All posts by Brittney Coon

ASU grad, works box office at Marquee Theatre, published author, screenwriter, filmmaker, concert addict, roadie wannabe, road trips, photography, graphic designer, always randomly mentions the show Friends in conversation, cat lover

REVIEW: Taylor Swift Blows Away Opening Night of Reputation Stadium Tour in Glendale 5-8-18

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Reputation Album Cover - Click to Buy

GLENDALE, AZ – Taylor Swift kicked off her Reputation Stadium Tour in gorgeous Glendale, Arizona. Swift’s sixth studio album Reputation came out late 2017, and she’s worked tirelessly for months to perfect the album’s tour. Fans, or “Swifties” as they like to be called, poured into the University of Phoenix Stadium. They came armed with stuffed snakes, homemade signs declaring their love for Swift, and creative shirts with Swift’s image or impactful lyrics from different songs. Some fans had signs referring to Swift’s “Rep Room” hoping they might get lucky and be selected to meet Swift later that night. Inside the venue, Charli XCX and Camila Cabello warmed up the fans.

Charli XCX sang in a bright bubblegum pink raincoat and pants delighting fans with seven songs, two being cover songs – “I Love It” by Icona Pop, and ending with “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea. Cabello then took the stage, singing nine songs while wearing a white corset with glittery see-through sleeves and black pants with thigh-high slits. Cabello closed her set with her well-known song, “Havana”.

Swift started with a bang. First, “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts played over the sound system, followed by a video introduction addressing Swift’s reputation. Swift then emerged on stage singing “…Ready For It?”, the first track of her latest album, to the stadium of screaming fans.

Taylor Swift - Photography: Katherine Amy Vega, Kataklizmic Design
Taylor Swift
Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

Swift spoke to the crowd before the third song saying, “I wish you could see yourselves. You’re beautiful; more than beautiful… What would that be?” fading into the song “Gorgeous”. Swift later said, “I’ve done fourteen shows in Arizona in thirteen years. Not all of them were in arenas like this. Most were in shopping malls, clubs, then opening for other artists. Now I’m doing stadiums like this, breaking the record with 60,000!”

Taylor Swift - Photography: Katherine Amy Vega, Kataklizmic Design
Taylor Swift
Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

Using state-of-the-art production on three different stages, the center being the largest at 110 feet tall, Swift exceeded expectations for those thousands of fans. Colorful confetti rained down on fans, and another round of confetti was designed as mini newspapers with “Reputation” in bold, and “Taylor Swift” written all over it. There were firework-like flares, amazing choreography with sixteen dancers, and of course no show is complete without pyro.

Creatively, Swift had a tilted stage to go along with her song “Look What You Made Me Do”. This song’s music video gained over 43.2 million views during its first twenty-four hours on YouTube, breaking the record for the most-viewed music video in one day.

Taylor Swift - Photography: Katherine Amy Vega, Kataklizmic Design
Taylor Swift
Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

Before Swift went into “Delicate” she gave the crowd an uplifting speech, “Wow I missed you guys. Since I was sixteen I’ve lived on a schedule, make an album then go on tour. Over and over, five times in a row. This time I decided to break that record with this last album. I decided I wanted to see who I would be and what my life would be like if I didn’t have a spotlight on me all the time. It was important for me, but I really missed you.” Swift shared some profound thoughts on how brave it is to pursue relationships, knowing that there’s an incredible chance to find mutual love, and also the risk of heartbreak. “It’s just delicate, you know?” As she sang “Delicate”, she was lifted in a sparkly, swirled cage, to her second stage in the back of the stadium.

When she landed, she happily asked the hungry crowd, “What’s going on back here?” She then broke into “Shake It Off” with tourmates Chari XCX and Cabello joining her. Smiling, Swift spoke again, “How is it going on this side of the stadium?” She mentioned following what her fans were saying on social media and trying to put together what they wanted for this tour. She said, “One of my favorite things about you guys in fifteen years is the music industry tells you what they [the fans] want. You can’t sing with that person or make a pop album because your fans are Country and would never understand. And I would say to them, ‘I’m pretty sure I know them better than you do.’ You stuck with me with my musical change. Thank you for that. I still write the same way. I pick up an instrument and the words come.”  

Taylor Swift - Photography: Katherine Amy Vega, Kataklizmic Design
Taylor Swift
Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

After “Blank Space” Swift ran off the stage across the field seating, touching fans’ hands along the way, to her third stage. There she asked fans, “Do you like my dress?” She was greeted with cheers as the song “Dress” began. Swift transitioned to “Bad Blood”, making the entire crowd dance. During each song, the light up bracelets each fan received pulsed with the beat.

Swift had giant blow-up snakes on all three of her stages, a snake-themed mic, and she was lifted from the third stage to return to the main one in a floating snake ribbed cage. Later in the show, Swift explained the reason behind the snake theme, which every Swiftie knew. She explained that someone called her a snake on social media, along with other things. “I went through some really low times because of it. I didn’t know if I’d be able to do this anymore.” she said. “Thank you for taking the time to get to know me. For seeing me as a human being,” she concluded. Swift played a blend of “Long Live” and “New Years Day” on a sleek black piano with the word “Reputation” written in gold.

