Jun 16, 2009

First-Hand Account from Lucky No Doubt Fan

If you read my review of the No Doubt show at the Nissan Pavilion in Virginia, you know that one fan had the experience of a lifetime...being pulled on stage by Gwen Stefani!

Bob has kindly agreed to share his experience with all of you here, complete with pictures and video.

One thing you should know...Bob is a firm believer, as I am, in the power of prayer and the law of attraction as found in the book "The Secret." And he utilized both to make this happen, which I find tres cool.

Here is the story, straight from Bob himself. I'm sure he'd be happy to hear your thoughts so leave him lots of comment love, please. :) Enjoy!

OK...BEST concert I have EVER been to!!! One truly amazing night. My dream finally came true! From start to finish, this was my day:

Actually, rewind. First, I was just eager at the possibility of being front-row. But after getting home from work Saturday night, I read online that Gwen had been pulling fans on-stage at recent shows. So I planned on waking up early the next morning, getting to the store, making an amazing eye-catching sign that would be sure to grab Gwen's attention.

Tossing and turning. Anxious.

Fast-forward! I woke up yesterday morning earlier than I should have, and sat around getting nothing done. I kept trying to think of an awesome idea for a sign, and nothing would come to me. So I got ready. Thought about shaving, but didn't. But I don't regret ANYTHING about yesterday because everything fell perfectly into place!

So anyway, I hit the road around 12 and head for Best Buy to buy a memory card, and to Michael's to pick up some supplies to make a sign. I got back out to my car and my first attempt was dreadful. It was just a yellow posterboard with black marker that read, "Pull me up Gwen PLEASE" Not fancy enough.

So I took a couple minutes (and only a couple minutes) and threw together a sign made of yellow posterboard, cut into the shape of an arrow pointing down. Going down the arrow, in glittery letters was the word HUG with two question marks on the head of the arrow.

I thought, 'This'll never work' but I thought I was running later than I was. I hit I-95 ready for the show. Speeding. Doing 90 and blasting "Hella Good" and the rest of the No Doubt catalog...feeling GOOD!

Got to the venue at 3pm, and they said parking gates wouldn't open until 4:30pm so I went to Target to pass some time. Bought a new shirt because the one I was wearing wasn't bright enough. Also bought some hot yellow sunglasses. Changed in the bathroom, headed out to my car, then realized the memory card I bought at Best Buy in Baltimore didn't work in my camera. Ran back into Target and bought one that did.

Got everything ready and headed over to the venue at 4pm. They were letting people in already. So I parked and headed to the Fan Club line. Met two really awesome people over there (who for reasons we discussed while leaving will remain nameless!) and hung with them until the gates opened.

5:40-ish we get in. I take off running, faster than I ever have before, and caught up with them (They had already taken off). We ended up front row, just right of the center. The Sounds rocked. So did Paramore. Now the good stuff.

No Doubt comes out, opening with "Spiderwebs". While Gwen's covering the stage, back and forth, I'm holding up my sign. 5 years ago in almost the same exact spot, Gwen had sang a line of "Simple Kind of Life" to me, and before she did, she gave me this look that said, 'Get ready. I'm choosing you!' Sounds silly I know.

But during "Spiderwebs", she glanced at my sign and gave that same look. I felt then that she'd definitely pull me up. She just lingered while looking at it. So I kinda knew.

They do a couple more songs, and Gwen starts reading other signs before the next song. She starts off to my right, and she's moving closer and closer...and I'm getting nervous. Then she skips over me. I was crushed. I thought, 'Oh no...this isn't gonna happen for me.' She read another sign, then they went into the next song, so I thought, 'Good, she didn't pull anyone up yet. I still have a chance.'

I don't remember honestly if she did one or two more songs. It's all a blur at this point. But after whichever song came before "Simple Kind of Life" (I honestly cannot remember right now) the lights came up and I held my sign up again. I'd been holding it up quite a bit and felt ignored. She kept skipping over me.

So this time, she walks right over to me, and I'm holding it up and thinking, 'Oh Sweet Lord, this is it!' She glances down, and (I cannot remember exact dialogue) but she says, "What's that? What's that say!?" So I hold it up, and she says, "Give it here!" so I try to reach but it was too far. So security hands it to her.

She holds it up, and I snapped two pics of her holding it...then, to my complete shock and amazement, she says, "COME AND GET IT!" Then whirlwind. People behind me start pushing me over the railing, while security is pulling me from the other side.

Security lights the way to the stairs and I run (I think I ran - I don't remember!) up the stairs. I do remember I almost tripped once I got up there. It's vague. But I remember it.

And there she was. Arms wide open. Gwen was waiting to hug me. In front of thousands! So I give her the warmest hug, which she returned just as warmly. And it felt like it lasted SOO long.

And I leaned in and thanked her for her work in helping HIV/AIDS research (campaigns such as One) and I told her that I'd lost (someone very special to me) to that disease and it meant a lot. There was this true bonding moment...just in that instant. But it lasted an eternity. And it meant the world.

Then she noticed my camera and said, "Do you want a picture!?" I remember the crowd roaring behind us, and she took my camera out of my hand, held it in front of us, and snapped two pictures.

Lemme just say...I had NO idea what to do with my hands. As I recall, one was around her bare waist. I remember thinking, 'I'm crossing a line, they're gonna throw me out!' but it was all cool. I remember Gwen giving me a second hug, and I turned around and waved to the entire band, and headed back down the stairs.

