I wasn’t sure I was going to write a recap for this show. I’ve written SO MANY Graham Colton concert recaps, and I think the only people who read them consistently are my husband and my mother. (Love you guys.)
But here’s the thing. Eric (the aforementioned hubby) took a bunch of terrific photos. And I thought, what’s the best way to display those photos? I could put them on Facebook, but then people would have to navigate Facebook in order to see them, and I know that’s not always the nicest prospect. I could put them on Instagram, but then I’d be flooding Instagram with photos.
I considered putting them on Photobucket and then posting a link to the album everywhere I could on social media – mostly because I’m really proud of the photos Eric took, and I’d love to let everyone see them.
Then I had a thought. I could just post all these great photos on my blog. Then I could also share a little bit about each photo, and tie them into the show itself.
Well, lookie here. Looks like I’m writing a recap after all.
This will just be a different sort of recap than the lengthy story-hour posts I usually write. Maybe more folks will read it this way, anyway! :D
This was a Fanswell show. If you want to know what Fanswell is, it’s basically a platform to match up artists who want to book private house concerts with fans who are willing to host them. Graham is actually a co-owner and founder of the company. When I hosted Graham at my house about a year and a half ago (good grief, has it been that long???), it was through Fanswell. It’s a terrific platform, and I encourage everyone who thinks this would be a really cool thing to do to check out Fanswell and register.
Our $35 ticket included dinner, an open bar (more or less – it just had a couple kinds of wine and beer, but still – basically all the booze you wanted to drink), and of course Graham’s show. For an extra $5 you could also tour the mansion, which we didn’t do, but I might have to do it at some point. Maybe if Graham has another show there. The mansion is apparently haunted. If I’d known that before, I might have begged Eric to spring for the tour. Ha!
This was our view as we walked up to the Carriage House, where the show took place, and also the location of the open bar (which was basically one fantastic lady handing out drinks). Minus Graham talking to someone in the lower-right hand corner, that is.
Here’s what we saw inside the Carriage House: lots of cool bits of the history of the mansion.
Here’s where we had dinner. Well, under one of the trees. It was really great weather, and the trees made such a cool backdrop.
Oh my gosh, you guys. THE DINNER. It was seriously one of the best meals I’ve ever had. It sounds really simple – available were sliders, both burgers and Caprese (tomato, mozzarella, basil, balsamic vinaigrette), pasta salad, potato salad, house-made potato chips, green salad, and cupcakes. But I am not joking when I tell you that every. single. thing. was. ridiculously. delicious. (Well, I don’t know about the burger sliders. I didn’t have one. I just had a Caprese slider. But Eric liked his burger slider.) But the pasta salad and the potato salad were the BEST I have ever tasted. Ditto the chips. And the CUPCAKES oh my gosh they were out of this world. I had a blueberry and a strawberry cupcake, and a small bit of Eric’s chocolate cupcake. They were little slices of cupcake heaven.
I loved dinner so much that I made a point of seeking out the chef – Chef Eric Smith, who I’m told has two restaurants, VZD’s and Sara Sara Cupcakes – and telling him how much I enjoyed it.
Honestly, after that dinner, I felt like our $35 ticket was an absolute bargain.
I also will admit right up front that I probably had too much wine. I had 2 glasses of red wine (a blend) and 1 glass of white wine (no idea what kind it was, but it wasn’t sweet). I should have probably stopped at the red. Oh well, live and learn. The dangers of an open bar…
I really loved this cute little sign at the bar, though.
I also had a Dr. Pepper after the show because I needed a little caffeine boost. I probably should have had what Eric had, which was a Vanilla Float. I had a 10-calorie Dr. P instead. … not a fan. Sorry.
This was Graham’s little stage setup. Cozy.
I just realized there’s a guitar missing. Where did the guitar go??? No idea. Oh well.
Ah, here’s a photo with both guitars in view.
