Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Rock 'n' Roll Edition of the Early Blog!

This blog entry will make no mention of running, crafts, ghost towns or geocaching. That's right, more undesirable Early Blog followers (you know who you are)... Breathe a sigh of relief, kick back and enjoy the special 'Rock n Roll' edition of the Early blog, this one is for you :).

Our trip all came together after we found out that Elbow (US readers - Elbow are a huge band in England:)) were performing a handful of dates in the States to promote their latest album, Build a Rocket Boys! over here. We picked the Washington D.C. show and a little while later Coldplay were announced as the headlining act at the Midtown Music festival that same week in Atlanta (to promote their new album Mylo Xyloto)! We decided to make a "North American" tour out of it and do them both :).

We took the Auto Train up from Sanford to D. C. for the very first time. The service was great and it was really clean and efficient...


It was a long ride (17 hours-ish)  but look at the legroom - nice one Amtrak!


Oh boy, Maddy's sick of photos already...


At least Mike's having fun...


We decided against a sleeper cart so trying to get comfy enough to sleep in our seats was a bit of a challenge. Mike took about 30 Amtrak pillows in the end and tried to make a bed...Build a Mattress, Mike!


We had an almost completely sleepless night :(. Check out my hair just before bedtime...


And rocking my morning 'do'...


Any more of this hard living and I'm going to need a hat.

We managed to squeeze in a trip to the Spy Museum and the Navy Memorial when we arrived in D.C...


...and then we met up with legendary rockstar and long-time Early Blog fan, Tom "Llama" Tracy for the show...


Elbow are not very well known in the States so we got to see them in a club with just over 1000 people! It blew my mind that I was able to get about 8 feet away for the whole show with only a stage separating me and their amazing frontman Guy Garvey! He has to be one of the most talented performers I've ever seen. I cried. More than at Frankie Goes to Hollywood when I was 14. Which was a lot.
 
 
They were very strict about cameras so I was only able to squeeze in one very blurred shot at the very end...


I did find this video on You Tube taken from our show from the back afterwards though :).



After the most incredible show Tom took us to see the city at night. So pretty...

The Washington Monument...


And the Capitol Building...


In the morning we did a bit more sightseeing. We saw the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives and went to the Lincoln Museum at Ford's Theatre where he was fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth and the house in which he died the following morning. Fascinating stuff...


There's just so much to learn in DC you could spend a month there and still not have seen everything. Totally one of the best cities in the world :).

On the way to Atlanta we decided to drop by and surprise rockstar friends, The Presleys, since we were having withdrawals since our last trip. Now I would have shared a picture here if I had been in a condition capable of operating a camera during the visit. Good times...:)

After a grueling drive and a bit of a hangover we finally made it to Atlanta and headed over to the Music Midtown festival. We got to see The Black Keys and Cage The Elephant before finding a good spot for Coldplay!

Mike and Maddy getting into the festival vibe...


Rock Star Mike's up in here!



Maddy's brought her air guitar...


And I'm having a beer while clearly not displaying the required wrist band to indicate that I've been ID'd...Rock and freakin' Roll!


Really glad we had that talk with Maddy about some of the goings-on at music festivals (Us: "and don't touch the brownies - they put stuff in them" Maddy: "why would they do that to such a delicious dessert?"). From the smell I think we must have been in the Bob Marley section but the view was great...


The show was huge and spectacular in that special way that only Coldplay can really pull off - really polished and with tons of crowdpleasers...

Like fireworks...

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Big bouncy balls...


Wuh oh whoah...

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That bit in "Fix You" (which by the way was originally inspired by "Grace Under Pressure" by Elbow:))

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And of course at one point it was all Yellow...

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Mike thinks that Gwyneth Paltrow (wife of Chris Martin and mother of his children, Apple and Orange;)) has had him working out so that he can rock the sleeveless shirts...


And like a flash it was over. What a fantastic night!

Then we had to walk back to the hotel. We didn't have to worry about any drunken undesirables approaching us though. Mike broke his flip flop and even nutters keep a wide berth from 'the crazy looking guy with only one shoe'


It was fun watching Maddy push him into the puddles...


And the Coldplay vs. Elbow verdict? Maddy thought the Coldplay show was better. Mike said they were both fantastic but completely different so you can't really compare. But for me, notwithstanding my love of all things Coldplay, I have to say it was Elbow. And it wasn't even close :).


Build a Rocket, Boys!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Declan's Baptism

We celebrated our nephew, Declan's baptism and first birthday today. Here are Nana, Eileen, Jen, Mya and Maddy outside the church...


Declan looked super cute in his baptism outfit and his grandma loved it too!


During the service he fully participated and made all of us laugh!


Look at that cute face!


Raise your hands in the air...like you just don't care...


Congratulations Matt and Liz!

We love you Declan!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

Every year we go to Orlando with Rich, Jen and Mya to celebrate Labor Day. It marks the start of my favorite part of the year and our trip is always a great way to get the season kicked off!

This year the band Erasure were playing at the House of Blues (where Mike and I met :)) on Friday. Erasure had 24 consecutive top 20 hits in the UK but only 3 in the States so I was lucky to get to see them in a venue with under a thousand people and went right to the front too! Mike and Maddy spent the evening with an old friend of Mike's so I got to dance the night away at a concert all on my own for the first time:).

Now when I saw the Happy Mondays at HOB, I missed my cue completely when the inevitable "any Brits in the house?" question came up so I planned my outfit a bit more carefully this time. My moment of fame never came unfortunately :(...


I really shouldn't have wasted any time at all feeling self-conscious that it would be the hat or the fact that I was on my own that would make me stick out from the crowd...;)


Andy Bell was as fantastically outrageous as ever...


The show was absolutely brilliant and I had a total blast!

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We didn't get in until past 1 a.m. so we were particularly proud of ourselves that we still managed to get up for the Puzzle Run in the morning (more pics and running stuff here!)...


After a fantastic race we met up with Jen, Rich and Mya, lazed by the pool for the rest of the day and then went for a lovely dinner...


In fact, we had such a nice time that the next day, we did it all again :)


We even hit the pool after dark...


And in the morning we did our traditional trip to Downtown Disney to get Lego and tattoos...


And of course, our traditional icecream breakfast at Ghirardellis...:)


"Cheers!!"

Happy Labor Day!!!