Went to the first live show in more than eighteen months on Saturday! Saw Frank Turner’s acoustic show at XL Live in Harrisburg. He’s touring with Counting Crows as an opening act and doing smaller acoustic shows as headliner in between the larger stadium shows. I didn’t see him when Counting Crows played in DC – $200 was too much for a headliner I don’t really care for – so Harrisburg. The drive was fine, parking was plentiful and well-lighted.
The opening act was Nathan Gray, whose music I didn’t know, but I liked his show enough to go download some music.
The set list for Frank Turner (accompanied by Matt Nasir on mandolin) was a mix of old and new songs – 3 new songs from the upcoming album, a few from Be More Kind, a mix from other albums. The requests included two that I’ve never heard live despite having been to at least a dozen shows (My Kingdom for a Horse and Heartless Bastard Motherfucker). He ended with three staple songs, although I’ve never heard them played in this order: Recovery, Get Better, and I Still Believe. Thematically, they made sense together, although they are vastly different and come from different albums – he was talking about how despite doing “live” shows via YouTube and other video apps, it’s not the same as being in the room with people singing and dancing and providing a feedback loop.
My only knock is kind of nit-picky and not about the show itself. The venue required either proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test, which I appreciated, but maybe 1% of the crowd – pressed together and dancing and shouting song lyrics – wore masks. It’s going to be a long time before I’m comfortable being in a confined space with maskless strangers. Maybe never.
I’ve done a summary post of the books I read, places I visited, etc., for the last couple of years. 2020 has very little to recommend for itself looking back. The early months were pretty good, but later not so much.
- Terceira in February (highly recommend)
- Pittsburgh for hockey (first week of March, just pre-lockdown)
- Antietam/western MD for a weekend in July
- Cape Cod for an isolated and quiet trip in September
- Online only – several Frank Turner shows, not much else.
- Can’t remember if I saw anything in the theater early on.
- Signed up briefly for Disney+ in order to see Hamilton and the first season of The Mandalorian.
- A lot of Netflix, including Schitt’s Creek (meh), Derry Girls (like it), and Bridgerton (not sure I’d bother with future seasons/series).
- Currently watching the new season of The Expanse on Amazon. I love Chrisjen Avasarala as a character.
I finished 33 books. The highlights were Megan Whalen Turner’s The Return of the King and Ben Aaronovitch’s False Value. There are two former autobuy authors who finally tipped over the edge for me to not even being library borrows, and a lot of ~meh~ mixed in. I tried a couple of self-published works from writers I’ve found via fandom(s); sometimes the original fic works for me and sometimes not, which is perhaps a function of the canon and backstory in fandom that requires more work to establish in original fiction. I’ve been letting myself read Obama’s memoir in bits and pieces, as a comfort, so I started in 2020 but it will finish as a 2021 read. (It’ll be a highlight, I’m pretty sure.)
Books I’m looking forward to in 2021:
- Anna K. by Jenny Lee, a YA retelling of Anna Karenina. I haven’t read Anna Karenina since high school and my memory of it is such that I’m curious to read a YA adaptation.
- We Own This City by Justin Fenton. Non-fiction account of the Baltimore City Police Gun Trace Task Force, whose members have been federally indicted for a variety of crimes, including racketeering, drug dealing, and illegal searches and seizures.
- The new installment in Kelley Armstrong’s Rockton Yukon series.
- What Abigail Did That Summer, a novella in the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch.