Summer holiday starts with Ed

It’s Saturday morning, 2.30 am and I should be going to bed but I first quickly wanted to post this.

Yesterday, Friday until about 2 pm, I was stressing to get all my work done before the start of my summer holiday and luckily I succeeded. To start off our holiday, leaving all work stress behind me, Mr Esther, Junior, Mini me and I went to see Ed Sheeran live in concert in Amsterdam! We left in the afternoon, had a quick dinner nearby the Amsterdam Arena stadium and then found our seats.

The concert really was great! It is so cool to see how one man with a guitar can take up a stage like that and manages to engage a crowd of 70.000 people so very well! His voice is great, his energy is great, the music was great and the visuals were so beautiful! He seemed to really love being in Amsterdam and seemed to really enjoy himself too, which also made the crowd enthusiastic. We really had such a good time. At the end he even changed into an orange shirt (orange of course being our national colour).

We made some videos at the concert but too tired now to upload them all and won’t have time in the near future as tomorrow we prepare and pack for our holiday and on Sunday we’ll be off. I did want to share these three videos, though.

The first one is of a newer song called The Joker and the Queen. Such a touching song, it brought tears to my eyes…

The second song I’m sharing is Thinking Out Loud and shows you how well Ed also engages the audience…

The third and final video I’m sharing was filmed while Ed was singing Photograph. There was a sign language interpreter below, signing every song. It was such a fascinating and beautiful thing to observe.

As an added bonus that really made us very happy, Mr E and I really loved watching our kids enjoy themselves so very much as well. It was a perfect family outing.

If you even remotely enjoy some of Sheeran’s music, I can only highy recommend going to a concert of his. As pop concerts go, these tickets really weren’t that expensive and they really are worth every penny.

Right, bed time! Not sure when I’ll be back online as Mr E and I head off on our first summer holiday alone together in 21 years on Sunday… 🙂

2Cellos in Amsterdam

Last night Mr E and I went to see 2Cellos perform live at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. The place looked pretty much sold out. It still feels a little weird being in such a full venue but the seats beside Mr E were free, so we had a little space.

The concert was awesome, these two really are a force of nature on stage! There are also some Richard Armitage vibes to the guy (Luka Šulić) who sat on the right which was a nice little bonus to me personally. The other guy, Stjepan Hauser, is the more outgoing, clownish one in the pair who I felt was a little too aware of the sex appeal these guys seem to have. He did most of the talking (which wasn’t a lot) but I liked it best when they just stuck to the awesome music they make.

I recorded small bits and pieces of the concert and compiled a little 15 minute video of those bits and pieces (the concert itself lasted about 90 minutes).

If you’re interested in hearing a specific cover, here are the times in the video: 0:08 min: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name | 1:57 min: Ed Sheeran – Castle on the Hill | 3:15 min: Muse – Resistance | 4:40 min: Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal | 6:53 min: AC/DC – Thunderstruck | 9:26 min: Bon Jovi – Living on a Prayer | 10:59 min: Iron Maiden – The Trooper | 11:58 min: Johnny Cash (or Nine Inch Nails) – Hurt | 13:09 min: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah

2Cellos were especially electric in the upbeat rock numbers (Resistance from Muse, Thunderstruck from AC/DC, The Trooper from Iron Maiden, and Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal were I think my faves of those) and in the final two numbers (Hurt and Hallelujah) they were very touching as well. The concert ended on that contemplative note and I’m really glad we got to see them live, especially as this apparently is their final tour together and they’ll be off doing solo projects in the future…

Edited to add a picture 2Cellos shared on their Instagram.

If I were visible, it would be somewhere in the middle of that lower balcony on the right.

Bridge Over Troubled Water

This evening on TV we happened upon the Simon and Garfunkel concert in Central Park from 1981 (which sounds ancient now). I used to have the double album of that concert on LP records and listened to it all the time back then in the 1980s and 1990s.

After an awful news week were 19 young children and 2 teachers were killed in a senseless school shooting in Texas and there are no common sense laws in sight to ban assault weapons and initiate even basic screening for gun ownership, this soothing concert comes at exactly the right time. I picked Bridge Over Troubled Water to share here, as I have no words of my own that I am able to express at the sadness of this preventable tragedy and I think we can all use some comfort.

The whole concert can be watched here if you like. It’s good for the soul.

Saturday music

Certain songs have been playing in my mind a lot this week.

Both Sides Now

As I already blogged about a few days ago, I loved the movie CODA and the song that Ruby (Emilia Jones) sings at the end of the film is a cover of the Joni Mitchell song Both Sides Now. I love this rendition. The video contains spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and want to remain completely unspoilered, maybe it’s better to watch the movie first.

Modified to add: here’s an audio only version, so no spoilers…

I don’t know Joni Mitchell well at all and the first time I became really aware of this song was during that scene in Love Actually. Emma Thompson really is amazing in this, with the song underlining the heartbreak so effectively.

Ziggy Stardust

Apparently a David Bowie shop has opened in London, on the same street where the cover of his great album Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (my fave Bowie album) was photographed. I bet that, besides cool store items, the in-store music must be excellent as well.

It’s a pop up shop, which could mean it won’t be there long. I wish I could go!

Matchmaker

Mandy Patinkin and his family are matchmaking, trying to find a girlfriend for a family friend! This just made me laugh and is so loving at the same time.

