Category: concerts

July 28th, 2013 — 8:42pm

There are some moments that remind you everything happens the way it’s supposed to. Since joining Starwood Hotels nearly one year ago, I’ve felt this time and time again – and Thursday that happy sentiment resurfaced in a big way.

The occasion – Starwood Preferred Guest’s Gavin DeGraw concert at the Sheraton New York Times Square.

Ready for his closeup: Gavin DeGraw in the Sheraton’s Penthouse Suite

Part of SPG’s Hear The Music, See The World series for members, Thursday night’s event reinforced how fortunate I am to be in the hospitality industry. And I know it’s not just because I’m a relative newbie. At one point, one of my seasoned Starwood colleagues said  she’s still amazed by the great experiences we get to be a part of and help bring to life.

I couldn’t help echoing her sentiments, as we observed a wine tasting in the Sheraton’s Penthouse Suite for a handful of journalists – and Gavin DeGraw. The singer/songwriter couldn’t be more adorable or gracious. He made it a point to introduce himself to everyone.

“Hi, I’m Gavin,” he said to me with a smile as he extended his hand.

I somehow managed to resist the temptation to respond, And I’m seriously swooning over here.

Accompanying me for the evening’s festivities, PR consultant and longtime friend Jen Maguire.

All smiles: Jen and me with our staff lanyards

Jen was my initial entré into Starwood when she forwarded me an email from one of her marketing contacts in the company. I finally got to meet said contact Thursday night and thank her in person for getting me an interview last summer. Talk about a full circle moment.

The event officially kicked off with Sheraton Social Hour, a branded experience featuring a selection of premium wines – and for this special night, paired with mouth watering hors d’oeuvres.

Standing room only: the SPG crowd at Sheraton Social Hour

On the menu: scallops with truffle butter and creamy polenta, mini caprese sandwiches, a selection of pates and bacon wrapped shrimp. In a word, sublime.

My favorite surprise of the night – an appearance by actor and known oenophile Stanley Tucci. We chatted briefly about how much we both love London, as he’s about to move there. Love him.

Stanley Tucci and me!

Finally, it was time for the main attraction. I joined about 200 SPG members in Metropolitan Ballroom, transformed into an intimate lounge setting with white couches and purple lighting. As soon as Gavin took the stage with his band, the crowd was on its feet for his hit Sweeter.

Gavin DeGraw brought the house down

Speaking of sweet, Gavin brought his effortless charm right into the audience and took multitasking to new level, singing as he shook hands, posed for pictures and made his way around the entire room. During his 75-minute set, he mingled beloved hits (Chariot, Follow Through, I Don’t Want To Be) with songs from his upcoming new album (Best I Ever Had, Make A Move). He ended, not surprisingly, with the transcendent, Not Over You.

As I stood there singing right along with him, I couldn’t help thinking how I’ve finally found my professional home. And the funny thing is, it literally came to me through that aforementioned email from Jen. I put out to the universe what I wanted in my career and, after a long and winding road of many jobs, I finally got it.

Who knows? Maybe there’s a lesson in that about finding Mr. Right. After all, if I could go from a wart-covered frog to the Prince Charming of jobs, that same trajectory just might be possible in my love life too.

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July 21st, 2013 — 7:56pm

Friday, I enjoyed a girls night out with my friend Anna.

Our evening began at Ko Sushi, my longtime favorite neighborhood Japanese restaurant. The sushi is delicious and reasonably priced and the service always swift and friendly. Their iron chef signature roll is a must.

Anna and I settled into a table by the window, where we talked about the ups and downs of online dating, our respective journeys at Starwood Hotels and summer travels. Then, it was off to Yankee Stadium to see “The Legends of Summer” — Justin Timberlake and Jay Z.

Anna and me at Yankee Stadium

The concert was without a doubt the hottest I’ve ever been to — literally, as NYU’s blistering heat wave kept temperatures past 90 degrees even after the sun went down. Watching these two powerhouse entertainers, though, you’d never know it.

JT and Jay-Z delivered an energetic two hour set, riffing smoothly off each other and taking turns in the spotlight. Though I’m no rap fan, even I have to admit Jay Z had the crowd on its feet and singing along with him.