Leaving the Carriage House again, after dinner they brought chairs from outside into the Carriage House. We were given the option of just “hanging out” or touring the mansion. Again, we chose to keep our money in our pockets (sigh) and hang out. Even without the tour, there was plenty to see. Like this cute carriage (which I assume was once kept in the actual Carriage House).
I confess to hearing “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” in my head every time I looked at this carriage. For obvious reasons.
I can only imagine what the mansion looked like on the inside. The outside was stunning.
Here’s another look at the outside of the Carriage House, a slightly closer view. If you look carefully (toward the back of the photo, right in front of the house and next to the black-covered table) you’ll see me chatting with my friend Brittiany, whom I met at a previous Graham show.
Finally it was time for the performance. Jen of Cellar Door Music (the host of the show) introduced Graham, although he needed no introduction. (According to her. I, of course, agreed.)
A word about our seats. I don’t know if Eric had to zoom in to get this photo, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he hadn’t. The seats were put into place from the back of the room forward, which meant that basically if you waited long enough before you sat down, you would probably get a pretty good seat. In fact, Eric and I got what we believed were basically the best seats in the house — we were each sitting right in front of Graham, without anyone in front of us. This is probably the opposite of how most shows work, lol, but hey, it worked for us! :D
Yeah… I’m pretty sure Eric didn’t use any zoom. This is basically what I remember seeing from my seat.
Graham confessed to being a little nervous because “all my friends are here” and “we’ll know if he messed up.” (Whatever, Graham, like we care…) And he added that he planned to play some very new songs along with “more obscure” songs. We have a long-running joke that I know pretty much every song he’s ever written, probably better than he does at this point, and so I jokingly rubbed my hands together and said “ooh, what song can I request…” He shot me a look out of the corner of his eye and muttered, “You’re going to be the death of me.”
hee hee hee
(No, that’s not Graham giving me a death stare. I just thought that was an appropriate spot to drop this photo. ;) )
So the first song Graham performed was a cover that I have never heard him perform before. In fact, I don’t think he’s ever performed it live before, period! I am so sorry I didn’t get the beginning of the song, but he really caught me off-guard with this one.
Do you recognize it? Yeah. It’s the Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” Holy crap, was this an amazing cover. You’d think after I’d followed Graham for the past 5 years he wouldn’t surprise me anymore, and yet…
Graham was truly in fine form regarding “obscure” songs. He also dropped this gem, again surprising me, because when he starts talking about his Mamacita’s roots, I always assume he’s going to perform “Cellophane Girl.” (I’m not saying Graham is predictable, I’m just saying I’ve attended a ton of his shows!) But this time he performed “Summer Stars,” which you can actually hear on the very first CD he ever cut. Assuming you can get your hands on it. It’s that obscure.
Fortunately, Eric was quicker than I was, and he got this video.
He performed three brand-new songs tonight, two of which I had heard because he’d uploaded them to Soundcloud, but one of them I had never heard before ever. I’m pretty sure this one, called “If He Makes You Cry,” is probably his very newest song. To my knowledge, he has not released it in any way, shape, or form. I’m incredibly happy to have grabbed it.
The song that most everyone knows, even if they’ve never heard of Graham Colton, is “Best Days.” For some reason, I’ve heard him perform this song at the last 3 or 4 shows I’ve attended. I do know he doesn’t make a habit of performing it, but I still found it amusing when he introduced it by calling it “a song I don’t perform live much anymore.” Just a funny coincidence.
I didn’t take video of this song because you can probably pull up about 2,000 performances of it on YouTube. But this seemed an appropriate spot for these really nice photos Eric took.
He performed it right after “Born to Raise Hell,” which he joked that he was changing its name to “There Once Was a Story,” since that’s what it was: a story about a troubled boy who grew up to become a serial killer. I understand why he called it “Born to Raise Hell” (after one of the serial killer’s tattoos), but I also understood Graham’s point. I also thought it was funny when he called it the song in which he’s “constantly having to explain himself.”
