Lizzo at LCA – It’s about damn time!

Ok, for those of you living under a rock, there is this amazing woman changing the face of entertainment one single, one record, one action at a time. It’s obvious why people love her, she is preaching one hell of an amazing set of self love. Her songs speak to everyone about some real world situations, Blame it on the Juice is the catchiest number. And every woman I know does a hair toss and checks her nails.

The concert was an estrogen boost of positivity. There were men there, yes, Jake was our chaperone. But, we ladies really needed a boost and a way to connect. Lizzo is giving us that. In the show, she acknowledged all kinds of women in the audience by pointing out their clothing colors, their hair, reading their signs out to the rest of the people. Really pretty amazing to watch and by the end, there was no way you couldn’t fall madly in love with her.

I’ve seen a bunch of angry men comment that Lizzo is gross, fat, ugly and a bunch of other shit that dudes say to try to sqash women. Well, forget that crap right now. Wear what you like, dress so you feel good and happy. You want 100 feet of extensions, you do you, wanna shave that hair right off, Lizzo’s got your back.

At one point, there was a large group half way up the back and their signs said “Abortion is Healthcare”. Lizzo did not back off from that message either. Loud and proud, this wasn’t about killing babies, this is about women being able to make a decision with their doctors about their own bodies. No wonder men are upset by her, she’s got the mic and she’s using it to empower women everywhere.

See that situation where she used the flute recently. We need more attention and accessibility to arts and music in our culture. It’s one of the ways people can express their anger without needing to lash out violently to others. What’s so wrong with that.

Her dancers were of all sizes and shapes and killing it. What set up that image anyway that every one needs to be tall, thin and blonde (coming from a tall thin blonde woman, I think it’s a load of crap). Watching them work so hard, dance so much and never miss a beat or even look like they were tired or out of breath. Loved them so much.

And, here’s a link to her playlist from setlist.fm

Full disclosure, I am a philanthropist of the arts, music and culture and am self funding the concerts and trips we attend. If you would like to donate to my cause, please venmo me @melissabehring

Panic at the Disco, Marina (and the Diamonds) at Little Ceasars Arena

Oh, the freaking singing last night. Both of these acts feature power house singers. Thank you to my music students for picking such great acts to emulate. Over the last few years, several of my voice/music students have brought a variety of songs by both Panic at the Disco and Marina and the Diamonds to my studio. It’s been an enlightening experience helping them navigate through these interesting lyrics and soaring melodies. A friend who joined us at the show last night mentioned that both artists really seemed to be more operatic in their approach to singing versus a typical pop rock band. I completely agree.

Marina’s most popular song, “How to Be a Heartbreaker“, was covered by a student during my second year of mentoring at the Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music in Royal Oak. It has a catchy toe-tapping beat and some lyrics that provide the “rules” for dating. She paraded around the stage in some ridiculous silver platform shoes and a hot pink feathery dress. Cute to look at but always makes me wonder who encourages that style and did she pick those shoes herself. I’ve seen so many young singers on the highest of heels that makes me wonder if ladies have any clue what really happens. I wore 4 inch platforms and heals for years and years and even out at sea, but now, I’m over that. Give me a pair of tennis shoes or ballerina flats any day.

After Marina, the man, Brandon Urie and the current line up backing him as the band for Panic at the Disco took the stage. Super great round runway creating a central bowl experience that reminded me of the U2 How to dismantle and atomic bomb tour. The band made full use of the runways and Brandon came out at the very beginning from under the stage singing on the big screens and popped up in the middle of that runway. (Great use of a timeless surprise stage tactic.) His voice, man, off the charts. He can sing so freaking high… and the notes are powerful and strong there’s little way to tell the difference between his falsetto, middle voice, other than the higher note’s frequencies. Tons of great songs in his catalogue. You can start at the beginning and find a song called “Death of a Bachelor“, or skip ahead to his latest hit “Viva Los Vengeance“. Most of my students were covering the middle record material and I really can’t find a tune I don’t like by the guy. It’s like he sat down and went, musical theater, let’s hang out with some rock and roll… and write better songs than the Who did in Tommy. And every song from him has an underlying storyline worth paying attention to.

If you want more details about the set list, please go to setlist.fm.