I truly hope I remembered to thank Gwen...but if I didn't, I was able to mouth it repeatedly to her at the end of the show. I went back to the spot my friend saved for me and enjoyed the rest of the show. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

At the end of the show, so many people approached me, and a number of people even asked for pictures with me...which was kind of mind-blowing. I've always dreamed of someday being a celebrity...for what I don't know...but tonight, I had a taste of it. And it tasted like Reese's Peanut Butter cups, and milk - sublime.

Dreams absolutely do come true. Gwen made mine come to fruition on a stage at Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia on June 14, 2009. So very grateful. All you need are the powers of whatever you believe in - prayer - positive thought - The Secret - sounds a little out there to some...but I'm proof :)

Jun 15, 2009

Hella Good - No Doubt 2009 Tour at Nissan Pavilion in Virginia

Note: To fully enjoy the pics, click to enlarge. Also, I have an exclusive from the fan who was pulled on stage (see below) and will be bringing you that soon!

I know "Hella Good" is probably an overused title when it comes to No Doubt reviews, but my gosh...it is SO fitting I just had to use it! I was able to enjoy the band's 2009 tour from the pit at the beautiful Nissan Pavilion in Virginia last night, with more than 21,000 fans surrounding me.

Here's a shot at how far back the crowd was behind me (taken when Gwen asked us all to turn around and acknowledge the fans with lawn seats in the back):

Another cliche that so aptly applies to lead singer Gwen Stefani: She really IS more beautiful in person. As a mom of three in her late thirties, I was in awe of Gwen's ability to have such tight, phenomenal abs after two kids and 39 years on this earth. Neither words nor pictures can accurately portray how amazing she looked, but you can get an idea by this:

Speaking of motherhood, one of the most touching moments of the night, for me, was when Gwen sang the lyric, "I always thought I'd be a mom," from "Simple Kind of Life." The crowd cheered since, as we all know, Gwen is now in fact a mom. And her whole face lit up and radiated pride as she gave a knowing nod back to the crowd.

It's very obvious that No Doubt loves their fans as much as their fans love them. Gwen interacted with the crowd throughout the show and gave several shout-outs to Virginia. Here's Gwen singing "I'm just a girl...from Virginia:"

As fans handed Gwen various gifts, she made it known that she loves to receive. "Is that a present? I'll take it." She donned a backpack from one fan and a flag banner from another, which she called a "butt flap." At one point, something went flying up onto the stage toward Gwen, which was a little unnerving, but she played it off cooly and announced that it was a wedding invitation:

She read several signs that fans held up, including one from a young girl who was turning ten. Gwen wished her a happy birthday and asked her if it was her first concert (it was).

Another fan, Bob, was richly rewarded for his sign, which read in glittery letters, "Hug?"

"Come and get it," Gwen replied, and Bob went onstage for the hug and two photos with her, living out every No Doubt fan's biggest dream I am sure. (As I stated above, I'm in touch with Bob and will be bringing you his story exclusively in an upcoming post soon, so stay tuned!)

Those up front who missed out on the chance to go on stage got their share of the fun when Gwen suddenly jumped down into the audience and sang amongst the crowd, which drew huge cheers and applause. Such interaction really sets No Doubt apart in the realm of fan appreciation, for sure.

The entire performance was flawless, with Gwen's vocals just blowing me away. With a lot of singers who sing live, the sound is so often different from what you hear on an album. But if Gwen hadn't changed up the lyrics to some of the songs and added in the shout-outs, I could've been fooled into thinking she was lip syncing (she was not). It was that good.

There were two costume changes, for a total of three costumes that Gwen wore. First:



The award for most creative costume, however, goes to No Doubt's drummer Adrian, who wore this ensamble, complete with a pink tutu:

The stage set-up wasn't that elaborate but the screen that played in the background made up for it. Some of the cooler shots included:

I didn't get a shot of the best one from the night, however, which was of No Doubt in their earlier days. Gwen looked like a baby on the screen she was so young!

I missed the opening performances by The Sounds and Paramore, so I was thrilled when they all came out on stage with No Doubt during the finale to sing a cover of Adam Ant's "Stand and Deliver:"

At the very end of the show, No Doubt threw out souvenirs for the fans, including drumsticks, guitar picks, sweaty towels, and cups of water. One cup went hurtling my way and my hand got soaked by the water. I never wanted my hand to dry off, let me tell you! You can see the cup coming my way here:

You can see more of my pictures from the show here and videos here.

Many thanks to the AMAZING people at Live Nation and Nissan Pavilion for making this review possible and really going out of their way for me. I got a sneak peek at how much hard work they put into these shows and believe me, it is impressive!

For tickets and information on No Doubt's tour, click here. If they haven't come to your area yet, you DEFINITELY want to snatch up whatever tickets may be left fast. It's SO worth it!

Jun 14, 2009

I'm Just a Girl...

....in the PIT!! That's where I'll be tonight, bringing you all along with me virtually for the No Doubt/Paramore show at the beautiful Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia.

Stay tuned to my Twitter feed and to my Twitpic account for coverage. I'll be posting a full review of the show soon!

Many thanks to Live Nation for this fabulous opportunity!

Jun 2, 2009

I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me

So you know those really annoying Geico commercials:

Yeah, I hate them too. BUT....I couldn't resist this little idea when I saw the Geico Money Dude on my Netflix mailer:

And oh have my kids had a field day with this! GMD likes to stalk me most when I'm watching television. He has snuck up on me twice next to our couch:

He's so subtle that it sometimes takes me awhile to notice him:

He was last seen staring at me while perched on the entertainment center in my bedroom (I didn't get a chance to snap a picture of him there), but now he seems to have disappeared. My kids claim to have no idea where he went.

But I know he's out there somewhere....watching me. Creepy GMD.