Eventually, the time did pass, and we were brought up to meet him. My kiddo was so nervous and anxious that he was practically jumping out of his skin. And then he was there, and my son met his first love. It was adorable. Darren Criss was charming and lovely, and my son was so shy but happy. As for their conversation, that’s not really mine to share. Maybe someday, when my kid is older, he’ll write about it, but until then, it remains as it should be: between him and Darren.
My son gripped me into a fierce hug. “Mom,” he said to me, “meeting Darren Criss was all the trillions times better than a hotel with a pool.”
This mom rocks.
In honor of National Accordion Month (yes, really), here’s “Take on Me” —one of my favorite pop songs of the ’80s — as performed on five accordions.
I am fascinated by this video…cameltoe and all.
Sara Bareilles: “Manhattan”
I had the honor of seeing Sara Bareilles in Charlotte, NC, the next-to-last stop on her “Brave Enough” solo tour. Three days later and I’m still on a high from — and processing — this very special show. I’ve seen Sara in concert once with her full band at The Orange Peel here in Asheville. That show was amazing and was when I really fell in love with her, but her onstage with just her voice, a few instruments and her sharp wit made for possibly my favorite concert to date by any artist.
Sara’s voice is fantastic on her recordings, but in a live setting it’s breathtaking. Hers is such a pure, expressive voice that she doesn’t have to riff or do other vocal gymnastics to show off, and its sheer power and range are best on display when it’s just her behind a piano or holding a guitar or ukulele. All venues for this tour were small, with Charlotte’s locale having just 434 seats, and when you see her that close-up, you watch as every emotion in every song is written across her beautifully expressive face. She’s an artist who lays her soul bare onstage, which was further evidenced during a particularly emotional moment early on in the show.
This performance provided some new takes on classic Sara tunes and previewed some new songs from her upcoming album, “The Blessed Unrest” (out July 16). In addition to showcasing her voice, the bare-bones accompaniment also highlighted her deft songwriting ability. Case in point: “Manhattan,” a new song that’s achingly beautiful in its lyrics and melody. (Check out the track above.)
She also worked in a few covers at this show: Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,” plus Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” the latter of which The Hollywood Reporter said, after her Los Angeles stop, “might eclipse any rendering of it that Elton himself has ever done.” (Check out this video of the song from the Connecticut show.) Indeed, Sara has a knack for covering a song and making it her own (as she did with Coldplay’s “Yellow” on her Kaleidoscope Heart tour).
Finally, if you’ve ever seen Sara live or in interviews, you know she has a quick, often self-deprecating sense of humor, and she loves her four-letter words. Her ease with the audience, particularly in a setting as intimate as this one, makes it feel like you’re hanging out with a good friend who just happens to play a mean piano and possess one hell of a voice. And at the same time that you start to see her as a very real, grounded person, you become more in awe of her raw, immense talent.
Here’s another writeup of the Charlotte show, along with photos and a setlist.