All posts by Diana Stevens

Diana Stevens has been previously recognized for her creative short stories and poetry. On top of writing she is also an award winning costumer designer, seamstress, and fashion designer. She is currently an art teacher part time while planning her new fashion business, Makaria Drake Designs.

REVIEW: Soaring to New Heights at the Ben Folds Paper Airplane Tour at Marquee Theatre 9-22-17

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Tempe, Ariz. — Even before a band took the stage there was a sense of friendship and camaraderie sweeping the room at the Marquee Theatre that Friday, September 22.  Ben Folds’ Paper Airplane tour had come to town, and the audience smiled and laughed as they waited excitedly for the show to start.

Tall Heights

Tim Harrington and Paul Wright of the duo Tall Heights sauntered on stage, carrying their instruments: a guitar and a cello.  The electrofolk group from Boston serenaded with haunting harmonies that lulled back and forth as an ocean’s tide, pulling the audience in and releasing them once again.  Their emotive lyrics of songs like “Spirit Cold” and “Iron in the Fire” weighed on hearts and the duo used creative sounds like cell phone feedback to accompany the song Cross my Mind. The spell was eventually broken as their set came to an end, signalling to the crowd to usher forward for the main event, Ben Folds.  

Tall Heights - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Tall Heights
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

Ben Folds

Ben Folds - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Ben Folds
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

After holding the audience in eager anticipation Ben Folds entered the stage and seated himself at the piano, gave a short wave and sheepish grin to the crowd, then immediately slammed fingers to keys, playing “Annie Waits.  Arms slipped over shoulders and the audience sang along.  It was as though everyone was invited to an intimate house party, every song a precious memory as it poured over the audience, friendly reminders of days now past.  

Ben Folds warmly shared stories, talking about his father as a construction worker and being cornered by his Uncle Walter who talked about what he would do if he were president.  Occasionally Ben Folds would stop singing and just listen to the audience sing instead.  He stood and happily conducted the crowd in a five part harmony singing “Not the Same”.  Tall Heights came back to the stage joining Ben Folds to sing “Still Fighting It.

Ben Folds & Tall Heights - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Ben Folds featuring Tall Heights
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

 For the grand finale of the first half of his set he started playing a drum while walking across the stage and continued playing an amazing drum solo as they set up the remaining set around him. The stunned audience continued to watch intently, impressed into silence broken intermittently by hoots and screams.  When it was over, a brief intermission began, but there was a catch.  

Ben Folds - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Ben Folds
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

The audience was instructed to go into the lobby and get a piece of paper.  Write a request on it and fold it into a paper airplane to be sailed across the Marquee landing gently on the stage, where Ben Folds would take it and play what was written on it.   People rushed to get their paper and pushed their way close to the stage, hoping that their paper would make it, and more importantly, that their paper would be chosen.  It was none other than Arizona’s own Alice Cooper who came on to the stage, swinging red lights and wearing his signature black hat, who initiated the count down. The crowd chanted “10, 9, 8…” and at 0 the entire audience sailed airplanes towards the stage.  The planes that didn’t make it were picked up by strangers and thrown again, everyone helping to get all the paper planes to the stage.

Alice Cooper with Paper Airplanes in the air - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Alice Cooper at Ben Folds Concert
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

Ben Folds did explain he might not be able to sing every song, or occasionally a song wasn’t even written on the paper, making it impossible to play.  However, the highlight of the second half of the set was when just that happened.  He started to play a song that no one recognized, and went on to completely ad-lib a song based off what was written on the airplane, which was “Rock this B***h, Omaha Symphony 2017.”  In the song Ben Folds told a story about how he acquired his favorite piano, his Frank LLoyd Wright piano for only $8000, singing that the guy who sold it “thought that was a lot.”  The audience laughed over and over at the witty story set to music, all in the guise of a request written on an airplane.  

Ben Folds - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Ben Folds
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved

Songs kept coming and wrists flung in the air to the beat of “Kate” while bodies moved back and forth to the sweet piano chords.  Abruptly, Ben stood and bowed the audience, thanking them for coming out and left the stage.  The audience continued to cheer and scream, knowing an encore had to be in store. In a few minutes he returned and played “Zak and Sarafor a rejoicing audience.

Then it really was over, the house lights came on and the crowd started to head to the doors.  Their faces full of smiles, holding the hands of loved ones and already reminiscing about their favorite part of the concert. It was as though they were leaving a friend’s party who had come to town unexpectedly, hyped up and already awaiting the next chance they get to see each other.  The next time Ben Folds comes to town, they’ll be ready.

