Last week was busy for us. We went to two concerts in two days!
The first concert was for my community band at Phoenix Community College where I play the clarinet. For the last 16 years I’ve played in a band and some of my favorite experiences (marching in the Disneyland Christmas parade, performing at Carnegie Hall in NYC), closest friendships, and essential life skills I attribute directly to my experience being apart of a band and getting to play my clarinet. This is my first semester playing with the Phoenix Community College Band and so far I am having a blast. People from all walks of life take part in rehearsal every Monday evening. There are music majors, band director hopefuls, a large amount of retirees, some working professionals like me, and even one or two high school students looking for a challenge. For me, the best part about this group is that the conductor’s focus is on everyone enjoying the music and he recognizes that many of us do not have the time to devote to hours of practice between Monday night rehearsals. This attitude is such a relief. Although, the flip-side is our music is not as challenging as I am used to but we still play a variety of pieces.
The concert itself lasted about an hour and our audience was mostly family and friends. Afterward, band tradition dictated we cross the street to enjoy some beer and burgers at the local Hamburger Works. This was a treat because it gave me the opportunity to talk with other people in the band. If you’re unfamiliar with how band rehearsals work, people trickle in, sit in the same seat each week, warm-up, maybe talk with the person sitting next to them or in front of them, but once the conductor steps on the podium it’s rehearsal time and talking is difficult when you’re blowing air through your instrument. I am happy to be a part of this band. We’ve started practicing for our Christmas concert, December 7th if anyone is around! Sadly, I forgot to have my photo taken. I’ll have to remember at our next concert.
The next night we went to AK-Chin Pavilion to see Florence + the Machine. The outdoor amphitheater was easy to navigate and parking is included in the ticket price. Say whaaat? That was the best way to start off the evening!
The opening act was ….interesting…..
They came out onstage, mumbled their name, and set off playing some psychedelic rock music. I warmed up to it and started to enjoy it as they played more songs. Sometime in the middle of their set they covered a song by a band named Gandalf. And as fast as they came on they were off stage and we were waiting for Florence.
They left me intrigued but I had no idea who they were! So, as I was writing this post I decided to do some internet research and eventually found out who they are: The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. It’s a two member group featuring Charlotte Kemp Muhl and her partner, Sean Lennon (John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s son). Woah. That was unexpected, but now the band aesthetic and sound make a lot more sense.
Alright, on to the main act: Florence + the Machine. The stage was set up with a variety of instruments: drum set, guitars, bass guitar, seating for a small violin section, and a harp! That is one thing I really like about Florence, she incorporates live instruments into her songs and it really broadens and complements her voice. There were old timey street lamps lining the back of the stage and the background was a floor to ceiling sheet of shimmering, rectangular metallic pieces. So beautiful. The show was very high energy and throughout the whole thing Florence was barefoot. The jumbotron video showed a close up of the bottom of her foot and holy cow they were black. I wondered how long it takes for her to clean them after each concert. Anyway, It was a fantastic performance!! She even performed some of my favorite songs from her first two albums and I was really, really excited she did!
Have you been to any concerts lately?