Full disclosure, I am a philanthropist of the arts, music and culture and am self funding the concerts and trips we attend. If you would like to donate to my cause, please venmo me @melissabehring

Sammy Hagar & George Thoroughgood at Pine Knob

My Grandma always says, “If you can’t say anything nice about someone, best not say anything at all.” I agree, except, I really have to say something about the crowd at this performance. I’ve been waiting, because I wanted to stew on what made me so angry and decide if I even want to write about it. But, here I am, in Oregon, miles away from Pine Knob and I think that it feels like a nice release.

We went to the Knob late as I had to teach until 6pm. In the lounge, we had a nice meal with our friend Chad and a couple glasses of wine. When George took the stage, we decided to go for a walk to our seats. It was busy and fun, but we ended up walking the property instead of sitting down. Pine Knob is a beautiful park and has a nice scenic loop around the venue. Yes, I know everyone goes to a show to see the act, but the woodsy scenery really is a beautiful place to take a walk, hold hands and relax. (We did not hold hands with Chad.)

After George, there was a brief intermission and then the headliner, Sammy Hagar. So cool, Jason Bonham on drums, I mean the son of Led Zepplin’s John Bonham himself. And he actually was the saving grace of the entire night. The crowd, I’m sorry, but not sorry, what a bunch of assholes. Pushing and aggressive men all the bunch. To top it all off, just wasted, hammered and completely embarrassing. The man in the row behind me was so wrecked, he whipped out his dick and took a piss right at the seats. I can’t believe that he would have done that if he were sober, but then again, I really don’t know anymore about people. Especially people in large groups.

So, Sammy, honestly, I don’t need one more asshole man yelling “I want some pu$$y”. How about a little sensitivity training? Grow up. Then, Michael Anthony proceeds to rip on the electronic car market. Does he know what we do in Detroit? We make cars, design cars and are currently creating some of the most affordable electric vehicles in the world. But hey, you do you and just bite the hand that feeds you. The crowd booed him. I can’t tell though if it was in agreement with the EV complaint, or if it was actually because the audience makes these cars and we know it’s the future.

Sad to say, that will be my last Hagar show. I’m over the entire entitlement white men have in this world, and when they drink it’s even worse… so, thanks for the memories. (No, I did not buy a t-shirt.)

Alicia Keys at Freedom Hill Amphitheater (Michigan Lottery)

Freedom Hill is the smaller outdoor park in Sterling Heights, or maybe that’s Utica out there in the Metro Detroit Suburbs. It’s off Big Beaver, aka 16 mile road and they have a large gravel parking area behind the venue that wraps around for acres. Of course, we have to park our cars somewhere. Interesting situation about this show is we had some VIP parking and lounge access attached out our seats. Row DDD section 200, which happens to be about four rows off the front of the stage. 

Alicia Keys, apologies to the opener, I rarely miss them, but last night we had family from Florida with us and it was more important to visit than listen to a new band. Anyway, about Alicia Keys, that women some folks know from the Voice television program, then there are the rest of us. Back in the middle late 1990’s, Clive Davis introduced us to a new woman on vocals and piano who had some soulful intentions that would remind me of Aretha Franklin.

Ten records after Songs in A Minor and we’re all still singing along. Her melodies are soaring the words are uplifting anthems that are key to our survival. When she sings about New York’s concrete jungle streets, you are there walking them with her. Everyone knew when she broke “Fallin’” that we were also falling in and out of love with her lover too. So many women knew what she meant, we were going to be there through the end. 

I remember watching her on tv with less make up and thought damn, that shit is brave. Everyone thinks we all need to be fully clowned up in order to be beautiful and there she was on internationally syndicated television with a light coating of foundation and mascara. I’m sure that in the dressing room there was more preparation for her face than I am eluding to, but when she was on camera against her peers and the other singers on the show, she looked fresh and dewy. Last night, same thing fresh dewy face with enough Swarovski crystals in her hair and on her trench coat to make all the girls jealous. She shined bright like a diamond, but that’s a whole different singer.

