Songs For Japan – Benefit Album

Released on iTunes on March 25, 2011, Songs For Japan features 40 tracks for $9.99 with the artists and labels waiving their royalties and fees so the proceeds can go toward relief efforts for the March 11th Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
If each song was purchased individually from iTunes it would cost nearly $40 so for a quarter of the price, you get some great music and help out a worthy cause.

Charity singles and albums have been around for a while gaining major popularity in the 80’s with We Are The World and Tears Are Not Enough to aid Famine Relief in Ethiopia. In North America we don’t seem to have an many dedicated charity singles, unlike the UK where charity singles are routinely recorded exclusively for the charity event and regularly make the charts. Artists in North America more commonly donate the proceeds from an upcoming single to a charity.
Does a charitable connection prompt you to purchase?


Bon Jovi – Live 2011 Tour

Bon Jovi – Rogers Arena – March 26, 2011

Bon Jovi’s latest tour “Bon Jovi Live 2011”, rocked into Vancouver for a two night stand.
Vancouver and Bon Jovi have long had a special bond, this is where they recorded their breakthrough “Slippery When Wet”, “New Jersey” and post breakup “Keep The Faith” albums, which feature some of their best loved hits.
Much to some of my friends dismay, I’ve been a big fan of Bon Jovi since high school and although some of my musical tastes have changed I’ve held on to a affinity to this band. Perhaps the fact that they have managed to evolve and stay relevant by adapting to the public’s changing moods has kept them from fading into the ‘retro’ catagory.  My friends May, Brian and I hadn’t planned on attending but just last week a super discount on behind the stage tickets prompted us to  the Jovi Bandwagon and we got tickets for the second night at Rogers Arena.  I don’t know why but I’ve never seen them live until this, I wasn’t disappointed.

Jon Bon Jovi kicks off the show amongst the fans

After a couple of over-anxious cheers due to dim lights in the arena the house lights actually went out and from our behind the stage seats we saw the band assemble on stage behind the giant video screen. As the screen parted the band jumped into action, minus Jon Bon Jovi himself. We could hear his voice but he wasn’t onstage, then we realized he was performing on his own on a mini stage amongst the fans at the opposite end of the arena. What an unexpected treat for the fans who had those seats!
At the end of that song Jon came to the main stage, crossing the floor through the crowd, to

David Bryan and Tico Torres

join bandmates Richie Sambora, David Bryan, Tico Torres, (unofficial member) Hugh McDonald and Bobby Bandiera.

Songwriter's Hall Of Fame Members - Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora

Since this tour is in support of their latest Greatest Hits compilation all of the requisite hits were performed as the band took us on a trip through their catalogue of great songs. (Considering how young they all look and the energy they’re putting out it’s hard to believe they’ve been doing this for nearly 30 years!)
Even though they’ve probably performed these songs endless times over the decades they still make them sound fresh and vibrant and there is very little tinkering with the classics. This is just straight ahead rock & roll and, as the case with some of the more recent singles, a little bit country, and the audience loved it.  The crowd energy lulled for some of the lesser known singles but the setlist didn’t allow that to go on for very long as another great hit was always just around the corner.

Everyone Sings Along To Living On A Prayer!

Huge crowd participation followed the BIG songs, “You Give Love A Bad Name”, “Bad Medicine” (which featured a great interlude of the Rod Stewart classic, “Hot Legs”), “Lay Your Hands On Me”, “I’ll Be There For You”.  The encores of “Wanted: Dead Or Alive” and “Living On A Prayer” really had the crowd in a sing-along mood, nearly overpowering the band at times.  It was amazing to see such a cross section of society and ages bonding over a common love…one of the favourite moments doesn’t feature the band but a few small children who seemed so excited to be at the concert and were singing and dancing all night long (or at least until bedtime)

Jon 'reaches' out to the behind the stage fans

The amazing staging, lighting and monitors were very impressive and built to allow everyone to feel close up and included in the show.  A VIP pit was encircled by the stage, risers behind the stage allowed Jon to ‘reach’ that audience and the band even got out from behind their instruments to move out middle of the floor.

