Music Monday: My Year in Concerts

As a music fan, I’ve always loved going to concerts. There’s just something about hearing music live that just makes me so happy and feels like everything is right in the world, if only for a couple hours. So for this Music Monday, I thought I’d feature the concerts I went to this year.

1. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience Tour

JT 2020 Tour

I wrote about my thoughts on this tour back when I saw it, but let me repeat – my dancer’s heart loved every single minute of it.

2. Lady AntebellumTake Me Downtown Tour

Lady Antebellum Take Me Downtown Tour

I’m very limited in my tastes when it comes to country music. Country pop I can deal with to an extent; I can’t handle real southern country twang. When I first heard Lady Antebellum, it was when they released ‘Need You Now’ and I remember thinking these guys are really cool and sound really great. I quickly became a fan, to say the least. After missing out on their Own the Night tour (which I’m still kinda bummed about because I absolutely LOVED that album), I had to make sure I got to see them the next time they were in town, which was for this tour. Though to be honest, I felt really out of place at the concert. Being a minority and a generally awkward person, I’m typically used to feeling out of place. For some reason, I felt VERY odd being one of few Asians at a country music concert (and not wearing plaid – believe me, there was A LOT of plaid). My being-out-of-place aside, Lady A are wonderful live and it was a great concert overall.

3. Gavin DeGraw

Gavin DeGraw

For years, a friend and I had complained about Gavin not doing a show in Toronto. Lucky us this year, he did 2 separate shows. This first show he did was a solo show in support of his Make A Move album. I remember still being sick/jet-lagged from my trip, but I still had so much fun seeing Gavin perform. His opening acts were Rozzi Crane (signed to Adam Levine’s label) and Parachute (a pop-rock band I’ve followed for some time now), both of whom were really solid.

4. Justin Nozuka

Justin Nozuka

It had been years since I’d last seen Justin Nozuka in concert and when I found out he was releasing a new album and coming back to Toronto, I jumped right on it. Personally, I don’t really like the new album; it’s a little too mellow for my tastes. And most of the concert was comprised of the new material so I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more of the old stuff. I still cherished him performing ‘After Tonight’ midway through the show; it was quite a pick-me-up that got everybody grooving and singing along. I just wish there was a little more of it.

5. Michael Buble – To Be Loved Tour

Michael Buble To Be Loved Tour

I love seeing Michael Buble in concert. I always say this but when you go see him, you get a little bit of a comedy show as well. It’s his natural sense of humour and self-deprecation. Once again, he brought out Naturally 7 (a very cool acapella group) as his opening act, and who later returned to do a couple songs acapella with Michael. And one of my favourites parts of the show was actually when Michael performed part of a song by himself, with no accompaniment and no mic – a feat all in itself considering he was playing in a huge arena.

6. Matt Nathanson & Gavin DeGraw

Matt Nathanson Gavin DeGraw

 

I always love seeing Matt Nathanson in concert (this was my 5th time seeing him) and add to that, getting to see Gavin for a second time within 3 months? Yeah, it was a no brainer. Despite the fact that the show was at the Sound Academy, a venue in Toronto I have associated with bad memories. Even so, I had to go see this double headlining tour of two of my favourites. My friend and I actually got lucky and received a VIP upgrade when we got there, allowing us to go to the second floor of the club. But after about 20 minutes upstairs, we made our way back down to stand with the masses; it just felt weird standing up top and what’s the point of VIP if you don’t even get to meet the artists? Regardless of that, it was a fantastic show!

7. Tyler Hilton

Tyler Hilton

It wasn’t that long ago that my friends and I complained about Tyler never playing a show in Toronto, despite the fact that he was constantly in the area (his now fiancé, Megan Park, is from London, Ontario). Since seeing him in 2012 for the first time, this was show number 5. I remember Tyler was actually battling a bit of a cold and kinda losing his voice, but he powered through his (albeit shortened) set. AND to make up for the fact that he didn’t do as long a set as he normally does, he agreed to do a meet and greet, taking pictures with fans.

8. Jason Mraz and Raining Jane

Jason Mraz & Raining Jane

For his new album Yes!, Jason Mraz worked exclusively with a wonderfully talented female band, Raining Jane. It was more a collaborative album than a simple Jason Mraz album. That being said, the two took the album on the road, and I got the chance to see them at the historic Massey Hall. Massey Hall is a venue that is known for its amazing acoustics and ended up being a fantastic place for Jason and Jane.

