So I went to a lot of shows in 2016…

What a year! In 2016, I went to a lot of shows and events. I saw some of my favorites several times and somehow looking at the list and memories, I’m taken aback at how incredible it was. There were also many shows I wanted to go to, but for one reason or another, I wasn’t able to. Hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy more shows and experiences in 2017.

I’ve got pics & videos for most of these shows on Instagram… check them out! 

Some of the highlights for me included:

  • Adele at STAPLES Center… I mean, it’s Adele! I first saw her at Hotel Cafe in 2008, before “19” was released and it was amazing seeing her again. She also acknowledged me during the set, which was awesome!
  • Alicia Keys at The Troubadour… yes, Alicia Keys in the intimate Troubadour. It was a secret show where she previewed songs from her album “Here,” which was months away from being released. Best part of the show was that no cell phones were allowed, I was able to enjoy the night without trying to capture it. Here’s my full review!
  • Britney Spears! I was basically front row (for work) during Britney’s set at the iHeartRadio Music Festival, and it was awesome seeing her perform her medley of hits. G-Eazy also showed up, which is always a win. (G-Eazy also reposted my pic from the set, which is extra cool).
  • Bastille! Bastille! Bastille! Bastille! – I was super lucky to see the guys play 3 times, and even attended a screening of “Help Me Chase Those Seconds” at the GRAMMY Museum. Best of all, I was able to see them soundcheck at Kimmel, surprisingly, I kept my cool and didn’t fanboy as the band walked right past me. Work perk for sure!
  • Panic! At The Disco – I saw them twice this year, once at Kimmel and again at the taping of their “Artists Den” episode. At Kimmel, I got to see them do “Thong Song” with Sisqo.. I mean, “Thong Song” and Sisqo! I missed them at the iHeartRadio Village – I wouldn’t make it back to the venue for work, I was bummed. But sharing a flight back to LA with the guys was awesome, and an even better story.
  • Jack Garratt! His live show is ridonkulous. I was all up in my feels the two times I saw him.. I was at the front of the pit and it was a life-changing moment. Seriously, if you haven’t seen him live, you’re failing at life.
  • twenty one pilots – These guys are one of the best LIVE bands around. I’ve seen them several times and was able to see the twice this year. The stunned the crowd at the iHeartRadio Festival, and they did it without their signature “Trees” closing stunt! I wish they had done it to show the audience what they’re truly capable of. I also saw them play to a soldout crowd at The Forum, where they were on planks a few times, and Tyler disappeared into the audience several times, and even ran over us in a hamster-ball. Always an amazing show. I left the pit drenched in sweat… most of which was not mine. I call that a success. It was also great meeting the guys again before the show – I really dig Tyler and Josh, and stoked for all their success this year! Check out my full review + pics/vids!
  • Aurora – she’s another artists that I discovered this year and was able to experience her live show three times. She’s simply otherworldly and you NEED to see her when she’s in a city near you.
  • OneRepublic – I love these dudes. I got to see them three times – never a full-headlining show, but they’re always amazing. At all three shows, Ryan played “Apologize” with an incredible piano intro and I lost my shit each time. True story.
  • Sia! She’s incredible! I was floored by her set at the iHeartRadio Music Festival, and then I saw her at Hollywood Bowl and it was beyond incredible. Her voice just gets to me. And she sang “Breathe Me,” and I nearly sobbed.
  • Years & Years rocked The Fonda this year, and I went alone and just sang and danced the night away. I had such a great time and really enjoy their show, especially in a more intimate venue. And Olly’s got some killer dance moves – I want him to be my spirit animal.

And a few more… cuz seeing live music is simply the best.

  • Calum Scott – I’m so excited for 2017 and Calum Scott. I saw him at The Troubadour, and was BLOWN AWAY. I mean, his voice is stellar. His lyrics and songs are next level goodness. I was stuck trying to enjoy the moment and also record all of it so I can replay it while I wait for him to drop his album. Seriously, some of the songs/lyrics moved me immensely.
  • morgxn – I saw morgxn twice last year and can’t wait to hear more from him in 2017. I was OBSESSED with his songs, and since they were electro-synth pop songs, I wasn’t sure if he’d be good live.. but man, I was wrong. His voice is ace! He does a cover of The Cure’s “Boy’s Don’t Cry” that is a show-stopper and nearly made me cry. So good.
  • Troye Sivan! I kept missing him and I was able to see him at the iHeartRadio Village, and really really need to see a full show from him.
  • Wrabel – I’ve never seen an opening act get a standing ovation at The Greek until I saw Wrabel open for Andy Grammer & Gavin DeGraw this summer. It was a much deserved standing ovation and he’s one to watch in 2017 for sure!

And here’s the full-ish list…

 

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Alicia Keys Troubadour

One of the BEST SHOWS I’ve Ever Been To… Alicia Keys at The Troubadour (July 20, 2016)

I go to a lot of show, and I mean A LOT. But on Wednesday, I went to one of THE BEST shows I’ve ever been to! There are only a few other shows that come close to this one! It was absolutely magical and exactly what I needed!

I saw the amazing Alicia Keys, someone I’ve admired for 16+ years at the historic Troubadour in West Hollywood! It’s one of my favorite venues in LA. It’s one of my go-to venues in LA. They’re really great and I HIGHLY recommend seeing a show there.

