February 11, 2008

A Fitting End to an Extraordinary Blogging Experience

Encased_grammy_2After a weekend of preparation and a summer of hopeful anticipation, the 2008 Grammys and with it, my mobile blogging experience, are officially in the books. Beyond hectic during pre-show, the excitement that was covering the Grammys during pre-show was not only a historic event, but something that I don’t think I ever would have thought I would have the opportunity to do.

So much of this day was about learning as you go. From wandering around for over an hour to try and check in, only to find that the check-in area no longer existed (which everyone found a little weird), to the red carpet turning into a near-free for all as soon as the biggest names started arriving, this was a day without instruction nor time-outs. Thankfully, I ended up finding some really nice journalists, cameramen, and photographers to hang out with on the red carpet, making all the confusion a little bit easier to handle collectively. As individuals, there was confusion. But as a whole, it was some frantic fun on a Sunday afternoon.

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February 10, 2008

5:06pm Red Carpet Roundup: Beyonce, Ludacris, Fergie....

More photos to come later tonight. I'm running late after the red carpet and I hear I missed Carrie Underwood!... Just made it in for Rihanna! Enjoy the show, everyone!
Here's a round up of the final rush on the red carpet before the show.
Photo_021008_117 Slash, I beat you in Guitar Hero!


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4:51pm Brad Paisley, Akon, Evander

08bradpaisleybillboardDo a bunch of them run into the Staples Center right before the show starts? There are still plenty to go, there will be a lot of seat fillers for the start of today's show. Cyndi Lauper just walked in too! Here's Best Country Collaboration nominee Brad Paisley, he'll be performing too.

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4:42pm Miley Mania, Foos, Rihanna

08mileycyrusbillboardMiley looked beautiful and was making some pretty borderline sexy faces for the camera.

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4:27 Daughtry and Paramore, Fast and Furious

08daughtrybillboardDaughtry and crew: one of the biggest crowds in one band for a night. The sign read, "Daughtry and wives," which was kind of awesome and got a laugh from everyone.

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4:09pm Carrie Underwood, Ne-Yo, Keyshia Cole

401carrieunderwoodbillboardA very blonde, very beautiful Carrie Underwood walked down the carpet being seranaded by the fans singing "Before He Cheats." The photographers went CRAZY for her. She's up for both Song of the Year and Best Country Collaboration With Vocals among others.

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3:44pm Alicia Keys, Sgt. Pepper's Minion, and Sabrina the Pregnant Witch

Alicia walked in to the fans singing ''No One'' as she posed for pictures. Alicia couldn't resist smiling and bouncing to the beat.344aliciakeysbillboard

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3:15pm Hey There! Delilah!

In this crowd is the Plain White T's with the THE Delilah. The fans greeted her with a "HEY THERE, DELILAH!" as soon as they broke out of this area. They say they're coming back for more pics, but I'm a little skeptical.

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2:57pm The-Dream Cometh; Jimmy Jamily

The-Dream, writer of Rihanna's multi-nominated "Umbrella," spent a ton of time with everyone on the line. He said that he was excited and here for Rihanna and Mary J. Blige tonight. However, most of the photogs were really into his date!

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2:45pm Evanescence's Amy, Joey Fatone, more Idols!

245amyevanescencebillboardComing in right before Joey Fatone from 'NSync was Amy Lee. She seemed like she was in a hurry and posed on our wall instead of the standard photo wall. Evanescence is vying for Best Hard Rock Performance against Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Tool and Ozzy.

Girls went CRAZY for Joey Fatone and were chanting for him.

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2:22pm Now and Laters and Non-Televised Awards

As we wait for the next big wave of nominees and celebs, all of us are pretty happy to take a seat and get some down time before it gets rolling again. None of us have eaten and we're enjoying a healthy diet of Now and Laters for now. There's a rumor that there's food a little ways down from the tent, but none of want to miss a big name so we stay, drink water, and eat candy.

One of the things that I personally often forget is how many nominees that actually are for the Grammy Awards. We have had a stampede of nominees roll through,for so many awards that don't even get televised. It's such an achievement for all of them and people so far have been beaming.


