Despite a frustrating day of work (my internet connection was spotty all morning and part of the afternoon), yesterday was a good day. The hubs and I grabbed some dinner at Chipotle (where the best tortilla chips in the world come from) and then headed to The Rave to see Bruno Mars.
Here are a few notes from last night's concert:
The opener for Bruno was Janelle Monae. Janelle is a small, eccentric woman with a beautiful voice and a style lost on most of the Milwaukee audience. Hubby and I agreed that the instruments mostly overpowered Janelle's vocals (and were effing LOUD). While I could tell she was singing, and that she has a great voice, I couldn't make out her lyrics 90% of the time. Also, a lot of her "singing" was mostly a-lyrical, as best I could tell. It was meant to show off her voice, which is great and all, but hard for an audience to get into.
One fun thing Janelle did was a fantastic cover of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back." Honest to God, she rocked the hell out of that song. Not only was it a major crowd-pleaser, her voice was a PERFECT match for a young MJ. She also did a cover of "Smile" as sung by Nat King Cole (or, as many people know it, the Charlie Chaplin song) that was... different. I appreciated her using such a beautiful song, but again, it seemed like the point was merely to showcase her voice, not to connect to the song itself.
Janelle also did something I'd never seen before: she painted while she sang. Yes. Painted. As in, created a painting. Nothing spectacular, mind you, but it was an interesting experience. It was almost like watching her in a non-performance setting. You could picture her at home, painting and singing, lost in her own little world. It was a nice break from reality.
Bruno made the whole concert worthwhile. He is fantastic to watch live! He engages the audience, and in watching him perform, you know you're watching someone who absolutely loves what he's doing. It was breathtaking to say the least.
It was a mixture of emotions. Bruno started things off (donning a Harley-Davidson t-shirt and a fedora) by getting the crowd rev'd up (which included a lot of hip thrusting, some of which was in "slow motion"), asked them to put down their cameras and dance along to songs like "Runaway Baby" and "Liquor Store Blues" (which, of course, few did because this is the age of digital media; capture whatever you can, whenever you can). Along with his own songs, he also played the snippets of other songs he's known for, like the chorus of Travi's "Billionaire" and his part in B.o.B.'s "Nothing On You."
Later, he chose a girl from the front of the audience to sing the last bits of a song to. She didn't get to go on stage or anything, but the camera was on her, and she was one happy gal! He wooed the audience with "Our First Time" and wowed us with some amazing a capella harmonies with his backup singers (who were much more like "along-side singers" since they were by no means confined to the background).
One of my favorite parts of the night had to be when he informed us that the gentleman on stage with him was the voice you hear on the radio and on the album saying, "Oh my God, that was great," during "The Lazy Song" (who may be the same guy in the video, come to think of it). Bruno took such delight in our reaction to this news, that he kept cracking up a bit, and actually made the audience quiet down so they could re-play that part of the song as proof. It was excellent.
He ended his set with "Just The Way You Are," which was definitely a favorite. As people began to file out, I looked for the tell-tale signs of an encore (instruments left on stage, lights not fully turned on, etc). Sure enough, he came out to do an encore of "Talking To The Moon," my favorite of his songs. I was almost in tears! It was a perfect ending to the night. :)
The Rave / Eagle's Ballroom
For the first time ever, I decided to spring for the "VIP Balcony" tickets. My reasoning was that there were bound to be fewer people up there, and it wouldn't be quite as crowded. While that was technically true, it just wasn't what I was hoping for.
It was ridiculously hard to get a good view of the stage. Unless you get there uber early and snag some of the balcony seats (of which there are surprisingly few), you're going to be standing. Since we got there around 7:15 (the show "started" at 7, but Janelle didn't go on until 7:30 or later), we were in maybe the 3rd "row" of standing, so to speak. I picked a spot where I had a shot of the stage and figured it was good enough. Until some woman decided she was going to stand right in front of me. I couldn't even get a good view of the massive screens they had set up!
There was nothing "VIP" about the experience. I felt they oversold the balcony, so it was almost as packed as the main floor (fewer people, but also less space to occupy); and I would've been able to see the stage better from the main floor. Totally not worth spending the extra $10-$15 a ticket (or whatever it was).
The worst part about the whole thing came about 2/3 through Bruno's set: the drunk sluts. Now, you may think this is harsh, but allow me to paint a picture for you.
Hubby and I are enjoying ourselves, loving Mr. Mars and all he has to offer, and suddenly there are these girls behind us in shiny shirts, short skirts, and drinks in their hands. They're not steady on their feet, and are saying things like, "Grenade! Do Grenade!" and "I don't feel good..." (Thankfully, the one who said that went away shortly thereafter.) Then while Bruno's singing "Count On Me," a great song about friendship and being there for people you love, they're saying over and over, "I don't know this song. Do you? I don't know it." (Maybe if you bought his CD and didn't rely on the radio to tell you what to listen to, you'd know it, bitch.)
"Grenade" finally comes on, and the girls go nuts. Their screaming was louder than the entire concert itself. I actually had to cup my ears to block them out and concentrate on Bruno. I turn to look at my husband and one of the girls is now making out with a guy (who, dear God, I hope was with them). Not just making out, though. Hardcore making out. He had her wrapped around his waist and I thought they might swallow each other or fall over (or both). During the course of this, they kept bumping into Hubby, who hadn't turned around to see what was going on and was less than pleased when I told him later. Needless to say, it was nasty. I've said it once and I'll say it again: if you just want to get drunk and have sex, go to a g-d bar. People pay good money to be at concerts for the music, not to see some amateur porn.
Anywhoozles, I've also determined that unless someone else extremely fabulous comes to The Rave, this was probably my last show there. It's just not my scene anymore. I prefer smaller shows; or at least shows with seats that I can default to or room to move away from loud, drunken bitches...
So that, my lovelies, is my account of last night's show. Ta da!