Replay America (The Go-Go’s, Patty Smyth from Scandal, Martha Davis and The Motels, and Pete Byrne from Naked Eyes) at Thunder Valley Casino Resort | Lincoln, California | 7/19/2014 (Concert Review)

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“Are we not in the desert?  Where are we?” A  bit of comic relief part way through The Go-Go’s set by Gina Schock, who as per tradition emerges from her drum kit at some point in the show to give us a bit of fun.  And that is kind of at the heart of The Go-Go’s punky/poppy/surfy/beachy New Wave music, so what better a group to headline 2014′s newest 80s-centric tour, Replay America.  Also on the bill is Patty Smyth from Scandal, Martha Davis from The Motels, and Pete Byrne from Naked Eyes.  A real assortment of 80s hitmakers each took to the stage at Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday night to take the crowd back about three decades to a real innovative time in music.  Though there was a lot of music to be heard, things proceeded along quite quickly with the first three artists sharing a band (with some changes set to set), and a quick changeover for the aforementioned Go-Go’s, who closed out the night with a string of classic songs.  Definitely a unique opportunity to catch many favorites in one sitting, and I know I thoroughly enjoyed each artist, only half of whom I’d seen live before (though I was already a fan of all four).  Awesome show.

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OK Go at Assembly Music Hall | Sacramento, California | 7/15/2014 (Concert Review)

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“But the problem is, it’s a piece of shit… so things like the little thing, that goes on here… the plastic thing that keeps you from slicing your fucking finger in half?  That fell off in the middle of that song…” A post song, play by play recap by Damien Kulash of OK Go, talking about how part of his favorite guitar (purchased at a pawn shop in New Orleans) fell off and how he waited for the right break in singing to pick it up amid a floor covered in confetti… and for some reason decided to put it in his mouth for the rest of the song.  Quirky, funny, and entertaining…  an OK Go show would probably be worth the price of admission even if they didn’t play any music at all, as the between-song banter was all quite amusing on its own.  But they did put on an impressive showcase of music at Assembly Music Hall in Sacramento… kicking off their 2014 tour that culminates in the release of Hungry Ghosts, their fourth studio album in October.

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Hotel/Resort Review: Cambria Shores Inn – Cambria, California

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This is part of a continuing series of my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts while traveling to attend concerts worldwide. This stay was during my recent trip to Cambria in July 2014. This review is for Cambria Shores Inn. [Read more...]

Huey Lewis and The News at Marin County Fair | San Rafael, California | 7/2/2014 (Concert Review)

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“As I look out on all your faces, there’s a few people here I don’t know!  Most of you I do know… most of you are on the guest list, I think!”  Huey Lewis of Huey Lewis and The News, peering out across the overflowing crowd within the tent at the Marin County Fair, it was more like a party than a concert, with friends and family making up a good portion of the audience.  A hometown show (Huey is from Marin County and the band as a whole is identified with the area), it definitely had a certain magic in the air…  a celebration of a band that has written and recorded a large catalog of fantastic music and stuck together now for about 36 years, the crowd was energized from beginning to end.  They played songs going back from 1978 to today, and showed how, as a band, they eclipse the decade that they are best known for, and can showcase not only their own music but rock and roll songs written by others, using electric guitars and their famous horn section as well as coming together to the front of the stage for acapella.  Definitely one of the most talented bands playing today, and, as always, one of the best tours going.

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Hotel/Resort Review: Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa – Lahaina, Maui (Hawaii) [REVISIT]

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This is part of a continuing series of my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts while traveling to attend concerts worldwide. This stay was during my recent trip to Maui in May 2014. This review is for the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Lahaina, Maui in Hawaii. [Read more...]

Hotel/Resort Review: Hilton San Diego Bayfront – San Diego, California

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This is part of a continuing series of my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts while traveling to attend concerts worldwide. This stay was during my recent trip to San Diego in May 2014. This review is for Hilton San Diego Bayfront in San Diego, California. [Read more...]

Hotel/Resort Review: Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica – Santa Monica, California

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This is part of a continuing series of my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts while traveling to attend concerts worldwide. This stay was during my recent trip to Santa Monica, California in May 2014. This review is for Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica. [Read more...]

Hotel/Resort Review: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Napa Valley – American Canyon, California

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This is part of a continuing series of my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts while traveling to attend concerts worldwide. This stay was during my recent trip to Napa in June 2014. This review is for DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Napa Valley. [Read more...]

Hotel/Resort Review: Harrah’s Lake Tahoe – Stateline, Nevada

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This is part of a continuing series of my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts while traveling to attend concerts worldwide. This stay was during my recent trip to South Lake Tahoe in June 2014. This review is for Harrah’s Lake Tahoe at Stateline, Nevada. [Read more...]

James Blunt (Moon Landing World Tour) at The Fillmore | San Francisco, California | 5/14/2014 (Concert Review) #bluntontour

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“Before the night is over, I’m going to be in with these guys…”  At some point into the sprawling one hour, forty five minute set put on by (an at times plain goofy) James Blunt and his band, the singer-songwriter looked up at the small section of balcony seats in the sold out show at The Fillmore in San Francisco, then glanced at the standing crowd right below, and made those up front feel that something special might happen toward the end of the show.  Keeping his promise, a sweaty James Blunt did indeed end up surfing the crowd – not what one might expect of the emotional crooner, best known for his kind of dark, break out hit song “You’re Beautiful”.  Full of energy and great humor (much of it self-deprecating, which wasn’t surprising coming from an Englishman), James Blunt seemed like a born entertainer, feeding off the crowd and giving it all back in spades.  At times it seemed like a bit of an odd affair all around; kind of like what might come about from making cookies without a cookie cutter…  the audience certainly didn’t fit any particular profile or stereotype, and his music seemed to draw what you might call “people who don’t dance at concerts” (and funny enough, I would classify myself as one of those), so there was a sort non-traditional connection between artist and fan – not so much seen, but felt.  It seems that the James Blunt fan might be more of a devotee – quizzing the crowd up front, people started a line at 2:30 for the 7:00 doors show.  With four studio albums under his belt (with the latest, last year’s Moon Landing serving as the theme for this tour), he seems to be doing well, and enjoying himself along the way.

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Hotel/Resort Review: Hilton London Tower Bridge – London, England [REVISIT]

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This is part of a continuing series of my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts while traveling to attend concerts worldwide. This review is for the Hilton London Tower Bridge. I have stayed at this property multiple times, so this is an updated review, for a lengthy stay in March and April of 2014.  This is far and away my favorite hotel in London. [Read more...]

Hotel/Resort Review: Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay – Monterey, California

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This is part of a continuing series of my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts while traveling to attend concerts worldwide. This stay was during my recent trip to Monterey in April 2014. This review is for Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay. [Read more...]