Kate Earl + Free Concert Tickets = Blessed (July 23, 2013)

Kate Earl, Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox Twenty (#MB20GoosTour, #KateEarl)
Sleep Train Pavilion @ Concord, CA
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thanks to Kate Earl and her tour friends, I managed to score a pair of tickets to her show in Concord, CA at the Sleep Train Pavilion, opening for the Goo Goo Dolls and headliner Matchbox Twenty. You’ve gotta thank the blessings of social networks and–most especially–Instagram, for being blessed with the opportunity to see and meet her… 🙂 It definitely saved me money at the opportunity to see someone I’ve come to love and admire!

I found out about my offer the Friday night before the concert, so I had some trouble finding a second person to go to the concert with me. I opted to bringing my brother, who I’ve gone to (almost) all of my concerts with. He had to commute from San Jose before the concert. I admit, I hadn’t known much of Kate Earl and haven’t followed her music for too long; but with her single “One Woman Army,” I bought her album and fell in love with its uncanny resemblances to Fleetwood Mac and Joni Mitchell (as many critics state). There’s something extremely bluesy and groovy tied with her modern take on the sort of canyon, rootsy folk music she writes. She reminds me of the music I dream to make, which made it all the more reason for me to really want to see her perform live and meet her (couldn’t quite afford the MB20 tour, when I just wanted to see her!). I say I was blessed!

Since Kate Earl was the main person I wanted to see and was the opening act, I aimed to arrive at 7pm to see her. Sadly, even though Concord is so close to me, parking and getting in took a bit of a while so I only caught the last 4 and a half of her songs. When we were walking up, I could hear “One Woman Army” playing, which made me so anxious since that’s been my favorite tune by her (and that I’ve covered). After picking up my tix at Will Call and getting in after getting my bag checked, I didn’t even look at where my tickets were seated since I was so anxious to see her! I hurriedly entered the stadium and opted to ask an usher where my seats were, trying to keep my eyes peeled on the stage. Right when we walked in I saw her from afar, down the amphitheater, performing the end of “One Woman Army”. She proceeded to the next song, “Wicked Love” (my second favorite song on her album Stronger–its got this sensuous lullaby feel that I love). Introducing the song, she told the audience this was for the lovers out there, telling them to “give a big fat wet kiss to your lover.” Haha. While this was playing, I walked to to find my seat while the usher directed us to go up to the lower level right up to the stage. My face lit up and my teeth flashed, giddily. I was surprised, thinking that these were free tickets all the way up there?! Throughout the duration of the song, I finally got to our seats with my brother, which were right up front. By Heavens were we blessed with great tickets!

She went on to perform a song called “All I Want,” which had an angsty, bluesy feel that I loved. The sound was great, but I’ve never heard it before. (I later found that it was on her first debut album, in which she had a lot of electronic pop music on–sounded so much greater acoustic and live though, hah.) I loved her commentary, saying that she’s been doing this thing for a while and, with the help of the GGD and MB20, she’s been able to afford a “motor home” away from home for her son Hank and tour mates. I loved when she said, “I’m a single mother and–dammit–I wanna be a musician!” Woos and cheers came from that, including myself. After all, we all admire passionate and hard-working people who love what they do, right? I also noticed she was taking off her shoes and performing barefoot (very reminiscent of how Dia Frampton performs–how funny)! I myself have grown a liking to being barefoot. It’s so much more comfortable being free and feeling the ground underneath your feet!

Anyhow, after that song, she introduced her next song “Honey.” She mentions she wrote it 10 years ago and never found use it for it until now, and that she’ll send out a free download code to it after she performs it. It ended up being my favorite performance and song by her–it had an old, slow rock ‘n roll feel and rhythm to it, with her playing with her voice and even giving a surprise at the end with variations of her screaming. The song just makes you wanna roll with it and groove, and has such a wistful feel to it. It reminds me of the music that I want to make myself, and is so reminiscent of the oldies I’ve come to love growing up (classic rock like Fleetwood Mac, old rock ‘n roll and whatnot). She ended with “California,” her second single from her album Stronger, which is a feel-good tune about being in California and making her dreams come true. After, she signaled she’d be signing CDs and albums and taking pictures and whatnot with people at the merch booth right after her set–and of course I had to go to thank Omar for my tickets and her for replying to my IG comments all the time and inspiring my wistful, musical soul!

