Tunesday: Live It Up

RIP Penny Lane (2008-2014).

My iPod Classic Penny Lane had a fatal heart attack (or a hard drive failure, in tech terms) last Wednesday. Truthfully, I was really choked when she croaked. I got her back in April 2008 and we were inseparable for six solid years. Penny Lane was with me through it all - good days and bad days, happy times and sad times, the highest highs and the lowest lows, along with every milestone, celebration, trip, and tragedy along the way. She was an essential piece to the formative years of my early twenties, helping me to create the soundtrack to my life with the music that would shape my world. Though the songs still live on, having to say goodbye to her was a hard thing to do. As I move into this new era with Sir Duke (my new iPod Classic), I look forward to making more music memories while still treasuring the past. Thank you, Penny Lane. You’re forever in my ears and in my eyes.

In tribute to my late friend, here’s a handful of new tunes I’ve been listening to lately…

Colbie Caillat – Live It Up (from Gypsy Heart – Side A)

I’m unstoppable / I drop kick impossible / I live it up

Hot off the heels of the empowering “Try“, the upbeat “Live It Up” is all about having the confidence to do something that terrifies you. For Colbie, this means stage fright (which inspired the writing of the song) and skydiving (which she does in the lyric video!). When you conquer your fears, you truly know what it feels like to live life to the fullest!

Jason Mraz – Love Someone (from Yes!)

When you love someone / It comes back to you

This soothing and heartfelt ballad off of Mraz’s newly released album, YES!, is an ode to the karmic effect of love – the idea that when you give love, you get love in return. The inclusion of the all-girl band, Raining Jane, gives this song an extra ounce of sweetness.

Keira Knightley – Lost Stars (from Begin Again)

Are we all lost stars / Trying to light up the dark?

Did you know Keira Knightley can sing? She can, and she’s got a pretty lovely singing voice too! In Begin Again, an indie drama about music in New York City, Begin Again, Keira’s character, a singer-songwriter named Gretta, writes and performs this song, right before things unravel in her love life. Adam Levine, who plays her famous musician-boyfriend/ex in the movie, also has a recorded version of “Lost Stars“.

Kris Allen – Prove It To You (feat. Lenachka) (from Horizons)

I know I had to let you go / But I had to find out on my own
That you were always the one

Kris Allen presents an example of one of the most creative uses of lyric videos with his project for his new single, “Prove It To You”. This simple and delicate song (with beautiful guest vocals from Russian singer Lenachka) is accompanied by a series of images that pay tribute to the many ways in which we spread messages to each other – from words on a typewriter to letters in the sand.

Allison Iraheta & Halo Circus – Do You Believe in Shame?

If love can conquer all / Then why do we only feel the pain?

Originally drawn to its haunting lyrics, Allison Iraheta and her rock band, Halo Circus, have re-imagined Duran Duran’s “Do You Believe In Shame?” with an even deeper, heavier, and moodier sound. Along with the live performance video included above, you can preview their recorded cover of the song on Yahoo! Music.

Share Your World – Week 28

Have you ever been a participant in a parade? What did you do?
Back in 2011, I participated in the annual Rogers Santa Claus Parade in Vancouver. I was a member of a street team that was promoting Happy Feet 2, so as volunteers, we were the ones throwing out free swag to all of the folks watching the parade. We even had people in penguin suits, much to the families’ delight! (Sidenote: When I was a kid, I used to attempt to escape a lot. This one time, my mom nearly lost me at Disneyland when I decided to follow the Hercules parade. It sure gave her a fright!)

If you were handed free opera tickets, would you go or sell them? Why?
I’m not one to turn down a good live performance, and I’ve never been to the opera before (and it’s one side of entertainment I’d like to try), so I’d definitely go!

Why did you start your blog?
I started blogging as a way to document my life experiences and reflections as well as to express myself online. Since high school, I’ve always been writing somewhere – beginning with private blogging on LiveJournal and later venturing into public blogging on Blogger. And now, I’m here on WordPress, where I blend the personal and the professional with insightful pieces and entertainment reviews. It’s a constant challenge to maintain a blog regularly, but I still believe it’s essential to have a place where you can share your thoughts without being constricted by a 140-character limit.

What is your favourite tradition?
This tradition popped up in my mind immediately and it’s one that I’ve missed for years – back to school shopping. In grade school, I always anticipated the last week of summer vacation because that was the time when I’d get to buy new school supplies and shop for new outfits. While I can still take advantage of the back to school sales each year, it’s just not the same.

via Share Your World on Cee’s Photography.

Image from Rogers Santa Claus Parade.

Share Your World – Week 27

If you were the architect of one existing building, which building would you select?
The tremendous Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. Acclaimed as the jewel of Muslim art, this instantly recognizable white marble mausoleum (which was built as a tomb for the Emperor’s wife) is one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture.