I really enjoyed the show. Fourth row is a bad ass place to sit, we really loved being so close. Except for the damn volume, I sound like an old person, but those big speakers are like being in an abusive relationship. The subwoofers pump your chest and the treble beats in your ears. If you are not bringing ear plugs to any show, you are doing permanent hearing damage. I believe if you are hearing sounds over 110 decibels, for longer than 10 or 15 minutes, you are doing irreparable damage. Since we go to so many performances, both ones that we put on and by other famous artists with more powerful sound systems, I a huge proponent of plugging up your shit. For cheap plugs, consider these, but if you go as frequently as we do, you might want to invest in something more for listening to music.

As always, you can check out a more respected writer like Gary Graff (but I think he was at Pine Knob for Alice In Chains last night), and the song list from each performers show is out at Setlist.fm. I hope that you, dear reader, find some time to listen to some live music this summer while it’s still nice weather.

Thundercat, the Strokes & the Red Hot Chili Peppers at Comerica Park

This is the first large stadium show I’ve been to since before the Pandemic. To be honest, we usually don’t go to the biggest shows anymore as we’ve seen the acts in other venues or just don’t want to deal with the crowds. This event was a blast and totally worth being around so many other folks… and believe me, there were alot of people there.

There were 8 sections on the Comerica Park field, plus a pit area, then behind us on all sides (except the Detroit Athletic Club facing center field). I mean they had each section full, plus the entire upper deck also looked pack. Our seats were on the main floor, aka the middle of the baseball field. Section DD, row 13, seats 34 & 35. Our neighbors met us down there for the fun.

The opener, Thundercat, something else on the bass, jazz and funk sounds. It was a serious on slaught of notes from the minute he took the stage. I’m not sure how many people were into him or even paid attention. But I was riveted. I first heard him on NPR Tiny Desk with Mac Miller (RIP). I really didn’t know what the big deal was when Mac introduced him, except to say the quality of the songs he was working on with Mac were of another earthly plane. Then I started digging into his other music and found it to have a smooth silky high falsetto voice and a fast undulating bass that had a feeling of the old funk disco. I recommend checking out his songs like Funny Thing and Them Changes which he performed on Steven Colbert with Jon Batiste. I’ll be looking out to hear him again in the future, just hopefully not in such a big space.

The second act was the Strokes, featuing Julian Casablancas on lead vocals and other players that are all his childhood friends. Super cool to think that he collected musicians along his life journey that would eventually lead to his super famous grammy award winning band I’m never quite sure how this band got to be so popular as it’s a bit ‘Last Night’ sounding to me over their entire music catalog. I did enjoy hearing them. We stayed on the main floor for the first 4 songs, but the volume was intense and I needed to pee, so we hit the lounge, aka the Tiger Den.

Just at the last two numbers, we headed back down to our “seats”. I use the term seats lightly, cause really, there wasn’t any sitting happening. Honestly, how could ya? When the music started to indicate RHCP (Red Hot Chili Peppers) were taking the stage, it was pretty electric. Everyone was out of their seats and breathing in anticipation. For those of you not from Michigan/Detroit, Chad Smith, the drummer is somewhat of an icon in our area. The local boy with a really popular Detroit band (Toby Redd), takes off to Los Angeles, connects with another Michigan boy, Anthony Kiedis, from Grand Rapids and makes one of the most popular bands of the 1990’s and beyond.

Seriously, these guys not only created great hits like “Give it Away“, “Under the Bridge“, and “By the Way“, but they survived the 90’s.

Think about how many of their grunge peers from the 90’s have already left this plane and moved on to the next. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon), Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), and Andrew Patrick Wood (Mother Love Bone), are those major players of the 1990’s grunge sound to have passed on.

These are some of the most iconic acts of their time.


Now maybe the RHCP’s would say they aren’t that kind of band (grunge, alternative, etc). But they are from that era and for me, they speak to my inner Doc Martin Flannel wearing self.

You can check out their playlist on Setlist.fm if you’re intereseted in hearing which songs you missed out on. I’m just glad we went and equally as glad we made it home safe. Never know these days with what’s going on in the world.