Coming out into the crowd to display their musical prowess

We all commented on how the band really connected with the audience, even those of us behind the stage were acknowledged often throughout the evening.  The attention to the fans and details might also be a reason why they had the best selling tour of 2010, with this “Live 2011” tour still in the early stages there’s a good chance they’ll have the top 2011 tour too.

Jon in a custom Canucks jersey given by a fan

Top 10 Sporting Event Etiquette Do’s & Don’ts

Of all public spectator events this is the one time you’re invited to be boisterous and loud but still there are ways to make it fun to have fun!

1. DO arrive early…the beer line-ups are long and you don’t want to miss the start of the game.
2. DON’T arrive drunk. It’s great to have a few pre-drinks but remember it takes a while to settle into your system. Timing is everything.
3. DO wear your team’s colours and cheer them on!
4. DON’T disgrace your team’s colours/jerseys by committing a felony when wearing them.  I’m sure they they can do without you being branded as a “TeamX Fan” when you’re arrested.
5. DO engage in a some light hearted ‘trash-talk’ with rival fans.
6. DON’T turn the trash-talk into an all out brawl…a la European soccer hooligans
7. DO sit in the non-alcohol seats if you bring your kids and are looking for a ‘family’ experience.
8. DON’T throw things onto the field of play (except for special occasions…hattricks etc) it just delays the game.
9. DO streak if you really feel the need and if you’re willing to be publicly ridiculed and ejected from the venue. See #2
10. DON’T commentate or coach from your seat. We can all see what’s happening, if we wanted a play-by-play we’d have stayed home.

Earth Hour 2011

Earth Hour 2011: March 26, 8:30pm - 9:30pm

First conceived in 2007 by the World Wildlife Fund and the Sydney Morning Herald, as a way to highlight the need for action on climate change, Earth Hour saw 2.2 million residence of Sydney Australia turn off non-essential lights for one hour.  Other cities and countries adopted Earth Hour in 2008 and now in it’s 5th Year, the goal is for more than one billion people to participate by simply flicking a switch.

Earth Hour 2011 takes place March 26th from 8:30pm to 9:30pm local time.  It’s easy to take part, save energy and maybe be a bit romantic at the same time.  Flick off your non-essential lights and electronics, light a candle and enjoy the company of the ones you’re with playing a board game, telling ghost stories or it’s the perfect opportunity for an intimate candlelit supper.
If you don’t feel like staying home, many local restaurants and hotels are taking part and offering Earth Hour specials. Check out Pan Pacific Vancouver, Fairmont Waterfront, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver or Yew Restaurant at Four Seasons Vancouver for just a few of the special promotions happening this year.

Top Vancouver Attractions for Spring Break

As Spring is upon us and students are out on Spring Break, parents are probably seeking out family activities to occupy and entertain the little ones.

While a trip to Disneyland might be on everyone child’s wishlist there is still plenty of fun to be had locally to make everyone happy. Leave the hustle and bustle of the work week behind and see the city from a different perspective by being a tourist in your own town for a day!

Here’s a few of the more popular attractions in Vancouver:

Grouse Mountain: “The Peak of Vancouver” is a year-round playground for the whole family. This year’s heavy snowfall means it’s still ‘winter’ on the mountain, head up for

Grouse Mountain Super Skyride

snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, skating or skip all those and just head straight for the Chalet and the many restaurant and lounge options.

Capilano Suspension Bridge: Since 1889 Cap Bridge has been ‘wowing’ visitors as they cross the bridge 70m above the Capilano River. The TreeTops Adventures carry the adventure on throughout the forest and gardens.

Vancouver Aquarium: Canada’s largest aquarium houses a

Vancouver Aquarium Dolphins

vast array of flora and fauna within the heart of Stanley Park. Beluga Whales and Dolphin shows draw large crowds but perhaps the Otter habitat is the most popular destination within the aquarium.

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden:  The first garden of its kind outside of China, these Vancouver Gardens are a beautiful oasis on the edge of Chinatown. Splendid colours abound as the trees and greenery start to bloom, contrasting with the dark, stark stone laid throughout the gardens.

