Thursday, October 22, 2009

Miramar Airshow

On Friday, October 2, I attended the annual air show at MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) Miramar for the third year in a row. It was just as thrilling this time as the other times. There is always something exciting about the roar of jets overhead. As usual, the show was full of amazing aerial acrobatics. I didn't see every performance, but the ones I did see were well worth it. Among the performances I saw were, The Oracle Challenger, The Red Bull MIG jet, a legacy flight of an F-16 fighter jet and the P-51 Mustang fighter plane from World War II, The Patriot Team whose jets trail red, white, and blue smoke as they perform their stunts, a helicopter that performed some amazing stunts, such as loops (I had never seen a helicopter able to do loops, and have never seen one able to go upside down), and the AV-8B Harrier jet. It is always a sight to see a jet fighter take off and land vertically. But, the headliners of the show are the Navy Blue Angels. They put on another spectacular show. The excitement builds as the Blue Angels start up their engines and then start their slow taxi in pairs past the viewing stands and then they take to the skies with a roar. As usual, their performance was a spectacular demonstration of great skill and precision, The planes fly so close together at times that it appears that they might crash into each other or touch wingtips. It is an awe-inspiring sight to see the Blue Angels. I look forward to seeng them next year.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Dave Matthews Band

On Saturday, September 12, I saw Dave Matthews Band in concert at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater in Chula Vista. I have been a big fan for years, but this was my first time to see them live in concert. My seats were very good. They gave me an unobstructed view of the stage. It is great that they accomodate their wheelchair-using patrons very well.

The opening act was Switchfoot, a band out of San Diego. I had heard of them before, but had never heard any of their songs. They turned out to be a pretty good band. They performed a lively set which was well worth watching. During the opening act, the seats were sparsely filled. A lot of people were more interested in the main act. After Switchfoot left the stage, the seats started to fill up with eager fans. As we waited for the show to start, a large white sheet was hung from the light rigging. It hung down in front of the stage. Once everything was set up, the lights went out, and an incessant roar of cheering fans filled the air. The lights came on and the band members took the stage. As the band members took the stage, their distorted silhouettes were visible behind the sheet like shadow puppets. They started to play the opening notes of Funny the Way It Is, and with the first drum beat the sheet ripped away. The crowd went wild. After that they played, Spaceman, Don't Drink the Water, Proudest Monkey, Satellite, Shake Me Like a Monkey, Lying In the Hands of God, Seven, Crash Into Me, You Might Die Trying, Why I Am, Lie In Our Graves, Squirm, Alligator Pie, You and Me, Jimi Thing. They left the stage, and then came back for a three song encore of My Baby Blue, Grey Street, Time Bomb. They played almost all the songs off their new album, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, but they also played a good number of songs from their other albums. They played one great song after another. The two and a half hours just zipped by.

The performance was energetic and upbeat from start to finish. Dave and his bandmates enjoyed performing for the fans, who enjoyed the performance as well. They are a band that loves to play together. They complement each other well. Dave Matthews unique vocals and acoustic guitair along with the awesome violin playing of Boyd Tinsley, powerful drumming of Carter Beauford, and the rhythmic bass playing of Stefan Lessard makes for a great sound. They were joined by a fine group of touring musicians: Tim Reynolds on electric guitar, Rashawn Ross on trumpet, and Jeff Coffin on Sax. Jeff was filling in for LeRoi Moore, a founding member of DMB, who died last year. It is a shame that I never got to see him perform with the band. But, Jeff did a fantastic job filling in. At one point he played an alto and a tenor sax at the same time. They did some great jams and Boyd had some great violin solos. The band is great on their albums, but they are even better live. It was a memorable concert and they are a band I would like to see again.