PHOTO ALBUM

by Katherine Amy Vega

Ben Folds & Tall Heights – Marquee Theatre 9-22-17

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

All Content © Kataklizmic Design.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No Stealing

REVIEW: Nothing Stood in the Way of Epica, Lacuna Coil, Insomnium, & Elantris at Marquee Theatre 9-17-17

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Phoenix —  A long of line of dark figures stood waiting outside the Marquee Theatre on September 17th. Even on a Sunday night, fans gathered together under the setting sun, bonding over their shared excitement of the night to come. The Dutch symphonic metal band Epica was joining the Italian gothfathers Lacuna Coil in a show that was sure to not be forgotten.

Elantris & Insomnium

As the stage glowed an ominous red the opening band Elantris, a female-fronted symphonic metal band, perched on the edge of the stage amping up the crowd.  The melodic voice of Lindsay Victoria Ketchum mixed with the gravelly screams of Thomas Ullom made for a beautiful contrast and got hearts pumping, Thomas even joined the crowd for moshing. After Elantris, Insomnium took the stage, bringing the crowd to new heights with their super charged energy and in-sync head banging. All the way from Finland, they were excited to be celebrating their 7th album Winter’s Gate.

Lacuna Coil

It was now time for Lacuna Coil to take the stage and the crowd pushed forward, the room thick and dripping with anticipation. One-by-one, the band members took to the stage, adorned in their sanitorium costumes.  Straight jackets stained red and band members’ faces painted white and red to look like sadistic clowns.

Lacuna Coil - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Marco Coti Zelati (Bassist), Lacuna CoilBand Photo Album
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design />All Rights Reserved.

Only the vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro stood with unpainted faces, their clothes scrawled with lyrics such as “Leave me Alone” in erratic black marker. It was a sight to behold.  They immediately launched into song and the crowd’s cheering filled the theatre.

Lacuna Coil - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Christina Scabbia (Vocalist), Lacuna Coil
Band Photo Album
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
© Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

They started off the night with some of their new songs from their latest album, Delirium which was released May, 2016.  Songs such as “Delirium” as well as “House of Shame” and “Blood, Tears, Dust” all shook the theatre to the core.  In between each song, vocalist Cristina Scabbia would address the crowd and make connections on a personal level.  She told the audience to “Leave your problems at the door, because everyone is welcome in the sanatorium!”; and made them cheer as she told them, “We know where we are, and we are headed towards our destiny!”

Midway through their set, Cristina challenged the audience to raise the bar as she burst into their hit song “Swamped” the audience went wild, moshing and throwing their hands in the air.  After singing “Come to Me” and “My Demons” Lacuna Coil brought it down a notch, asking the crowd to get out their lighters and cell phones and keep loved ones alive in their hearts as they sang “Downfall.”

Lacuna Coil - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Lacuna CoilBand Photo Album
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

Towards the end of their set Lacuna Coil announced a new project for their 20 year anniversary.  They will be releasing a book entitled “We Fear Nothing” in 2018, which will document the band’s journey from beginning to their current platform.  It should be an amazing and vivid illustration full of their accomplishments and past concerts. They finished their set with “Nothing Stands in Our Way” emphasizing that they believe in destiny!  Even as the band members left stage, the audience was soaking in their message of love, acceptance, and strength.  But the night wasn’t over.

Epica

The last band to take the stage was another female-fronted symphonic metal band, Epica.  On their Ultimate Principle Tour, Epica promoted their newest album The Holographic Principle.

Epica - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Simone Simons (Vocalist), EpicaBand Photo Album
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

The band members took the stage as the eager crowd cheered them on. Vocalist Simone Simons appeared last, in a tight-fitting black leather like dress, flipping her iconic long red hair.  Her operatic vocals filled the theatre as guitarists Mark Jansen and Isaac Dela haye wowed the crowd with their fingering skills, parading back and forth.  Even the keyboardist Coen Janssen got into it, spinning his keyboard around and headbanging with his bandmates, even with his shaved head!  

Epica - Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega
Mark Jansen (Guitarist), EpicaBand Photo Album
Photo Credit: Katherine Amy Vega © Kataklizmic Design. All Rights Reserved.

Green light emanated from behind them as though the audience was transported to a different world, as alternating lights flickered and flashed.  Belting out the songs “Our Destiny” and “The Essence of Silence” the audience was electrified as though in a trance. It was the best way to end the night.

Afterwards, it was hard not to dwell on the lyrics and messages of the bands.  It felt as though you could take on the world with a newfound passion and strength. With the words echoing in your head, “We Fear Nothing!”, it was time to tackle Monday.

PHOTO ALBUM

by Katherine Amy Vega

Lacuna Coil & Epica – Marquee Theatre 9-17-17

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

All Content © Kataklizmic Design.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No Stealing