Tag Archive for Frank Erwin Center

5/22/13…Paul McCartney @ Frank Erwin Center

Paul McCartney

About a month and a half ago the following text exchange went on between me & my dad:

Paul McCartney

Needless to say, I was super excited to have a second chance to see him again.  I had last seen him 11 years ago at Madison Square Garden while living in NYC.  It was seriously one of the greatest shows I have ever attended.  I had a BLAST!  And the idea of being able to spend the evening with my parents, especially my Dad, the man who first introduced me to my beloved Beatles, was super exhilarating!!  I was stoked!  When we got to the Erwin Center we discovered that our seats were actually in the upper balcony.  Awww.  But the good news was that we were close to the left side of the stage.  So our view was high, but decent.  The video screens helped us out quite a bit.  We arrived just before 8pm and there was a DJ up on stage spinning Beatles & Wings tunes.  It was pretty cool.  Then a little after eight a video montage accompanied by McCartney songs began to scroll down the video screens.  This went on for what seemed like forever.  At first it was super cool to see all these great outtake photos, but then the crowd, including me & my parents, began to get very antsy for the show to start.  The video stopped and the house lights went down and Paul & the band finally came out at around quarter to nine.  The crowd went BERZERK!!!  I was no exception.  Then, when I thought I couldn’t get more excited…they started off the show with “Eight Days A Week”.  OMG!!!!  This is one of my all-time favorite Beatles songs & one he didn’t play at the last show I saw.  I was screaming, jumping around, & of course singing along.  It was FANTASTIC.  Surprisingly, this was Paul’s first time ever in Austin.  I couldn’t believe it!!  During the first few songs, I began to notice that Sir Paul’s voice had declined quite a bit in the 11 years that had passed since I had last seen him perform.  But, come on, the man is closing in on 72 years old.  I cannot fault him for that.  But it was an observation I made.  Throughout the show, Paul interacted quite a bit with the audience.  He would do a little dance after every song and if he did a guitar change, he would hold it up high, almost as if he were giving it praise and allowing the audience to praise it too.  It was kinda funny.  He started off with his Hofner bass, but also played both electric and acoustic guitars.  He also jumped between two pianos.  He had a lot of great stories that gave such interesting background on several songs; These were stories I had never heard before.  For example, I had no idea that “Blackbird” was written about the struggle for Civil Rights in the South.  It was like finding new treasures among all the wonderful Beatles mementos I already had.  Priceless stuff.  There was a smaller stage in front of the main stage that Paul hadn’t approached.  But before he did “Blackbird”, he walked onto it and when he began to play (pay attention in the video) the stage began to rise & rise & rise.  It got ridiculously high.  He stood alone, with his acoustic guitar, for all of us to enjoy & admire.  This was such a pretty & quiet moment in the show:

The entire set list was for the most part dedicated to his Beatles catalog.  There were a few Wings songs & only ONE solo effort.

As a Beatles fan, I was more than ok with his choices.  I kept looking over at my parents to see their reactions as each song came on.  It brought back a lot of memories of me playing my Dad’s Beatles records in our living room as a little girl.  It was so cool! The whole night was cool.  After Paul finished his main set, my dad was like, “Let’s Go.”  He’s all about beating traffic.  I was like, “Dad!!  NO WAY!!  He’s gonna encore!”  My dad seemed surprised at the idea of Paul actually coming back out to play some more.  But sure enough, back he came.  We (the audience) did NOT want this show to end.  We were all having way too much fun!!  Paul ended up doing TWO encores.  The man played for over THREE HOURS!! We finally left during the final Abbey Road medley because I knew he would end the night with the song “The End”.  Overall, this show was GREAT!  I would be utterly remiss if I didn’t shout out the four guys that make up Paul’s band.  These guys are insanely talented.  They played these songs with such love, care, & precision that you would think they had written them.  They have been playing with Paul for years now & it shows!  One of the highlights of the night was when Paul pulled out the ukulele and paid homage to George Harrison by playing “Something”.  He started the song off on uke (a favorite instrument of George’s) and then transitioned into an electric version of the song.  From that moment on in the show Paul’s performance lifted to another level.  He was magnificent!  “Something” was so beautiful & touching.  “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” got the audience completely engaged and when the opening notes of “Band Of The Run” came on, I just lost it!!  LOST IT!!!!  That song makes me crazy…in a good way!   I just LOVE it!!  I can keep going, but if you just look at the set list, you can see how off the charts the end of this main set was.  And the pyrotechnics during “Live And Let Die”????  Forget about it!!  FANTASTIC!!  Yes, this was another wonderful show…one I will always remember and cherish.  I finally got to experience a Beatles moment alongside the guy that started me off on my musical journey with the Fab Four…my dad.  And you just can’t beat that!!

3/7/12…Radiohead @ Frank Erwin Center

Radiohead @ Frank Erwin Center 3/7/12

Radiohead @ Frank Erwin Center 3/7/12

I’d like to call this the show that almost wasn’t.  I really almost missed out on this phenomenal “dance party”.  When the show went on sale in November, I was unable to land tickets.  The idea of not being able to see Radiohead literally left me in tears.  After my co-worker calmed me down and told me to think positively, (I was at work when I found out I didn’t get tickets) I started to think about ways that I may still be able to see them.  After work, I called a well-connected friend of mine and told him of my dilemma.  He assured me that he should have no problem getting me one ticket.  He told me that I should not be stressed, to just remind  him closer to the actual concert date, and he’d handle it.  Well, he sure as hell handled it.  He came through BIG TIME with not just one, but TWO tickets in a really decent spot in the venue.

