Monday, June 07, 2010

Tonic Concert!

Last Saturday, June 5th, we went back to Atlanta for a free event called SummerFest held in the Virginia Highlands neighborhood near Midtown. It is an arts festival with food, kids' activities, and music. I wanted to go especially because Tonic was performing at 6:30 that evening! I also hoped that we'd get there in time for some of the children's activities... but I knew Cecilia should have a late nap before we went, to prepare for the late night she'd have. So we didn't leave from my parents' house until close to 4:00.

Now, this post is really long, particularly because of all the photos, so just warning you... If you come to this blog to see photos of the kids, those are all at the beginning here and then again at the end, with a few shots in the middle somewhere. If you want to see pictures of Tonic performing, those are in the middle, so you can skip there if you don't want to read all the details of our trip. If you come to this blog to read parenting or Catholicism-related stuff, then sorry, this post doesn't cover either - unless taking your children to a concert would be a parenting topic...

Anyway, we arrived a bit too late for the kids' activities. They were having activities like face painting, games, crafts, etc. until 6, and when we got there at 5:40, everything was pretty much over. But they had a great playground that the girls enjoyed!

I had read that parking for this event would be limited, and it would also cost $10. So we decided to take MARTA, the city's light rail/subway system. We parked at the station near my parents' house and then rode down to the Midtown station. This took longer than usual, because not only do trains run less frequently on weekends, but we also had to get off the train we were on because it was going to be taken "out of service," whatever that means, and then board the next train that came. Since it was after 5:00 when we got to Midtown, we started walking rather than waiting for a bus, which we could transfer on to. And as we walked, no VaHi-bound buses passed us, so we walked the whole way. It was, according to directions online, a 1.5 mile walk. It sure felt farther than that! Caroline was a trooper and walked the whole way with no problem, and Cecilia rode in the backpack on Chris's back. The cost of MARTA round-trip passes was $13.50 total (Cecilia was free, and Caroline just barely qualified as being tall enough to need a pass), so it was worthwhile, even with the long walk. And the kids think riding MARTA is great fun!

Caroline was grumpy because there were only two big kid swings, both occupied, and Cecilia was swinging in a toddler swing. But then Caroline got involved in pushing Cecilia, and surprisingly, Cecilia thought this was funny and didn't scream at her to stop.

See the smile of happiness?

I had dressed the girls for the weather - nasty hot and humid - (what else would one expect of an outdoor event in Atlanta in June?). So they were wearing clothes that were as cool as possible. Kids don't seem to notice the heat much... they didn't really complain!

This playground ride was pretty cool - it's basically a big wheel that spins around. Chris and another dad pushed it while several kids rode around and around.

Then it was time to head to the stage area. It was a bit after 6:00, and we planned to eat dinner before the show. I had brought in two turkey/cheese/avocado wraps in my purse (so I could try to stay on the diet), and Chris bought some gyros from a food stand ($15 for two things - ha!). While he waited for the food, I made my way in to the stage area to scope out a spot. It looked like it was a baseball field, surrounded by a fence, with the stage set up on one side. Once Chris had the food, we walked to the back, where there were a bunch of tables and not nearly enough chairs. Caroline had to make a trip to the bathroom at this time, so Chris had the pleasure of taking her to the porta-potties while Cecilia and I started eating.

Just had to include this because of the facial expression - it looks like she doesn't like her wrap, but she ate it all... just a random face, I guess!

See? She likes it!

Cecilia sat on the table to eat (that Red Stripe beer is not hers ;). Caroline and Chris came back and had some gyros (Caroline ate most of a chicken one along with part of a wrap, and Chris ate the actual gyro - the chicken one was called a "chicken pita").

Caroline ate a bunch, so we didn't regret buying two items!

This was the girls' first real concert - they have been to a few small, local outdoor concerts in our community, but nothing this loud and with a "famous" band. My first concert was the New Kids on the Block when I was 11 - my poor dad had to take me to that one! ;) Chris actually went to a Grass Roots concert when he was really young, maybe Caroline's age. so, I guess I'm not too crazy to take my children to a rock concert before they are even school-aged!

The concert started just after we finished eating. Chris pulled out the camcorder, which was new at Christmas, to try it out shooting in this environment. It did a nice job - videos embedded further on. After two or three songs, Cecilia and I made our way to the front so I could take pictures. Chris looked through some later on the preview screen on the back of the camera and said I still had my photography skills... I used to take photos for my high school yearbook, and I always enjoyed taking photos of events... back then, I always took my camera with me to Atlanta Braves games and Florida Gators games to take pictures. Now that things are digital, wow - I don't have to worry about "wasting" shots like I did with film. So, there are many, many photos below... as usual, click on any to see them larger.

Emerson Hart, lead singer and rhythm guitarist for Tonic. This is the first photo I shot once I got to the front and was pleased to get a good picture immediately!

I love the trees in the background... they made a nice backdrop!

Dan Lavery, Tonic's bass guitarist

And Jeff Russo, Tonic's lead guitarist

He is probably thinking, "That lady is getting really obnoxious with all the flash photography!" Ha ha.

Emerson has a captivating stage presence... he smiles and makes eye contact with people in the audience. He looks genuinely happy to be doing what he is doing! In a smaller venue such as this one, that makes it even better and more personalized... not like in a huge arena where there is a massive sea of thousands of people.

They did this at the beginning of several songs, I assume to make sure they were in sync with each other... maybe somebody who knows more about guitar-playing would know for sure!

