Summer Concert U2

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When a company procures your email address and sends you spammy updates, it annoys the heck out of me and I usually hit the unsubscribe link within seconds. One exception to this though is when I open up my email to find that Ticketmaster has news it would like to share with me.

While Sesame Street Live or Josh Groban crooning in Boston don’t really float my boat, every now and then I just can’t seem to help myself as I click and follow the hyperlinked trail that leads from one usually uninteresting event to the next. This time though, I hit gold… look what I stumbled on… U2!

Growing up in Ireland during the 80’s you couldn’t be anything but amazed at the music being produced from this band. They had a style all of their own, and quickly developed a reputation for raw, high energy shows. There aren’t many bands you can instantly identify within the first few seconds of just about any song they play, but there is definitely a unique and unmistakable U2 sound. Before long they had established themselves as a world-wide phenomenon and it became incredibly difficult to score tickets… oh, and along the way they produced some truly remarkable music.

So, my Internet surfing adventure that started with some random “Disney on Ice” event ultimately led me to the new Meadowlands Stadium in July where the #1 band of all time will be playing in front of 80,000 people… including our Sam and one other. He has always been very interested in his Irish heritage, and he has also been keen to see U2, so this wasn’t a bad Christmas present for a him, eh?

Who knows… maybe he will take his old man along with him 😉

Tim McGraw in Bangor

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Tim McGraw was in town tonight. Hard to believe that a star so big would come to little old Bangor, but there he was live and in-person on stage at the waterfront, and boy did he put on a show! All week long the proposed path of Hurricane Earl had been threatening tonight’s concert, but by late this morning the storm had eased its way off shore and up into the Canadian Maritimes, making way for clearing skies and a picture postcard evening.

I always say that live music is hard to beat any time you hear it, but when a talented performer and his band gets on stage and means it, then you have the makings of a really cool evening. Admittedly as I get older I am becoming more and more of a country music fan, and Tim McGraw has been a favorite of mine for a while now. I like how he offers a nice mix of rock and roll, energy, and story, and as I mentioned before… he also provides an honest performance where he connects with the audience and makes them feel like he really wants to be there. I saw the ultimate performer and showman, Bruce Springsteen, play magnificently at Gillette Stadium a couple of summers ago, and he did not do anything to damage his reputation as one of the most impressive concert performers. The Boss is renowned for putting on a show and giving the crowd their money’s worth, and based on what I saw that night, the legend is true… his show was amazing and memorable. Tonight in Bangor… Tim McGraw gave similar value.

In recent years I can remember seeing a couple of what were then favorite singer/songwriters of mine in Shawn Colvin and Nancy Griffith perform at both UMaine and the State Theater in Portland respectively. Both were concerts that I was incredibly excited to attend, shelling out what was probably at least $50 per ticket, only to experience performers who obviously had no interest in being there. Both shows were weak and disappointing, with both Colvin and Griffith offering zero passion for their music or any obvious desire to connect with their audience, leaving me feeling somewhat cheated. No such experience on this evening though. Tim McGraw was dynamic and engaged, playing many of his most famous tunes and putting on a show that those who attended will likely remember for a long time.

I took Jack’s little point and shoot camera with me to try to capture something to remember the show by. Easy to carry, but lacking in manual controls, I struggled to get any photographs that I liked. Obviously it was dark for most of the time, and without the ability to set the shutter speed manually to where I could stop the action on stage, most of the photographs I made this evening were fuzzy and out of focus. I refuse to believe that our proximity to the beer garden had any bearing on that, but I did come away with a couple that I liked. To try to combat the lack of light, I would point the camera at one of the very bright spotlights on stage (getting me a relatively faster shutter speed), and I would then recompose trying to capture a decent image of the show. I think the fastest shutter speed I was able to render was about 1/25th of a second. I wasn’t that concerned about photography tonight though… Lori and I were happy to see such a big name performer come to Bangor and rock the Waterfront so well!