Pressure… don’t push me…

It’s been a busy week in Esther-world: celebrating my mother’s 83rd birthday last weekend (she’s still in good health and able to care for herself, thank goodness), dealing with family stuff at home (all is well, but still needing attention) and trying to get myself not too riled up about my micro-managing boss. I feel a conversation coming up in the near future where I make it clear to him that the pleasure I have felt working at this organisation the past year and a half has evaporated ever since he started micro-managing… During the first job interview he had with us (I was one of the people interviewing him!) he had said he was good at managing where needed and letting go where needed. I had faith in him when he said that, that faith has evaporated quickly. I guess he interprets the ‘where needed’ differently from me…

The news world has also been very busy. Trump has been a bumbling fool on the international stage again, the whole Brexit mess has kept me watching BBC news in fascination and even Richard Armitage has been tweeting nonsense (seriously, turn the other cheek to bullies? When has that ever helped? Peaceful resistance, I am all for that, but just turning the other cheek only helps bullies, not the victims). Thankfully, I did enjoy this picture of him that turned up last week or so from Audible…

Oh, and there was this picture as well from the upcoming season 3 of  Berlin Station

These are little highlights as I still wait for something great to come from the Armitage that even I can enjoy other than just nice images (nope, no audiobooks for me, Castlevania is still on hold and I’m not that keen on the upcoming Berlin Station either…). I wish I had the energy to blog about my stage in Armitage-fangirling right now, like Herba, Servetus and Nell have been doing so eloquently recently on their bogs. And I still might, when I feel more space in my brain, but suffice it to say that I too feel the drought and I too am still hoping for other great things to come from Richard.

This means that I am stuck to other fangirling right now. Lately that has been all about listening to Muse’s new album which came out last week. I like this album better than the last one, some really good songs on there! I’m really liking this one right now…

I guess the whole “Pressure … don’t push me” message feels relevant. 😉  Luckily, last Tuesday I was able to purchase tickets to their world tour that starts next year! They’ll be in The Netherlands in June. Some friends of mine are going too and I got tickets for myself and Suzy from the Silverbluelining blog as she too has become a Muse fan. This band is absolutely awesome live and I find myself already wishing for June!

Advertisements

Jeff Lynne’s ELO live in Amsterdam

Last night Mr Esther and I went to see ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) perform live in Amsterdam at the Ziggo Dome concert hall. Actually, it was Jeff Lynne’s ELO, as the original ELO are not together anymore. This was before the concert started…

The warm up act was a singer called Billy Lockett. He had a great voice, the music was nice and he was just cute in his interaction with the audience. The hall was three-quarters full, I think, when he sang and he seemed pleased with the reception.  Said he thought that there were more people there than he has followers on Twitter, which may be a fair point. 🙂

We all came to see ELO, however, and boy, did they deliver! Mr Esther (along with a friend) had seen Alan Parsons live a few months ago and had been disappointed in the Parsons voice. He hoped Jeff Lynne would be better and Lynne certainly was! His voice is still great and he had great backing singers as well. The band was good and there were violins and a cello, which gave a beautiful richness of sound. Add to that the beautiful background graphics and the light and laser show and it certainly was one heck on an evening! Here are some picture impressions (click on images to enlarge)…

The only down side was that there were seats also in the field (where we were). We wondered why there would be seats but figured maybe it had to do with the average age of the audience being a bit older than our age. When you want to dance and clap besides sing along, it’s hard to stay in your seat, especially as most of the concert was upbeat. It’s also annoying when people complain when you jump up and stay up for a while. However, that didn’t stop us from dancing in our seats (and waving with our hands and clapping and singing along and woohoo-ing). Finally, the last 20 minutes or so, people couldn’t stay in their seats any longer and when Don’t Bring Me Down started playing, everyone got up on their feet and stayed there till the end of the concert. Here, a clip I found on YouTube from last night of Jeff Lynne’s ELO singing that song…

One of my fave songs of theirs is Mr. Blue Sky

… but really, all the numbers they performed were great (check out last night’s setlist here). I could share many more clips that I found on YouTube from last night, but I won’t bore you with them all here. If you’re curious just type in “elo ziggo dome 2018” in YouTube search and you’ll find loads of clips there. 🙂

Mr Esther got a concert t-shirt with the ELO spaceship on it…

img-20180928-wa00008055179814645574981.jpg

… and we left the concert very happy and wishing it had been longer than the 90 minutes or so that it was. Should they play anywhere near you (and you like their music), go see them live, it’s totally worth it.

 

A star amongst the stars

Herba’s and Pö’s monthly blogging project ‘Mach was’ is back again from a summer hiatus and the newest theme is “Mach was mit Sternen” (“do something with stars”). Basically that means I could make this post all about me, as my name, Esther, means ‘star’!

But I’d rather not make this about me, I’ve already self-indulged enough by making an Esther-video. I’m going to make this about David Bowie instead! Space and stars always make me think of him and he made a lot of songs featuring space. His first hit was Space Oddity and he made many more ‘space songs’, like Life on Mars, Moonage Daydream, Ashes to Ashes (which was a sequel to Space Oddity) or my favourite latter day spacesong of his called Spaceboy.