Cecilia lasted for several songs up in the front - she just cuddled up to me while I held her in one arm and the camera in the other hand. After awhile, she wanted to nurse, so we went back to the tables. Add "at a Tonic concert" to my list of interesting places in which I have nursed! Then Caroline wanted to go up front with me, and Cecilia stayed in the back with Chris. Caroline only lasted two songs in the front - I convinced her to stay for one more after that, but it was too loud for her!

More Emerson photos...

And now for some videos, all shot by Chris (I don't know how to make them fit correctly in this column, but you can watch them in Youtube without the right side being cut off!):

Here's my favorite song off the new album:

Back at the table... Caroline found some pieces of shoelaces on the ground, and she and Cecilia were playing with them for some reason...

Standing on the table and looking at the stage

Here is what the stage looked like from the tables... Summerfest sponsored by a radio station, alcohol, and more alcohol. I guess the radio station put up lots of money for this, because everything was free, and they had to pay the bands somehow!

The encore - singing "Irish," a loud, fun tune to end on!

Caroline singing "Irish" is hilarious... she basically just jabbers because she can't tell what the words are. She was singing, "Didgety-dah, didgety-dah," after hearing it, and then later said that it was "Zippety-dah, zippety-dah," as in Zippety-Doo-Dah (a song she does not know, by the way)... listen in the video above and see if you think her interpretation is accurate! ;)

The show was great - Tonic really rocked it!!

I cannot remember the whole setlist, but here is what I do remember (not necessarily in order):
Open Up Your Eyes
You Wanted More
I Want it to Be
Bigger Than Both
Release Me
Soldier's Daughter
If You Could Only See
Precious Little Bird

Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac cover)

I know there were a few more that I am leaving off that list...

After the show, I acted like I did when I was 12 and begged to stay after to try to get autographs (my dad would always humor me and arrive at sporting events two hours ahead of time and then stay by the players' parking lot afterwards so we could take pictures and try to get autographs!)... ha ha. We went around to the back of the stage, where some police barricade fences were set up around the band's bus. Caroline was excited that the drummer, who is not technically in the band but is touring with them (since you kind of need a drummer to perform!), came over and handed her a drumstick from the show, and then he autographed it. And what a beating this drumstick had taken!!! It is very splintered... Caroline was calling it "my guitar stick," ha ha!

When Emerson came out, he signed Caroline's drumstick too, while I told him how much I loved his solo album... it was the first CD I had actually bought in probably ten years. I discovered it earlier this year because I was listening to "If You Could Only See," Tonic's most well-known hit, on Youtube, and I discovered his solo work there and liked it so much that I bought the album. From there, I learned that Tonic was back together and was releasing a new album and going on tour... which gets us to this point, how we ended up coming to the concert!

Me still babbling about liking the album yet forgetting to ask him if his house survived the Nashville floods...

Caroline telling Emerson that when she gets a guitar, he can sign it for her, and me trying to explain to Jeff that I have the new Tonic album at home, autographed already, which is why I was only getting Emerson's solo album autographed (since he walked up while Emerson was signing it and pointed to it, joking, "Who's that guy?").

Emerson handing back the autographed album and saying thanks again for the compliments on the album... and Chris was actually videotaping all of this while he was also taking these photos, amazingly... not that anyone else wants to listen to it after I have written out the play-by-play here!

Group photo - how nice they are to pose for pictures with people!

I am realizing that Cecilia's diaper was making a grand appearance here... oops.

Walking back to the Midtown MARTA station after the show... it was after 9:00 at this point. Late, late, late night for the littles! If you click on that previous group photo, you can see on Jeff's watch that it was 8:30 at that point... so, knowing we had this mile and a half walk ahead of us, we got our moment with the band quickly before we started to head back. It was quite a process to get there and back, but I think it was worth it for the great show!

Preparing to enter the station... the last time I'd ridden MARTA, they still used tokens. Now you buy a card, and you scan it on the blue circle for the gate to open and let you through... the directions say to "tap" your card, which was extremely confusing to me...

Caroline on the other side

Yes, this is a mouse in the station, right near the tracks. You would not believe the fit these two women were having over it... literally shrieking at full volume every time they say it, and looking deathly afraid as they attempted to sneak past the mouse from fifteen feet away... yelling to other random people when the mouse got within ten feet from them... Caroline and I went up to get a closer look (and a photo!).

Riding the train home... once again, we had to get off the Doraville train (sorry, I mean the yellow, er, the GOLD line) and then board a North Springs (red line) train.

After we got home, my mom asked us, "So, how was the Poison concert?" When I looked at her funny (especially since I really don't like Poison very much!), she said, "Oh, not Poison... Toxic. How was the Toxic concert?" I had to tell her, "No, Mom, not Toxic... TONIC." Ha ha!!

The next morning with Gramma, after being up until 10:30 the night before... concert hangover. Actually, Caroline was also suffering from cat allergies, we think...

Lazy Dutch, you didn't walk 3 miles and stay up until 10:30 the night before!

Here's Caroline holding up her autographed drumstick... ELH would be Emerson, and the top signature is Kevin Murphy, the drummer, although I cannot decipher what it says... I assume he signed his name, ha ha!

So, a fun time was had by all, although we experienced post-late night fallout with the kids. They usually go to bed between 7 and 8 most nights! It is fun to do something like this every once in awhile, though! And now when they are older, they can have a much cooler answer than I do to the question, "What's the first concert you attended?" ;-P

1 comment:

Carrie said...

VERY cool!