Train @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London (25 October 2010)

I can officially say that Train is best band that I’ve seen in concert ever.

They filmed the whole concert which is going to air on MTV World Stage AND they filmed their music video for their new single (it’s a Christmas one and you can hear it on YouTube) so we’re all going to be in the music video AND a Coca Cola Advert.  So so awesome that they chose THIS concert to do all that.  🙂

Also Pat Monahan stage-dived!  Do you know how much I’ve wanted to go to a gig where there was stage-diving?!  I thought it was outlawed due to health & safety reasons.  I touched his hand and my friend poked him in the back which I thought was more appropriate than all the girls who were pinching his bum.

The support act was someone called AM.  I had never heard of him before but I listened to some of his stuff beforehand and there were quite a few songs that I really liked (his music has also been played on Friday Night Lights, Brothers & Sisters, Greek etc.).  He played them but they sounded quite different.  I think the bass/amplifier was too loud and was drowning him out.  I always feel a bit sorry for support acts as it’s sort of awkward as no one knows the songs but he managed to get the crowd going with a cover of the old Motown classic ‘I’ll Be There’.

The amazing thing about Pat Monahan is as well as being such an awesome rock singer (the way he can shout the lyrics whilst being in tune is spectacular) is that he’s a born entertainer and that he really got what the audience would want.  He threw guitar picks, drum sticks and T-shirts into the crowd and during ‘She’s On Fire’ he put on this awful country hat and they “countrified” up part of the song and then threw the hat into the crowd (which we almost got but this crazy rabid fan snatched it out of my friend’s hand).  Then after that he got 6 young female fans onto the stage, gave them “Trainette” T-shirts and told them to dance and sing along on stage to the rest of the song.

During ‘Marry Me’ he said he was going to come down into the crowd and walk around and he asked everyone not to laugh at how short he is (he’s not actually that short!) and not to hurt him ….. and then he took his shirt off to put on a plain white one.  You should have heard the crowd scream!  Then he came down and walked around and although I never particularly liked that song before, I certainly do now.  When he got back on stage, he signed the T-shirt and took it off (more screaming) and threw it into the crowd and this middle-aged guy caught it and everyone laughed!

Pat spoke a bit about how they were so sorry that they stopped touring England for awhile and they said they will never make that mistake again (I think that’s why they came back this time even though they toured earlier in the year, and they said they’re coming back in the Spring too which is a lot for an American band which isn’t too well known here – though you wouldn’t have known that last night as it was all sold out and so crowded).  Then he said he wanted to sing a very personal song without the microphone and he sang “When I Look To The Sky” acapella and it was incredible.  So so beautiful.  And you could tell afterwards that he was quite emotional.

My friend and I and I had a bet as to what song Train would open with.  I said that they would play ‘Hey, Soul Sister’ either first or last (before the encore) – they played it last.  She thought they would open with ‘Save Me, San Francisco’ but as it turned out they opened with ‘Parachute’.  I can’t remember the setlist but they definitely played ‘Words’, ‘I Got You’, ‘Get To Me’, ‘Calling All Angels’ (which always makes me think of CSI:NY).  During ‘If It’s Love’, Pat told everyone to get their “cellphones” out and he took a photo of everyone which he then posted on Twitter.  I loved the live version of ‘Save Me, San Francisco’ , especially the “oh hell no” bit.  “Hey, Soul Sister” was absolutely amazing.  <3  I loved the happy look on Pat’s face whenever he heard the crowd singing along with him.  It was like he was genuinely enjoying every minute of it.

The encore started with ‘Drops Of Jupiter’ and then he announced that as well as filming the MTV World Stage tonight, they were also going to film the music video for their Christmas song “Shake Up Christmas” (also going to be used during Coca Cola adverts apparently) and he told us a couple of lines in the chorus so we could still sing along.  It’s a really catchy song!  Now whilst we were waiting for Train to come on, my friend and I were talking about how we had never been to a concert where, at the end, they let balloons/bits of paper/fake snow come down.  Or rather we had been to concerts where this happened but we were in the stands or whatever and not in the centre so didn’t get to experience it.  I told her that that mostly happened in arenas and during pop concerts rather than rock concerts but because they were filming the music video, loads of red and white bits of paper came down from the ceiling!  Seriously, it’s weird how happy flying bits of paper can make you!  It was the icing on the cake.