Swift got everyone on their feet with “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” the lead single from her fourth studio album, Red. That song quickly became a hit and reached the top slot on iTunes’ digital song sales chart just fifty minutes after releasing, earning the “Fastest Selling Single in Digital History” for Guinness World Record.

Taylor Swift - Photography: Katherine Amy Vega, Kataklizmic Design
Taylor Swift
Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

Swift ended her incredible twenty-song setlist with “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” with a real water fountain on center stage. With beloved songs both old and new, Swift left her “Swifties” screaming and wanting more. Her opening night in Glendale was specular, and even if Swift is an artist who started in Country music and moved toward pop, that only made her a bigger sensation. Swift may even be one of the biggest pop stars in today’s music industry, and she doesn’t care about her reputation anymore. Swift told the crowd goodnight and high-fived her dancers before leaving the stage. The show ended with the words, “And in the death of her reputation, she felt truly alive” on the screens.

PHOTO ALBUM

by Katherine Amy Vega

Taylor Swift – University Of Phoenix Stadium 5-8-18

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

© Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

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REVIEW: Nightwish Celebrates Decades of Music at Marquee Theatre 4-15-18

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Tempe, AZ – On April 15th, Nightwish enchanted the Marquee Theatre with their music, and also delighted fans with a free two-disc CD of their Decades album featuring an archive of songs from 1996-2015 to celebrate their “DECADES: WORLD TOUR 2018”. For those unaware of Nightwish, they are a symphonic metal band from Finland. The band was formed by keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, and former lead singer Tarja Turunen in 1996. In 2005, Nightwish said goodbye to Turunen. In 2012, Nightwish had to say goodbye to a second lead singer, Anette Olzon, but former Revamp singer Floor Jansen graciously filled in to finish the North American tour that year. Since then, Jansen became the lead vocalist for Nightwish’s album Endless Forms Most Beautiful and continues to tour with the band.

It was a cool night in Tempe, fans entered the venue and filled the entire floor. Everyone patiently waited for the music to begin. Nightwish greeted the fans with an audio recording, asking fans to go back to simpler times when they would not use phones to take pictures and videos during the show. They wanted everyone to enjoy the moment. Many phones went dark, but some fans couldn’t resist the urge to take a few shots of their favorite band. After that message, a one minute countdown began. As the seconds dropped to single digits, the crowd began to shout as each second decreased. Once it hit zero, the screen changed to gears, and one by one, the members of Nightwish took the stage, greeted by cheers.

Nightwish - Photography: Andrea Stoica
Floor Jansen (Vocalist), Nightwish
Photography
 Andrea Stoica © All Rights Reserved

Being Nightwish’s “Decades” tour, they picked their greatest hits from all eight of their studio albums. Nightwish didn’t achieve popularity in the United States until their 2004 album Once, and it sold more than one million copies. The biggest hit single from Once, “Wish I Had an Angel”, received MTV airplay and was the second song on their set list that night. As the first chords played, the crowd clapped and screamed. One fan held his hands to his face, in awe of the live performance he beheld. As Jansen sang, the video board had the well-known angel statue from the album cover seen through a gate, as if we were entering a cemetery.

As the first four songs played, fans mouthed the words and jumped to the beat. The video screen went perfectly with each song. For “10th Man Down”, the video soared over gravestones. For “The Kinslayer”, the video showed red candles as crimson light illuminated the band.

Nightwish - Photography: Andrea Stoica
Floor Jansen (Vocalist), Nightwish
Photography:
Andrea Stoica © All Rights Reserved

Before starting their fifth song, “Gethsemane” from the album Oceanborn, Jansen spoke to the fans, welcoming everyone to the “Decades” tour. She said she spotted some familiar faces in the crowd. The last time Nightwish visited the Marquee was May 2, 2015 for their “Endless Forms Most Beautiful Tour”. Jansen then asked who was seeing them for the first time. Hands all around the venue went up. Jansen smiled and said, “Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Nightwish - Photography: Andrea Stoica
Emppu Vuorinen (Guitarist), Nightwish
Photography:
Andrea Stoica © All Rights Reserved

The band grew quiet for a moment as Jansen addressed the crowd before going into the beloved song “I Want My Tears Back”, from the album Imaginaerum; she said “Tempe is already warm, but let’s make it hot!” During the uilleann pipes solo midway through the song, Jansen urged the crowd to dance and throw their fists in the air. Jansen herself danced on stage and then said, “Tempe! Turn this place into a volcano!” After the song concluded, Jansen spoke again, “It is hard to dance in a volcano. You did a good job though. Thank you!

It was vocalist and bass/acoustic guitarist Marco Hietala’s turn to address the crowd. He had a smile a mile wide as he asked, “How are you doing?” The crowd cheered and people put up devil horns to show their excitement. Hietala laughed and said again, “I’m not quite sure yet. How are you doing?” The crowd screamed louder. “Sounds like we’re having fun. Ready to rock!” Hietala replied as the song “Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean” from the album Oceanborn filled the air.

