The “best day of my life” is any day when this musical mama gets to share live music with my family. It is such a rare event that the four of us have the opportunity to share music that we all agree upon and that is appropriate for all ages.
The opportunity presented itself on Sunday night as my family headed to the first annual Oro Valley Music Festival presented by My 92.9 fm radio station. What a fun night! It’s two days later, and I’m still grinning from ear to ear as I’m replaying the 30-second video clips I shot from my iPhone throughout the night.
My family hit the festival right. We were about an hour late, and supposedly, that first hour was blasted by an epic monsoon which caused performers to shorten their sets and concertgoers were asked to move back from the stage. When we arrived the band, Parachute, had already performed and the rain had dissipated. We were left with a sunset and a glow against the mountains that emanated the glow from our hearts that only live music can bring about.
My kiddos were thrilled as Rachel Platten took the stage. I’m not too familiar with her music, but she came off as being a sweet girl apologizing for the fact that we had to all endure the rain and praising our patience. My admiration for her actually came the day after the concert, however, when My 92.9 posted a video performance of her on their Facebook page playing to the young patients at the Diamond Center Children’s hospital. The kids looked thrilled, and kudos to her for taking the time in her schedule to do it. (CLICK HERE to learn more about Rachel Platten’s hospital visit)
Next up during the night was Matt Nathanson. Before the concert, I wasn’t really impressed with him. The truth is that his one-hit wonder song “Come On Get Higher” is a little bit of a bland song. It’s usually the type of song that makes me yawn and turn the dial to the next radio station. Immediately, as he took the stage, however, i was taken with him, because he was just damn funny. What a personality! He had the audience in stitches as he played songs with real depth and that were much more musically interesting than “Come On Get Higher.” I loved his tune “Headphones” and the song “Faster.” He left me wanting to check out more of his music, and that is the greatest compliment I can give to any musician.
Unfortunately, my husband missed Nathanson’s set, because he was standing in line for dinner for us. If the concert organizers happen to read this blog, please take note here. Let me explain what happened….
The concert was catered by food trucks, and the organizers were quite clear that bringing in food was completely prohibited. Our bags were checked as we entered the venue for security and to ensure we weren’t bringing in anything we weren’t supposed to. My husband was in the hot dog line for well over an hour, and when he finally got to the front, the food truck staff apologized saying that they had run out of food! OMG — my poor kiddos were starving. Normally I would have snacks for them with me, but no….not allowed. My husband reported that the people he was in line with were furious, and organizers, please note that if you’re not going to allow food being brought in, you MUST be able to accommodate the patrons. It is unacceptable to run out, and my family did not eat dinner until 10:00 that night at Taco Bell on the way home.
Back to the music…..The Plain White T’s were up next, and out of all the bands from the evening, I was most excited to hear them perform. With acoustic hits like “Delilah” and “I,2,3,4,” it is no wonder that the song leader in me needed to take in this band. They sounded great, and in fact, all of their songs are just as good as their radio hits are. Music is only skin deep, however. Please remember that the Oro Valley Musical Festival is truly a family event. There were kids running all around, and so when lead singer, Tom Higgenson, dropped the “F” bomb, it is no wonder he got “boos” from the audience. When I asked my 8-year-old son how he liked his first-ever rock concert, he responded with disappointment. “I don’t like that the guy in that band said the “F” word.” For my sweet child, that one 1/2 second moment was the most memorable of the night. Tom Higgenson, watch your language and know your audience. There is a time and a place, and the Oro Valley Music Festival, simply wasn’t it. Look at my innocent kiddo’s faces. They love seeing rock stars – minus the “F” word.
It was getting late, and my husband and I were ready to leave. My daughter was hearing none of it though. She just HAD to hear the American Authors perform, so we stayed for her. I am so glad we did! They most definitely were the band of the night. They were all energy and talented music which included banjo and mandolin jams. The front man, Zac Barnett was as good as any lead singer i have ever seen in the largest of venues, and he sounded amazing. The American Authors carried the evening in my humble musical opinion, and I am excited to hear their sophomore album come out when it is complete. They gave us a sneak peek and played a couple of tracks off of it, and it promises to be awesome. I will forever be a fan of this band and hope they eventually come around to Tucson again.
Of course, my song of the day needs to be from the American Authors, because their hit “Best Day of My Life” certainly sums up the awesomeness of hearing that band play live.