After that Pat said thank you for helping him with that and if anyone had any requests, he would sing a verse and a chorus of a few songs.  People shouted stuff out and I think he did ‘Free’, ‘Meet Virginia’ and ‘Mississippi’ (he asked the girl who asked for that whether she wanted to come on stage and dance with him during that as it’s such a romantic song but she was too scared.  Lol).

Then he did his whole stage-diving thing (you can actually see us in this vid.  lol).  And they ended with ‘This Ain’t Goodbye’.

Seriously, most amazing concert ever.  Like I said, the singing and the music was incredible but as a band they really love their fans.  I mean during songs, Pat would kneel down, take a camera off a lucky person at the front and take a photo of himself and that person and he was constantly pulling funny faces and making fun of himself.    My feet were absolutely killing me afterwards that it was a miracle I managed to run to make sure I got the last train home but it was so so worth it.

Brothers & Sisters: 5×02 – Brief Encounter

I’m not going to lie.  I had several huge concerns about this season of Brothers & Sisters but just as I was beginning to lose faith, they bring in the funniest storyline that there’s been for awhile and I’m literally convulsing with laughter.  Kitty’s facial expressions in this episode were hilarious.

The “oh God Mum’s a lesbian” storyline – literally the funniest thing ever.  Especially because you could just see the thoughts forming in Kitty’s head and when she was in the car watching Nora hug the woman and she reached for her phone, you just knew what her next words were going to be and ….. LOL.  Then the Kevin/Scotty/Kitty/Justin/senior citizen lesbians …”Uncle Saul’s not enough for you, now you want Mum!!!!”… LMAO.  But my favourite bit, of course, was when the whole family were having that conversation about two different things (Nora talking about her job) and Nora says something like “Things have been a little tight lately, I needed the money” and the expressions on everyone’s faces are priceless!  “I’m not a lesbian, I’m a florist.”  But then you have to hand it to Nora because she soon put everyone in their place.

The thing about this show is that (apart from the first season) it seems to do the small funny and/or emotional moments really well but then has some bizarre ideas about the bigger plot arcs.  It makes me sad because the first season is my favourite season of any show ever as I can rewatch it a dozen times and still not get bored but after that the show seems to have been losing its way gradually (in terms of longterm plotlines).  It really went downhill with the whole Ryan thing.  I guess the storyline as a whole could have been good (and would have made sense since with Rebecca not being a sibling there was still that mystery to solve) but boy did they get the casting/characterisation wrong with that.

Now this season…….. Dear Lord, I hate to say it but it seems to have jumped the shark a bit:

1) Robert still being alive and being in a coma for a year.  Seriously, they couldn’t just have killed him off?!  Worst plotline ever.  Poor Kitty.
2) Narrow Lake.  Seriously, that was such a big deal at the end of last season and now?
3) Rebecca just disappearing.  Okay so they’re writing her out but surely they could get to it sooner rather than later.  As much as she might hate Justin for leaving, he’s just come back from war for God’s sake!  Surely she would be a bit worried or want to see him even if it’s just to give him divorce papers.
4) Saul’s reaction to his HIV.  Yes, he’s had a year to deal with it but usually the writers bring in a storyline like that to see the turmoil the character goes through etc. (like Stella on CSI:NY) and to give his character growth.  Apparently Saul is just plodding on like normal and it hasn’t given his character a bigger role to play.
5) Kevin and the juvenile delinquent.  Erm, random much?
6) No mention of Tommy whatsoever.  Didn’t expect to see him but just a mention would have been nice.
7) Holly losing her memory.  Seriously, WHAT?!  I know this show is classed as a soap/drama but still.  However, having said that, I guess with Rebecca gone, it is a way to keep her connected to the Walker family and to give her character something to do now Ohai’s gone but eventually, I presume, she’s going to get her memory back and then what?  Still need to find something for her to do or are they going to write her off?  Like, after Rebecca’s left, Dave and Holly are going to move away too?

And yet, despite all of the above, I can’t drop the show just yet.  Because of the awesome, funny family moments and my love for the characters.

Criminal Minds: 6×02 – JJ

This episode, oh this episode.  I couldn’t ask for anything more.  What a classy lady.