1:48pm More 'Idols' in the House: Ace Young

148aceyoung1billboardHe's here with fellow American Idol contestant Daughtry and is up for a writing award for ''It's Not Over." Ace sang a few bars and spoke really highly of Chris and the experience of writing the song. He said that he's a big fan of Beyonce and all the hip hop artists in attendance tonight.

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1:36PM Musiq Hopes Michael Jackson Shows

Musiq Soulchild said that Michael Jackson might be showing up and he's really hoping it happens. I hope so too! Meanwhile, Musiq is up against no less than Prince, among others, for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance tonight.129musiqsoulchild


1:29PM Fantasia

Fantasia said she is done with "The Color Purple" and her hair took two hours to bleach on the side. She was friends with Jay Manuel from America's Next Top Modey and they said hello to one another. I got some great pics of that to share later.


1:07PM Pillar & Montgomery Gentry Hit the Carpet

Nominees keep coming and coming... I wish you guys could hear how loud this crowd is for everyone! Here's Montgomery Gentry, who are up for Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals against heavy hitters like the Eagles and Brooks and Dunn.1253montgomerygentrybillboard

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12:43pm Jennifer Pena & Fantasia's Producers

Grammy nominees are all over!! Here's Jennifer Pena, the singer whose "Dicen Que El Tiempo" is up for Best Latin Pop Album tonight.

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12:35pm Tia Carrare Starts the Flood

In the midst of a ton of nominees, Tia Carrere just slipped by!

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3:24pm Arrivals Crib Notes?

I never knew this, but before talent walks by, crew members write down their names on a white board and walk in front of them so that all members of the media will know who they are before they arrive.Cribnotes

3:19pm It Gets Crowded...

Thankfully, I'm more bundled with the print and video crew, but it is definitely getting competitive as people start to arrive at the Grammy pre-show. I'm trying to imagine how much bigger this is going to get as we get some more of the nominees walking by. The seat fillers are going absolutely crazy to my right. Chances are, they've been awake longer than anyone here, but they are not shy about making their presence known for anyone walking by.

11:49am Grammy Walk

When you enter the red red carpet, Grammys Awards are station in a row to lead the talent down the line. So even if you don't win one, you can get really close to one! We're about 15 minutes from the time everything is supposed to kick off and I'm in my spot and ready to go! There is a Grammy pre-show next door, so I'm guessing we'll start getting some arrivals soon!

The View From My Spot in Line

Emptyredcarpet2_2I'm noticing that the guy who told me all media would be dressed in Black Tie attire was slightly wrong as some people have t-shirts and Hawaiian shirts on. I kind of look like a concierge, but I feel like I should be carrying some of these peoples' bags.

I do look pretty fly though, but that doesnt make up for me tripping over a step in front of a huge crowd of people seated at the end of the red carpet. I almost ate it on the red carpet! It would have been a glorious moment in my life's history, next to me peeing my pants before my 3rd grade tee ball photo.

I'm sharing my space with three print publications, four of us total, which is intense when you realize that the space is only 3 feet wide! All of us are really relieved that the red carpet is inside today because it's really hot! There are some pretty amazing decorations all around and everyone has been pretty kind so far. I know this will turn crazy in a few, but I'm loving all the frantic confusion.

Found My Spot! The Waiting Begins

After an hour and a half of walking in circles, I just found my spot on the red carpet. I'm quickly learning that covering the red carpet here will be a lot of fending for myself because everyone has a job to do. Since I'm on my own out here, I had to find a magical piece of duct tape that read ''Billboard'' on it to find my home. Jesus, take the wheel, what a moment that was!

There are huge set ups all over the red carpet for platforming interviews and we're going to really be packed in the photography area! It's no doubt going to be hectic, but it's going to be awesome. One of the plus sides to getting lost was that I got to hear Carrie Underwood doing her sound check of her performance tonight! Getting lost can be awesome!

More photos after the continuation...

