Tag Archives: Amway Arena

Jack Johnson Jams “To the Sea”

Where do I start?  So, Jack Johnson came to the Amway Arena (not the new one, which is Amway Center) in Orlando to support his fifth studio release “To The Sea” and you didn’t have a ticket?  Well, I say, when a rainy, August, Central Florida day can be instantly transformed into a Hawaiian resort, you buy a ticket for that!

If I knew you well, I would even tell you that missing tonight’s show was “culturally irresponsible” and that you should rush off to either Tampa or West Palm Beach in the next couple nights and catch up with Jack.  If I had the means or the time, I would do both.

Upon entering the arena, we were greeted by All At Once staff members with our Village Green Passport encouraging us to take environmental action, meet local non-profit partners, and learn how Jack and his crew are minimizing the environmental impact of the tour  I met the people from the Simple Living Institute from right here in Central Florida.

Before we could see Jack there were some opening acts. ALO and G. Love were exceptional. ALO includes one of Jack’s musicians in Zach Gill. They played about eight songs including my favorite “Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down.”  Zach nearly jumped into the crowd during a cover of “Eye of the Tiger” inserted into the middle of another their songs.  While G. Love sits in a chair with a single spotlight, guitar and harmonica and lives up to his billing: “The Foot Stompin’ Street Side Blues of G. Love”. G. Love provided another 35 minutes of very entertaining and diverse music for a one man band. He has the humor, soul and guitar licks of John Mayer and adds in moments drawn from varying genres of music. I will be buying the music of both opening acts very soon and would recommend that you do the same.

Well, this was my first time seeing Jack. I have long wanted to see him live. We had built it up for years that we were not seeing another concert until we saw Jack.  We own almost all of his music and a surf film or two.  Jack did not disappoint!

Two hours straight through and almost thirty songs.  He played new stuff.  He played old stuff  He covered other artists and shared the spotlight with so many musicians.  The stage fluxuated from Jack alone to nearly a dozen performers playing together.  Truthfully, we were blown away at the ease with which Jack related to the crowd with many conversational give and takes from reading signs and taking requests to talking to a young kid in the front row and supplying him with protective headphones.  He even dedicated songs to certain people that he would spot in the crowd like when he started “Upside Down” he said for that kid sitting on his dad’s shoulders and gestured to them.

I had often wondered how such a mellow act would come off live in concert.  Let me tell you that it was powerful and moving!  I was emotional and blown away by how simple it was for the show to overwhelm the audience.  The stage is nearly barren.  There are no fancy sets, just musicians, instruments and a big screen backdrop.  As Jack says near the end of the show between “Do You Remember” and “Angel” both clearly written to his wife “these are songs to you, but to me they are gifts.”  After seeing Jack Johnson live tonight, his music transformed for me from songs to gifts.  Thanks, Jack!

Unofficial Set List
  • You and Your Heart
  • If I Had Eyes
  • Taylor
  • Sitting, Waiting, Wishing
  • To The Sea
  • Upside Down
  • Go On
  • Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology
  • Bubble Toes
  • From The Clouds
  • Wasting Time
  • Breakdown
  • Banana Pancakes
  • Mudfootball
  • Turn Your Love
  • Country Road (with Paula Fuga)
  • [unknown] (with Paula Fuga)
  • Flake
  • The Joker
  • Good People
  • Inaudible Melodies
  • Staple It Together (bassist Merlo Polewski sets down the bass and channels all three Beastie Boys in a verse)
  • At or With Me
  • Encore:
  • Do You Remember
  • Angel
  • A Pirate Looks at Forty
  • Better Together (with Paula Fuga, G. Love and ALO)
I do not know what the attendance was tonight, but the arena had to be near capacity.  If you were not one of them, promise yourself that you will catch Jack at the very next chance you get.  Keep an eye out for G. Love and Zach Gill as I expect them to be household names very soon.
And as an FYI for those of you into the green scene, “To The Sea” was recorded at Johnson’s two solar-powered studios: The Mango Tree in Hawaii and the Solar Powered Plastic Plant in Los Angeles.
This review was written by Guest Blogger Extraordinaire Mike Kennedy, Central Florida resident, dad, blogger, and avid swim and beach fan. His blog can be seen at The Mike Kennedy and he can be followed on twitter at @themikekennedy.
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World Championship of Stuffed Sports!

