Been a long time, eh? I suppose because I haven’t really been doing much – until this weekend! We have a LOT to cover. Buckle up.
Friday was a fun day – Liz and I went to the National Gallery and Portrait Gallery, which were both right by Trafalgar Sq. I liked the National Gallery more than I thought I would, and I liked the Portrait Gallery less than I thought I would. The National Gallery’s impressionist rooms were amazing and I could stand in those for a considerable amount of time. I don’t have a detailed or sophisticated eye for visual art by any means, but for my money, Monet was pretty much on top of his game. Just saying. I thought the Portrait Gallery was cool for the earlier centuries, but once you got into the second half of the 20th century I didn’t like the portraits as much. Though the Andy Warhols of Queen Elizabeth II were pretty sweet, I liked those a lot.
After our cultured morning, we walked over to Leicester Sq and got Subway for lunch. I know I said that I was trying not to eat things I could get in the states, but…you can’t always do everything right. Besides, it was really good and I could consider it somewhat healthy? Maybe? Excuses? Anyway, we ate it in that same park where we had gelato and watched the Hancock dancers practice last week. The park was back to normal, except for the fact that they had just put down new mulch and it smelled like a zoo. GROSS.
We came back home and hung out in our apartment for a few hours. Around 5 I headed to Oxford Circus (where my work is) to have drinks with Valerie and Neena (girls from work). We went to a place off of Carnaby Street. It was fun to finally hang out with them outside of work. We were there for a couple of hours then I headed over to South Kensington to meet Liz, Laura, Ellen and Billy at a pub for a bit. Liz and I got home and watched most of Nelson Mandela’s birthday extravaganza on TV. I suppose we could have stopped by the actual festivities (to watch from the outside, obviously) but…well, we just didn’t. Besides, we probably had a better view watching the TV than we would have had being in the area!
And yesterday we had…HARD ROCK CALLING!!! First, the morning of. Okay, so Liz and I had the apartment to ourselves, as Traci and Sharon are on excursions for the weekend and Ellen is at the other flat with her boyfriend. We didn’t have to leave for the festival until 11 or so, so both of us expected to sleep in, enjoy our quiet morning….NO. We were rudely woken up around 8:15 (I was sadly already up, I can’t seem to sleep past 8:30am here. I guess that has its good and bad points…) by incredibly loud steel drum banging like crazy. Outside our window was ANOTHER film crew…doing whatever they were doing? I don’t know. I took a picture. What the hell?? Laura came over shortly after because she also woke up to the dulcet tones of loud banging drums. Since we were up, we walked up to the main drag to get money for the bank, lunch for the afternoon, and COFFEE. So even though it was kind of unfortunate that we didn’t get our lazy sleep filled morning, I think it was pretty good anyway; productive, involved coffee with friends, and a little walking too.
Random tangent: Friday afternoon Liz and I were talking about how we never just roll out of our apartment dressed down – there is always makeup, hair styling, and presentable clothing involved. Not to say that’s a bad thing, but sometimes that whole process gets tiresome. So the morning of Hard Rock Calling when we went to run errands in town, we totally rolled out in our pajamas and hoodies. I took a great amount of pleasure in that.
So…the concert! Let me first say, I just uploaded all the pictures I took…a lot of them are off center, but you can just deal with my lack of composition skills. And there are roughly 100 of them - pages 1-4 on Flickr are all from the concert. Sorry about that. I just got camera-happy. We got there an hour before the gates even opened, so we had a great view! We had some beers, ate our lunches, and just chilled out for a while. The first band up was the Steve Boyce Band – they were some contest winners from some group that tries to get old school bands back together, I think similar to that bands reunited show on VH1 from a while ago. Anyway, they were fun. The highlight was really this woman standing next to us that came there specifically for them, because she knew them in primary school. So cute.
After Steve Boyce came Robert Randolph and the Family Band. They can rock, but unfortunately only played 3 or 4 songs. He was a lot of fun to dance to and a great performer. I would definitely see him again. After RR came my lover Jason Mraz. Honestly, I think I was most excited to see him. He has an incredible live voice. He played a number of songs, a lot of which were from his newest album. But he opened with Remedy which was fantastic, and then he played I’m Yours, which was SO GOOD. There’s a video of it. God bless my camera, that’s all I can say. Between the zoom for pictures, and the video function (and zoom there too) I have really good footage. So after Mraz, all hell broke loose and everyone pretty much squished in towards the stage, for…JOHN MAYER! He started with Waiting on the World to Change, then played I Don’t Trust Myself with Loving You, Gravity, (SO GOOOOOOD) and Vultures. He was obviously really good. I mean, come on.
After John Mayer came Sheryl Crow! I was really impressed with her; I haven’t really thought that she has a great voice in the past, but she sounded great live. I was also happy that she played all her old school stuff – All I Wanna Do, A Change Would Do You Good, Soak Up the Sun, First Cut is the Deepest, If It Makes You Happy, etc. She was great.
Okay, by this time in the day it was PACKED and we had been standing for like 8 hours, and we just reached our limit. We left the crowds and got some food (my first fish and chips since being here!) and sat farther back for Clapton. I regret it a little bit, but I still think it was a good decision because we could just chill out and listen, and we still had really good sound from where we were. I got some videos of him playing Layla and You Look Wonderful Tonight. So after Clapton finished we knew good stuff was ahead so we booked it back towards the stage to make it closer in time for Clapton, John Mayer, Sheryl Crow and Robert Randolph to jam out on stage. Definitely great way to end the concert and the day!
I have deep, intense red coloring all over my arms and shoulders, and it kind of feels awful. But it’s totally worth it.