Radiohead

So not only did he live up to his word and make my entire year, but he allowed me to pay the favor forward to a friend & classmate who never in a million years expected this from me.  It was great.  This gift was definitely two-fold.  My friend and I met up about 90 minutes before the show so we could find parking and grab a bite to eat.  We ended up at Serrano’s on Red River (just a few blocks from the Erwin Center).  What a cute little restaurant.  It has beautiful seating outside and the inside must have been a house previously.  There are so many rooms of seating.  You could get lost in here.  The food was great, but the service sucked.  Lori managed to get our drinks and take our orders.  But she never came back to check on us and when we needed change to pay the bill, she never came back.  Too bad for her. :p When we finally made it up to the Erwin Center, Other Lives (the opening band) was already playing.  It was hard to see exactly, but it appeared that there were about 7 people on the stage.  They were multi-instrumentalists playing everything from some kind of horn, keyboards, timpani drum, strings, guitar, glockenspiel, etc.  They kinda reminded me of a more melodic Interpol.  I actually kind of dug ‘em.  I think I’ll be looking into them a bit more.  They only played for 30 minutes.  I was really disappointed that we didn’t get there earlier to hear their whole set.  Damn that Lori lady!!  There was about a 40 minute lapse before Radiohead came on.  I was so very excited.  Neither my friend nor I had ever seen them, so this was going to be life changing for both of us.  And oh, yeah it was.  I’ve liked Radiohead for about 14 years.  That’s a long time to wait to see a band…especially a band as great as this.  I’m not gonna get into too many details about what songs they sang exactly, because it was kind of a blur.  I was really taken in by Thom Yorke.  I never expected this guy to be such a dancing fool.  About the third song into the set is when he started jumping around.  I found myself giggling with delight.  There is seriously nothing better than to see Thom Yorke jammin’!!  He has such a fantastic stage presence.  The voice, the energy, the sense of humor, the connection to the audience…it all works.  The rest of the band is beyond phenomenal.  These guys have some of the most complex, layered songs and yet, they were able to translate them beautifully live.  They glided effortlessly from their electronic stuff to the earlier rock inflected songs to simple piano and guitar styling.  I was so blown away.  There were moments of pure joy during the show, just listening to them.  They whipped me into a frenzy like no other.  Some of their songs take you higher and higher and  higher until you cannot even stand it and then those guitars come down and you just need to scream.  And that’s what I did… I screamed!!!  Some of the highlights: FOUR drummers banging away on “There There”, the build-up of “Lotus Flower”, the layered guitars in “Reckoner”, the starkly beautiful, not-yet-released  “These Are My Twisted Words”, and the show-stopping last song “Paranoid Android”.  They played songs from every album (except their first two), they debuted new songs, they entertained us for two hours, and they did TWO encores.  All in all, that is not a bad night with Radiohead.  In fact, it’s one of the best nights I’ve enjoyed in music…EVER!!!

12/21/11…Trans-Siberian Orchestra @ Frank Erwin Center

Frank Erwin Center

Frank Erwin Center

Trans-Siberian Orchestra @ Frank Erwin Center 12/21/11

Trans-Siberian Orchestra @ Frank Erwin Center 12/21/11

Years ago I remember hearing commercials for this show on the radio and I also remember thinking, ‘what is this cheesy show?’  lol  Little did I know what I was missing.  Last year my parents saw the show and liked it so much that this year they decided to take the whole family.  Because it’s such a holiday themed show, the Erwin Center offered a combo dinner/show deal, where you could pay for and have dinner in a private room before the show.  It was a pretty nice spread and there was plenty of time to eat and relax before the show started.  I had never been to the Erwin Center before.  Wow!  It’s pretty big for Austin.  The nice thing is that no matter where you sit, you have a pretty fantastic view of the stage.  The show started a little late, but it definitely started with a BANG!  The “orchestra” is made up of guitarists, a drummer, keyboardists, strings (one main violinist and the rest repped by the Austin Branch of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra),  and a chorus of vocalists.  Mind you, some of these vocalists also DANCE!!!  Ah, and there is also a narrator that tells a story between songs throughout the first half  of the show.  This narration was a little strange, but I will give it to the guy who performed it; He had a GREAT voice for it and a lot of personality to boot.  This show is LONGGGG.  It was about two and a half hours of rockin’, energetic, soulful entertainment.  The main guitarist and spokesman of the show was AMAZING…my favorite by far.  He had me by the 2nd song of the performance.  I’ve never heard Christmas music in quite this manner before.  And when I say he was SHREDDING, I’m not even kidding around.  My other favorite part of the show was the main female vocalist.  When she came out for her solo on a slower song, she took over that stage with her incredible voice.  For these two performers alone, the show is worth seeing.  But the great thing is that everyone on that stage is super talented; the two I mentioned above just happen to be my personal favorites.  Another aspect of the show that sort of takes your breath away, is the visuals…the lasers, the lights, amazing!!

If you’re not really into going to rock shows, get ready for this one, because this group of talented people will rock you out of your seat!!!  I don’t want to give any of the shows surprises away, but I will say that if you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Trans-Siberian Orchestra before, you MUST make the effort.  It’s something to do as a couple or with your entire family.  Make it happen!