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Archive for the ‘McCarter Theatre’ Category

[CANCELLED: June 6, 2020] Acrobuffos

indexS. took her Girl Scouts to see Acrobuffos and said it was great.  I had actually wanted to go to the show but was on a Scout hike that weekend.

So when they announced they were coming to McCarter, I bought us all tickets.

Of course, now McCarter has cancelled the rest of their season, so we can only hope that the troupe comes back next season.

What are Acrobuffos?

Visual, completely wordless, comedic physical theater. The Acrobuffos present sophisticated image-driven performances, playing games using poetic mime. They are not your typical clowns – they are artists and surrealists – who will not be easily categorized.

Who wouldn’t love that?

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[CANCELLED: May 21, 2020] Chris Thile

indexI got tickets for S and I to see Chris Thile because we both like Nickel Creek.  I’m not even sure that I told her about this show before McCarter decided to cancel their entire season.

Chris Thile is a masterful mandolin player.  I’ve seen him on numerous occasions in various Tiny Desk Concerts and I saw him with Punch Brothers, which was a lot of fun.

I’m not sure what he would have done as a solo artist (or if he was going to have special guests).  I don’t really care so much either, because whatever he did would be great.

I hope he comes back next season.

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[CANCELLED: April 5, 2020] Cirque Éloize: Hotel

indexWe have seen two productions by Cirque Éloize: Saloon and Cirkopolis and they have both been fantastic.  We were really excited to see this third show, Hotel.  [They have six shows in production: ID, Nezha, the Pirate Child and Serge Fiori, Suel Ensemble.

Then my Scout even was scheduled for that weekend which meant that C. and I couldn’t go but S. and T. could.

Of course, now McCarter has cancelled the rest of their season, so we can only hope that the troupe comes back next season.

 

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[CANCELLED: March 27, 2020] The Peking Acrobats

indexWe didn’t have tickets for this show yet.  I’m not entirely sure we were even going to go.

We have seen many Chinese acrobatic troupes perform; however it has been six years since we last went to such a performance and we were thinking it might be fun to take the kids now that they are a little older.

There always seems to be some kind of troupe coming through New Jersey, so even if this show is not rescheduled, it seems likely we’ll be able to see some amazing acrobats in the near future.

 

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[ATTENDED: January 18, 2020] Richard Thompson

After seeing Richard Thompson back in 2016 (three times in a short span) I decided I could take a break from seeing him a bit.  Although when he announced an electric trio tour I was really excited to check it out.  Sadly, I couldn’t make that show.  But when he announced another show at McCarter (I believe his 20th show there?) I figured it had been four years and was time to see him again.

This was my tenth time seeing Richard Thompson (first time in 1997).  I tend to focus a lot on the songs that Richard plays at every show.  I’m sure I’ve seen “Beeswing” and “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” ten times.  But in this set he played 13 songs that I hadn’t seen in at least the previous two shows and that’s pretty awesome.

We had some amazing seats (center stage about eight rows back) and we could see his fretwork absolutely clearly. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 16, 2019] I’m With Her

I’m with Her is something of a folk and bluegrass supergroup made up of Aoife O’Donovan, Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins.  I knew each of them from previous Tiny Desk Concerts and knew I’m With Her from a Tiny Desk Concert as well.

I was pretty excited to see them as both Sara and Sarah were on my list of artists that I wanted to see live (I was otherwise unfamiliar with Aoife).  One thing that always come up is their name–did they name themselves after the Hillary Clinton campaign?  In fact, no, the three got together and named themselves before Clinton used the slogan for her campaign.  Technically the band came first, but the Clinton campaign didn’t take it from them either, evidently–coincidental naming.  The band says that the exposure certainly didn’t hurt–but if it had been the other side’s campaign, they definitely would have fought it.

But on to the music.  The women sing in absolutely gorgeous harmony.  Individually, their voices are wonderful, but as they add one and then a second harmony…swoon.  They also switch instruments constantly–fiddle, mandolin, ukulele, guitar, banjo.  Everything sounds a little different. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 16, 2019] Billy Strings

I had never heard of Billy Strings before this show.  But when he was announced, the crowd was really effusive about him, which led me to think that he was well-known.  And I gather he is.  He has some 40,000 fans on his Facebook page, which is no small thing.   (Interestingly, headliners I’m with Her have only 22,000).

So Billy Strings came out and I swear I thought he was 18 (he’s 26).  He said a friendly “Hi, folks” and proceeded to absolutely blown me away with his guitar playing.  He opened with Brown’s Ferry Blues a folk song from around 1930 and proceeded to play the heck out of his guitar.  He also sang the rather amusing lyrics in a good ‘ol drawl (he is from Michigan).