The 18th Annual Celebrity Mascot Games was held this past weekend and was, as usual, a display of the best talents in the world of Stuffed Sports.

If you are like me, most sporting events are long, boring stretches of sweaty dudes trying steal a ball from each other while you wait for the mascot to run out and entertain us. The Celebrity Mascot Games is the only event in the world that eliminates that wait for you by bringing together the thirty best mascots and running them through competitions to determine which group of mascots are the fastest, the strongest, the smartest, and–well, they are mascots after all!–the best at “bending” the rules.

This year’s event featured some pretty intense American Gladiators-style events and really kicked the intensity up a notch. I know what you are thinking: We live in Orlando and therefore have the BEST mascot in sports, Stuff the Magic Dragon, so how can these games possibly be fair with Stuff on his home turf? Stuff is a very gracious host to the other mascots and doesn’t flaunt his home-field advantage over them……much! (Except for his rapelling-from-the-top-of-the-arena entrance–the crowd went CRAZY!–and using a motorcycle for some of the events, you would hardly even know it was Stuff’s house!)

Stuff the Magic Dragon

I always come away from the games with a new favorite mascot and this year was no exception. I remember my first Celebrity Mascot Games and encountering for the first time the University of Nebraska’s mascot Lil’ Red and literally losing my breath with laughter at some of the tricks he could pull. (This year he flipped upside-down and did the YMCA dance with his feet….which inspired Stuff to try the same trick….on top of a 30 foot ladder!)

Lil' Red

This year I was very impressed with some of the local mascots: Tommy Tar from Rollins College and Thunderbug from the Tampa Bay Lightning both did great jobs. Raymond from the Tampa Bay Rays was very low energy, but somehow made it work for him. Knightro the UCF Knight also made an impressive showing, and Albert and Alberta from the University of Florida were crowd favorites as usual.

Albert and Alberta

I was excited to see Globie from the Harlem Globetrotters for the first time. Fin from the Vancouver Canucks always seemed to be in the middle of the action and here’s a special nod to Harry the Hawk from the Atlanta Hawks; he walked EXACTLY like a bird, that can’t be easy to pull off for several hours in an outfit like that!

Globie

All of this craziness came together at the Amway Arena to raise some money for an outstanding charity, New Hope for Kids, a local charity that offers support to children and families who have lost a loved one and also grants wishes to kids in the Central Florida area who have life-threatening illnesses. New Hope is a great charity and 90 cents of every dollar goes toward program services.

New Hope for Kids Banner

This post was by Guest Blogger Extraordinaire Ross, Superproducer of SomaCow, the Greatest Internet Talk Show, Ever! Tune in to SomaCow on Fridays or Sundays to listen live, or relive the experience with a podcast. Ross can be followed on Twitter @Elross. 

Ross and friends...

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A Night to Remember…

Bublé…Bublé…Bublé…Bublé.

Said fast and repeatedly, his name matches the sound of my heart beating quickly all day on Wednesday (March 10, 2010) in anticipation of seeing Michael Bublé  in concert at the Amway Arena.

The excitement had been building inside me since I first purchased tickets for my sisters and their “hubby” dates and for my own husband and myself as Christmas gifts.  I’ve been patting myself on the back for three whole months for coming up with the perfect gift…dinner for the six of us at Houston’s and this sure-fire winner of a show!  Great gift, huh?  It’s even better when you know a special little story behind it… 

Michael Bublé represents a very meaningful link for our family.  Our father, who passed away last August, adored Michael’s music…so much so, that we played Bublé ballads at his funeral.  “You’re My Everything” speaks volumes about our dad; its upbeat lyrics and pop sound are just so “him” when he was at his cutest and sweetest.  He also adored Michael’s jazz renderings, but, more than almost any others of his songs, Daddy loved the Sinatra-influenced numbers.  What a treat to be able to see our father’s musical hero in person!