Nightwish - Photography: Andrea Stoica
Marco Hietala (Bassist, Vocalist), Nightwish
Photography:
Andrea Stoica © All Rights Reserved

What a night. It’s good to be back,” Jansen said later, “This one’s for the dreamers.” Just then, the instrumental of “Slaying the Dreamer”, from the album Century Child, swelled into the room.

Nightwish had an incredible nineteen-song set, and the fans were full of joy for every single note and lyric. After Nightwish finished their last song for the night, “Ghost Love Score” from the album Once, they left the stage, and in the darkness fans cried out for more. The band members came back to take a final bow and toss some lucky fans guitar picks and drum sticks. Nightwish had done it again — amazed another crowd and filled their hearts with beautiful music.

PHOTO ALBUM

Photographer: Andrea Stoica

Nightwish – Marquee Theatre 4-15-18

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

Photography © Andrea Stoica. All Rights Reserved

REVIEW: Thrice and Circa Survive Make the Earth Shake in Tempe 11-5-17

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TEMPE, Ariz.On November 5th the Marquee Theatre was bustling with life as fans waited outside its doors. Originally the Thrice and Circa Survive co-headlining show was to be at Mesa Amphitheatre, but a few weeks prior the show was moved to the Marquee. Due to the venue change, there was some chaos in the beginning. There were long lines at the box office as everything was sorted out after hopping venues, and fans were worried they weren’t going to make it inside on time.

The two openers took the stage to entertain fans and help wash away their frustration. The first band was Balance and Composure, who are an American alternative rock band from Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The second band was Chon, an American rock band from San Diego, California. People were calming down and enjoying some beers with friends. As house music played between sets, people happily chatted about how excited they were. Some reflected on past Thrice shows.

Circa Survive, an American rock band also from Doylestown, Philadelphia, took the stage and they were greeted with cheers. Anthony Green led the band with their first song of the night, “Lustration.” For an hour they serenaded the crowd with a sixteen song setlist.

Circa Survive - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Anthony Green (Vocalist) & Colin Frangicetto (Guitarist), Circa Survive
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

The changeover between headliners was thirty minutes, enough time to go to the patio for a smoke break or grab another drink. As it grew closer to showtime, people filled back inside. The crowd reached all the way to the back almost spilling into the lobby. The entire venue went dark as Thrice, an American rock band from Irvine, California, stepped on stage. They went straight into playing “The Earth Will Shake” from their fourth studio album Vheissu. The lights flooded the stage, red-then-blue, as Dustin Kensrue sang while strumming his guitar. The crowd cheered and put their arms up in the air, and all the chaos from before disappeared. Fans in the front of the stage were jumping up and down, and a guy with a blue Mohawk was the first to crowd surf. The rest of the crowd sang along and headbanged. One guy up in the balcony was full-on headbanging with everything he had.

Thrice - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Dustin Kensrue (Vocalist, Guitarist), Thrice
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

The next song, “The Window” was calmer. As the blue lights filled the room, people swayed and put their phones up to record or take pictures. After the song finished, Kensrue spoke to the crowd, “Thank you so much. We are Thrice,” before going into “The Artist in the Ambulance”. Fans clapped along, the entire vibe of the place was pure excitement.

Thrice - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Eddie Breckenridge (Bassist), Thrice
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

During “Hurricane”, the light on stage turned to a yellow hue. The song is from their latest studio album To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere and peaked on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart in August 2017 at number 24. The fans once again threw up their hands; the white lights on stage highlighted all the arms in the air. A woman next to me was crying; her boyfriend had his arms wrapped around her waist.

Thrice - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Thrice with crowdsurfer
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

The whole night people were jumping and singing. In front of the stage, people continued to crowd surf and at one time people were throwing around a shoe. The bass and drums were so powerful it hit your body like a wave of sound, almost feeling like a second heartbeat.

Before starting “Firebreather”, Kensrue said, “Ten years ago we put out a four disc album representing the four elements: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. Super nerdy I know. We wanted to tour with vinyls, but didn’t get them out on time. They should be out soon.” Kensrue was referring to their fifth studio album The Alchemy Index Vols. I & II. As Kensrue sang, three girls next to me started their own little dance circle, one was even twerking. At the same time, a guy up by the front of the stage was crowd surfing with his crutches.

Teppei Teranishi (Guitarist, Keyboardist), Thrice Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

Kensrue mentioned they just added “Red Telephone” to their setlist from their seventh studio album Beggars. The lights bled to red as a mix of drums, guitars, and bass began the song. Before playing their final song of the night, “The Long Defeat”, Teppei Teranishi (Guitarist) addressed the screaming crowd, “We love you guys.” Kensure added, “This is our last song of the night. We will have no encore due to this show being a co-headline, makes it awkward.” In total, Thrice had a sixteen song setlist.

Thrice - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Dustin Kensrue (Vocalist, Guitarist), Thrice
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

Even though the night started out a bit rocky, it ended on a high note. Everyone left happy and Tempe is ready to rock out with Thrice and Circa Survive again in the future.

PHOTO ALBUM

by Katherine Amy Vega

Thrice – Marquee Theatre 11-5-17

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

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