Thank you #RHCP for a great night feeling young, safe, loved and musical… Forever grateful. #luckylife

Cheap Trick & Rod Stewart at Pine Knob Music Theater

Cheap Trick & Rod Stewart at Pine Knob. So many great songs, where to start. Oh, with arguably the “greatest live rock n roll band” as they introduced themselves. Robin Zander single handed saved my faith in an aging rock singer. His pipes were on, his son is in the band also and covered “the one high note” at the end of the flame. But seriously, I couldn’t stay seated. Dance and rock that’s what we did from the start of the show at 7:30 until the bitter end. Of course, Cheap Trick played the favorites, Surrender, I Want You to Want Me, but I really lost my shit over Dream Police. You know there are just some tunes that really get ya… well, they are in my head.

Rod the Mod, he is a historian of global and American culture. Last time we saw him was the American Songbook tour (he’s a Scottish man who understands the value of our music & it’s greater contribution to everyone’s culture everywhere.) He had a fun group… seriously felt like a Princess Cruises revue of Rod. Six talented women playing instruments, dancing & singing flanked him at all times and a great guitars & rhythm section too. (Did I mention harp?) How about the nods to his Celtic heritage and the dancing… soccer balls and acoustic stripped down front on the stage connecting with the audience… or the fact that every song was a huge hit. So fun, so glad we went. Thanks Rod!

Brian Wilson (the Beach Boys) and Chicago at Pine Knob Music Theater

Last night we saw Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys) and Chicago at Pine Knob. If you haven’t noticed a recurring theme of questioning how to age gracefully in the arts as an entertainer in my posts over the last several months, let me be more blunt. 

Brian Wilson is not a young man, and his behavior when he was a young man has clearly impacted him as he is aging. The music he composed however is keeping us all younger and making a lot of people happy still today. His band was great, the singing arrangements were fantastic and very impressive. They are obviously all very good friends with Brian and care about him immensely. We’ve seen this show before and a smaller venue, the Royal Oak music Theatre back in 2019 before the pandemic. Worth seeing if you like California dreaming and surf music… highly recommend for nostalgia sake alone.

Chicago, not just a city in Jake and my roots as a couple, but a band we both love the music of. We’ve been to see them many times at Pine knob, formerly DTE, and I have to say I enjoyed the other performances more. They played more Peter Cetera songs and had someone on bass that really sounded like Peter. The man on bass tonight, was great and sang well… I just wanted a little more from the entire experience as a whole. I am glad we went though… 

To the folks yelling their medical business behind us during the concert, I really didn’t need to know about your bloodwork, exams and doctor dialogue… I came to listen to music and forget about problems for a few hours… maybe you should have tried listening to Mr Wilson.

Elton John’s Farewell Tour

Last night a lot of folks I know went to Elton John’s farewell concert at Comerica Park. Surprisingly, we did not. But I have the most fabulous story about him… a few years back, like when I still had red & black hair, it was Jake’s birthday (April 24, 2005). We decided to spend it at the Palace of Auburn Hills listening to Elton. I’m huge into merch. We were studying the offerings and considering a possible shirt when a dude taps us on the shoulder. “You guys look like Elton Fans”… Us, “Well sorta”, him, “Not quite the answer I was looking for, so let’s try this question. You guys celebrating anything special?” Us, “Yeah, it’s his birthday today!” Guy, “Perfect! I’m Elton’s keyboard tech. He sends me out with front row tickets for fans cause he doesn’t want to see them scalped. So how’d you like to sit in the front row?!?” Us, “Obviously YES!”So, we moved from our nice-ish seats to sit right under Elton’s teleprompter. Good news I could sing along to most every word of every song. (Thanks to the Anderson’s down the road for having all his records when I babysat their kids.)Elton kept looking at us and we kept partying and singing along. It was like we were in the band. Jake kept saying encouraging words to him (like a dork). His choir was amazing and featured some local Detroiter’s. Every song was special, not one was a dud.At the end, he shook our hands smiled, said thank you for being so fun. I said thank you for Rocketman, I mean what the hell else do you say in 10 seconds? (I love sparkles because of you, I think every girl deserves a song like Candle in the Wind? Or I wanted a brother like Daniel too? How about Bernie, think you could share the secret to your chemistry?)… nope, just said “rocketman, burning out his fuse up here alone”. Just felt right. Thank you Elton for such an amazing experience. I hope everyone loved your show last night as much as I love this one memory.Now, go put on Rocketman and sing real loud, I know you wanna…

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Chris Isaak & Lyle Lovett at Meadow Brook Ampitheatre

Sunday funday off with Jake Tobias Meadow Brook Amphitheatre Chris Isaak and Lyle Lovett. Saw some friends there and they asked who I was there for (both). Someone else said I’m surprised to see you here. Guess I’m full of surprises these days, but I like great music and great performances. These guys did not disappoint.