But, there’s more…  March 10th was also the anniversary of our dear mother’s passing.  She’s been gone for four years now, but we celebrate her life and all that she was every minute of every day.  We know that she and our father dance in heaven to Bublé’s songs and certainly were dancing and smiling down at us while we sat mesmerized in the Amway Arena.

The opening act of the show was an a cappella group whose style is dubbed “vocal play,” called Naturally 7.  Wow!  They used their voices to create the sounds of different musical instruments, and the results were incredible.  One fellow even replicated an entire set of drums!  Their singing harmonies were fantastic, too!  One song, in particular, stood out for us because of its amazing beat but pure sweetness — “While My Guitar Gently Sleeps.”  The first tenor, Rod Eldridge, hit the most incredible high notes at the end of the song that I have ever heard!  I would go to a lone concert by Naturally 7 any time…any place!

To say that the audience was “warmed up” by the time Michael Bublé appeared is a complete understatement.  The excitement was palpable.  When he reached the stage, he started out “hot” and only got hotter — in every way!  He is adorable…charming, witty, great looking, and someone most women would love to take home!  (I imagine his new fiancee might not be too happy about that!)  And that voice!  He opened with “Cry Me a River,” and the arena exploded!

This was the opening night of Bublé’s “Crazy Love” tour, and I believe Orlando is really crazy in love with him!  The concert sold out back in December, and the arena was completely filled!  Michael gave us lots to hold in our hearts — Billy Vera and the Beaters’ “At This Moment,” “Mack the Knife,” “All of Me,” Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love,” “Georgia,” “For Once in my Life,” and on and on.  I stopped writing song titles when he did a tribute to his boyhood idol, Michael Jackson.  Bublé sang “Billie Jean,” strutted and danced a la Jackson, and it was so cool!  Unbelievably, he ended up down in the audience!  He made his way to a small stage in the middle of the arena floor, followed by throngs of fans with cell phone cameras, and actually sang “Home” in the middle of the crowd!  He obviously loves being so close to his fans, grasping hands, smiling for photos, and making personal remarks to many.

What a treat!  From start to finish, it was a magical experience for my family.  The stage was glorious, with special lighting effects and backgrounds, big video images of Michael (live, of course), gorgeous colors and patterns, and a very slippery looking, angled floor on which he danced and displayed his quite talented footwork!  I would have totally wiped out on it!  

I’m still patting myself on the back for thinking of this great gift for my family.  The best part is…it was a wonderful gift for me, too!  I’ll never forget it.

Posted by longtime Floridian and guest blogger Mary Margaret Bowen, Vice President at Park Maitland School • Daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother • Artist, teacher, computer geek, photographer, collector of antiques, art, and memories.

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The Circus is Coming to Town!

Here’s Britney at Madison Square Garden performing “Toxic” as part of her Circus tour. A great sneak peek for those attending…let me know how the Orlando show is tomorrow night!

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Local 14-year-old Can Sure Play a Mean Guitar!

Those who attended the Green Day concert last week at Amway Arena were treated a a display by a very talented Central Florida resident.  Green Day is known for always pulling a local guitarist on stage to perform with them, and even the Twittersphere was abuzz speculating just who might go up at their Orlando concert.  Turns out Trinity Prep student Nicholas Amend had the honors…and he was nearly flawless in his outstanding performance!

This first video gives the background into just how Nicholas was chosen to be the one to come up:

This second video shows Nicholas from a much closer angle. He’s the one running around…

Congrats, Nicholas, and way to make Central Florida proud!

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American Idol Auditions in Orlando

Click here for more pictures, including more of Ryan Seacrest!

From the Orlando Sentinel.

From the Orlando Sentinel.

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