<3 Morgan/Garcia/Prentiss/Reid wondering what JJ/Hotch are talking about in his office.  The look Prentiss gives Reid when he says JJ might be asking for a raise!!!  Look how glamorous JJ looks!  I love her purple blouse.  Oh Strauss is back.  The others acting like they haven’t been staring at Hotch’s closed door wondering what was going on in there!  Hehe.  Rossi’s “you’d think profilers would cover better than that wouldn’t you?”  Garcia/JJ moment!  Love their friendship!  !teamelevator moment!  JJ in the plane bathroom ….. so that thing does have a bathroom!  Lol.  Reid’s dairy problem.  Heh..  Prentiss/JJ/Morgan moment.  Nice touch with the “JJ” connection between the victim and JJ.  Prentiss’, erm, assets.  Morgan’s “Hotch, we can’t lose her”.  🙁  Love all the team taking turns with the interrogating.

Oh I want to smack these perps over the head.  Hard.  Nice twist though.  OMG they found the victim!!!!!  Man how often does CM have a truly happy ending …. oh wait, JJ’s still leaving.  Man the girl’s rescue is really ~dramatic~.  JJ/Kate’s Dad …. I may have shed a tear.

Hotch/JJ.  Sweetest thing.   JJ looking at the team in the bullpen.  The way the team just look at JJ silently and the instrumental music playing.  :(:(:(:(  Garcia!!!  Prentiss’ “No!”  The team!! <3 <3 <3  “You’re too good, that’s the problem.”  Prentiss has tears in her eyes and the way she can’t even look at JJ.  JJ/Garcia.  Oh God!!  I can’t take this!  The long, drawnout goodbye!  It’s killing me.  “Don’t they understand we’re a family.  That’s why it works because we’re a family.  Do they even care?” //  “I don’t know the way this place works without you.  You’re like the glue around here.  Who’s going to make us feel safe?”  “There’s plenty of big, strong men around.”  “See that right there: your total ignorance about how awesome you are is one of the 5000 things I love about you.”  //  “What if I only see you on birthdays and holiday?”  “I won’t let that happen”  Hugs!!!!!  Garcia crying!  Oh God.

I LOVE how they made it that JJ didn’t want to leave but was forced to just like AJ was.  As far as setting up her exit goes, that’s the best thing that could possibly have happened.  The only thing that was missing was a more poignant Reid/JJ moment, especially with her calling him Spence but we got a very special JJ/Garcia scene so I guess I can’t complain.

Best thing about this episode?  The SUBTEXT.  I love how everything that the characters said about JJ’s departure was basically a hit out at TPTB for making AJ leave.  Especially Garcia’s “don’t they understand we’re a family.  That’s why it works because we’re a family.  Do they even care?” and Hotch’s “the brass is really really good at taking power away.  It makes them feel like they’re in charge.”  “That sounds like a profile.”  Also JJ’s speech at the end.  It was all one big “f**k you CBS” from the writers and the cast to the execs.  Awesome.

And dear God the FLASHBACKS at the end!  As if I wasn’t crying enough.  Seriously.  They brought out Ray La Montagne + FLASHBACKS + JJ’s voiceover.  And not just any old flashbacks but Prentiss/JJ, Garcia/JJ, Reid/JJ, TEAM friendships and baby Henry.  KILLED ME.

JJ: I am thankful for my years spent with this family, for everything we shared, every chance we had to grow.  I’ll take the best of them with me and lead by their example wherever I go.  A friend told me to be honest with you, so here it goes… This isn’t what I want, but I’ll take the high road. Maybe it’s because I look at everything as a lesson, or because I don’t want to walk around angry, or maybe it’s because I finally understand there are things we don’t want to happen, but have to accept; things we don’t want to know, but have to learn; and people we can’t live without, but have to let go.

How many takes do you think it took everyone to get through their lines in the final few scenes?

I can honestly say that, as sad as I am, there has never been a better episode to send-off a character than this.  This episode is everything I could possibly have hoped for in a goodbye JJ episode.  I can only hope that Paget/Prentiss gets the same but I have a horrible feeling that she won’t, especially since despite several cast changes, CM has yet to kill a major character off.  -__-