Pre-Christmas-Break Concert

I have a running list of artists that I want to see in concert. Just to name a few, I want to see Angels & Airwaves, The xx, The 1975, Dermot Kennedy, Sigrid, The Japanese House, Bon Iver, and Cold War Kids. Before finals week this semester (a particularly stressful semester at that), I was able to go see one of these artists live - Cold War Kids. They were opening for Phoenix, a band I was vaguely familiar with. Now, as you know, going to concerts is my favorite activity; so, I jumped at the chance.

I apologize to you die-hard CWK fans out there, but the best way to describe their set is to say that it was underwhelming. I'm still a fan, but I was highly disappointed in their singing and the overall atmosphere they provided. In spite of that, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt since the main singer sounded like he was feeling a little under the weather. (I know, I know, how kind of me.)

Initially, I was more excited to see CWK than Phoenix; I had heard Phoenix's songs, Lisztomania and Lasso a few years prior, but that was about it. Much to my surprise, Phoenix absolutely blew me away, and their performance made up for CWK's subpar one. Phoenix opened with J-Boy and kept the audience involved until their last song, 1901. And here's a fun little fact that I didn't know until that night: the band members are French! (Yes, every Phoenix fan probably knows this; but, as a student of French 203 that semester with only a small knowledge of the band, I got really excited when the main singer responded with, "Merci beaucoup," to the cheering crowd after their first song. Sue me.) 

My advice to you, reader, is that whenever Phoenix is playing in your city, see them. In order to persuade you further, here is a photo I took of that delightful show: 

Phoenix at Cain's Ballroom 

Phoenix at Cain's Ballroom 

Reagan Fleming

Review: Nashville Live Concert Comes to Tulsa

When I went to school in Oklahoma, I had the privilege of writing a few pieces for the university's newspaper, The Oracle. There was one piece in particular that I had a lot of fun with - it was a concert review. 

I have watched the show Nashville ever since it came out years ago, and I am extremely stoked to see the newest season on CMT in January. Last year, while I was still attending this school, the musicians of Nashville went on tour - the tour was called "Nashville Live in Concert". I offered to attend this concert and write up a review. The review is provided below and can be found on The Oracle's website here.

Charles Esten (who plays Deacon Claybourne) and Clare Bowen (who plays Scarlett O'Connor) sing and dance on stage during a duet. 

(Photo credit: Reagan Fleming)

The cast from the ABC show, “Nashville” performed a live concert at downtown Tulsa’s Brady Theater this Thursday. The actors and singers sang beautifully-written original songs from the TV series, ranging from season one up until the current season. The lineup included: Clare Bowen who plays Scarlett O’Connor, Aubrey Peeples who plays Layla Grant, Jonathan Jackson who plays Avery Barkley, Chris Carmack who plays Will Lexington and Charles Esten who plays Deacon Claybourne. The singers sang several songs never performed live. In addition, some singers including Carmack, Bowen and Peeples sang original songs, giving the audience a refreshing change.

The Brady Theater has two seated areas for the show: a balcony seating area overlooking the stage and a ground floor. The venue captured the same ambiance as the Grand Ole Opry, allowing for a more intimate and relaxed concert.

The show opened with Carmack singing a much-loved Will Lexington song, “What If I Was Willing.” The other performers came out one by one and performed a single song as their characters on the show. They all portrayed their character’s stage presence perfectly, making it feel as if the audience was watching them on TV.

The highlight of the entire night was when Esten and Bowen came into the crowd. The entire room went ballistic. Esten was the crowd favorite, especially when performing with his on-screen niece, Bowen. Bowen twirled across the stage in her bare feet and Esten impersonated Elvis with a popped collar at one point. The audience could clearly tell Esten was having the time of his life on stage; he is a natural performer.

The cast also performed covers of songs such as “Love Rescue Me” by Bono and Bob Dylan and Prince’s “Purple Rain.” The crowd gave the “Purple Rain” cover the most applause and acclamation. The entire stage took a purple hue during the song and Esten claimed the crew only practiced it earlier in the day. The crowd stood up to sing along to the extremely moving performance.

Nashville Live was the perfect concert to attend to in order to unwind after studying for hours, in spite of the loud, overly-enthusiastic men and women who screamed, “We love you!” to the performers multiple times. Each singer gave a stellar performance with crystal-clear voices, a sharp movement and spot-on harmonies. Catch the season four finale of “Nashville” on ABC, Wednesday, May 4 at 9 p.m.

Be Present

There are times in our lives where we want to stop and take a picture or record a video to document certain moments. The saying, "Take a picture, it'll last longer" may technically be true, but lately, the only reason people choose to log their memories is to be able to say: "I was there!" I'm not talking about your wedding day or something else that is equally memorable. I mean, if you didn't have a photographer at your wedding, you may need to ask yourself some serious questions. 

In this day and age, it seems as though everyone whips out their phones or cameras anytime something funny or exciting happens. I have been guilty of doing this as well, don't get me wrong. My over-documenting usually took place at one general location: a concert venue. 

If you know me at all, you'd know that my favorite thing to do in the entire world is to go to a concert. I have always loved listening to music, dancing to it even though I know I'm a terrible dancer, and most of all: listening to a band's live performance. At a concert, you're a part of a large group that is there for the same reasons as you: to listen to a band and appreciate their music. This is why being at a concert, surrounded by music and other music-lovers, is one of my favorite places to be. 

I have something to get off my chest: I am a Jonas Brothers fan. Always have, always will be. (Yes, I'm 20 years old, why do you ask?) The first time I saw them live - yes, I am implying that there have been multiple occurrences - I was in middle school. I brought my little digital camera to record some songs and take pictures of the Jonas clan. For most of the performance, I was busy looking through the camera screen instead of paying attention to the actual performers, because I didn't want to record the back of someone's head by accident. The solution sounds simple: lose the camera. But as a die-hard Jonas fan, having physical proof that I saw them in concert was vitally important. The videos and pictures did turn out well, but the only problem was - even though memory card said that I was at the concert the entire time - I wasn't able to recall what the concert was actually like. My ears were ringing after the speakers stopped producing music, but I was too involved in the recording process that I wasn't really there. However, I do remember thinking that a backup singer was actually Demi Lovato for an embarrassingly long time. That was a letdown.

After the concert, I came to this realization: some of the moments you want to remember the most, you don't need to document at all or as much as you think. It sounds like an oxymoron, but hear me out: When you feel the need to document every single thing that you do, it's easy to get wrapped up in thinking, "What should I caption this when I post it online?" and not truly be present in what you're doing. Instead, be selective in what you choose to share online with others, and keep a mental note of how often you pick up your picture-taking device.

Two summers ago, I saw OneRepublic and The Script live, and I decided beforehand to do the exact opposite of what I usually do at at concerts. I didn't watch the bands from behind my phone the entire time - I was just at the concert, appreciating the time I spent with my friends, and enthralled by the music. Yes, I recorded a few performances, but they were of my favorite songs. Even now, I still remember that I danced to almost every song played, Danny O'Donoghue (The Script's main singer) called an audience member's ex on the phone and sang to him, and most of all, I remember how their songs made me feel: exceptionally happy and carefree for reasons I don't even know how to explain. 

I have since applied this knowledge to outings with my friends, time spent with my family, etc. I don't look for photoshoot opportunities anymore, I just enjoy being with people that I love, not worrying if what I'm doing is Instagram-worthy. If I want to take a picture and post it, great. But if I don't, that doesn't mean that the moment will not be remembered. 

And looking back, these moments (those I don't have pictures of or only have a few) have been some of the most significant times in my life. 

Reagan Fleming