Saturday, July 31, 2010

Report from Evening with John Holland

Thursday night was the second time we've seen psychic/medium John Holland in four months, which is pretty wild since five months ago I had no idea who he was. We first saw him back in March as part of a double bill with Dr.Brian Weiss - check out that report. He was so entertaining we decided to catch him again as he was nearby in Manchester, New Hampshire.

John doesn't do fortune telling or future reading, rather he connects with the spirits of people who have died (though he says nobody really dies, they just leave the physical form) and passes on messages. He sees images in his mind and translates them to communicate with us here and others on the "other side." He doesn't choose who to talk to, but rather spirits who want to communicate come to him.

We were in a hotel banquet room with a few hundred other people and John begins with a funny speech about his own history and experiences. He uses a lot of humor to raise the energy of the room.  Then he starts his readings. He calls out a name or a scene and says where in the room the energy is, then whoever thinks the message is for them stands up. In one case he had the spirit of a female who missed a wedding. A woman stood up whose mother had died and couldn't be at her wedding. The message from her mom was that she was indeed there, saw it all, and was proud of her daughter. Turns out the daughter wore her mom's dress.

Another one was the spirit of a gruff father who came forward to tell his son he loved him because he never said it when he was alive. The son was blown away. The spirit also congratulated him on being a dad, but the son said he didn't have any kids. Then the woman next to him shoves him and he recalls that his girlfriend is six months pregnant, d'oh!  The father's spirit joked to him that you know I'd never be caught dead at something like this, but here I am!

The spirits pass on little things to John, to prove he's really connected with them. Inside jokes or stories that only the family member can verify, which they usually verified via tears or laughter.  One of the wildest moments was when John was looking for someone who knew a Wilma, quite a rare name outside of The Flintstones. A woman stood and said Wilma was the name of her son's dog - her dead son's dog. When he was alive his mom joked that if you come back with a message you better mention Wilma so I know it's you. Whoa! Then John said he felt like the dog and her son were on top of each other somehow. She explained that the dogs ashes were put on top of her son's coffin and buried. The whole room gasped. That is the sort of wild drama that pulled me back to see John again. Regardless of what you might believe, the amount of jaw dropping emotion is worth the price of admission. I didn't go into this wanting to communicate with any spirits, but rather for the thrill of seeing it happen for others.

One more hilarious thing stood out. John was talking to the spirit of a father whose daughter was in the crowd. His final message was, "Tell your husband most people pay for their Christmas trees." The woman and her friends buckled over in laughter. John told them they had to fill us all in. Well, each year her husband goes out and cuts down a Christmas tree from wherever he sees a good one, never paying, just plucking them from the wild.

The spirits on the other side want you to know they are fine and most of all, they want us to be happy. So thanks, Spirits, I am happy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

RUSH - (Hot Tub) Time Machine Tour

Last night I saw RUSH down at the Mohegan Sun Arena at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.  First off, what a great place for a concert. The arena holds less than 10,000 people and makes for the most intimate of arena tour stops.
This was my third time seeing Rush. I'm pretty much a casual fan, meaning I only know what I hear on the radio. The only album I own is Moving Pictures, which is why this was the Rush tour for me. Following the latest concert trend, they are performing Moving Pictures each night in its entirety. Rush has never been much of a hit with the ladies, but last night had the most girls I've ever seen at a Rush show. Of course, most of them were under twelve and were dragged to the show by their dads.
There was no opening act (yay!), just a sparse stage with a huge center video screen. The lights dimmed and the screen came to life with a funny video of some alternate universe with a dismal band called Rash. Rush's own Geddy Lee, Neil Peart, and Alex Lifeson were all in some pretty funny getups for a whole skit that resulted in the pressing of the wrong button on a time machine, and getting the proper version of Rush to the stage. After an hour+ of concert, the band took a brief intermission, then another video skit opened the second act. The band sounded great and some awesome bird's eye view cameras peered straight down onto Neil Peart's drum kit allowing the entire crowd to perfect their air drumming.
It never ceases to amaze me how so much excellent musicianship flows out of just three guys. Each member is among the very best in the world at their instrument. I even liked the two new songs they did from their forth coming album, Caravan.
The night ended with a hilarious surprise. After the band left the stage for good, the video screen came to life again with a shot back stage. Actors Paul Rudd and Jason Segel reprised their roles from the movie, "I Love You, Man", as Rush fans who sneak back stage and get busted by Rush. It was very funny and is the first time I can remember a video serving as the final encore. I Love You, Man is a very underrated comedy, and Rush is a major part of the plot. It is a must see for any Paul Rudd and/or Rush fan. Not to mentioned the excellent documentary Rush - Beyond the Lighted Stage [2 DVD] that was recently released. As I said, I'm just a casual fan, but I thought the doc was outstanding.

Check out the review from the Hartford Courant.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Boston Goes Gaga Over Lady Gaga

Friday night, July 2, 2010, was the concert most people couldn't believe I'd ever attend. In fact, most thought I was joking when I mentioned it, but I was indeed psyched for it and had a total blast! Yes, I love Lady Gaga. There, I said it. I'm out, and I will be a 'little monster' for life. When I first bought the tickets (my birthday gift to myself), I didn't own any of her music (that was a first in my 30+ years of concerts), but I'd been impressed every time I caught her on an awards show.  Then I checked out the videos for Poker Face and Bad Romance; I saw someone who was way more Marilyn Manson than Brittney Spears, more rock than pop, and I was hooked.
The show was amazing. Take Madonna, KISS, Broadway and The Wizard of Oz and throw it in a blender and you get a little taste of Lady Gaga's Monster Ball. Having a live band on stage made all the dance numbers a little more rockin' (which is what I hoped), but the spectacle; the multilevel stage set, the dozen back up dancers and singers, the rising platforms, crazed costumes, set pieces, 'fame monster', and more, made even the songs I didn't know enjoyable.
And the crowd, wow! I thought the best crowd watching was at an 80's metal show, now I know better. Guys and girls dress up for Gaga shows, and they do their best to pay homage to many of her craziest outfits. We saw lots of soda cans for hair curlers, and a few girls wearing nothing but police tape, plus lots of colorful wigs... a joyous insanity. Gaga tells her fans she loves them almost as much as Ozzy does, and I love her message of embracing your inner freak and going for it.
I'm embarrassed about how nuts I went when Telephone started, it was the first song I knew well, and I just loved Gaga's voice on Speechless and her new song You And I. She has a great rock and roll voice when she isn't all processed into a dance track that sounds like a dozen other women, and I hope to hear more of that in the future. Of course, Poker Face and Paparazzi had the entire place going absolutely nuts, and when everyone is one their feet, singing every word, it is very hard to tell the difference between a dance/pop act and a metal one. Seeing her perform Bad Romance live, complete with bra and panties that shoot sparks, is right up there with classic live moments like KISS doing Rock and Roll All Night, AC/DC doing Highway To Hell, and Metallica doing.... well, anything! Lori and I even liked the openers, Semi Precious Weapons--a collection of flamboyant, gay, punk mayhem featuring the all time great lyric; "I can't pay my rent, but I'm fucking gorgeous."

Lady Gaga set:
Dance in the Dark
Glitter and Grease
Just Dance
Beautiful Dirty Rich
The Fame
Love Games
Boys Boys Boys
Money Honey
You and I
So Happy I Could Die
Poker Face
Bad Romance

Reviews of her July 1st Boston Show:
Boston Herald
Boston Globe