A couple of other songs he sang that I haven’t heard him perform in a while were “Love Is Landing,” from his Sooner the Sunset CD, and “Hold on to My Heart,” from Pacific Coast Eyes Vol. 2. They are both songs that I know and love very well, but given the sources, they are definitely two of his more obscure songs.
One of the two other new songs he performed, currently available only via Soundcloud I think, were “Little One” — written about his daughter Collette but released only after the birth of his second child, his son William — and a truly gorgeous would-be country song called “Lightning in Bottles.”
I didn’t capture video of it, but he also performed my current favorite Graham song called “Hands Untied.” And I’m glad because if he hadn’t performed it, I would have demanded that he had. Hahaha.
This seems like a good place to pop the last of Eric’s terrific photos of Graham performing.
After the show, we chatted with Graham on and off while he greeted his adoring public. We might have spent more time hanging out than Graham actually spent performing.
In between chats, I amused myself by picking up stray drink cups I found lying abandoned under the chairs. I also danced to the music wafting over the loudspeakers.
Eric, of course, just HAD to take photos. Why am I posting them here? Because I have no shame, that’s why.
I’ve mentioned before that one of the things I love most about being a fan of Graham is that he, in very short order, makes you one of his friends. I’ll never forget how Graham sought me out for a hug at only the second show of his I ever attended, just because I had come even though I was very sick.
Once upon a time, I would have felt a little awkward hanging around after his show, just waiting for a few minutes of his time to talk. These days, I would have to have a very good reason NOT to do just that, if only because Graham would probably be upset with me if I didn’t! (I’m not joking.)
Quick story time. At one of his shows last year (one of the few I didn’t recap), I didn’t hang out at his merch table after his show because my daughters were dying for food, and there wasn’t a good place to sit near his table to eat. This show was at a fair-type of festival, I think in Norman. Or Edmond. One of those OKC-type suburbs. Anyway, we were at the opposite side of the park from his table. I kept an eye on him as we ate, and I was kind of silently going, “Don’t leave. Don’t leave. Please don’t leave.” Hahaha.
Well… then I saw him packing up his merch and I realized he was going to leave, and soon, and I hadn’t had a chance to say more than a couple of words to him before he performed. I was very torn. Part of me thought, “gosh, if I don’t at least say goodbye to him, I’m going to be so upset. And, he might actually be upset.” On the other hand, I was a very far distance from him. To catch up with him just to say goodbye, I was literally going to have to run after him.
Are you conjuring up images of Beatle-crazed fangirls chasing rock stars? Because I was!
But again, I had no choice. I had to run after him if I wanted to tell him goodbye. So I did. I ran after him. Oh my gosh, I am so embarrassed just admitting this! Feel free to laugh at me. I still do.
Even more embarrassingly, I didn’t catch up to Graham until he was in the parking lot. And I had to shout to get his attention.
(Right about now you’re probably realizing why I never recapped this show. And I’m wondering why I’m telling the world this story. I swear I have a point.)
My point is his reaction. He stopped, turned, and when he saw it was me, he came out of the parking lot, gave me a hug, and said, “I was looking for you!” And he stayed there and talked to me for a good 20 minutes or so. He didn’t treat me like a crazed groupie. He treated me like a friend. Because to him, that’s what I am.
That incident, as embarrassing as it is to recount here, is the epitome of Graham Colton. He values his fans like friends. He treats his fans like friends. I’m not sure he even knows the difference. Or he does, but doesn’t care.
During one of our many chats after his show last night, probably after talking about the upcoming school year for both sets of offspring (Graham’s children are entering full-time daycare in the fall, while our daughters are entering 10th and 3rd grade), Graham said to us, “It feels like we’re growing up together.”
The crazy thing is, it really does.
I’ll leave you with the main reason Eric and I spent all that time hanging out in the Carriage House after the show. I wanted to get this. It’s been a while.