"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.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

5 Summer Weeks, 6 Summer Shows and Random Other Fun Stuff

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.

Night Visions is Imagine Dragon first full-length album and it has done exceedingly well, and we don't think there is a bad song on it.  We first saw these guys last year at The Bunbury Festival in Cincinnati (previous blog) and we knew they were bound for greatness.  They will probably be playing big arenas before long.  (EDITOR'S NOTE: Guess who's playing the Bridgestone Arena in February 2014...told ya...and, of course we have tickets to it!)
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.
Friday, August 2:  We returned to Fontanel today to check out the Southern Living Idea House that's been built on the grounds there (photos above).  It was extremely nice and actually did give us a couple of "ideas" including a cool side-table shaped like a giant compass and some decorative wall air vents that we wound up buying for our home.  This lovely house at Fontanel will eventually become a boutique hotel.

Blast from the past.
Saturday, August 3 - We returned to Atlanta again this weekend to a place we haven't been to  in a very long time, the Lakewood Amphitheater south of downtown to catch a double-bill show by the Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox 20.  We were joined by our nephew, Matt, our friend, Mike and his date, Kristin, our friend Emily, and our friend Rex, and his date, Darren.

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.

We saw the Goo Goo Dolls just over a year ago at the Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga (see previous blog) and really enjoyed them.  They sounded great again tonight and had a cool way of introducing one of the newest songs, "Come to Me" by broadcasting the lyrics above them as they performed.  Great idea!

Matchbox 20 had an ultra-cool stage set-up and sounded great.  They have been around an amazing 17 years and are still producing great new work.  We've loved them since they first broke out back in the late 90's.  We still vividly recall seeing them at a show early in their career in Knoxville at The World's Fair Park when they only had one song on the radio and had just released their first album.  We've seen them only once since then and lead singer, Rob Thomas, once as a solo artist.  Despite the lack of times we've seen them over the years, they truly are one of our favorite bands.
After the show (and the traffic jam to get out of there - the place was packed!), Rex invited us all back to his condo in downtown Atlanta and a great roof-top party being thrown at his complex by one of his neighbors. Rex's neighbor happens to be Colombian (the "good kind" as Rex put it) as were most of the guests at the party including the guest of honor, the birthday girl.  These folks were super-friendly and generous. They welcomed our gaggle of strangers without hesitation and we all enjoyed ourselves to the wee hours of the morning.

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.

We rode the Swiss-made Skyride Cable Car to the lunar-like landscape on top of  Stone Mountain (almost 1,700' above sea-level).   There were good views of  the surrounding countryside and a hazy Atlanta skyline way in the distance.   We opted for the 1.3-mile walk back to the bottom along with a good amount of other folks on this warm summer day.
Thursday, August 8 - Thanks to our pal, Wayne, for inviting us to the opening preseason game for the Tennessee Titans vs. the Washington Redskins.  Despite the game not counting for anything and the Titans losing by a point, we had a good time together, as usual, along with our nephew, Matt, who had never been to LP Field to see a game before.  We enjoyed another great dinner at Suzy Wong's House of Yum downtown before the game also.

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.

The Guv'nahs were the feature band on Nashville Sunday Night, a weekly live-broadcast show on the local  independent radio station, Lightning 100.  I am guilty here of altering the cover of the  band's newest live album,  Live from Knoxville, (photo above) for the blog's sake.  Sorry, guys, but you know we still love you.
Thursday, August 22 - We saved the best show for last!!!  When they announced that Michael Franti and Spearhead would be at Live on the Green in Nashville, we instantly go VIP tickets.  Our friends Wayne, Chris, Danny, Brenda, Nate and Ginny followed suit.  The VIP passes got us unlimited great food including some awesome BBQ sliders and several good beers from Schlafly Brewing.  The opener for Franti was Nashville's own, The Delta Saints, who were very impressive.

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.

Our destination on this tri-state tour (GA, TN and NC) was Fields of the Wood, a faith-based park that includes a huge layout of The Ten Commandments easily visible (and readable) from the air and the hill pictured above called The All Nations Cross with the North Carolina mountains in the background.


Bridgette said...

I guess only a trip to China could top all that. Anything else would be ... ehh.

Craig H said...

Wow... cool stuff. Chopper ride must have been a hoot!