What is one of your favourite quotes?
I really like this quotation from Amy Poehler: “Curiosity and the pursuit of it makes you a more open-minded and open-hearted person. You’ve never too late to learn new things, and you’re never too young to be very wise.”

What colour do you feel most comfortable wearing?
My power colour, Fuchsia Rose. It combines my two favourite colours – red and pink – and wearing this shade makes me feel and look my best.

What is something you learned in the last week?
A LOT can change in your life within five years. While transferring all of my files over from my PC laptop to my brand spankin’ new MacBook Pro, I spent some time going through old pictures and documents, and I was shocked by how different everything was back then. Even when looking at photos of myself in 2009 (at 20 years old), I noticed that my smile has changed.

via Share Your World on Cee’s Photography.

Share Your World – Week 26

Is your refrigerator, organized or a mess inside?
An organized mess. Everything is where it should be, but there’s a lot of food shouldn’t be there any longer…

If you could be famous for one thing, what would it be?
I’d like to be famous for writing something (an article, a book, a song) that is impactful and inspiring to the masses. Even more important, I hope what I write allows people to feel that whatever it is they’re going through in life, they don’t have to face it alone.

What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?
Go skiing on a mountain. Can you believe I’ve lived in Vancouver for all of my life and haven’t once partook in winter activities at Whistler? And no, snowshoeing in Grade 6 doesn’t count.

Where do you eat breakfast?
As I’m running to and from my room and the washroom, rushing to get ready for work after sleeping through my alarm clock yet again.

via Share Your World on Cee’s Photography.

Queen + Adam Lambert Rock Vancouver!

Queen + Adam Lambert

 

On June 28th, Vancouver’s classic rock fans were treated to a special evening with British Rock Royalty Queen (with the remaining original members Brian May and Roger Taylor) and American Idol‘s Adam Lambert at Rogers Arena. I went to the show with a friend, who I had first seen Adam with on the American Idol Season 8 tour with back in 2009. It’s crazy to think that five years later, he made his return to the same venue as Queen’s lead guest vocalist along their North American Tour. Queen and Adam Lambert fans alike had been anticipating this tour since the guys first collaborated together on the American Idol Season 8 finale. Since then, the band has invited Adam to join them for awards show performances, music festivals, and a small European tour.

The concert’s setlist consisted of 20+ songs. In two hours, they powered through a catalog of crowd boosters (“Now I’m Here”, “Stone Cold Crazy”, Lap Of The Gods… Revisited”, “Seven Seas of Rhye”, “I Want It All”) and classic hits (“Another One Bites The Dust”. “Fat Bottomed Girls”, “Killer Queen”, “Somebody To Love”) with the help of Adam’s soaring vocal range and Brian and Roger’s intricate instrumentation skills. Both Brian and Roger had spotlighted moments during the set, in which they got to show off their tricks and pay tribute to Queen’s late and great frontman Freddie Mercury, ensuring the crowd that the spirit of their dear friend still surrounds the group. The guitar wizard laid it all out acoustically on “Love Of My Life” and “’39″ and hypnotized the audience with a spellbinding electric guitar solo. The drumming genius sang “These Are The Days Of Our Lives”, delivered a thunderous drum break, and shifted to “Under Pressure” with Adam. The guys slowed it down with a stripped down re-imagining of Freddie’s “Love Kills” and “Who Wants To Live Forever” before finishing with fan favourites “Tie Your Mother Down”, “Radio Ga Ga”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “The Show Must Go On”, and of course, the iconic rock opera “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Not to be forgotten, the encore included the essential closer of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions”.

Glam rocker Adam Lambert shares some key qualities with Freddie Mercury – the charismatic personality, the flamboyant stage persona, the theatrical and fierce stage presence, and the star power. There’s no competition to be had against the then and now; as the rock band’s temporary frontman, Adam does a respectable and riveting job commemorating the artistry and showmanship of his musical idol. Coupled with the presence of rock music legends, Brian May and Roger Taylor, Adam complements the band with an easy camaraderie.

Simply put, Queen + Adam Lambert killed it on all levels. The spectacular production was outstanding – everything from the vibrant visual effects (lights, lasers, and smokes, oh my!) to the pulsating sound effects, from the elaborate staging (can’t get over the purple chaise lounge on the catwalk) to the costumes (Adam’s regal crown, Brian’s gold cape, etc.) – and added to the electric and exciting vibe in the room. I am eternally grateful to this band for electing to keep their music alive in a live setting and allow fans of all generations to experience the majestic extravagance firsthand. All hail the reign and legacy of Queen!

Queen + Adam Lambert will be touring across North America through to the end of July, continuing with shows in Asia and Australia in August. Visit Queen Online for the tour dates.

Photography by yours truly via Flickr. For video snippets of some performances, see my Instagram.