, and then applause and lots of people starting renditions of "Happy Birthday" - then the band took it up and played it in a rather somber minor key - we all sang, and that was great... I mean, how often do you get to sing Happy Birthday to Sting? If you're lucky, it's October 2nd and you're in a concert hall listening to him and he admits it is his birthday. And he still rocks excellently well (and looks pretty darn good too) for someone who is 53. I've got 20 years to go before I hit that age myself, and I hope I've got at least half that kind of energy.
The energy that came off the audience after the announcements was great! We had a few party girls in front of us and various auxilery entertainment with people getting up to dance even when there really wasn't a lot to dance to at that moment in time. DH had someone lighting up a joint and passing it back and forth with her companion next to him. I had someone show up and sit right behind us - really, someone who is about 6 feet tall really shouldn't try and lay down in a space that a person who is 5 foot 5 would have a problem stretching out in. I got poked with a shoe in the back a couple of times. The good thing was when it started getting a little more common, it was time to stand up and dance, so I'm pretty sure I obscured their view of the big screen.
We were standing up for the rest of the show - but that was pretty close to the end of the show anyway.
Anyway, a couple of hours, a couple of encores, and it was over. 4 hours after it began. That's right - 4 hours. It really was two full concerts worth of music. I was a pretty happy camper, having realized two concert dreams in one shot. Even DH seemed pretty darn pleased with the show, despite the teasing that about me entering it in the first place. I'd Really like to say it was worth every penny that I paid for the tickets, but I can't since they were free...
...It was definitely worth every penny that I would
have paid for them if I'd tried to buy them last April when they went on sale.