9. Kris Allen and Boyce Avenue

Kris AllenTechnically, it was Boyce Avenue’s show, with Kris Allen supporting, but I was there to go see Kris since I had yet to see him live in concert. Plus, I wasn’t going to say no to a $30 concert ticket. Kris’ set was a short 45 minutes but he managed to squeeze quite a number of songs from all three albums, plus a couple cover songs (Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ and Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’). ‘Monster’, a song from his 2nd album, is one of my favourites from Kris, but man, to hear it live? Kris and his band took it to another level. I even went so far as to compare it to hearing Maroon 5 perform ‘Sweetest Goodbye’ (my absolute favourite M5 song) live. Pure perfection. As for Boyce Avenue, I was familiar with their cover songs but not their original material. Honestly, I thought their originals were a little blah, and I actually got a little bored hearing them perform. Talented guys, just not into them.

10. Justin TimberlakeThe 20/20 Experience Tour (again!)

JT 20/20 TourIt only seemed appropriate that I end my concert year the same way I started it – seeing JT. The guy never ceases to amaze me and I always have SO much fun at his shows. I feel like I’m just gushing at this point, but what can I say, I’m a dancer at heart and loved singing/dancing along.

With 10 concerts, I feel like that’s the most shows I’ve ever been to in a year, and that’s not even including theatre shows, plus TIFF and SDCC. At this point, concert-going is like my life, so I can’t even keep track anymore. Here’s to another fun-filled, musical year in 2015!

Grammy Awards 2010

It’s Grammy night! For any music fan, this is THE night. Granted some could care less about the Grammys, but with this music fan, I always look forward to the Grammys. Nothing gets between me and my Grammy watching. As I did with the Golden Globes post, I’ll be writing this post as I watch the show, so comments will be made in the order in which they occurred on the show. Any awards given out during the pre-telecast (that I have any comments on) will be posted first (it comes before the actual show, so makes sense no?)

Pre-Telecast Awards

  • Best Female Country Vocal Solo: Taylor Swift “White Horse” – I like Taylor Swift but best vocal? Not so much. Especially considering she was up against the likes of Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride
  • Best Country Song: Taylor Swift “White Horse” – Good for Taylor. I can get behind her winning here.
  • Best Dance Recording: Lady Gaga “Poker Face” – It’s too bad Britney couldn’t win here for Womanizer, but there was no doubt how big a song Poker Face was.
  • Best Rap Song: Jay-Z, Kanye West & Rihanna “Run This Town” – Well deserved, although Dead and Gone was equally deserving.
  • Best Rock Song & Best Rock Performance by a Duo/Group with Vocals: Kings of Leon “Use Somebody” – Definitely well deserved. Such a fantastic song.
  • Best Male Pop Vocal Solo Performance: Jason Mraz “Make It Mine” – Jason Mraz was the only one who, in all honesty, should have won this award, so I’m extremely happy to see him win. The other nominees in the category, although being great artists, are not really considered “pop.”
  • Best Pop Vocal Collaboration with Vocals: Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat “Lucky” – Lucky is such a great song, so I’m really happy that they won. Also, it’s Colbie Caillat’s first Grammy award so it’s just a great win overall.
  • Best Pop Vocal Album: The Black Eyed Peas “The E.N.D.” – Kelly Clarkson should have won for All I Ever Wanted. Truthfully though, The E.N.D. is more of a dance album than pop. Meh I’m just disappointed that Kelly didn’t get nominated for more awards.