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Next Stop: Staples Center and the 2008 Grammy Awards

Leaving As expected, I got about three hours of sleep last night. While adrenaline and little kid Christmas-like excitement are things that I hope never get old, it does get a little old when you could really use a little some rest the night before an exciting day. I'm heading out to Staples Center to find my spot on the line and see just exactly what's going on out there.

While putting the finishing touches on my ensemble, I've come to realize that my neck has definitely gotten thicker since the last wedding I've attended. It must be the pilates. I got all geared out in my room to see how it would feel to have all my gadgets on me and I have to say that I end up looking like a robo-tourist. I'd have it no other way.

Next stop: Staples Center.

Pre-Grammy sleep is not easy to come by...

Livingroom I just checked into my home for "Grammy season" and am getting settled for what I hope to be a decent night of sleep before a day/night of nonstop blogging and photos tomorrow. Just when I'm coming to terms with this whole weekend, something comes through and gets me going all over again, like this lovely living room I'm sitting in right now. Anyways, this area is going to act as my "war room," where I hope to regain some sanity tomorrow night and put together everything that I wasn't able to do from the street. Not that anyone was really envisioning where I was sitting, but I always find it interesting to see what someone's "office" looks like. For the weekend, this is my office!

*cue Cassidy f. R. Kelly - "Hotel"*

Before I curl up in my bed (which could fit about five of me in it, in any direction) with some Billboard magazines to read for good luck, I wanted to take a look at some of the categories that I'm most interested in for the Grammys tomorrow night. While this list is by no means all inclusive, it includes those that I'll be clapping for like a seal begging for fish and beach balls (I assume they enjoy that) tomorrow night. They're not predictions per se, because I don't know if I would want to be wrong to that many people at once, but they're the categories that happen to be the most interesting for me.

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February 09, 2008

'Twas the Night Before the Grammys...

Though I've had some time to think about it, it's still a little hard to believe that by this time tomorrow, I will have already seen the opening performance at the 2008 Grammy Awards.

Riding_around I have no doubt that I'll be sweatier than an advertisement for prescription strength deodorant (please, don't let me down tomorrow), begging to use a bathroom, and exhausted from a long day of photographing, running around, blogging, and adrenaline roller coasters galore, but really, what could be better?

If you're reading this and have never had the opportunity to attend an award show before, I wanted to give some "normal guy" insight into what it's like to get ready in the days leading up to the show.

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February 08, 2008

Mobile Beat:road :: Grammys:destination

Tickets_2This past summer, my Billboard/LG Mobile Beat summer, was a blur of 19 concerts, 19 photoriffic blogs posts, a plethora of surreal experiences that made me want to invest in diapers (my hips are too wide), and very, very little sleep. I entered the competition on a whim. Who knew that it would turn into something so big?

After all those shows last summer, when I got the call telling me that I was the winner, earning a trip to the 2008 Grammys right here in my hood in Los Angeles, I wished that I had invested in those diapers. A lot of this is still setting in, but it's really here - GRAMMY weekend - my reward for being an OCD blogger of the best/worst kind.

Through the magic of modern mobile technology, I will be blogging live from the event. I will be giving the readers of a personal glimpse into the Grammys. I'll be there for both blogging and photography, so please check back for some very exclusive photos and commentary that are coming straight from this fanboy's mouth that I promise will be embarassing and awesome at the same time.

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February 07, 2008

Photos & More: Watch this Space

Turner_tina_01l_2Tina Turner is just one of the major artists who will be at the Grammys on Sunday, so keep your eye on Mobile Beat for photos and more from the 50th Annual music gala.

September 17, 2007

Pre-Emmy Celebration at Opera and Crimson in Hollywood, CA. September 15, 2007.

