Monday, June 1, 2009

I Left My Heart in San Francisco...

I just had the best 1-day trip ever, lol. This trip has taught me that it really is good to get away, even if only for a weekend. Don't rule it out if you want to see certain cities. You can see a lot in a weekend. Anyhoo, flew in to San Francisco. Gorgeous city! Mountains in the distance, the bay, the steep, roller-coaster like streets, historic charming feel, walker-friendly. Great city. I was struck by the significant Asian population there. All of the airport workers, most of the cab drivers, every other restaurant was Asian. It was cool seeing the diversity. Houston is extremely diverse and has a large Vietnamese population, but Houston pretty much has a large everything population. We probably have a large unicorn population if you know where to look.


View from the plane. Over some deserty looking state. I wish the pilot, flight attendants, SOMEBODY would update the passengers on what we're flying over. Some of us are fascinated by it!


View on the way to the hotel

We stayed in the Hotel Carlton, a cute, eco-friendly boutique hotel with an Arab aesthetic theme.


In the elevator


Love the decor, especially the side table




View from the hotel window...love the mountains on the horizon


The hotel room key card. Looks like a Tunisian woman, maybe?

So we ate, shopped a bit, walked, got cursed out by calf muscles and foot arches, then got ready for the concerts. Both shows were sold out. The crowd was extremely diverse, all ages and races turned out. I didn't get any pictures or video (except a couple of audio clips) inside the venue, but let me tell you, Amel Larrieux is a living legend. This woman is an entertainer with a capital E. Her voice is amazing. She hits the high notes like Minnie Riperton, her voice sounds even better live than on the track, she uses a live band, she involves the audience, and she really just has an open, positive vibe, aura, etc. During one song she freestyled the sound of a trumpet with her voice and her hand cupped over her mouth. It was crazy awesome.
***
I am a member of her fansite, Blisslife, and somehow she knows and remembers the members on there and seeks them out at her shows. After a song she asked if any Blisslifers were in the house and my arms shot up. She looked at me, smiled and said "Gem! From Texas!" She told everyone that I flew in from Texas to see her and how I had sent her some lavender lotion to New York. She left the stage, came out into the audience, held my hand and sang Stevie Wonder's All I Do (Is Think About You) to me. I bought tickets to both the 8pm and 10pm songs and I am so glad I did. I got the personal experience at the 8pm show, and at the 10pm show she performed different songs so I really got to experience a full concert with her. Then, I got to meet her afterward. She signed my concert tickets, took a picture with me, and we chatted. I had requested that she play a song on the Blisslife forums and she did. She thanked me for requesting it and said because of my request she had the band learn the song because they didn't know it. Elated, was I! She told my husband I was a precious angel and hugged me. We chatted a minute more, and that was it. I floated to the cab back to the hotel.
***
To have had this personal experience with my favorite artist is beyond amazing. I love that she has been able to find success as an independent artist. I encourage you to check out some of her songs and especially to read the lyrics. Look her up on Youtube to see some of her live performances. Here are the songs she performed, all clickable links to either the recorded song or her live version (although not Saturday's live versoion). Best. Birthday. Ever!
***
Songs Performed:
Trouble (this is the song she freestyled the trumpet at the end with her voice...she went above and beyond the recorded version)
All I Do (Is Think About You) by Stevie Wonder. She came out in the audience, held my hand and sang this TO ME!
We Can Be New-album version here. Live version here. This is one of my FAVORITE all-time songs.
For Real (love the lyrics)
Down (this is the song I requested that she thanked me for requesting. This is 1 of my favorite songs, so underrated.)
Pop Life by Prince
Keep Tryin' (I still jam this song on the IPOD. Love it)
Have You (she hasn't even recorded this song yet, so you can only hear it live.)
Gills and Tails (another favorite)
Bravebird (this song is about a woman who experienced female genital mutilation)

Map of the venue. The circle is where our table was and at the top you can see the stage. We were basically right smack dab in front of the stage.

My signed tickets by Amel. The 1st one says: Love you my lil sis and the 2nd one says: You know how I feel bout you.

Amel and I. Hair cousins!!

13 jewels of thought:

Bella said...

awwwwww!! joyful joyful! that is dope as hell :)

and yeah that side table shole was beautiful lol sounds like u had a most amazing time there, good for you! :D

karrie b. said...

since you put me on to her i've been BUYING her music.

still waiting on your recommendations email.

so glad you had a bitchin time in san fran. cali IS awesome!

-kb

Lina said...

That is so cool. I love independent artists. They really appreciate their fans. And I need to go to San Fran, too...its been on my list of places to go for a while.

The Notorious Z.A.G. said...

Congratulations!! I must admit I'm hatin' a little bit because you met Mrs. Larrieux, lol. I come to your blog from BGLH, your hair is beautiful, by the way.
Anyway... LOVE Amel Larrieux... Unanswered Question prompted me to search out and reunite with my now fiance...3 years ago. It's so awesome that you met her!

mrs. mary mack said...

And Again I say "soooo jealous"! Glad you got a chance to meet your favorite artist and that she was as cool as you'd ever hoped she'd be! I love Amel- she needs to tour down south more! Since ya'll are buds now- go on and put that bug in her ear.

Lion-ess said...

wow.. amazing experience... beautiful pictures of u both

ChocolateOrchid said...

Gem, that is so awesome! I'm glad that you had a wonderful time and got to meet your favorite artist! Thanks for sharing those wonderful pics!
I'm lovin' the decor, also!

Chanel said...

Damn that's awesome!!!! Congrats. I'll have to check her out. She's gorgeous too

Bloggal said...

Ooooooh my god that is beyond AWESOME!!! that's just too cool that she was able to recognize you from the crowd like that AND serenaded you ANNNNND took a signed your tickets in a "we go way back" kind of way, on top of taking that photo with you! eff cousins; you all look like sisters. so pretty.

i'm going to san francisco in a couple of weeks. now i can't wait! you make it sound so amazing.

thehoustongirl said...

Ooooh you so lucky!!! Not that many artists will take the time to THANK the fans these days :/ but I'm jealous! LOL lucky! I'm glad you had a wonderful birthday! :D you deserve it! take care

and keep cool in this fricking 85+ degree heat!

Kingsmomma said...

WOW, i think you've just sold me on to her as an artist simply because she interacted with her fans.
It sounds like you had a GREAT time and i'm glad you enjoyed it.

vesperinlimbo said...

San Fran is my favourite place in the universe!

Gem said...

Bella: Girrlll if I'd have checked a suitcase...that side table would be chilling in my living room all out of place, lol!

KB: I got you on the Amel CDs, yaaasssss!

Lina: YES, this is why I try to spread the word because she has been so successful as an independent artist by maintaining that connection with her fans and by her sheer talent.

ZAG: WOW, that's a wonderful story! Did you blog about that? I'ma have to come read.

MMM: Girl, weren't you just rubbing India Arie's feet? LOL. I told Amel she needs to come to TX and she said if I find her a venue (or venues) she will come! So I'm on the hunt!

Lion-ess: Thank you, love your screen name!

CO: Amel weaves in African and Indian influences in her music, so the decor seemed appropriate!

Chanel: You simply MUST check her out! Hit me up for some song recommendations, I think you would love her music.

Bloggal: You're going to San Fran? You'll LOVE it!

thehoustongirl: This weather is soooo back and forth! You know it's about to be storm/mosquito season, blech!

Kingsmomma: Let me know if you need some songs!

Vesper: I heart San Fran so much!

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