The Ellen Show – An Easy Day Trip

People say nothingOutside WarnerBrothers Studios ever happens in Vancouver? Even is that were true (which I know it’s not) Vancouver isn’t that far away to have a fun daytrip away!

Yesterday, my good friend May arranged to get us tickets to The Ellen Show taping in Los Angeles. We boarded a plane from YVR at 0630 for a non-stop flight to LAX, arriving on a bright but cool LA morning. Catching a SuperShuttle for the hour plus trip across town we got a first hand taste of LA morning rush hour.  Arriving in front of the Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank we still had time to kill before the required check-in time for The Ellen Show.

As luck would have it the Original Bob’s Big Boy Diner was just around the corner…it was like a walking into a 50’s museum….including some of the patons.

Back at the Studios and checking in at the waiting area (the lower floor of a parking garage) for The Elllen Show, we waited and waited some more before they started to sort the audience into groups to lead them to the studio backstage (which doubles as the Ellen Store). From here on out it was a well orchestrated whirlwind of fun and entertainment. 15 minutes before showtime, we were ushered into our seats in the studio and the ‘warm up’ guy started to rouse the audience and get us cheering. And cheer they did when Ellen Degeneres walked out to start the show…laughs, music, dancing, $100 Victoria Sectret Gift Card prizes, games, Eva Mendes, Flo-Rida, Mindy Kaling, more dancing, more laughs and games rounded out the November 30th episode.  

Then as Ellen was thanking the audience for attending, she also sprung another surprise on us by saying that Ben Affleck, who was to guest on the next day’s episode, was here to tape his segment as he was unable to the following day. So after a quick change of clothes for Ellen and DJ Tony, an interview with Ben Affleck was taped followed by a quick ‘game’. Then a quick 90 minutes after it all began, it was all over and we were on our way out the door with Victoria Secret Gift Card and Flo-Rida cd in hand. Making a mad dash for the SuperShuttle back to LAX for our 2100 flight back to Vancouver.

Super Fast Super Fun Super Easy to have a great Vancouver – LA daytrip!

Bob Saget – Is Not Danny Tanner!

We’re not in Full House anymore!

Best known as Danny Tanner from Full House and the Host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, Bob Saget’s stand-by comedy is no where near the family friendly fare of his former tv shows. Bringing his rapid fire comedy to town as part of his Strange Days Tour, supporting his new A&E TV show of the same name, Mr Saget involved and entertained a full house at the Vogue Theatre.  Unlike most entertainers he almost encouraged hecklers and right from the first moments, when he started having fun with and at the expense of audience members the stage was set for a raunchy, anything goes evening.
From the audience; Kirk has his sexuality questioned and mocked,  Mole (who showed off his name tattooed on his wrist) had his mental state & competence mocked, Antoine had his Polish heritage mocked.  Although not quite as misogynistic as his same named Entourage alter-ego, Bob made plenty of normally politically incorrect comments and profane one-liners about women being in power.  It seemed no matter what the audience whipped at him, Bob was able to hit it out of the park with quick witted zingers. Throughout the two hour show, stories about his father were intertwined with tales from his TV shows and costars.  Wrapping up the show with a 30 minute set of songs that were more ‘blue’ than blues but all the while hilarious, eliciting a rousing standing ovation from the audience.

Jay Brannan – Simply Sing-sational

Jay Brannan – Biltmore Cabaret – November 24, 2010

A boy and his guitar, that’s all it took for an evening of beautiful music.

Jay Brannan, fresh off the plane from Montreal, is on a quick 5 city Canadian tour.

Jay Brannan
Jay Brannan

This half-way show in Vancouver came upon one of the coldest nights of the year, yet somehow the cold suited the night as everyone was huddled together in the cozy Biltmore warmed by some witty, emotional lyrics and his lush vocals.  Perhaps reflecting his acting skills, Jay has an almost musical theatre like voice, at times emotional and melancholy where as to others it’s comedic and charming.  Telling stories, whether in lyrics or to the audience between songs is an art that he has perfected. The audience was genuinely enamoured by the charms of this superstar in the making as he carried on a what felt like conversation with a couple hundred of his closest friends who sang along to “Christmas Really Sucks”, “Housewife” and “Beautifully”

Jay & Jay
The Two Jays

No pretension, no demands, just great music from a sincerely nice, brilliantly talented guy

Sara Bareilles – Not Gonna Write You A Love Song!

