Monday, September 22, 2008

The coven takes flight...

Here's what 54 witches look like.

And here's what they look like as they start to take flight.

And for those who are clueless about what this is about, I'm doing a Halloween swap over on Tally. There are 17 of us in my group, plus I'm making an extra set for a friend who loves Halloween as much as I do. Basically we each make 17 of the same item, mail them to the hostess (me) and then I'll repackage everything and send each person 17 different things. It's a neat way to expand your collection of Halloween goodness.

Last night I got 8 sets strung up. I was running out of places to put them, so I now have them clothespinned to the blades of the ceiling fan in the dining room. It looks pretty cool. I'll have to snap a picture when they're all up there.

Friday, September 19, 2008

And in other concert news...

Apparently this is the month for live music! We saw Lost & Found at Hammonasset, James on Monday, and then we went to see Gaelic Storm on Wednesday. And next week I'm going to see New Kids.

Gaelic Storm was actually at the same place where we saw James. Unfortunately, dinner before the show didn't agree with me, and I had horrid stomach pains all evening. This definitely put a damper on my mood.

They played a lot of new music. And unfortunately we don't have the two newest CDs, so we weren't familiar with a lot of what they played. It was still a good show though. And here are two videos of one of their songs. Unfortunately I stopped the recording after the first snippet, but then I kept it going through the rest. I guess it's a good thing though, since my memory card filled up just as the song was finishing. Anyway, here's Johnny Tarr, sung in many different musical styles. Sorry they're a little on the dark side. And I had my old 3.2mp camera. Not the best.

More from Monday

First off, if I offended anyone by the content of the previous video, that was not my intent. Although I agree with the sentiment stated by Tim, I do support our military. I don't believe it was right for us to be in Iraq, but I do support the men and women who are serving their country.

Here are a couple of other videos from Monday. I didn't shoot them, but they are just fabulous.

Here's a vid of their opening number. At the beginning when Saul, their guitarist, comes up to the front of the stage and is staring out into the audience, he was looking directly into my eyes. What a great way to start the show!!! And towards the end of this clip you can even see the corner of Chris' face. :) You can also see some of Tim's wacky dancing. Love his dancing!

This one is more from the end of the night. The beginning sound quality is kind of bad, but the audience participation towards the end.... Oh my. Such a powerful thing to have been a part of that.

It was also interesting watching Chris. He's a fan, although not as big a fan (or at least not as long a fan) as I am. And so they would start playing the songs, and I would recognize them, but there would be this look of confusion on his face. For the new album I can kind of understand that since he only started listening to it in the past month, rather than since April like I have. But for the older ones he would be confused and I would look at him and tell him that he knows it, and wait for the moment of comprehension. But there was one, Sound, where even later when he was singing along, he still wasn't quite remembering it. Rather funny.

And about the new album... it was released in the US on Tuesday. However, I would imagine that the majority of the people there, probably 80-90%, were like me, and ordered it from the UK back in the spring. They played a lot of stuff off the new album but based on the cheering and singing, everyone knew the songs.

So in my previous post, I mentioned that they brought up an audience member to play guitar. Well, his name is Jonah. here's a photo of him, and here's his story, in his own words. Apparently this was the first time that James has ever done something like this. What a fabulous experience for him! I wonder if they'll start doing this more often?

Here's the set list from Monday. I think there were a few differences in the encore, but otherwise it's pretty accurate. I was kind of making my own set list through the night. I knew I wouldn't be able to remember all of the songs, so I took short video clips during each of the songs. However, especially at the beginning, I wasn't filming them during the songs since video wasn't allowed. I haven't looked at them yet, but I imagine I have lots of video of the shirts of the people in front of me. :)

And now for the best news.... according to the James forum I've been reading, they'll be back in February or March!!! I have no idea if that means the US or Boston, but they'll be back! I'll definitely be getting tickets for more than one show. As it is, I looked into going down to NJ to see them tomorrow, and I kind of looked into Chicago/ Milwaukee/ and Minneapolis tickets for next weekend. But way too much going on next weekend to be able to go on a road trip. However, with a little more advance warning, I might be able to convince Chris to go for it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

James concert!

Ok, the concert absolutely rocked. I've been a fan for about 13 years now- right around the time the stopped touring here in the US. Tried to see them in London when I was studying in England, but they were sold out.

Sorry the video quality is pretty sucky, but you do what you can when there are signs saying no videos. :) But there was someone in the front row doing a vid as well. I love the intro to this song. So glad they had to restart it due to a broken guitar string. Then Tim made some comment about them "not being allowed to a political song" which is funny, because that's how Chris and I refer to this one- as their political song.

For one of the encores they had a guy from the audience come up and play guitar on Come Home. That was pretty cool. Wish I had gone to last night's show as well. Oh, and there were people there who had flown over from the UK. Now that's dedication!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A summary of my time in Acadia

It has been mentioned that I have been back from vacation for two weeks now and I still haven't updated my blog.

I guess I'm just overwhelmed. I took about 380 photos, and I have no idea how to narrow it down. Also, most of those pictures are of landscapes and granite carriage road bridges- not exactly the most exciting to the viewer/reader.