However, this ‘Mach Was’ is not about space but about stars, so for this post I’m showcasing some David Bowie star-songs. His most famous, breakthough alter-ego had “star” in his name and was called Ziggy Stardust. Ziggy is an alien rockstar who has come to earth to warn of the end in 5 years time (Five Years is a brilliant storytelling song, by the way, which has nothing to do with stars or space, but is worth a mention). I love so very many of Bowie’s songs, but the Ziggy Stardust album is my favourite.

Ziggy Stardust album

Without further ado, here are some cool David Bowie ‘star’ songs:

David Bowie (and Ziggy Stardust) shot to fame after performing Starman on ‘Top of the Pops’ in 1972…

From the Ziggy Stardust album we also have the Ziggy Stardust titular song…

And Lady Stardust

And Star about being a rock’n’roll star…

There were star-songs on other albums like the sweet song The Prettiest Star from the 1973 Aladdin Sane album…

In 2003 there was New Killer Star…

And in 2013 there was the brilliant The Stars are Out Tonight with the awesome Tilda Swinton co-starring in an awesome video…

And of course, right when he died so unexpectedly, he released his final Blackstar album with a 10 minute song also called Blackstar on it. It’s very depressing and I still find it difficult to watch, but also somehow fascinating and very artistic…

The man even fittingly had an own star constellation dedicated to him after his death…

If I believed in an afterlife, I’d like to think that that is where he’s hanging out right now… a star amongst the stars.

Something Human & The Dark Side

My favourite band Muse has a new single out called The Dark Side. Released 3 days ago, it already has over 2 million views on YouTube! They are doing something different with this new upcoming album. It is somehow softer in music (almost sounds more like pop than their usual rock) but it still is a little dark in tone. The last single, Something Human, came out in July…

I’ve got to say, when I first heard it, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. It’s fine but not really Muse, I thought. The vocals are Muse but not quite the music, I’m missing what I call their “singing base guitars”. However, on repeated listening it has grown on me.

Now we have their newest song as well, called The Dark Side and it’s made in the same sort of style as Something Human.

It all has a bit of a 1980s vibe and as the 1980s was the decade of my teens, music of that era is happily nostalgic for me. I like that they’re trying something different. The songs aren’t up there with my Muse faves yet but I am very curious about the new album. Muse’s albums have a bit of a storyline and I wonder what this one will be. I see two songs they brought out earlier (Dig Down that I have already blogged about here and Thought Contagion) will also be on the new album. Those songs seem more old-Muse than these two new-Muse songs. Intriguing.Simulation theory albumTheir new album will be out in November, which means that there should be a new tour next year! I’ll be there. 🙂

The real Slim Shady!

Yesterday evening, Mr Esther junior and I went to see Eminem perform live in Nijmegen in the east of the Netherlands. My son has been an Eminem fan for about 3 years now and this concert was the gift he got from us for his 17th birthday. He is the only one of his friends who really loves Eminem, so, as they are no fans, I said I’d love to go with him. I’m not a rap or hip hop fan at all but through Es jr’s influence I have started to really like some of Eminem’s songs and found myself excited to be going to this concert as well! Of course, my excitement was no match for Es jr’s excitement.

We got there quite early, in the afternoon. I got Es jr a commemorative concert t-shirt which he absolutely loves…

We walked around, got drinks and something to eat and then secured ourselves a nice little spot. Es jr didn’t want to go up too far in the front, he doesn’t like the pushy crowdy element when close to the stage. It was quite hot, so while waiting and chatting we shielded ourselves from the sun for a bit.

IMG-20180712-WA0003

The evening started with two rap acts to warm up the crowd. Finally, at around 9.20 pm, Eminem started his concert and Es jr was in seventh heaven. This was pretty much our view – good view on the screens and we could see Eminem (encircled in this picture) jumping around and rapping on stage.

20180712_212756_resized_1

He had an MC/side-kick to help whip up the crowd and sing along with him and it was a great concert! He sounds great live, just like on his recorded music and really gave his all to make the concert a good one. Eminem hasn’t been to the Netherlands in 15 years, so him singing ‘Without me’ where he sings “Guess who’s back? Back again? Shady’s back, tell a friend!” seemed extra topical.

For those who don’t know, Eminem is also nicknamed ‘Slim Shady’…

He sang a lot of great songs, some of his greatest hits…20180712_213524_resized… and Es jr could rap along with pretty much all of them! He was also not shy to stick up his middlefinger together with thousands of others when asked to do so by Eminem.

Eminem has this one song where he does a really quick rap in the song “Rap God”. In fact, I understand that that song is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the hit single which contains the most words.

There was a beautiful section where Eminem sang some duets with Skylar Grey, songs that have been recent hits from his latest album. Skylar Grey really has a great voice! He also did this song with her from 2000 called “Stan” about a stalker fan…

As the sun set, it all looked even more beautiful.20180712_223703_resized

The last song ‘Lose yourself’ (one of my fave Eminem songs) was beautifully lit and beautifully performed, a perfect end to the concert.

It ended with a few fireworks…20180712_225316_resized… and it really was over all too soon. In fact, that may be my only gripe: the concert lasted barely 90 minutes. I’m used to concerts being a little longer than that, would’ve been cool to have a little more. No matter, though, we were very grateful for all that we had seen and heard and Es jr really was very happy! “I can’t believe Eminem is here, so close to us in the flesh!” he beamed at me during the concert. And: “Best birthday gift ever!” he exclaimed afterwards. This concert certainly is a memory to treasure, for Eminem and for sharing that with my son. 🙂