Retirement is Exhausting – Part One

Leading up to my husband’s recent retirement, everyone asked me how it would be when he was around the house 24/7. Would he drive me crazy? Would he be uber-annoying?

No worries. I was certain things would be peachy.

First of all, Peter loves to cook. Now that he has time, he spends lots of time in the kitchen. In fact, since his retirement, he has cooked dinner almost every night. And, he pairs every meal with the perfect wine from our wine cellar.

I have a personal chef and sommelier all wrapped in one.

Also, Peter loves having a good time. Our kids have dubbed him the family C.F.O. Chief Fun Officer.

This week alone, we have attended two concerts, two dining events and are heading to Disney World.

Retirement in exhausting.

First up: Buddy Guy.

Every January, this Hall of Fame blues genius is in residence at his Buddy Guy’s Legends blues bar in Chicago.

Buddy Guy's Legends

We arrived at 5pm and were able to snag a couple of great seats at the bar. Although Buddy wasn’t scheduled to come on stage until 10:30pm, we were entertained by a steady stream of really good blues musicians, each grateful for the chance to perform at Buddy Guy’s.

We were also entertained by the adorable young couple sitting next to us at the bar. It was the husband’s birthday and they had come in from out of town to enjoy the show.

Apparently, they had come to Legends to celebrate last year but the wife had to leave the show early because she came down with the flu. Oddly enough, after drinking 2 beers and 3 margaritas in an hour, the wife developed “the flu” again and birthday boy husband had to take her back to the hotel. Such bad luck, two years in a row!

Our evening was much better than theirs.

Buddy Guy on stage

At almost 80 years of age, Buddy Guy is an amazing performer. His voice and his mad skills on the guitar have not faded with age. This fabulous bundle of blues playing energy performs about 150 shows per year all over the country.

Buddy Guy in crowd

At one point in his 2 hour show, Buddy came down off the stage and worked his way around the entire bar performing like a man half his age.

What a night!

A few nights later we attended the Bruce Springsteen concert – my 13th time seeing Bruce and Peter’s 15th.

We were a bit concerned that our seats, in the upper deck behind the stage, would not give us a good view of the show. We needn’t have worried.

Springsteen concert

Other than my very first Springsteen concert, in which I was in the front row, these were probably my favorite seats.

Funny story about that first concert.

It was my freshman year in college. Some of my pals and I camped out in front of the ticket office for two nights in order to be among the first to buy tickets. Our plan worked and we were rewarded with front row center seats.

On the night of the concert we were having a blast with our up close view until a bunch of guys came down from their balcony seats and crashed our front row party. There was a bit of a confrontation but we were able to shoo these cads away.

Fast forward a few years, Peter and I were talking about our Springsteen concert experiences and, the truth comes out, Peter and his friends were the ruffians who tried to move into our front row territory.

Fortunately, Peter’s concert going manners have improved since then.

James and Bruce

A concert by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is a non-stop party.

The band played for over three hours, covering the entirety of The River album and lots and lots of other favorites.

Their playing of “Take It Easy” as an homage to the recently departed Glenn Frey was a crowd pleaser.

Springsteen playing Take It EasyAt one point, Bruce ventured out on the cat walk into the general admission floor seats then crowd surfed back to the stage.

Springsteen crowd surfingAnd the guy is 66 years old…

Apparently no retirement plans in his future.

Fans might remember that Courtney Cox had her first big break as the “girl in the crowd” who gets pulled up on stage to dance with Bruce in his 1984 “Dancing In The Dark” music video.

At our concert, this lucky gal got the gig.

Bruce dancingI’m not sure if it is Bruce’s age that has changed his choice of dance partners or the fact that his wife, Patti Scialfa, is on stage with him as a member of the E Street Band.

Probably a little from column A and a little from column B.

Eventually the house lights came up as the band played encore after encore.Springsteen concert house lights upAfter a 10 minute finale of “Shout”, it was time to say good night.

E Street Band leaves stageSo long, gang.

Hope to see you soon for Springsteen concert #14!

Have you ever seen either of these talented musicians in concert? Have any special memories to share?

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My Eclectic Taste In Music

The theme of today’s September Sapphire Even Day Blog Challenge is Harmony – Five CDs that rock (or pop or folk) your world.

I’m not very good at these challenges. We are supposed to come up with five and I am only sharing three. It was either three or forty and I thought you might lose interest in my list by number 22.

Buckle up kids, this is going to be a short but eclectic list.

Number One – Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run”. It’s quite difficult for me to pick my favorite Springsteen album so I chose this one because it contains one of my very favorite songs of all time: “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”.

In addition to the iconic start of the song, I love it’s homage to The Big Man, the late Clarence Clemmons, whose voice you can hear in this clip. We miss you Clarence.

Bruce Springsteen puts on, by a million miles, the best concerts I have ever seen. I’ve been lucky enough to attend about 15 of his concerts and every one has lasted well over three straight hours, often with at least three encores. Springsteen gives it his all for every minute of every show. The guy is amazing.

My very first Springsteen concert was during my freshman year in college. We camped out in the student union for two nights to buy tickets and were rewarded for our efforts with front row seats. THE most amazing concert experience of my life.

Funny story about that concert, my friends and I, rocking out in our front row seats got really, really annoyed by the obnoxious guys who left their seats way, way back in the arena to park themselves in front of us, blocking our view. Fortunately they were shooed away by security before I had to open a can of whoop-ass on them.

Hahaha! Turns out that one of those guys was my now husband of 33 years.  Crazy, right? And he is not at all obnoxious, just a huge Springsteen fan like myself so I forgave him for his rude behavior.

Another of my lifetime favorites is James Taylor. Again, it’s hard to choose a favorite album so I will decide by giving the nod to JT’s (James Taylor being the original JT) debut album.

I chose this video because it was recorded in 1972 and gives the feel of the era in which I listened to this album for endless hours.

This song and this album always make me think of my super fabulous sister because it was she that bought the album and introduced me to the melodic sounds of James Taylor. Every time I hear this song it makes me smile.

And the final spot on my top 3 list goes to the one, the only, recently reunited (for about a minute and a half) ‘N Sync.

Stop laughing, I’m serious.

I defy anyone to listen to “Bye, Bye, Bye” and keep your toes from tapping. I’m just sayin’.

Back in the day, these guys put on a great show. Completely different than the epic Springsteen concerts which are just raw energy and music, these guys were the quintessential singer/dancer showmen.

And I loved them.

I have every one of their CDs and have seen them in concert several times.

Clare and I went to a concert together which was notable for two things (not including the wonderful performance by my boys): we were the only adults there who were not accompanied by someone under the age of 15 and I took a tumble off of a step resulting in a partial tear of my meniscus which still gives me little “reminders” of that special night.

Another memorable NSYNC concert experience was the time that my dear daughter, Annie, who was actually in the band’s target age group at the time, refused to go to yet another ‘N Sync concert with her mother. Fear not! I convinced Clare’s daughter and another dear friend to fly to Virginia to visit me for the weekend and attend the concert as my cover guests.

It was awesome! Thanks, girls!

I really do have pretty eclectic taste in music. I don’t judge a performer for being too “bubblegum” or too “commercial” – obviously.  My other favorites include Mumford & Sons, Taylor Swift, Tom Petty, Josh Ritter, Carrie Underwood – really just anybody whose music makes me happy, makes me dance and/or makes me take notice.

What about you? Favorites?

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