I believe Confucius once said, "If you're going to go out, go out big with an Emmy party." While I attribute much of what has been a pretty unbelievable summer to being a part of this dark corner (really, the colors are dark) of, LG has also been such a huge part of this whole experience as well. From providing the bloggers with phones and random LG goodies inside our stylish Billboard backpacks (which I take to the beach with me in hopes of attracting women while I deliberately walk backwards and make declarative, minor lies like, "I MAKE LOTS OF MONEY!!!") to giving us this opportunity to share our experiences with a tiny slice of the online world, I am beyond grateful to everyone I've interacted with at LG and at Billboard for inspiring me to make the most of this summer. While the Billboard name has helped me out tremendously this summer, it was LG that gave me the opportunity to hang out in the outdoor LG lounge while I rubbed elbows with some of my favorite Hollywood stars at a pre-Emmy party on Saturday night.


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September 15, 2007

Marie' Digby's Residency Kickoff at The Hotel Cafe' in Hollywood, CA. September 11, 2007

Depending on who you talk to, the drama that was last week for Marie' Digby came at either the best or worst possible time. While most would love to be on the front page of the Wall Street Journal like Digby was last week, the rising star was portrayed in an unfavorable light in the nationwide publication. On her end, Marie had only her MySpace page, live shows, and fans to defend herself from an article that filled the blogosphere (and even took over the comment section of my previous post as of late) this past week. The article made its way onto breakfast tables the week before the YouTube star was about to kickoff a month long residency at the famed SoCal music hot spot, The Hotel Cafe'. Coinciding with the release of Digby's new four-song EP to iTunes, for the first time in a while, there was some question as to whether Digby's positive momentum would continue after the article cast a shadow on her recent success. As I walked up to the venue an hour before the doors opened and saw a line already forming against the wall. It was clear that Digby's fans were still coming out to support her and they would continue to come out in a very big way. Perhaps surprisingly, Marie' was not about to shy away from addressing the events of the past week. But not surprisingly, Marie' continued to impress with her original music and stage presence, and ultimately left everyone excited about what the future holds for the up and coming star.


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September 10, 2007

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Kings of Leon, San Diego Sept. 8, 2007

On Saturday, I drove down from LA to the hot blonde-filled SDSU campus to take in two popular rock bands that I was unfamiliar with, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Kings of Leon. Honestly, rock music is probably the genre that I'm least familiar with out of all the radio friendly genres. Rock music has just really never been my thing, despite the fact that I grew up in the Pacific Northwest during the peak of the Nirvana/Pearl Jam grunge rock days (I think I was too busy listening to Sir Mixalot's "Baby Got Back" in my parents' Ford Taurus and waving my hands wildly while I sang "Emotions" by Mariah Carey). Some of my friends had seen this duo perform the night before in LA and told me that I was in for a great show, so after a morning of surfing (AKA Dave Chung falling repeatedly in the water in front of hot women) I was excited to take in some real rock music - not punk rock or pop rock - just rock. As the enthusiastic audience that spawned the first mosh pit I've seen this summer would tell you, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Kings of Leon turned it out on Saturday night with performances that halted all academic activity on the college campus and invited everyone to come down to the Open Air Arena and rock out with the bands.


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September 02, 2007

Marie’ Digby at Hotel Café in Hollywood, CA. August 31, 2007

“Can I squeeze by?” a mysterious voice kindly asked me as it weaved through the crowd inside The Hotel Café on Friday night. Moments later, I realized that this voice belonged to Marie’ Digby, the “YouTube Phenom” (thanks, Carson Daly) whose popularity has exploded since her cover of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” has been played on the radio and on the MTV’s Season 3 Premiere of “The Hills” (coincidentally, my favorite TV show). In today’s world of user-generated videos and downloadable tunes that flood an already crowded music scene, it is rare to discover an artist who has separated herself from the crowd through these mediums. Digby, whose videos are approaching 2.5 million views combined on YouTube (and is currently the #26 “Most Subscribed Artist (All Time)”), proved through performances of her original material on Friday night that she is much more than a “cover artist.” Now signed to Hollywood Records, Marie’ packed The Hotel Café to capacity and performed in front of an appreciative audience that collectively appreciated being a part of her continued ascent in the music industry.


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August 28, 2007

Joss Stone with Raphael Saadiq at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. August 27, 2007.