That also meant I got stuck with this song in my head:

Concerts

And 2022 is going to be a great music year for us! We’ve been booking some ‘big’ concert tickets.

In January Mr Esther and I are going to a David Bowie tribute concert. It’s promising to be a big event. There will be something like this in Germany as well, I hope the Dutch version will be as good as this looks.

In May Mr E and I are going to see 2Cellos live in concert. Those guys are really good, I love how and what they play and their energy. So many videos I could link to here, but let me pick a cover they did of a great Muse song…

… but they also do heartfelt well, like this beautiful theme from The Godfather

And then in July I have tickets for the four of us to go see Ed Sheeran live. I have yet to hear any of his new songs, but I hope they will be good. Let me share here the song through which I first noticed him – I See Fire from The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug. Someone made a video which of course also features Richard Armitage as Thorin. I love the build up in this song. I wonder if he ever sings this in concert.

I hope the pandemic situation in the world will allow for all of this to happen, I’m already so much looking forward to it all.

Muse in Nijmegen

This past week the date of June 27th was boldly highlighted in my calendar: Muse was coming for an open air concert to the Goffertpark in Nijmegen in the east of the Netherlands and I would be there! The same park I saw Eminem in last year and David Bowie oh so many years ago in the early 1990s. Tickets had already been purchased last fall and I was going with my lovely friend Suzy from the Silverbluelining blog, we were meeting up there.

Fast forward to last Tuesday, two days before the Muse concert. I was leaving work late because I was meeting two friends of mine for the cinema to see Rocketman (I did end up seeing it, despite what happened next, and really liked it). As I tucked away my metrocard I missed the last step of the stairs and crashed to the ground, twisting my ankle quite badly, so badly that for a minute or so I couldn’t stand. First thought flashing through my head was, “NOOOO! What about Muse on Thursday??!!??”  Long story short, ice pack on my ankle when I got home later that evening didn’t help much, doctor said I needed to have x-rays the next day but in the end luckily nothing broken.  However the ankle was thick and painful enough to need extra support and I could barely stand on it.

So yes, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to go to the long awaited Muse concert! Only standing places for that concert and there was no way I could stand for two hours during the concert and all the time leading up to that. Then Mr. Esther came to the rescue. My hero! He wasn’t going to the concert but offered to take the afternoon off work to drive me there (a little over an hour away from where I live) and borrow my mother-in-law’s wheelchair (she only needs it occasionally). My older sister ended up coming to the concert with me as well (she’d also bought a ticket a while back and the person she was going with canceled at the last minute). Downside to these changed plans was that I couldn’t spend as much time with Suzy before the concert as I had wanted to.

The weather on Thursday was gorgeous: blue skies, mid 20 degrees Celsius, perfect weather for an open air concert. We finally arrived at the Kiss & Ride spot near the venue at just after 5.30 pm (drive had taken 2 hours due to traffic jams!) where Suzy was awaiting us. My sister and Suzy took turns pushing me in my wheelchair to the concert grounds. I’m forever grateful to them and to Mr Esther for bringing me there! I could stand and hobble about for short amounts of time, so that was something.

Muse

We had a nice bite to eat at the venue and then went in search of a spot to enjoy the concert from. As I was in my wheelchair for most of the time we figured in the end it would be pointless for me to watch from the field, I’d be too small to be able to see anything. So, we found the wheelchair platform and there was enough space left over for me to have a spot there as well. The down side was that only one other person was allowed to accompany me there. Suzy came with me first and later changed places with my sister as she preferred to watch the concert in the crowd, and rightly so. The park filled up with some 66.000 people (I was told by another guy there). This slideshow shows some crowd overviews before the concert started, taken from the spot I was at:

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Andy Burrows, the second opening act, was good. He used to be part of a band called Razorlight with which he had scored this hit called America. Then, at just before 9 pm, Muse finally took the stage. And yes, yet again, I loved the concert from its first beat! The music is always excellent, the singing is always excellent and the show they give is always great too. Here some pictures, mostly screenshots from some short videos I took (click on images to enlarge):

The great part of being on the wheelchair podium is that the view is good, the downside is that wheelchair people (at least at this concert) don’t sit-dance that much. This means that I, and also my sister, were probably the most active hands in the air, fist bumpers and clappers there. Also, lots of coming and going on that platform which was somewhat distracting. Next time, I think I’d prefer to be in the crowd. 🙂 Nonetheless, I enjoyed the concert immensely with neon lights and laser lights and dancers with lightsabers and silver plated suits. Here is one of their most famous songs that someone filmed, Uprising, at the beginning of the concert…

… and a video of when a huge creature emerged on stage near the end of the concert…

Anyway, when Knights of Cydonia started playing (traditionally always their last song at concerts), I was bummed it was almost over. The crowd went wild (yet again) with that last song, it’s always a total crowd pleaser, but alas, Muse really was done after it ended.

We met up with Suzy after the concert and I was glad to hear that she had enjoyed it immensely as well! It was her first Muse concert, and my 4th or 5th, but I have a feeling there will be more Muse concerts for Suzy and me in our future. 🙂 And we need to meet up again extra to catch up some more as we didn’t get around to enough of that this time around. Muse in September in Amsterdam, Suzy? Might be tough, though, with that concert already sold out and my finances a little depleted, but we’ll see…