JT and Jay Z brought their A-game

Still, for me and Anna, it was all about Justin. I was especially excited to see him, having had to part with my ticket to his Madison Square Garden show back in 2007 when I got a stomach bug. He didn’t disappoint. Alternating between guitar, keyboards and piano, JT sailed through classics old and new including Like I love You, Senorita, Cry Me A River,Take Back The Nightight   Mirrors. Timbaland joined in for the frenetic and fabulous Sexy Back.

Speaking of cameos, one of the evening’s most exhilarating moments came when Alicia Keys appeared. As a New Yorker, it just doesn’t get any better than hearing her and Jay Z belt out Empire State of Mind. An added bonus — JT bookending the song with a jazzy rendition of New York, New York. For their encore, Justin and Jay Z did Suit and Tie, a pitch perfect ending to a fantastic show.

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November 28th, 2012 — 8:09pm

Longtime readers of this blog know I’m a huge fan of concerts at the Canal Room in SoHo. So I’m excited to tell you the club is hosting , a benefit concert for Sandy Relief with a rock star lineup of entertainment.

Next Wednesday December 5th, four of NYC’s best cover bands will perform at Canal Room – Elektric Company (70’s music), Jessie’s Girl (80’s), Bayside Tigers (90’s) and Party Rock (2K and today’s pop). All proceeds support Volunteers’ Hurricane Sandy relief programs.

Jessie's Girl puts on a totally awesome tribute to the 80's

I recently had the pleasure of seeing Jessie’s girl, a new iteration of . It’s the same talented group of musicians, only fronted now by three new lead singers – each of whom bring the megawatt charisma and infectious energy needed to perform 80’s music. What’s also new is the guitarist and keyboard player take turns at the mike as well. In a word, awesome.

Every tribute band I’ve seen over the years at Canal Room has been fantastic. We’ve Got You Covered is a must-see show and a great deal besides – four bands for the price of one. Tickets are $20 and you can book online or pay at the door.

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October 1st, 2011 — 1:51pm

Friday evening, I headed to Midtown West for a girls night out celebrating ’s birthday.

We met up at cozy wine bar Ardesia, where Michele, , and I talked about working with twentysomethings, how Facebook makes reconnecting with old flames too easy and the delights of cannoli pie.

From Ardesia, the four of us walked over to Terminal 5 for the evening’s main event – in concert. We arrived in time to catch the last twenty minutes of Vanessa Carlton’s tepid performance (which, strangely, skipped her biggest hit, “A Thousand Miles.”). Her flat and kind of depressing vibe only made the standing room only crowd even more excited for Matt, who did not disappoint.

Matt Nathanson brought the house down with his music -- and his hilarious comedy

During a rousing hour and 40 minute set, Matt – backed up by his fantastic band – proved why he’s become as well known for his comedic flair as he has for his irresistibly soulful pop music. Unlike many other artists whose stage patters feels contrived and makes you want them to stop talking altogether, Nathanson really know how to connect with a crowd. His hilarious (and occasionally raunchy) on-stage dialogue had everyone applauding.

“Have you ever dated anyone who was just pure evil?” he asked by way of explaining the inspiration for one song – a question which was greeted, of course, with huge cheers.

Though he gave ample stage time to joking about past relationships, the married Nathanson also alluded to happily ever after as he led into “Room @ The End Of The World.”

 “You’re so in love that you don’t care if the house burns down, you’re just lying there naked and playing Scrabble.”

Along with “Room…,” “Queen of Knots,” “Kiss Quick” and the title track off of his new album “Modern Love,” Nathanson played classics like “Show Me The World” and “All We Are.” Along the way, he weaved in a few covers – “The Dog Days Are Over,” “Tainted Love,” and a flawless acoustic version of “Little Red Corvette” that would make Prince envious.

Just before leaving the stage for his encore, he quipped–

“It’s an age-old show business tradition where we leave the stage and pretend we’re not coming back, and you applaud ferociously and we act surprised.”

Everyone happily obliged.

Nathanson returned to perform his current single “Faster” and then, of course, ended the night with a rousing rendition of his biggest, most beloved hit ‘’Come On Get Higher.” Everyone, myself included, was singing along with him. This is one of my favorite songs of all time and it was incredible hearing Nathanson perform it live.

It’s no surprise that Nathanson has built up such a loyal following over the years. He’s a talented singer/songwriter who brings his A-game to the stage. I can’t wait to catch him next time he’s in NYC.

Nathanson’s All Night Noise tour continues through November 5th. Don’t miss it!

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