The first time I saw Joss Stone, I thought she looked and sounded like the naughty (I think that is the first time I've ever said that word) version of Kelly Clarkson. Since making that first impression on me years ago, I came to realize that despite her age and absolutely stunning physical appearance (Joss, "you're hot, dude..." Words of wisdom courtesy of Jen from The Real World: Denver), Joss Stone is much more of an R&B/Soul artist than a pop music princess, to the point that I'd almost call her the anti-teeny bopper. While many males relish in bashing my music taste that is most easily defined as "music your little sister would like," not a single person had anything negative to say about me attending the 20 year old's show on Monday night. On a night where I finally discovered how to use the brightness settings on my enV correctly and took by far the hottest pictures (HOT!!) I have taken all summer, I became another of the many who kept professing to me, "Joss Stone is legit...and she's really hot."


Continue reading "Joss Stone with Raphael Saadiq at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. August 27, 2007." »

August 26, 2007

Josh Groban at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. August 25, 2007

After being told that I was set to cover the Josh Groban Awake tour on Saturday night, I couldn't wait. I told one of our bosses that I wouldn't miss the show for the world. I drove down to "The OC" (omg, hi Ryan and Marissa! Love your Dior sunglasses! And Ryan, your Hanes tank top is nice as well...), only to discover that neither ticket, nor press pass were awaiting me at the venue. While I did finagle my way into the press parking lot free of charge (I am getting way too good at bending the truth), somewhere along the joys of an email chain, I got lost in the shuffle. I was no longer "Dave Chung - Billboard blogger," I was just some guy who liked driving to arenas on a Saturday night. Regardless of disappointment and illness (so many boogies...), I knew I had to live up to my word and get in.


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August 19, 2007

DJ Eric Coleman / The Airborne Toxic Effect / The Aggrolites / Vilma Diaz at the Sunset Junction Festival (Day 2) in Los Angeles, CA. August 19, 2007.

Day two of the Sunset Junction Street Festival gave attendees the opportunity to take in a variety of different music in a very short span of time. From the DJ Eric Coleman spinning music from numerous genres, to The Airborne Toxic Effect playing their fast-paced punk rock, to The Aggrolites playing their brand of "dirty reggae" in front of a dedicated crowd of fans, to being able to catch Vilma Diaz and y La Sonora starting their own dance party with their energetic cumbia music, today was the concert Hometown Buffet of the summer, without the soft serve ice cream and consequently, the nighttime gas (so far). It was a feel good day of music and the sunny skies were perfect for getting some great pictures of the artists playing today. While I'm normally and admittedly pretty long-winded, I'll let the pictures tell the majority of the story today.


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Breakestra/Sy Smith/Blonde Redhead/Deniece Williams at the Sunset Junction Street Festival (Day 1), Los Angeles, CA. August 18, 2007

The annual Sunset Junction Street Festival kicked off on Saturday on a very hot day in the LA area. With three stages that feature different artists from different genres all day and night long, the two day event showcases local acts in addition to headlining acts that close out each respective stage. The event is similar the annual "Carnaval" held in the Mission District in NorCal, but packs people in such close proximity to one another that it reminded me of a one million person rave, the "Love Parade," that I attended in Berlin last summer. Part carnival, part concert, and part street festival, the Sunset Junction Street Festival was a different outdoor experience in the LA music scene and for me, Saturday night's performances were all about the funk.


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August 18, 2007

Overnight Lows in Hollywood, CA - August 17, 2007

Catapulting off the band's momentum stemming from its recent radio play on LA-area rock station giant KROQ, Overnight Lows performed a high energy set in front of an enthusiastic SoCal audience on Friday night at the famed Knitting Factory. Underneath the familiar multicolored lights of the venue, the band's brand of uptempo, punk-sprinkled pop-rock was as energetic as it was contagious throughout the night. Boasting one of the most attractive female vocalists in rock music today in lead singer Jules Larson, Overnight Lows, whose music has been featured on numerous MTV programs, put together a night of consistently higher reaching highs for an audience that was reaching for more. By the end of the night, as the band continues to gain popularity throughout Southern California and beyond through radio play and their live performances, I couldn't help but think that I was witnessing the continued rise of something much bigger for Overnight Lows.