Actual Awards Show

  • Lady Gaga opens up the show with an All That Jazz-sampled intro, a medley of Poker Face & Speechless, the latter song being a duet with Elton John. Not a fan of Gaga, but that duet was kinda cool.
  • Stephen Colbert: “The Grammy awards, the highest honour that can be bestowed to an artist. Next to being covered by the kids of Glee.” LOL one of many lines by him. He should host something, or maybe I should just watch the Colbert Report more often ahaha
  • Song of The Year: Beyonce “Single Ladies” – This award is for songwriting, so I really think Kings of Leon should have won. But it’s alright, Single Ladies was quite the ubiquitous song of 2009; there’s no denying that.
  • Green Day & the cast of American Idiot performing 21 Guns. I definitely think this performance is making the song even more superb than it is. But then again, with the success of Glee, everything sounds better when sung as a group and on the verge of turning into a showtune. Still an awesome performance
  • Best Country Album: Taylor Swift “Fearless” – Obvious choice. Can’t deny how sweet/humble she is when accepting awards though.
  • Is it just me or is Simon Baker always here? Didn’t he present last year too? I mean, he’s not even a musician. He’s an actor.  Hmmm…
  • Beyonce commanding the full stage for her performance. If I Were A Boy gets a new, and dare I say better, arrangement. I really like the rockier edge given to the song. And a slight cover of You Oughta Know mixed in there? Interesting…I’m kind of suprised though that she left it at that. I was expecting more of a medley, breaking into Single Ladies or something.
  • Pink performs Glitter In The Air. Really incredible and cool performance. Not much else to say about it.
  • Best New Artist: Zac  Brown Band – Can’t comment much about them. I don’t really listen to them so can’t say much. Good for them I guess. I was disappointed in the nominations for this award to begin with, but I’m pretty sure it would’ve been either them or Keri Hilson anyways.
  • Black Eyed Peas performs Im’ma Be and I Gotta Feeling. The whole performance should have been just I Gotta Feeling, even though I was complete annoyed with the song during the summer becuase it was incredibly overplayed. Taboo looked kinda bored at one part. And I’m pretty sure those videos on the screen also included some other musicians (Timbaland? 50 Cent? I think so…)
  • another commercial break and I kind of want to see some more awards handed out? I mean it is called the Grammy Awards. I don’t want the whole show to be just awards being given out, but would it hurt to have a more balanced ratio?
  • Lady Antebellum performs Need You Now. Again, I’m not really well-versed in the country music scene. I know the names of the artists, but there are very few who I actually listen to. After this performance, I think I might have to give Lady Antebellum a full album listen now.
  • Best Comedy Album: Stephen Colbert “A Colbert Christmas” – Usually an award that gets awarded during the pre-telecast, so it seems kind of out of place during the actual show.
  • Record of the Year: Kings of Leon “Use Somebody” – ahaha “happy drunk” KOL. Awesome win! REALLY well-deserved.
  • Jamie Foxx & T-Pain performs Blame It. There was no doubt that that was T-Pain in the white wig lol. For a song that pretty much entirely auto-tuned, this performance wasn’t half bad. At the very least, it’s better than when it was performed on American Idol last year. That’s not saying much.
  • Justin Bieber has no right in being at the Grammys. He may be a fellow Canadian, but he needs to go away.
  • Best Rock Album: Green Day “21st Century Breakdown”
  • CBS really is pimping out all their shows huh?
  • Zac Brown Band performs with Leon Russell
  • Taylor Swift up next, starting with her new song Today Was A Fairytale, from the upcoming movie “Valentine’s Day.” Short and sweet, because we gotta get to Stevie Nicks joining Taylor on stage. And I’m sorry to say, but this performance is kind of making my point that she’s not the greatest vocalist. *See pre-telecast awards comments above*
  • Michael Jackson Tribute…in 3D! Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson, Carrie Underwood and Usher are performing. Followed by MJ’s kids receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award on his behalf.
  • Bon Jovi performing for the first time at the Grammys. Seriously? In their entire music career, they’ve never performed on the Grammys? Wow. They start off with their latest hit We Weren’t Born to Follow and go into Who Says You Can’t Go Home, a duet with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. And then for the fan voted song, it’s Livin’ On A Prayer! Classic Bon Jovi. Although I partially wanted It’s My Life for one reason only: the fact that it now reminds me of Glee and that awesome mash-up lol.
  • Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Jay-Z, Kanye West & Rihanna “Run This Town” – I guess they deserved it, especially Rihanna after the year she’s had. And Kanye couldn’t really lose, he was nominated 3 times in the category. But again, I still think T.I. & Justin should have won for Dead and Gone. It’s just a really good song, regardless of the fact that Justin’s a part of it.  Although it would’ve been HILARIOUS if I’m On A Boat won. And last thing, who’s kid was that? Too cute!
  • Mary J. Blige & Andrea Boccelli perform a new version of Bridge Over Troubled Water for Haiti. Amazing.
  • Dave Matthews Band performs, introduced by Adam Sandler.
  • Ricky Martin? But yay Lea Michele!!
  • Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: Beyonce “Halo” – I wonder what would’ve happened if Kelly Clarkson was nominated in this category for Already Gone? Would the votes cancel out due to their slight likeness? Or would Kelly have come out victorious? We will never know. Sidenote, I totally just realized how awesome/funny it is that Lea got to give that award to Beyonce, considering the Halo/Walking on Sunshine mash-up on Glee. hehe.
  • Maxwell performs Pretty Wings. Great song. He is then joined onstage by Roberta Flack.
  • Les Paul tribute featuring Jeff Beck. I would like to know who that girl singing was though. She was kinda awesome.
  • Quentin Tarentino can be the funniest dude sometimes.
  • Drake, Lil Wayne & Eminem performs Forever. Travis Barker on drums. The only thing I don’t like? The fact that there is so much censoring on this song. Total, I think a good 30 seconds to a minute of the song was censored. I can’t enjoy the song when I know the sound gets cut out.
  • Album of the Year: Taylor Swift “Fearless” – Good for her. I absolutely love how Colbie got a mention, and that on the screen where it says the winner, it was written as Taylor Swift & Colbie Caillat. Love.

Well, at the end of it all, no surprise, Beyonce and Taylor Swift were the big winners. Beyonce had the most wins with 6. Taylor Swift won 4 including obviously, the big one. Kings of Leon right behind with 3 awards. Overall, it was a slightly uneventful show. We had some great performances, and some not so great. Here’s to hoping that 2010 will be chock full of great music options so we can get a better show in 2011.