"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Two, no make that three, VIP Experiences Within a Week

After our recent VIP experience at Bridgestone Arena with the Pink concert, we had a few other chances to be sort-of snooty:.

Thursday, March 14:
We grabbed two VIP tickets  for one of our favorite 90's bands, Better Than Ezra, at one of our favorite Nashville music venues, The Cannery.  One hundred percent of the funds went to The Montessori School of Franklin where BTE lead singer (and now Nashville native), Kevin Griffin, has his twin sons enrolled.  The openers were former American Idol winner, David Cook, who has a great voice, and another of our favs from the 90's, Emerson Hart, lead singer and founder of the band, Tonic.  Emerson is also a local now with a home down in Leiper's Fork.

Besides the ultra-cool side-stage viewing platform (this is where the stage is for most performances), the SOLD OUT VIP section gave us access to some tasty food and a great open bar.
Friday, March 15 thru Monday, March 18:  We celebrated St. Patty's Day weekend down in Chattanooga and it started off with a bang as Ashlee's mom, Evelyn, (our favorite VIP) finally got to leave the hospital after six tough months of recovery from an aortic tear and several complications afterward.  Welcome home, Mrs. Carroll!!!
Sunday, March 17:  Thanks to Groupon.com, we were able to snag a fancy Victorian-era rail-car room at the famous Chattanooga Choo-Choo for an affordable price.  We stayed in the last one on the left in the photo above.

The room consists of half of a converted passenger rail car and had a ton of room.  In the photo above, our niece, Ella, checks out the TV in the room while Ashlee and Mrs. Carroll (balled up under the blanket) check out the comfy bed.  The full bathroom is behind me and was quite roomy as well.  We really enjoyed our brief stay in here.
Our final VIP situation came on Sunday night at Chattanooga's Tivoli Theater as we enjoyed front row seats and a backstage meet-n-greet for our favorite comedian, Jim Gaffigan.

This photo of Jim Gaffigan performing at The Tivoli Theater is kind of a goof in terms of photography, but it couldn't really be more accurate in terms of Jim's persona as a very "pale fellow."
Here's the pale one himself, mugging it up with us after the show.  The really funny thing about this weekend is that we stayed at the Chattanooga Choo Choo all weekend (just one night in the fancy rail car) and SO DID JIM AND HIS HUGE FAMILY! (5 kids...Catholic!)  We just keep seeing them and bumping into them and they couldn't have seen more nice and down-to-earth.  Thanks for all the fun, Jim!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

An Off-the-Wall Triple in Downtown Nashville

It's been a busy start to the month of March for us:

Puckett's Grocery
Saturday, March 2 - We plunked down some major cashola to get VIP tickets to see Pink at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville tonight.  There were several reasons for our hefty investment.  First, we both like her music. Second, she is said to put on quite a live show.  Third, the Bridgestone is far from our favorite place to see music and if we can't general admission in front of the stage, then we were going to get as close as we could.   Beforehand, we had dinner at Puckett's Grocery downtown with our friend, Bridgette, who was going to the show with us.  This was our first time at this southern-food favorite that got it's start out in Franklin, TN. I had my first go at "chicken and waffles" and I have to admit they are pretty darn good. All the food was delicious, hearty and very affordable.  We will definitely be making other visits to this establishment when we have downtown events.  And they take reservations! 

The SOLD OUT show was in the simplest terms...AMAZING!  Easily the best arena show we have ever seen.  Our seats were great.  They were elevated and to the right center of the stage so we saw everything with a perfect view.  The production was something straight out of Broadway and/or Las Vegas with huge sound, bright lights and constant action.  The opening band, The Hives, were hugely entertaining as well.  Besides our swell seats, our VIP tickets got us a cloth goody bag stuffed with Pink promotional items like a trucker hat and a huge knit throw blanket from her Truth About Love Tour.
One good-lookin' mama...this was Pink's first tour after having her first child a couple years ago.
Our seats were very close to the stage and to Pink herself except for the times she went flying across the entire freakin' arena!  Great music and superb acrobatics made this the best arena show we've ever seen.
As this close-up shot shows, Pink was having a genuinely good time doing what she does best.  She's a solid performer and we feel privileged to have seen her play live.
Tuesday, March 5:   We caught one of only three showings of the Broadway musical hit, American Idiot, tonight at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center's Jackson Hall.  While not knowing a whole lot about it going in, we thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.  It was actually a nice complement to the Pink show we saw a few days earlier which also did a great job of combining rock music with theatrics.

Our fourth row seats gave us a great view of the stage.  The rock-n-roll based musical  based on the hit concept album of the same name by the superstar group, Green Day, had a great, young cast (some of which we saw mingling with crowd out in the lobby after the show). One of the parts of the program that we liked best was the fact that a live rock band was on stage with the cast providing the music during the performance.

Wednesday, March 6: - We caught one of favorite "new to us" bands, The Gaslight Anthem, at Marathon Music Works in downtown Nashville.  They had a good opening band as well out of Charlotte, NC, called Matrimony.  The sound engineering was still at a little suspect at times in this venue where we've had one good and one bad experience in the past.  Some consistency in the sound quality is still needed for us to consider this a "good" venue.

In total contrast to the two previous music endeavors we experienced earlier in the week, these boys from Jersey are basically just a stripped-down, primal rock-and-roll band.