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P[re].S. - many apologies for the increasing lengths of time between blog posts. In my defense, I had a blog nearly typed up a few weeks ago but somehow it vanished into the digital ooze.

So I finally saw Bruce Springsteen.

It’s been a dream of mine for about a year. Yes, a full year. I’m not one of those long-time Boss fans, mind you, but I’ve liked him pretty strongly for about a year and a half. Pretty lame as far as fanatics go, I know. But have you seen him in concert? That’s what I thought. (Note: if you have, you’ve laid down some major coin.)

Let me just say: he’s the real deal. Oh, and don’t forget the E-Street band. I feel like they’ve been given a raw deal throughout their storied partnership. They were phenomenal live and supremely talented. Troy and I said afterwards that such talented people finding each other and making fantastic music that reaches the world is truly proof that God indeed exists. I don’t think fate and/or fortune is up to that task.

So, the Boss = arguably the greatest concert at which I have attended. I was fortunate (ha!) to have attended several other great shows this year so far. I just decided that 2008 was going to be the year I got out and experienced some great music. In most cases I just bought tickets and then recruited some of my closest friends to encompany me.

My comments pertaining to each concert are henceforth submitted for your perusal:

  • Wilco - February 22nd, 2008 - Lakewood Civic Auditorium, Lakewood, Ohio - Partner in crime: Aaron Kotasek - I went through a pretty severe Wilco phase with the release of their latest album, “Sky Blue Sky”, the year previous. I feel like this show was the culmination of that phase and it was pretty much everything I hoped it would be. It’s probably a little early to call Wilco legends, but just know that one day they will be.
  • The Swell Season (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova) - May 11th, 2008 - The Allen Theater, Cleveland, Ohio - Partner in crime: Emily Heist - I spent a lil more on tickets than I wanted to but we got ourselves some pretty good seats. I was swept away with the hype surrounding the little Irish movie this duo starred in, “Once”, and was practically in tears on Oscar night when they won for Best Song. So seeing them live was pretty much a must. They didn’t disappoint and Emily and I would come to describe the concert with one word: magical.
  • Iron & Wine - June 15th, 2008 - Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio - Partner in crime: Ben Roth - I may be one of the only people who enjoyed Sam Beam’s latest effort, “The Shepherd’s Dog”, more than it’s predecessors. That’s indie music suicide right there, just so ya know. I just lost all my street cred, but it’s the truth. The album must have just hit me at the right time, cuz I fell in love with it. One fun fact from the show: this band that played with State Bird when we toured through Oklahoma called “The Uglysuit” opened up the show. They weren’t really that good then and they still aren’t good now. Ben and I still aren’t sure how they cajoled the powers-that-be to let them play on the bill. Iron and Wine was pretty superb, however, launching into several jam sessions throughout the evening. Top-notch.
  • Radiohead w/ Grizzly Bear - August 4th, 2008 - Blossom Music Hall, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio - Partner(s) in crime: Aaron Kotasek, Ben Roth, Dut Hershberger - If seeing Wilco was the culmination of a phase covering the last couple years then seeing Radiohead live was the culmination of my entire college career. Radiohead single-handedly defined a shift in my musical tastes to more of what they are today. “OK Computer” will forever be one of my top 5 favorite albums, so seeing them in person was mind-blowing. It doesn’t hurt that “In Rainbows” was one of the best albums of 2007 either. From the lights, to the energy, to Thom Yorke’s manic dancing, it just doesn’t get any better than Radiohead, my friends.
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band - August 24th, 2008 - Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri - Partner in crime: Troy Hamilton - It doesn’t get any better than Radiohead, unless of course you’re dealing with a living legend. But then you’re dealing with a whole other level. And that is exactly what Bruce Springsteen is. My biggest dream for this past year was to stand up and sing “Born to Run” at the top of my lungs. And it happened. How cool. Also cool was that I went with my good buddy Troy, probably my only friend who was just as excited to see the Boss as I was. And also my only friend who could afford it.   If the year ended today I think I could officially brand it as a success. And we still have all of fall, most of football and the Festival left to go.

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Ryan Straits



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