Back to Alicia — I first saw her at The Greek Theater in 2002. I’ve also seen her at The Kodak Theater, with John Legend opening for her, and a surprise appearance by some rapper named Kanye West on one of the two nights. Yes, I saw her two nights in a row. I’ve also seen her at Honda Center, in support of her “As I Am” album.

I’ve been a card carrying member of her official fan club as well! Seriously, you got a membership card! More importantly, I got access to pre-sale tickets, as well as meet-and-greet opportunities! Through the fan club, I was able to meet Alicia before one of her shows, and even got to hang with her on the set of her music video for “No One.”

Oh, and this one time at an event I was working, I didn’t know Alicia was there as a presenter. I was in the production office, and while I was talking to a friend, Alicia walking right by me… I was caught by complete surprise and had a “what just happened… that’s Alicia Keys walking right past me” moment… ha! This professional fanboy kept it together though!

Back to the show on Wednesday… I got an e-mail from Alicia Keys’ site saying she was playing a secret show, when I realized it was at the Troubadour, I JUMPED at the chance to snag a exclusive ticket!

Since it was an intimate venue (I was maybe 10 feet from her, and the people in the back were maybe 25 feet away). She had minimal to no-makeup, which she’s been doing recently, and I was able to see her freckles…it’s a super small venue! Since she was playing brand new songs, there was a strict no-camera policy. Alicia even thanked us for following the instructions as she wanted us to enjoy the moment and to really live and experience it, as opposed to trying to capture it. I completely agree and it was amazing focusing on having a great time as opposed to trying to capture it. I actually had an amazing time, really taking it all in. Apologies to everyone around me who was subjected to my awful singing and dancing, also, I’m not sorry. 

Alicia played an amazing 11 song set, which included several brand new songs that haven’t been released! She also played her latest songs, “In Common” and “Hallelujah.” Of course, she threw in a few classics, “You Don’t Know My Name,” “Fallin,” “No One” and “Empire State of Mind, Pt. II”. Surprisingly, “If I Ain’t Got You” wasn’t on the set, which would have been a perfect fit with theme of the night.

It was refreshing to hear Alicia introduce each of the brand new songs, and give some insight into the origins and message of the songs. They all had incredibly profound or inspiring messages, inspired by the crazy events of the world. Alicia even said, “The world has lost it’s fuckin mind!” I wish I was able to retain and remember more of the anecdotes, sorry.

To be honest, I was so stoked that I don’t even remember the first song, “Gospel,” but remember thinking that it was a powerful song and really set the tone for the rest of the night. The songs all had a great classic hip-hop, R&B sound. We’ve heard the next new song, “28,000 Days” before, and she said it was inspired by a story she read about a guy who wrote a letter to his current self from his future self. The average life-span is 28,000 days, and the song is about making them all count while you still have the chance. Carpe-diem and have the time of your life!

“Pawn It All” had a super catchy chorus, and was about what you’d be willing to give up to start your life over again. There was a song was about the New York she grew up in (it may have been “SDRC” possibly). I don’t remember “SDRC/One Luv”.. sorry! “Ill Bliss” was another new song, it was more of a slower ballad from what I remember, and had a great clapping hook (which reminded me of “Work Song” by Hozier). I remember thinking this was going to be a big hit and an important song.

“In Common” is an amazing live song – it’s so much better live! “Hallelujah” is also another moving and powerful song – one of my favorites from her recent songs! Alicia talked about loving a good basement party before going into “You Don’t Know My Name” which was the first of the older songs she played – and it got an amazing reaction! “No One” and “Empire State of Mind, pt II” were also crowd pleasers and got the place popping, with everyone singing with their arms in the air!

The two standout moments (besides the entire concert!!!):

I can’t help but be moved every time I hear “Fallin” live. It’s such a special song to me, and I think most people. She teased it by singing the opening line like she does in the MTV Unplugged version. It was fairly early in the set (midway, song #6), and I wasn’t quite expecting it that early, so it slightly caught me off guard. She sang it similar to the live version and the “Ali” soundtrack version – a little more stripped. It was AMAZING.

The second standout moment was the end – there was no encore. She played the 11 songs, it was a little over an hour. As soon as she finished “Empire State of Mine, Pt. II,” like a rockstar, she went to the side of the stage, exited the venue from the side door and into a waiting car that took off as soon as she got it! It was amazing to see how quickly she got out of there – not in a negative way, but in a badass rockstar way!

I’ve been to many shows – and seen some amazing ones at the Troubadour, but this one, with one of my favorite artists, in an intimate venue, sharing songs that have never been heard by the public, getting the backstory on the songs, and not having a phone and being in the moment was special. I also got to meet a few Alicia Keys SuperFans while waiting in line, and it was amazing to have this special to share this experience with them.

They had cameras all over the venue, so hopefully they’ll post footage from the show soon! I had an amazing time and can’t wait to hear the new album soon! She said it’s her best one yet, and after that night, I believe her!

MASSIVE Thanks to Alicia Keys (her label) & The Troubadour for an incredible night!

(Photo credit on Featured Image: Alicia Keys Instagram)

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Alicia Keys – “Tears Always Win”

On “Tears Always Win”, Alicia Keys reminds me of all the reasons I fell in love with her voice and songs when she released her debut album, Songs in A Minor.

The song is Alicia’s fifth single from her latest album, Girl On Fire, and one of my instant favorites.

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