Friday, June 15, 2012

Epic Marillion

Shortly before the opening concert of Marillion's 2012-2013 world tour, which happened to be right here in DC at the 9:30 Club, I asked the Balla gang how many mistakes/equipment failures there might be, given the all of the newness. Well, there were a number of glitches, not the least of which was keyboardist Mark Kelly having to reboot his computer right in the middle of a song. Add to those kinds of technical issues, lead vocalist Steve Hogarth was struggling with his voice throughout, leading him to say at one point..."I'm sorry I haven't been more communicative tonight, but I have been in crisis for most the the night."

Despite all of that, it was quite a show, with a spectacular set list drawn from the Marillion catalog, with a special emphasis on some of the epics, those ten-plus minute songs featuring lots of musical movements...This Strange Engine, Neverland, The Invisible Man. A great set list for people like myself who like to work Steven Rothery work his magic during extended guitar solos.

And then there was an impromptu Easter, H starting it on the piano by himself in response to an audience request, and the entire band eventually following his lead and kicking in for a full-out electric version of that all-time classic.

The show capped off what was a fun little pre-concert experience in the 9:30 Club's "Back Bar." A club worker came out a couple of hours before the gig and counted out the first 30 people in line. Luckily, we were 27, 28, 29, and 30. All of us got escorted into a downstairs lounge, where we ate some veggies, pita, and hummus, relaxing until we got called to be the first group let into the venue proper. The result was that we found ourselves standing right in front of center stage, in place to catch all of the action as up close as it gets. Here is what we saw...

Splintering Heart
Cover My Eyes
Slainte Mhath
Fantastic Place
Somewhere Else
Afraid of Sunlight
Man of a Thousand Faces
This Strange Engine

The Invisible Man

Three Minute Boy


PS: Click here to see professional images taken at the show...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Scenes From A Water Balloon Fight

Here's what happens when you provide something like 200 water balloons to a group of college and high school students.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Growing Niki

Huge update on our "little leezard friend..."

Turns out Rhone is actually a girl! Her new name is "Niki."

Niki is around nine inches long and finally big enough for us to tell her gender. She has grown so big that we had to get the larger 18-by-18 inch habitat.

We've added new decor, including rocks and fake plants.

Niki is also big enough to eat larger crickets. These huge crickets are almost an inch long. They go down with a loud crunch...

Niki's energetic self always keeps us on our toes, as we have had several chases around the house when she leaps off of us.

It has been great getting to know Niki, and she is a great addition to the family.