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August 13, 2007

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill in Anaheim, CA. August 11, 2007

The last time many of us saw Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, it was on YouTube. Whether it was Faith Hill reprimanding a fan, "Somebody needs to teach you some class, my friend! You don't go grabbin' somebody else's…somebody's husband's balls, you understand me? That's very disrespectful!" or Tim McGraw pointing to a fan saying, "Give me my ring back! No, give me my ring back!" – The Soul2Soul 2007 tour has had some unusual moments. I never would have expected Tim and Faith to fill the Internet blogosphere when I bought two nosebleed seats (not just the 300 level, the 400 level, which puts you in the vicinity of the Tower of Babel) at $100 a ticket (face value, seriously?) months ago for the tour's finale on Saturday night at the Honda Center. Safely tucked away in the balcony, I was confident that the few hundred feet of space between me and the stars would be enough to overpower my genitalia and jewelry related envy. I was wrong (kidding).


All the press and hoopla aside, the finale to a tour featuring two of country music's biggest stars and possibly the most successful couple in music (Don't go there, J. Lo and Marc Anthony) was the longest concert I've ever attended, as the concert ended well after midnight, but it was also a tribute to country music superstardom for both Hill and McGraw. 

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August 09, 2007

Arden Kaywin at Jimmy's Acoustic Courtyard in Hollywood, CA, August 7th, 2007

Playing in front of a laid back audience that included talented actors Topher Grace (Venom was in the building!) and Cedric the Entertainer, along with official Billboard/LG Mobile Beat Hobbit Dave Chung, Arden Kaywin performed on Tuesday night at Jimmy's Acoustic Courtyard. As this was my first time at the indoor/outdoor venue, I was initially underwhelmed by the exterior appearance of the outdoor venue, which from the wrong side looked like it could double as a beach shower pit/public urinal. However, upon entering the hidden side entrance, Jimmy's Acoustic Courtyard - with its unexpected comfortable couches, bar, horseshoe booths, and open air socializing area for people more hip than I - instantly became one of my favorite small venues in the Los Angeles area. Kaywin, whose single "Me With Me" was nominated as the 2006 Pop Song of the Year by the Independent Music Awards, put on an incredible vocal performance for her dedicated fans and won over some new ones in the process. While her name might not initially seem the most memorable, her passionate vocals, unique blend of musical styles, lyricism, and impressive range make her an artist that is very hard to forget.


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August 05, 2007

Clay Aiken, The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, August 4th, 2007

Part concert, part comedy show, Clay Aiken and a live orchestra performed in front of a few thousand of his most dedicated fans on Saturday night. Before the show, I had spoken with fans of the American Idol runner up, or Claymaniacs, who told me that an Aiken concert is as much about his interaction with the audience as it is about his trademark big vocals. I was a little skeptical about how this would turn out because I appreciate rapid fire performances in live concerts. However, many an Aiken concert veteran assured me that I was in for a great night on this stop of The Soft Rock & A Hard Place Tour. Thankfully, Aiken delivered. In an entertaining two hour set, Aiken and his background vocalists Angela Fisher and Quiana Parler put together an upbeat night (somehow, in a set filled with ballads) that was just as filled with laughter (legitimate “LOL,” “LMAO,” “ROFL” laughter) from the audience as it was with strong performances coming from the performers on stage.


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July 30, 2007

Carrie Underwood, Dixon Fairgrounds in Dixon, CA. July 28, 2007

800 miles round trip. Three full tanks of gas. Two half-days spent in the car. $140 non-budgeted dollars for two tickets. All for one chance to take the most exciting picture of my life, for one person, Carrie Underwood. Three months of anticipation were fulfilled through an incredible experience and opportunity to not only see, but personally meet one of the top artists in music today. On a night where the Dixon Fairgrounds were illuminated by a breathtaking full moon, Underwood and her band put together an unbelievable set that featured the first ever live performance of her new single "So Small," and exceeded any and all of my expectations.


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