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George Strait Concert Opens New Dallas Cowboys Stadium

George Strait Concert at Dallas Cowboy Stadium - June 2009
George Strait Concert at Dallas Cowboy Stadium - June 2009

George Strait showed up and in typical fashion just killed it last night at the venue opener for the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington, TX. Joined by country music stars Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton and Lee Ann Womack, King George took the stage around 9:30pm and delivered a fantastic 105-minute performance to a sold-out stadium. I have seen estimates on the number of tickets sold, and it is somewhere in the vicinity of 60,000.

Until George Strait took the stage, the roof of the stadium remained closed. From early reports, the acoustics in the stadium started off echoey but got extremely clean and sharp by the end of the show (yeah, they are fine tuning that place, but it’s definitely awesome). And with the roof closed, the stadium retains pretty much every last drop of sound. When Mr. Strait took the stage, he got the crowd to chant, “Jerry, open that roof!” And as any good story ends, the crowd won. Jerry Jones probably loved seeing a crowd in such good spirit, and with the flick of a switch on a $1.15B stadium, the roof opened up.

George Strait on the World's Biggest HDTV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX
George Strait on the World's Biggest HDTV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX

As reported a couple of weeks ago, one of the coolest things at this stadium is the $40 million Mitsubishi HDTV. Everyone was wondering if this HDTV would be used at the concert. The answer was a resounding YES!. This massive HDTV provided a crystal-clear image of George Strait and all the other performers to everyone in the stadium, even the fans in the nosebleed section. I’m not sure if there is a bad seat in that new Cowboys stadium.

Despite reports of the possibility of massive traffic congestion and other problems that go along with a brand new 3 million square foot venue, the show went off with relatively few problems. I have seen reports of parking being in the range of $30-$60, and there was even reports of an eBay scam for fake parking tickets. Also, t-shirts were on sale for $30. And you had better hit up the ATM machine if you wanted to stay hydrated – bottled water was going for $5.

Jerry Jones Dancing with former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson
Jerry Jones Dancing with former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson

Probably the one of the biggest surprises was the appearace of Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones in a suite. Together. Getting along. When the crowd saw them on the big screen, it took a second to figure out who it was. But then a loud cheer rang out. Cowboys fans love themselves some Jimmy Johnson. And from my perspective, it’s good to see these two guys making friends. It’s been long enough. Glad to see it.

Well, I’ll leave you with some more pictures from the George Strait concert at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium (source):

New Dallas Cowboys Stadium - Arlington, TX
New Dallas Cowboys Stadium - Arlington, TX
A View from inside Dallas Cowboys Stadium at George Strait Concert
A View from inside Dallas Cowboys Stadium at George Strait Concert
George Strait performs at Dallas Cowboys Stadium (June 2009)
George Strait performs at Dallas Cowboys Stadium (June 2009)
George Strait with his signature Taylor Acoustic Guitar
George Strait with his signature Taylor Acoustic Guitar

Enjoy!

Movie Review: Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Tonight, I saw the documentary Anvil: The Story of Anvil at the Magnolia Theater in Dallas, TX. I joined my friends Cliff and Steve, and I really wish Jordan and Eric could have been there. If you have ever been in a band, you need to see this movie. If you’ve ever wondered what being in a band is like, you need to see this movie. Granted, Anvil has been a band since 1977, and even though they have a lifetime of band experiences under their belts, their are certain all-to-familiar similarities between Anvil, my band, your band, and any other band that has ever existed. Here are a few quotes that I really connected with (I wasn’t taking notes, so these may not be exact quotes, but you’ll get the message):

  • “Family’s important shit, man.”
  • “I’m tough to live with. I get emotional.”
  • “We’re brothers! Who else do I have?”
  • “Fuck. We drove around this town for 2 hours trying to find this place.”
  • “I’m a regular guy. I have a job. This is my vacation, and when it’s over I have to go back to doing the same old bullshit.”
  • “No one ever gets paid!”
  • “Where am I gonna get that kind of money?”
  • “I did everything I could.”
  • “I don’t regret a single minute of it.”
Anvil: The Story of Anvil - Robb & Lips on the Couch
Anvil: The Story of Anvil - Robb & Lips on the Couch