Then he surpirsed me even further by playing a Jethro Tull song (which made S. and I quite happy).   It was a rather fast-tempoed version of “Thick As a Brick” and it was wonderful.  The song segued into a guitar workout called Fishin’ Creek Blues.

He then played “Tom Dooley,” a song I never expected to hear, well, ever.  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 18, 2018] Jeff Tweedy

I knew I was overbooking myself this particular week (this was my third concert in three days), but how could I pass up Jeff Tweedy playing in Princeton?  He’d never played here before.  Who knew when he’d do it again.  And I could get seats by walking right up the box office.

After seeing Wilco live I knew I’d want to see them again.  And while Wilco is much more than Jeff Tweedy, Jeff Tweedy by himself is pretty great.  Especially if you’re in Row E.

I came to Wilco pretty late in their existence.  I didn’t want to know about any alt-country bands back then.  Who needed to add -country to alt- music?  Well, then I heard “Via Chicago” live and I was hooked.  I have retroactively enjoyed all of their releases.

So how awesome was it that he opened with “Via Chicago” just for me? (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 18, 2018] OHMME

I was slightly disappointed to find that Jeff Tweedy had an opening band as I was hoping for “an evening with” the Wilco frontman. When I looked up OHMME, really the only thing I learned from them was that they were once called HOMME.  But I’m not sure why they changes the name.

So I didn’t really know what to expect when two women came out on stage.  They each had a guitar and a microphone.

And then proceeded to play the most interesting duo rock that I’ve heard in a long time.

Macie Stewart and Sima Cunningham (I’m not even sure who was who) played a vast array of styles and sounds (often within the same song) using just two guitars (and a violin) and their voices.  It was fantastic. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 21, 2016] An Evening with Todd Rundgren

2016-05-21 22.05.52I was astonished to learn that I’ve gone most of my life not knowing that Todd Rundgren wrote “Hello, It’s Me” and “Bang the Drum All Day.”

How did I not know this?

Indeed it turns out I didn’t know much about Rundgren.  I knew he was in the band Utopia and that they played weird prog rock.  And I also thought he was kind of a control freak.  But I didn’t realize he had those huge hits (which might explain how he makes so many weird albums–and he has a lot of weird albums).

I don’t even know what made me get a ticket of this show.  I had recently been hearing a bit about him. I had looked him up on line or some reason (that’s how I knew he wrote those songs) and I recognized the photo to the right, an iconic photo from Something/Anything (which was used as the backdrop for the show).  When I saw that he was playing at McCarter, I decided it was time to check him out.  Now, I was going to see a show the night before and normally I don’t like to do two nights in a row, but since this show was so close by (and I knew I’d be home by eleven) I decided to go.  And I had a great time.

The blurb for this show started: “The classic rocker Todd Rundgren may be 67, but he shows no signs of slowing down.”  And that’s very true.

I managed to score a seat in Row J, which was so close to the man I could see him sweat (ew).  The only problem was the very tall man sitting in front of me (I should have asked him to switch seats with his tiny wife).

While I was waiting for the show to start, a woman sat down next to me with her husband and some friends.  She was super friendly (and a bit drunk) and we started talking.  She asked how big a fan I was of Todd.  And I had to admit that this was my first show.  She told me that she first saw Todd when she was 16 (or 19 who can remember) and has seen him every tour since then (she’s in her 50s).  She said he tours constantly and she will see him twice a year sometimes.

Normally I’m not much of a talker during a show, but I enjoyed having her next to me to occasionally guide me through what I was hearing.  Unlike the louts at the end of the row who were talking really loudly and making jokes throughout the show (and getting up to go to the bar every couple of songs).  They were big fans I could tell (they knew every song), but such disrespect I’ve never seen.

The lady (whose name I never got) told me that Todd makes a new playlist for each show and decides what he’s going to play an hour before he goes on.  That was pretty cool.  She told me a few other things that were interesting about him (he has a house that he built in Hawaii but he never goes there because he is always touring).  And that, amazingly, she’d never actually met him after all these years.

And then the lights dimmed and the band came out.  Followed by Todd.  And the crowd went berserk!  It was especially amusing because it was practically like a  Tom Jones show, with women throwing themselves at him (my seatmate remained remarkably composed).  These women (mostly) stood and applauded after each song, waved their arms and were so utterly into it, I was amazed. (more…)

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