Here’s a little tidbit I wrote last week on meeting her:

She was so sweet. When I was the next person to go up and meet her, I gave her my CD and then she kind of hid behind me and started saying, “Sorry, I need to fix my bra right now. But you’re a woman so you would understand.” Hah, I thought that was funny. Girls do what girls do, and I’ve had that moment countless times. I’m sure she couldn’t do that in front of the other people meeting her. As I was giving her my CD, I told her that, “I was actually the girl who covered your song the other day…?” trying to jog her memory. She lit up and said, “Oh yeah! Thank you so much for covering my song. I really appreciate it. You know, I haven’t actually gotten to listen to it yet, but I really appreciate it,” she went on to say, graciously thanking me for covering her song. I could tell it meant a lot to her. I then went to say, “oh well thank you for creating such a great song. I love it so much, just the whole sound and everything.” I also told her that I just love her CD so much. I mentioned that it gives me so much hope, especially since I’m trying to pursue music as well. She then mentioned something about her, “being inspired by strong women as well–” goodness, that’s something I would say! (She seems to be quite the feminist/strong woman empowerment sort of person as well, and–by the heavens–I’d never think I’d meet another person like me who’d be into all that too!) At one point, taking pictures and whatnot, she then asked, “Are you Filipino?” and I said, “yeah,” and she mentioned, “Yeah I’m half.” Then I don’t quite remember what happened after that, maybe got a bit awkward, I think I said something like, “Oh cool, Filipino power!” with my fist in the air.  Bahah. My clear state of mind would’ve asked what else she was, and would’ve wanted to know how much she’s into her culture and if it’s influenced her, but since there were people waiting and I didn’t want to take too much of her time, I proceeded to go and we bid goodbye, hugged and thanked each other and she said, as I was going, “Enjoy the rest of the night!” What a sweetheart.

The rest of the night turned out surprisingly well. Going to these sorts of concerts with these types of scenes are always fun since there are a majority of older women and mothers wanting to dance and rock out to the bands. It’s always entertaining and makes me crack a smile. The Goo Goo Dolls were an absolute treat to see live and they definitely have some notable songs that are easily recognizable. They’re such great and seasoned performers and were a lot of fun.

Matchbox Twenty, however, was the icing on the cake. Rob Thomas, the frontman of the band, is such a charismatic and appealing performer. He has so much stage presence and swag and the way he sings his lyrics in a way that’s like almost rapping (haha, please excuse my poor ability to describe things right now) was awesome. He was sure a treat to see live, and they’ve got so many hits over the years that it was a party all night! He was so genuine and kept noting to the audience that he just wants to be our “house band” and kind of play music with us and have fun with us. He seemed to really enjoy himself up there and—of course, in posh Concord with good people–the crowd was definitely providing good energy. The energy of the crowd was infectious–something that differed from other concerts I’ve been to–and we all just wanted to have a good time. It was crazy to look back up and up at all of the seas of people behind me, thinking they paid good money for their seats, and how blessed I was to be up there enjoying the bands right in front of my own eyes, easy to see. (I’m not entirely sure how much my tix were in $, but I’m sure people spent good money on them.) Rob kept saying how great a crowd we were and he definitely seemed to enjoy himself, aside from it just being a job. He definitely knows how to work a crowd and effectively incorporate his band mates and give dues to each of them.

The concert, all-around, was a lot of fun. I’ve almost forgotten how much I love going to concerts. Live music is unlike any other, and seeing musicians actually perform upstage with you is an awesome feeling. It’s inspiring to see them do their thing, and the energy of the crowd feeling good music with you is awesome. To be able to be up there playing music would be a wonderful thing. This was an awesome concert, nonetheless, and, for a free one? I was so blessed. I was looking forward to just seeing Kate Earl and meeting her–and she was such a sweetheart and seemed to genuinely connect with me than others in line (I think my whole Meg & Dia following and connections I’ve formed with them kind of gave me practice, ya? hah!)–but, the GGD and MB20 surprisingly put on an amazing show, that I haven’t really been exposed to that kind of energy or talent or experience from live performers.

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