So here's a really lame summary:

Saturday- headed up to Acadia. We stopped along the way in Freeport to go to the Maine Highland Games. It was kind of interesting. We didn't stick around for too long as we still had a few more hours of driving, but we heard some bagpipes and watched some athletics. We both agreed that we wished there had been commentary during the sports as we really didn't know what we were watching or what the point was of it.
Got to the campground in the late afternoon, set up, made dinner, and then went to one of the evening ranger programs. I remember going to these all the time when I was a kid. It was kind of interesting, but we were cold, so we left a bit early to go back to the site to put on warmer clothing.

Sunday- decided to climb Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac really kicked my butt. And my knee. For the past 5+ years I've had a knee that hurts when I go hiking. It was fine on the way up, but the hike down sucked! Then even walking around camp really hurt.

Monday- woke up with my knee still hurting. Going for another hike was not going to be an option. However, it turns out that biking wasn't causing me pain, so we decided to hit the carriage roads for a bit. Went for about 9 miles.

By the evening my knee was feeling a bit better, so we went for a walk around Bar Harbor and did a little bit of shopping. However, both the yarn store and the scrapbook store were closed, so we'll have to come back. :)

Tuesday- we had planned to go for another bike ride, but on our way out it started to rain. Blech. Change in plans. Instead we went into Bar Harbor so I could go to the yarn store and the scrapbooking store. Yes, these are important things to do. Found a cafe where we could get online for a bit, so at least we were out of the rain and we got an internet fix for an hour or two. We then headed back to camp for reading and napping. I guess doing nothing all day is tiring. :)
In the evening it was time to go back to Bar Harbor so that we could go to Bar Island. We had looked at the tide schedule for the week and figured that this would be the best day to go. The rain had stopped, so we decided to go ahead with our plans. Then it was time for dinner in town. We were actually pretty good during this vacation with not spending lots of money at restaurants.

Wednesday- Time for another bike ride! We started off doing a loop that was about 8 miles, and then decided to do another 5 miles after that. And as if that wasn't enough exercise, we went for a hike.

This time we decided to hike the North and South Bubbles. Both of these are really short hikes, but they are a tad steep so are fairly strenuous. We did lengthen the hike a bit by coming down an alternate route. And we're very glad that we didn't climb up that way- lots of bouldering.

Thursday- Started the morning off with a carriage ride. The driver wasn't the best, but it was still a pleasant time. While we were out we even passed by one of the Rockefellers. Nice to see that they still make it up to the island.
After the carriage ride we went for more biking. It was our goal to see all of the bridges, and there were some we hadn't seen yet. Guess we overdid it a bit the day before- we were exhausted! We had thought about doing another hike, but we just didn't have it in us. We were beat. We did go over to Thunder Hole, but got there at the wrong time so it wasn't that exciting.

Just a random photo here of our dinner. This is pizza crust, cooked on the campfire. Looks like a certain country, huh?

Friday- Time for another hike. This time it was the Beehive. It was here that I discovered that I kind of have a fear of heights. Well, make that a fear of cliffs. I realized I'm ok with heights when on balconies, roller coasters, or other places where I am more or less secure, but on the ride of a cliff? Yeah, not so much my thing. I was very glad when we got to the top! We came down via a different route, but we had planned to do that anyway. When we got to the bottom and saw how many people were climbing the Beehive, we were glad we had gone earlier so that we would be able to go at our own pace.
After our hike we headed back to Thunder Hole. The tide was coming in, so it was supposed to be getting to its "peak" time. The waves were certainly better, but still nto that impressive. We decided it's probably best during a storm. We asked some ranger sand they agreed. One of them even commented that he had come out in a hurricane and it was fabulous!
We then stopped at the beach just long enough for me to run in and get wet. Beaches just aren't Chris' thing. At this point I was tired and wanted to go back to camp, but figured I had to at least go in, so I did and then we went back to camp.

Saturday- Time to head home. It was great not having to take down and set up camp every night like we did last summer. However, that's not to say that the day was without drama. When we were about 30 minutes from home Chris quickly pulled over three lanes and stopped the car. We were out of gas. Blech. About 40 minutes later AAA arrived. And wouldn't' you know it? There was a gas station less than a mile from where we had stopped.

Monday, September 08, 2008


Hammonasset. Where do I begin? I first attended this event 16 years ago. 15 years ago I saw Lost & Found there for the first time. And I became a groupie. It was such an awesome experience for me to be able to see them back at Hammo again. When I was in college they were playing there about every other year. Then after college for one reason or another I have had to miss all of their return visits. But not this year. I was determined to go! I was ready to camp elsewhere in the campground and crash the event.

And then word came about Tropical Storm Hanna. At first we thought the event would be cancelled, but instead it was just held in an abbreviated format. The Friday activities went on like normal, and then the Saturday and Sunday events were held on Saturday at a local church, with the event ending at 6. We left a little after 1 so that we would be sure to avoid the worst weather.

