Summer: the season of beach days, barbeques, brews, and other B-words I can’t think of. Ah, I miss it already. For me, summer is for swimming, walks in the park, and concerts! I try to go to at least one concert a month. The weather’s great and everyone’s usually in a good mood; it makes the tunes even better. I had the opportunity to go to a lot of concerts this summer so I made a comprehensive list for your reading pleasure! (Warning: this is a long one!)
June 10: Big Shot
I’m a Long Island girl, and if there’s one thing you need to know about Long Islanders, it’s that we love Billy Joel. Love. Him. Would probably resurrect a statue in his honor (I think we will eventually). I got to see Billy Joel in concert on my 22nd birthday and it was a dream come true! Even in old age, the guy can still rock. So this summer I got to share my love of Billy Joel with some of my college friends. We went to see Big Shot.
Big Shot is a really famous (at least on Long Island) Billy Joel cover band. The lead singer actually toured with Bill Joel; this ensemble is Billy approved! The venue we saw them in was packed, but the show was great. Billy Joel has such a dynamic discography covering decades and genres, any show including his music has to be fun.
Favorite part: I freaked out when they played Miami 2017 because it’s finally 2017! I’ve been listening to that song since childhood, and I realized at the show that what Billy is prophesizing is supposed to happen now! Who knows, maybe in a way it has? Anyway, I leaned over to my friend who also knew the tune and told her my revelation. We both freaked out. It was a good moment.
June 11: US Coast Guard Band
So I may have cried the whole show…but I can explain! It was really great. This is the second time I’ve seen the Coast Guard perform and they are just so amazing. Their discipline and control really reflects in their performance. Each breath is measured, each note has a purpose, and no aspect of the song just sits there. This group puts 100% of their effort into 100% of their performance and it shows. They really are a fantastic ensemble.
Why I cried the whole show? I just really like America, man. I’m so honored and happy to be a part of this country and seeing our service men and women perform and pay homage to our history was amazing. I cried when they played the National Anthem. First song. I couldn’t hold it in! It was so beautiful. Then at the end they played the anthems of the individual factions in our armed forces so veterans could stand up and be recognized. I was inconsolable. Crying so much out of gratitude, appreciation, and good music. I’m glad I went alone because if I went with my friends it would’ve been embarrassing.
Favorite part: They played Hymn of the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan to honor a military man who died in the town. I played that song in my college band so it was really great hearing it again. And yes, I did cry.
June 15: Thrice
Oh Thrice. It wasn’t a bad show, not at all. I just didn’t know any of the music. It was cool going with my friends; they were big fans so it was fun just to feed off their energy and jump around. I did know a few songs, but I think I would’ve had a better time if I was more familiar with their discography. But they were great performers. The concert was high energy and rockin’. Never a dull moment. I’m really glad I went.
Worst part: They didn’t play the only song I know and love by them, Image of the Invisible. That’s basically your first big hit! How do you not play it?! I was so mad…mad for like a week. Heck, I'm still mad. I basically went to that show just to hear that song, so 14 year-old me could be happy. Thrice…the stealers of dreams.
July 23: Hans Zimmer
This was a really cool treat! My boyfriend is a huge music fan (any kind, any genre…no joke) so he was really excited when he saw movie music legend Hans Zimmer was playing near us. He bought tickets right away. The show was nothing like I was expecting. I thought it was going to be an orchestra style show, which I was not bummed about. I love that stuff. But boy, was I wrong. I was not expecting a rock concert.
Hans Zimmer is 60 years-old and I watched him shred on an electric guitar during a 3 hour music/light show extravaganza. The concert was exhilarating. I don’t watch many movies so I didn’t know some of the songs but it was impossible not to love; watching musicians of such a high caliber perform is always incredible. And my boyfriend was into it. He was bobbing around in his seat and whispering fun facts about the songs in my ear. 10/10 would re-watch.
Favorite part: The Lion King. They had an awesome Lion King medley and the legit Lion King singer was there. His voice is so iconic and he was on the stage in front of me singing the Circle of Life. Once in a lifetime experience.
July 29: One OK Rock
Best. Concert. Of. The. Summer.
This concert was a long time in the making for me. I started to listen to One OK Rock in high school while I was teaching myself Japanese. Their music helped me get a better grasp on the language, so I would listen to them while reading my self-help books. Then, 7 years later, I hear them on the radio. On American radio. I thought I was having a stroke. But nope, it was them -- getting ready to tour with Linkin Park on a North American tour! Let’s just say I’ve never bought a birthday present for myself faster in my life (or ever). I was going to see One OK Rock and I was pumped.
This is a bit redundant so I apologize, but One OK Rock rocks. Hardcore rocks. The show was so freakin’ awesome. I knew every word to every song in both languages. They performed great. Taka's voice is a cannon; his vocal talent is uncontested. My boyfriend and I rocked out, sang and screamed, and had a fantastic time. I still can’t get over it. I got to see one of my favorite J-Rock bands in the US. And they were great. Drag me all the way to hell, I’m never gonna let it go.
Favorite part: Unfortunately, One OK Rock didn’t get to tour with Linkin Park because of the horrible death of Chester Bennington. I’m so upset, I still can’t talk about it. So to honor them Taka covered their song One More Light which ran into a very dramatic reimagination of Take What You Want. My mouth almost hit the flower. Take What You Want isn’t one of their best songs, but they made the first half a ballad and added all these dramatic pauses and that weren’t in the original. It was really amazing. Hearing different takes on songs like this is what makes going to live shows worth it.
August 10: Phillip Phillips
This was a random one. My university was having an alumni night that corresponded with the concert so I went to see Phillip Phillips with a friend before going to the event. I was really surprised by the show. Again, I didn’t know much of the music, but Phillip’s jam sessions were surprisingly jazzy. In a good way. His band had very talented trumpet and cello players that brought the performance to the next level. It was a great outdoor show; good weather, a fun crowd, and Phillip Phillip’s musical style fit the atmosphere perfectly. Great surprise show!
Favorite part: The cello player. He is an A+ performer.
Bonus show (because this post isn’t long enough) May 6: Coheed and Cambria
This wasn’t in the stereotypical summer months, but it did put me in the summer mindset. My pre-game for the concert season, perhaps? And it’s my favorite band! How could I not include Coheed and Cambria?
This was a special concert for me for a few reasons:
(1) Everyone Coheed show is a special show. They are amazing. (2) It was Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV: From Fear through the Eyes of Madness as a Neverender! That means they played the album (Good Apollo yada yada ya) from start to finish without stopping. A straight play through of the album. Hardcore. (3) This is my 10th anniversary as a Coheed fan (I’ve been listening to them longer, but about 10 years ago is when I started listening to them with a purpose) and Good Apollo IV is the album that got me into Coheed. Hearing the album live from that perspective was amazing, definitely a blast from the past.
Favorite part: In a surprising twist, my favorite song of the night was Wake Up. I’ve heard this song live before, but it was always an acoustic version. Hearing the album version live was really beautiful. The song has a lot of melodic layers that you can’t hear acoustically. It was really cool to hear that song in all its glory for a change of pace!
And that's my concert rundown! I love music, good times and good vibes! If you ever wanna talk about some tunes, let me know! I'm always down!