Lyle brought some heavy hitters, Muscle Shoals horns, legend, Leland Sklar on bass and nods to Spinal Tap with Russ Kunkel on drums. Chris brought his California style rock that might make you confused with Texas style honky tonk country, but really sounds a lot like Roy Orbison. Best line of the night, “An entertainer who wears this suit is bringing you the highest quality of State Fair style entertainment.” And he was right, I could have happily been at the fair when he busted into his most famous hit, “Wicked Game”.

Blue October & the Goo Goo Dolls at Freedom Hill Ampitheater

Last night, after a whirl wind drive home to Royal Oak from “Up North”, we attended the Blue October and Goo Goo Dolls concert at Freedom Hill Amphitheater. It’s a bit smaller than Pine Knob where we se most shows. This time, our seats were H 512 and 513. Back and up from the stage, but with a nice full view. The sound in there was great for both bands.

Selfishly, I think the mix for Blue October was a bit better. It’d been several years since I last saw Justin & the guys from BO. In fact, many, last time was in Stubb’s Austin backyard in Texas and Jake’s Mom was alive. When Jake and I were first friends, he called me from Austin and said what do you know about South by Southwest. So I sent him a few bands to listen to… and he returned the favor by finding Blue October. I really think they are spectacular. Very emotional music, strong messaging and a clearly troubled leader. Justin Furstenfeld represtents strength and passion for the lead singing loving crowd with great melodies that are reachable for any vocal experience. He also clearly has mental health issues with some pretty intense emotional baggage that he’s publicly dealt with. I’m grateful to him for sharing his experience so that others can learn from him. Favorite songs, “Hate Me” and “Into the Ocean” from Foiled, “I Hope You’re Happy” from the same titled album had the crowd going and got me excited. Their songs are worth checking out… but my favorite is Inner Glow, they didn’t play that.

The headlining act, the Goo Goo Dolls, features John Reznik on lead vocals and most songs are also written by him. They were talking about playing Detroit in 1987, I think I started to get into those guys in 1988. The record store in the Alpena Mall was called Camelot Music. They sold tapes, cd’s, albums and some videos too. I remember hanging out there for hours looking at every album cover trying to figure out what to spend my limited budget on and also what they actually sounded like behind that picture on the cover. I’m not sure when, but there he was in my ears his sort of scratchy long way down vocal that permeates every song by the Goo. Since then, I’ve been hooked. When Reznick had writers block, my heart bleed for him. Then we got Iris and Name because of that… and everyone in the crowd new the words and sang along. I really like the song that starts out “Broadway is Dark Tonight”, it reminds me of staying up too late. It also doesn’t sound quite so typically Reznik so that’s also kinda cool. They played that.

It was super hot, all night long I thought we would melt. The night before we played for 2 hours and 15 minutes straight at the Atlanta Arts & Crafts fair. One would have thought we were in Georgia and not Michigan. Two nights in a row in that kind of weather and I really could barely make it to the end of either concert. We walked to the parking lot while the Goo wrapped up…

I bought a nice yellow Goo Goo Dolls shirt with the tour dates on the back and also one from Blue October with the tour dates. I’m trying to support the arts the best way I can. Spreading the word, spreading the wealth, spreading the love. Hope you are doing the same.

This weeks starts a month of crazy outdoor August shows for me. Thursday 11th Wize Guys, Double header: Thurs 18 Royal Oak Summer Concert Series and Oak City Grille, Friday August 19 Village of Rochester Hills, Sat August 20 Wize Guys in Flat Rock and closing out the summer Sunday 21st Oak City Grille in Royal Oak.

Lastly, thank you to our friend Craig L. Smith for supporting and encouraging arts and music with the 2nd Annual Arts and Crafts Fair in Atlanta. It was wonderful to play in the Bob Ross painting known as Briley Park again this year. Happy summer indeed.

#icouldsleepfordays#exhausted#luckylife