Sunday, 31 May 2015

Stanley Cup Finals!!!

When the playoffs began, I predicted the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Stanley Cup in a 7-game series over the Chicago Blackhawks. After getting 12/14 series correct, and correctly predicting the Stanley Cup Finals participants, I'd say I've had a fairly good spring so far.

Obviously, I have no reason to change my prediction now. Lightning in 7.

Should be a great series, I just wish it started before Wednesday....and game 2 not until Saturday? Good grief, the schedule for this series sucks.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Achtung, Baby!! The World's Greatest Rock Band Is In The House.....

U2. The second show of their Innocence and Experience World Tour.

After a nice dinner we arrive at our seats and are thrilled to find that there is nobody sitting behind us.

We are NOT so thrilled that the reason nobody is sitting behind us is because there are no seats behind us. We are in the last freaking row!!! Wow.

I'm up so high I keep looking around for a stewardess.

My buddy, who is sitting in really good seats, is merciless with his taunting when he finds out where we are sitting.

"I'll send a Sherpa up to find you"

"I can't believe you get cell reception up there"

"I've never had any poor friends before"

I can't even give him grief, because if the situations were reversed I'd be saying exactly the same things.

He was also at last night's opening show and he does say that the show itself is so huge it fills up the entire arena. It better. I warn him that the sound may take so long to get up here that we may be a couple of songs behind, so please, no spoilers.

The show, scheduled for 7:30, doesn't start until around 8:45. The restless crowd starts doing "the wave". Yes, the wave.

BTW I posted that statement on Facebook at the time, and I'm sure glad I did. More on that later.

The show starts off with a bang and the band's biggest hit off their new album, The Miracle (of Joey Ramone). The crowd is electric, and so is their huge screen. If you look at the picture above, rather than one of those screens behind the band that everyone uses, they have a screen that runs horizontally the entire length of the arena. It is right above the walkway that they use to go back and forth between the main stage and the circular auxiliary stage at the right end of the picture. The show really is huge, and the sound is also excellent, even in row 845. By the time the second set starts with Invisible, I've almost forgotten how far away I am.

Seriously, the last time I was sitting in front of a wall was the early 80's, at the Pacific Coliseum, having coke thrown at my head as the Flames kicked the extra point to go up 7-0 on the hapless Canucks.

The last concert I was at where I was up this high was November 12, 1987, at BC Place. The band, coincidentally, was U2. Man how far technology has come; although that was a good show, the acoustics of BC Place were so bad you couldn't hear anything, couldn't see anything, it was almost like being at home on my couch listening to scratched records.

Kids, ask your parents what "records" are.

It is at this point in our story where the dark clouds part (and being up this high, we have no trouble seeing dark clouds), as my wonderful, awesome brother-in-law (I'm forgiving his supporting of the Canucks and Seahawks for one month) sees my Facebook text and invites us down from the Heavens into his suite!! Woo-hoo! Oh man, what an upgrade.

Now that we've arrived in the suite, we can confirm that it actually IS U2 playing, not some band of impostors. I need to sit down for a minute, as a trek from that altitude can mess with your head.

Now we have great seats, a little bit of wine, and shrimp. Coconut shrimp.

So. Much. Coconut. Shrimp.

I'm delighted that they launch into "Angel of Harlem", one of my favorites, and one that they did not play last night. And it got even better right after that, as Bono paid tribute to the one and only legendary B.B. King, who passed away earlier today, in the only way a rock and roll band knows how to pay tribute: through song.

When Love Comes to Town, the duet that the band had done with King on their 1988 Rattle and Hum album and documentary. The first live performance of this song by the band since 1993. Just awesome.

The show continued with hit after hit, finally finishing up the encore with perhaps their biggest hit ever, "One". Interestingly enough, they didn't play "One" at last night's show, which was the first full concert since 1990 that they had skipped it.

You could make a Hall of Fame level album with the amazing songs they did NOT play last night, but when you go to see a band that has been dominating the charts since around 1980, you have to expect that.

Oh, and when we got to the suite, there were three young girls in the row directly in front of us, dancing around like lunatics, singing along with every lyric. I'd say they were around 11, maybe 12 years old. I mention this because it's nice to see that in this day and age of horrible boy bands (One Direction), talentless assclowns (Pitbull, Chris Brown) and horrible hip-hop artists (basically all of them), some young people can still appreciate what great music really is.

What a show.

Here is a link to the entire set list.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

NHL Playoffs, Round 3

Well I'm having a pretty good year in the predictions department, going 3/4 in the second round. Of course, since the one I missed was my beloved Flames, it really doesn't feel as good as it could.

10/12 in the first two rounds so far. Here we go:

Eastern Conference Finals

Tampa Bay over NY Rangers in 6

Gotta stick with my pre-playoffs pick to win it all, and Tampa Bay looked much better in beating Montreal than they did in the first round, so it seems like they are trending in the right direction. The Rangers will live and die with Henrik Lundqvist, and he's a pretty good guy to hang your hat on. I'm expecting a long series and the Lightning to prevail at home in Game 6.

Western Conference Finals

Chicago over Anaheim in 5

Honestly the Ducks don't impress me the way they do some; certainly Getlaf and Perry are top notch players but after that, their depth can't even come close to the Blackhawks. You can stop Kane and Toews? How about Hossa? Saad? Sharp? Etc etc etc.

If they can sweep the Wild, they can sweep this team too, but I'll give the Ducks a shot at one win.