So we get there Friday, arriving before it was completely pitch black, although it was after sunset. We got the tents up and then headed over for the concert, actually scoring some decent seats. After the concert I kind of hung around the merchandise table for a bit. I was off to the side, letting Michael do his thing. He was greeting all of the kids, "woman/man, what can I do for you". (Interestingly there were far more women than men.) The kids all were getting a kick out of it. Then he turned to me and said the same thing. I responded "Don't 'woman' me" (but in a friendly tone. I realize that may read kind of mean.) and then he immediately recognized me. I love that 15 years later they still know who I am. It's not like I haven't seen them in 15 years, but with everyone they meet, it's still nice to know that they remember me.

So we chatted for a bit, but then it was time for me to head back to camp and be a responsible adult. :) Our group sat around for a bit chatting, and I explained how I became one of their groupies. How I met them 15 years ago when I was in a small group that they were leading.

I remember we were playing a game where we had to say our name and something about ourselves, and then other people would ask questions. We knew it was time to move on to the next person when I would ask a really random question. I remember I was wearing my "cow" sweat pants. They were black pants that I had cut various holes in them and my white legs underneath made up the "spots" of the cow.

I told the group about how when I went to the National Youth Gathering (that's a link for the upcoming one) in Atlanta I had questionnaires with me for them, on the off chance that I ran into them. And how people knew I was looking for them, so they brought me over to them. How one of the questions was about what I should do with a yard of cow print fabric and that George had answered make a dress for his daughter, so I did. And then I made one for his second daughter as well.

I told about how I went to concerts every year at Valpo, and how then I've seen them all over NY and New England, and dragged Chris with me, so that even he knows the songs now. And I told about how excited I was to be seeing them at Hammonasset again so that I would get the extended concert experience. They tend to use a lot of the same jokes at concerts, so I was looking forward to new stories and witty repartee.

And then I was touched when Amanda and Brittany led our group in prayer, and they both mentioned their thanks that I was able to see Lost & Found again. I know I sound like a psycho groupie, following a band around 15 years later (I guess this is similar to Mel and her Donnie obsession), but I'm really not normally this bad. I think it was just the extreme joy of being able to see them at Hammonasset again. I don't think I get this way for normal concerts. And they were playing in Rhode Island Sunday night and I didn't feel the need to go to that concert.

So we went to bed Friday night. The air was very warm and humid. Somewhere after midnight the rain started. Then around 4am there was really bad thunder and lightening. I woke up and hear the girls talking. Turns out 2 of them had to get up to go to the bathroom. They got soaked!

Woke up in the morning and the rain had stopped. But of course everything was soaked. I think most people's tents had leaked so everyone was on the wet side. We packed up and headed to Friendly's for breakfast. Surprisingly the place was pretty empty. I've never seen a Friendly's that deserted before. After breakfast we headed off to the church, making sure we would be there in time for the 9:30 Lost & Found performance. We kind of kidded around about how I wasn't going to let the group be late. We got to the church and I grabbed seats for us in the second row, Michael side. (I had told them the night before about how for a while I would show up over an hour early at shows to make sure I had a seat front row, Michael side.)

Another tradition I have when I go to see them (although I haven't always done it in recent years) is that I give them a set list. Sometimes these are rather extensive. I didn't have time to prepare one in advance, so after the concert Friday night I quickly put one together with only 4 or 5 songs on it. I had given it to Michael, and later George asked if I had one yet. "Yup," I told him. "And #1 on the list was Alexander." He responded, "can there be a substitution?" Nope. Unfortunately I knew it wasn't going to be played, but I had to request it anyway. (It's an oldie that I love, and they used to play it all the time, but now they never play it.) But back to my story.... Friday night after turning in my set list I thought of two others I wanted to add, so when we arrived on Saturday I told them of my two new additions.

They played for a bit, and then we had some other programming that was part of the weekend. We had a break at one point and I went out to talk to them. I mentioned that if they were going to play anything from my set list it would have to be before lunch since we would be leaving afterwards. Then George mocked me for leaving at since apparently Hanna wasn't going to hit until 2am. I told him it wasn't my call, that it was our vicar's and he said that I should have her come talk to him so that he could set her straight.

So the next time they got on stage they talked about how an old friend of theirs had requested a really obscure song of theirs, and they played one from my list - The Hi-at Hotel". And then a little later the same thing, really obscure but their friend Chris requested it, and it was "Jesus Loves Me" complete with the hand motions made up by an 8 year old. They had done this song 15 years ago at Hammo, and I've frequently requested it since then, and they had never done it, until now. Yup, warm fuzzies. Here I was thinking they would be doing a different one since they had told me they would do two of my requests.

Shortly after that musical interlude was lunch. We ate, and then I gathered the group together for the annual photo with the band. (Like I was going to not do photos with L&F?!) And then it was time to head home.

We hit a bit of bad weather along the way, but it wasn't too bad. I think I'm glad that we left early though. If we had stuck around, who knows what the rain would have been like, and I don't like driving on the highway in the dark. And everyone was tired and was sleeping in the car, so it all worked out for the best.

It would have been better without the rain, but I think, all in all, it was a fabulous Hammonasset experience.