Sara Bareilles – Commodore Ballroom – November 23, 2010

Sara Bareilles
Sara Bareilles

“This show is all about interactivity” said Sara Bareilles as she wowed the crowd at Commodore Ballroom.  Touring in support of her latest album Kaleidescope Heart Sara took us on an emotional, entertaining and energetic journey.

Her, often times, hilarious banter and storytelling really connected her to the audience who were singing, clapping, snapping and swaying along to every song in the 90 minute set.  Not only was she connecting and supportive of the audience but of her support acts too, bringing out Holly Conlan and Cary Brothers a few times to sing with her. Gliding effortlessly between poppy, sulty, moody and soulful we were incredibly amazed at her vocal range and ability to convey so many moods within her songs, while keeping the show fun and light.

Comedic interludes about Hookers & Blow, William Shakespeare and usage of the “F” word were seamlessly intertwined with details of what some of her songs were written about. For example, Love Song was written in rebellion of being asked by h

Sara Bareilles
Sara on the piano

er label to write a ‘love song’ hence “I’m not gonna write you a love song”.

After an evening with Sara I feel like writing her a love song, she completely won me over. She delivered such a fun evening of entertainment, I went from casual to serious fan in 90 minutes!

Blonde Redhead – Who Has More Fun?

Blonde Redhead – Commodore Ballroom – November 21, 2010

As Blonde Redhead near the end of nearly three months of touring they stopped at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver in support of their eighth album Penny Sparkle

Blonde Redhead
Kazu Makino, Blonde Redhead vocalist, take the stage

The Alt-Rock trio of Amedeo Pace, Simone Pace and Kazu Makino played a beautiful 80 minute set to a small but dedicated crowd who ate up every word. Not that there were many words spoken by the group, other than …thank you very much“ as they left the stage. The music was beautiful and the light show was excellent, a simple set of photographer’s lighting foil umbrellas gave a unique atmosphere. Each of the members of the band were amazingly lit, their white costumes at times making them almost ethereal, as though we were blessed to have witnessed this performance.

Blonde Redhead
Blonde Redhead

Their entire set was very thought out and precise, from entering the stage with Kazu in a mask, (reminiscent of General Grievous in Star Wars), to finish with a wall of sound, that quite possibly was whale calls.  Unfortunately, at times it seemed a bit more, performance art than music performance, leaving me to feel that we were there just to observe, not to participate in the evening. They would have performed the entire show the same way if there was one or one thousand people watching. I would have like to feel a bit more interaction with the fans to make all of us feel welcome and part of the show. However, this slight criticism does not take away from the fact that we witnessed some beautiful music at the Commodore!

Josh Ritter – Stompin’ By

JOSH RITTER – Commodore Ballroom – November 4, 2010

Josh Ritter stopped by the Commodore Ballroom or should I say ‘stomped by’ as everyone in the crowd was definitely stomping along to his country/rock/folk style.Josh Ritter
This was my first Josh Ritter show and I was impressed by the audience being so excited for each and every song. For someone relatively young his vocals and musical style hearken back to another era…Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and even a little Elvis seemed to be mixed into his DNA. Whether playing with his backing band or on his own he commanded the room and certainly looked like he was enjoying himself. I’ve not seen many artists smile and laugh so heartily throughout their performance, this was infectious as the audience smiled and laughed along with him throughout his set.
Everyone had a great time!

Stars -Come Out At Night

STARS – Vogue Theatre – November 4, 2010

Stars brought their infectiously catchy indie-pop to the historic Vogue Theatre in Vancouver. A nearly sold out audience was completely entranced during their set, dancing, bouncing, swaying and singing along as waves of melody (and bubbles) washed over the auditorium. With a vast catalogue of tunes to choose from a Stars show is always full of variety, in tempo, sounds and vocals as they alternate between the great Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan on leads.  The Vogue was a great setting to match the Stars style which can range from laid back and mellow or upbeat and raucous just as the audience in the Vogue can sit for a while then stand up and dance…and in the area I was in, dance, they did! Fun!

Bubbles

I had to cut my experience a bit short of the whole set to see another show but that definitely left me looking forward to their next gig in Vancouver!