I can’t describe how close to home this movie hit for me. My band only lasted 7 years. To compare my band to Anvil is pretty much like someone never playing in a band trying to compare themselves to my band. Unless you’re in a band, you have no idea. Unless you’ve been in a band for 30 years, you can’t begin to empathize with Anvil. But after comparing this documentary to all the experiences I have ever witnessed or heard regarding other bands, I realized that all bands have common experiences which, at their root core, are grounded in 2 things: highly unreasonable optimism and utterly endless frustration. No matter how long you play, every few months you will find yourself right back at the beginning, in one or both of those two mindsets. There are likely more, but those are the attitudes that I recognized most while watching the Anvil documentary.

Anvil Performs Live at the Magnolia Theater in Dallas, TX
Anvil Performs Live at the Magnolia Theater in Dallas, TX

The Story of Anvil is an extensive study in opportunity costs. Those are the opportunities you miss out on by choosing one option over another. Lips and Robb are both married. They have families and day jobs, but they gave up on attaining “real world” careers, stability and wealth by choosing to dedicate 99% of their energy to the band. Their families are supportive, but it’s quite clear that their wives wish they could finally obtain whatever it is that they are searching for. The same sentiments are echoed by their families. And even though it seems that Lips is a great father, I’m sure his son wishes his dad wasn’t about to leave for a 40-day tour or a 6-week stint in a London recording studio. But that is just me speculating. Regardless, I don’t have to speculate about the fact that these guys have given up all sorts of modern luxuries, gadgets, and bigboy toys in order to keep rocking their vintage Marshall stacks, Gibson Flying V’s, and custom drum kits – in sports bars in the greater Toronto area!

There are tons of opportunity costs for these guys, but they are too passionate about the music to really even slow down and notice what could have been. Their music and their dreams prevail over any of that other stuff called real life. However, Lips has noticed that his face is drooping, his belly is getting bigger, his hair is falling out, and he’s getting older. “Before you notice, time has passed you by. You’ve got to do it now!” (Again, that is a major paraphrase job by me, but you get the picture.)

Lips knows that they don’t have forever, and he is hellbent on making music. The thing that seems to remain oblivious to him is that he has been chasing a dream for 30 years, and over the span of 13 albums, he has yet to notice that his winning formula for becoming a rock star has not, does not and will not work (it all has to do with that unreasonable optimism I mentioned earlier). On one hand, it’s downright honorable and respectable to go balls out for 30 years to achieve your childhood dream. And on top of that Anvil is a DIY band at heart, and that makes it even tougher. It’s moving to see dedication and action for a purpose of following a dream and making music that you love. Every time Lips mentions what it’s all about – how 30 years of metal makes for a great life full of wonderful memories – the audience applauded.

On the other hand, Lips is 50-years-old. He placed an entire tour in the hands of a woman he’s never even met and borrowed $25k from his sister to record a 13th Anvil album. I’m a DIY guy all the way, so I respect what he’s doing. But at the same time, it’s depressing to see every ounce of passion destroyed by extremely predictable obstacles and outcomes. [BTW, that was another element of this movie that reminded me of just how tough it was to be in a band for 7 years and never get any breaks.]

Anvil: Canadian Metal Band Since 1977
Anvil: Canadian Metal Band Since 1977

Anvil is the Rocky Balboa of the metal world. They have been playing music for 32 years, and they have the heart of a lion. Personally, I don’t get the feeling that Lips and Robb will ever be done playing music. I believe they are chasing a dream, but I’m not even sure they know what they’re chasing any more. I do not believe they will ever stop playing. Their 14th album could be a chart topper. They could go on a 90 show sold-out world tour, but they would never say, “Well brother, we did it. We reached our dreams. Time to stop playing.” Nope. These guys are lifers. A chart-topping album would only reinforce their dreams to keep making music. Either way, album #15 will be on the way shortly.

