Last night was fan-freaking-tastic. Seriously. It started off stressful, but ended wonderful.
I initially was planning to leave for Lenox around 4 or 5, since it’s only a 45 minute ride. I called the venue to find out what time the gates opened and they said FOUR. 4? Really? OK, change of plans. I called my friend Trish (she was tagging along last night) and let her know we needed to leave by 3. Tanglewood has GNARLY traffic, and I wanted to avoid as much as possible.
We had some time to kill so we wandered. There were really neat sculptures made out of recycled materials all over the grounds, like this one:
Around 6:40, we decided to head to our seats, because Andy Grammer was scheduled to go on at 7. One thing I’ll say about Tanglewood-they run a tight ship. At 7:01 the lights dimmed, so I grabbed my camera and ran up to the front. There’s no photo pit at this venue, so I sort of felt like a photo ninja, trying to be stealthy and not get in anyone’s way. I stayed low and did a lot of sitting on stage stairs to get shots. Security was really accommodating and let me hang there the entire set.
Andy came running on stage and the crowd was PUMPED. He grabbed a guitar and started strumming. He started off the show with “In the Pocket”.
Everyone was on their feet, dancing and clapping. Next up, “Ladies”, followed up by “Miss Me”. Andy is a versatile performer. His lyrics are catchy, the vocals are great and he likes to switch it up-on one song he’d play the guitar and on another, he’d be at the keyboard. He definitely has great stage presence and really gets the crowd involved. At one point, he ran down the stage steps and along the perimeter of the covered portion of the venue. He was singing the whole time, with a crowd of fans literally chasing him the whole way. There’s a pretty extensive lawn area and he was really putting on a show for the folks picnicking on the lawn.
Andy and his bassist, Zach, have great interaction on stage. They were jamming together with their respective instruments and really just having a good time. It’s easy to tell when a performer is going through the motions-not so with Andy and his crew, they genuinely enjoy entertaining and are grateful for the fans. Here’s a pic of Andy and Zach tearing it up:
There was a rousing (and surprising!) rendition of Rihanna’s “We Found Love”. Definitely unexpected, but really well done. Up next were the hits! Andy finished his set with “Fine By Me” and then sat back down at the keys for “Keep Your Head Up” . It was very sadly, a short set. Much, much too short. Andy is a well rounded entertainer and I would have loved to see a longer set.
After Andy left the stage, I made my way back to my friend. We headed out to the designated area to check in for the meet and greet. After being outfitted with spiffy wristbands, we stood and waited for the others to arrive, while we listened to Mat Kearney’s set. Meet and greets can be purchased or won…Andy requests that fans in the house tweet him and he selects a few fans to direct message and invite them as well. By 8:40, we were slightly nervous that not everyone was there yet, because we really didn’t want to miss Train’s entire set. Fortunately, it was prompt, at 8:45 we were on our way. I have to say-the meet and greet location was definitely different than anything I’ve done. I’m used to being indoors for these things, but this was outside…in the middle of the woods in the Berkshires at 9 o’clock at night. Very cool and unexpected.
We held up the very end of the line. When it was our turn, I let my friend Trish go first:
We had received these cool posters when we checked in for the meet and greet, and Andy signed them. Trish and I both had them autographed to our daughters. Andy’s meet and greets are NOT rushed, in any way. For as much as other m&g are over as quickly as they begin, they give you as much time as you want with Andy. You can talk to him, ask him questions, whatever tickles your fancy. Beyond that, it’s not overpriced. I believe I overheard someone say that it was $25. A true bargain, when you consider most will set you back a couple of hundred bucks. Next was my turn:
It was nice to have an opportunity to introduce myself. I gave Andy my card and let him know I was reviewing the show. He was gracious and kind, which is really a breath of fresh air. Andy is NOT a diva. I also need to give big ups to his crew. His tour manager and merch manager were beyond cool-very accommodating, friendly and funny. With the amount of insanity they have to deal with, it’s nice to see that they let the majority roll off.
A quick heart warmer here, I’ll wait while you get the tissues….I started talking to a nice woman and her son while we were waiting for the meet and greet. She was telling me that she and her son always go to shows together and that it was their last concert together before he went into the Navy. He’d arranged for them to meet Andy and Train. While she was talking I could see her eyes get misty, even in the dark. It’s an act of courage to join the military-almost moreso for the mother who watches their child go to fight for our country. During the meet and greet I asked their permission to take a photo and post the story, which they were fine with. Unfortunately, I didn’t get their names but I say to both of them-thank you for your sacrifice. Here is their photo with Andy:
Andy is in Atlantic City tonight. He’s got a few more shows on the East Coast, including one that doesn’t show on the list next Saturday in Boston. It’s the Mixfest, with Train and Gavin DeGraw, and get this-it’s FREE! The show is at the Hatch Shell. After that, he heads south and then finishes up on the left coast.
You can keep up with Andy’s goings on here: http://www.andygrammer.com/ Be sure to follow him on twitter @andygrammer and “like” him on Facebook to really keep up with contests, promos and calls for help with merch, which are sometimes available (and get you into the show free!).
Also, come on over to Facebook and check out the entire set of photos from the show here: https://www.facebook.com/mayheminmelody
Since this is a pretty lengthy post, I think we’ll save Train for next time. Be sure to come back and check that out tomorrow!