New & Old Worlds side by side at Dr Sun Yat Sen Gardens

Granville Island Public Market: The stunning arrays of colours, wafting aromas and hustle and bustle of the Public Market make every trip a sensory overload. Fresh produce, baked goods and tasty savouries, sit alongside unique merchants and artisans.

Science World at Telus World Of Science: It’s all hands on at Science World! Rotating exhibits make sure children young and old will find something new and interesting with every visit.

Stanley Park: Sitting on the edge of downtown Vancouver this 1000acre oasis is one of the world’s largest urban parks (New York’s Central Park is 843acres). With beaches, gardens, forests, attractions, sports, eateries all within the park there’s something to entertain every family member.

Colours come alive at Springtime in Stanley Park


Dining Out For Life 2011 a long week it’s always nice to take a break and go out for dinner, this week it’s even better because you can ‘give’ while you get grub!

Go out Thursday March 24, 2011 and participate in Dining Out For Life, an annual fundraising event to benefit people living with HIV/AIDS.

Visit one of the participating restaurants restaurants from the Fraser Valley to Whistler and 25% of the meal revenue will be supporting A Loving Spoonful and Friends For Life. As an added bonus, buy a bottle of Sumac Ridge Estate Winery and they will also donate another $1 for every bottle sold on the day.

Visit a Vancouver Island participating restaurant and presenting sponsor Stella Artois will donate $1 from every sale, in addition to the 25% restaurant revenue, to support Aids Vancouver Island 

It’s a great way to give back and help while doing something you will probably do anyway this week!

Enjoy your meal!

Whitecaps FC – MLS Kickoff!

It seems even mother nature is a Whitecaps FC fan! The sun and 22,000 fans came out to Empire Field on a bright Saturday afternoon to witness the debut of MLS soccer in Vancouver.

Kick off Celebrations

The storied Vancouver Whitecaps franchise has moved into the ‘big leagues’ and from the showing they displayed, they deserve to be there! Granted it was a match against Canadian rivals Toronto FC, who are perpetual bottom dwellers in the MLS table, but the enthusiasm and skills of the Vancouver side overcame the experienced eastern team.
An ocean of white erupted as designated player Eric Hassli opened the Whitecaps account with a lovely goal in the first half and three more Vancouver goals followed (along with two Toronto ones, but we’ll gloss over those)

All eyes on the ball!

After the first goal broke the ice, the crowd really let lose, the casual fans being carried away by the spirited die-hards who’ve been longing for Whitecaps FC to take its rightful  place among the top tier.  When local boy, Terry Dunfield scored the volume rose even higher as Whitecaps drums were pounded and scarves where thrust into the sky.

The organization did a brilliant job of encouraging but also allowing the spirit and enthusiasm for the team grow organically.  With a countdown to the big match ad campaign nudging this home opener to the top of city’s conscientiousness the rest happened on it’s own.  At game day the crowds were early and ready for the action and the team didn’t disappoint, with a kick off celebration that included new BC Premier Christie Clark and NBA (and part-owner) Steve Nash beating the drums to welcome the players onto the pitch. A multi-cultural drum line was in the upper levels of the stands to help ‘drum’ up support but even without them I think this opening match would have ‘beat’ any other sporting event in the city for atmosphere. Mascot Winger was always a huge part of generating the cheers and noise around the games at Swangard Stadium but here in the large venue it’s harder for a little bird to make his rounds. It didn’t matter, the crowd shouted their own cheers (and jeers to the TFC fans) without any prompting from the winged mascot. With each goal the joy grew and grew until the closing whistle and it spilled out into the street around Empire Field and the party moved on.

Scarves Up!!

A solid season ticket base, an enthusiastic supporters club in the Southsiders leading the cheers, and a talent team on and off the pitch all combine to elevate the team to a major force of spirit.  The word of mouth from this display of Whitecaps fever will definitely spread through the city ensuring all games will have this amazing feeling (hopefully mother nature feels the same way and keeps us dry)