Despite constant setbacks and bad news, Anvil will find a way to keep it going. It’s almost analogous to that van that your band had at one point. You know, the one you swear you put $10,000 into one year – just so it would keep getting you from show to show. Yep, these guys will find a way to record more albums and play more shows. They will be rocking for years to come, and that makes me happy. And a little jealous.

Carter Albrecht CD Release Party Tonight at the Granada Theater in Dallas, TX

Carter Albrecht CD Release Party: Jesus is Alive…and Living in London

Carter Albrecht CD Release Party at the Granada Theater in Dallas, TX
Carter Albrecht CD Release Party at the Granada Theater in Dallas, TX

Carter Albrecht’s Solo CD Release Party will be tonight at the Granada Theater. The CD, titled Jesus is Alive…and Living in London, features 9 original tracks by Carter Albrecht. Just in case you need to copy and past the details, here you go:

  • When: Thursday, May 28, 2009
  • Where: The Famous Granada Theater in Dallas, TX
  • Host: Dave Little
  • 8:20pm: Danny Balis solo project
  • 9:00pm: Trey Johnson solo project
  • 10:00pm: Live performances of Carter’s music by John Dufilho & Don Cento, Sarah Jaffe, Trey Johnson, Salim Nourallah, Jayson Bales, Chris Holt, Danny Balis and Ward Williams (with The Slack & Shibboleth as backing bands)
Carter Albrecht
Carter Albrecht

Carter Albrecht was a musical inspiration, and he certainly has a place in the hearts of Darth Vato. Carter was a Jedi, and the quality of his solo CD only proves it even more. Here is the track list for Jesus is Alive and Living in London:

Carter Albrecht CD - Jesus is Alive...And Living in London
Carter Albrecht CD - Jesus is Alive...And Living in London
  1. Jesus Light
  2. Country Living
  3. Rome
  4. Rivers Into Rum
  5. When You’re Younger
  6. Jesus Is Alive…and Living in London
  7. GODOT
  8. Sparrows
  9. The Sign

I hope you are able to make it out to the show tonight. Be sure to pick up a CD, too. It is amazing. If you can’t make it to the show, you can pick up the CD on iTunes here. And if you’re just really interested in more information on Carter Albrecht, here are some awesome links:

Cheers!

Houston’s Gallery Furniture is Burning

If you have not heard, a fire broke out in the Gallery Furniture warehouse in Houston, TX tonight around 8:45pm. The showroom and warehouse are located on I-45 between Tidwell and Parker. Traffic on I-45 was backed up for a good ways, and flames could be seen from several miles away. My prayers go out to Jim McIngvale (aka Mattress Mack) and the Gallery Furniture family. Mattress Mack is an icon of goodwill in Houston, and if we know him well enough, he’ll still honor his promise to get furniture the day you buy it. Maybe not tonight. But probably by Monday. He’ll be back on track in no time.

Here’s a shot of the fire at the Gallery Furniture warehouse. That is a 100,000 sq ft warehouse:

Houston, TX: Gallery Furniture on Fire
Houston, TX: Gallery Furniture on Fire

Bro hymn for a longtime landmark of Houston, TX. They are down but not out. According to Mattress Mack, their store on Post Oak and Westheimer will be open tomorrow at 9:00am. Business as usual for that store. However, the main showroom off of I-45 – that may not be open tomorrow. But like I said, give Jim some time. He’ll be back up and running in no time at all.

Gallery Furniture has been in Houston at the same address since 1981, and it’s funny how I still remember the Gallery Furniture commercials on 20Vision. Here’s a video for old time’s sake:

Even Chuck Norris enjoyed the recliners at Gallery Furniture: