Late July and most of August 2013 gave us a chance to see six great concerts as well as some fun stuff in and around them.
Saturday, July 20 - We caught yet another great show tonight (this was # 6 for us) by one of our favorite live bands, 0.A.R., back down in Atlanta (this is the 3rd time we've seen them in the ATL) at The Tabernacle with our nephew, Matt. They had two good openers in Allen Stone, and Andrew McMahon (who was a bonus for us since we've seen him with and without his band, Jack's Mannequin, three other times). Other highlights of our trip to Atlanta was having a cocktail at one of the last Trader Vic's in the country (there are only 4 left in the U.S.). Weird thing is they have no pina coladas on the menu? I guess the song is wrong. We also had a good dinner with our friend, Rex, at Meehan's Public House, a nice Irish pub, before the show on Saturday. We also did some shopping and had lunch at IKEA (Swedish meatballs!) on Sunday. We topped off Sunday with our first-ever visit to The Georgia Aquarium which was really impressive.
|Man in Motion: Andrew McMahon about to take a flying leap from atop his piano. EDITOR'S NOTE:, Andrew reported a few weeks later on Facebook that he was having knee surgery...coincidence?|
|LONG LIVE TUBA ROCK! O/A.R. lead singer, Marc Roberge, is all smiles as his brass section takes a turn for the BIG.|
|Gentle giants. The "biggest" attraction at The Georgia Aquarium are the resident whale sharks. Check out the kid in the bottom right corner for scale. The giant devil ray in the top left ain't bad either!|
|The biggest hams at The Georgia Aquarium are the beluga whales. They seem to love to show off for the crowds.|
|The colorful and coordinated confusion of African Cichlids at The Georgia Aquarium.|
Saturday, July 27 - Tonight we saw a fantastic SOLD OUT show by the fairly-new, but extremely-popular band, Imagine Dragons, who were accompanied by The Nashville Session Players Orchestra at The Woods Amphitheater in Nashville. The two openers batted .500 with The Neighbourhood being boring and Terraplane Sun being pretty good. We enjoyed some tailgating with our friends Danny, Brenda, their son Kyle and a friend of his, Chris, Tarryn and our nephew Matt before (and after) the show, We all felt lucky that we dodged a lot of bad weather and heavy rain around the area and got to see the whole show with only a few drops hitting us.
|Imagine Dragons' lead singer, Dan Reynolds , is suspended upside down in their finale song so that he can bang on his signature drum one more time from high above the stage. Spectacular show from start to finish.|
|Blast from the past.|
We met Rex and Darren at the show, but the rest of us had a nice and surprisingly-good dinner beforehand at Oz Pizza near our hotel in East Point, GA. We were looking for something quick and the pub we had researched and picked out allowed smoking, so we opted for Oz next door, and while not a fancy place, it served up some excellent food and great service despite it's location which has a reputation as not being the safest of place in the Atlanta metro area.
By the way, thanks to a ROB AND ASHLEE COLLAGE FLASHBACK (photo to the right) you can see we haven't been to Lakewood since 1995 and 1996. Funny thing is, we paid less to see both these bands this weekend (thanks GrouponLive.com) than we did to see Van Halen back in '95 (plus, I can't believe I dropped $100 on two Jimmy Buffet tickets back in 1996...geez, I was so broke back then!). Oh, and just for the record, the Southside Grill is no longer around. It's a Japanese steakhouse now.
Sunday, August 4: Before heading home, me, Ashlee and Matt swung northeastward from Atlanta to visit the amazing Stone Mountain Park. I can't believe we've never been here before! The place is amazing and we will definitely be back!
|This I-Phone picture (my regular camera died on me) doesn't do Stone Mountain justice in terms of grandeur and beauty. The huge Civil War carving of Lee, Jackson and Davis (the largest bas-relief in the world) is quite stunning in person.|
Saturday, August 17 - A fairly unplanned event that popped up and turned out to be a lot of fun was attending the Arrington Vineyards Harvest Party this afternoon and evening just outside Nashville with our friends, Chris and Tarryn, and Ashlee's cousin and our friend, Allison, along with her extremely well-behaved little boy, Crusoe. Vineyard-owner and country music star, Kix Brooks, put on a great free show that even appealed to us with his cover of Tom Petty's "American Girl" and the hilarious "Nekkid" song.
|Napa East? What a perfect night for some wine, good food and song on the hill at Arrington Vineyards.|
Sunday, August 18 - This is the sixth time we've seen this band and only since 2010. They are one of our regional favorites. We saw The Dirty Guv'nahs play tonight at 3rd and Lindsley along with our friends, Mike and Beth. We had dinner there beforehand which was pretty good for bar good. They had a very good opener by the name of Ernie Hendrickson, who had a Tom Petty look and sound to him, and he sure can make an acoustic guitar growl. The boys from Knoxville put on a helluva show, as usual. with the addition now of a good new keyboardist (who also plays harmonica) and an excellent horn player who can really wail on the saxophone.
We were right up front thanks to our VIP passes when Franti took the stage and systemically whipped the crowd of 10,000+ into a dancing, jumping and hand-waving frenzy. As is his way, Michael was in and out of the crowd all night singing and playing his guitar as his band, Spearhead, thumped the back beats from the stage. This band easily maintains their lead as our favorite live performers. And they made several new fans among our group several of whom were seeing them for the first time and were unsurprisingly blown away by his energy and the positive messages of his songs.
|Up close and personal with Mr. Franti|
|Hey, it's not like he only came into the crowd once....|
Saturday, August 24 - We closed out this wonderful section of summer with another item checked off of our bucket list: a great 30-minute helicopter ride in the North Georgia Mountains thanks to a Groupon from Blue Ridge Helicopters. Afterwards, we had a nice walk around the beautiful mountain town of Blue Ridge and a delicious lunch (and some good beer) at Blue Ridge Brewing.
|We got a private ride in this four-seater chopper (the Robinson R44) with just our pilot, Steve. We were zooming along well over 100 miles an hour in a matter of seconds after lift-off.|