This year for Michael's birthday (which is this Saturday), I wanted to find something fun to do to build a memory, instead of just buying him random stuff that he really doesn't need, and that we may have to get rid of when we downsize again to go overseas.
I was struggling to find tickets to anything at a decent price.
Last weekend we rented the movie Once. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it. It's an Irish musical movie with amazing music and a sweet story. It's refreshing. It is rated R due to some language (common in foreign films), but there is no sex or nudity and is so easy to watch. And, if you are a music lover--even in the slightest--you will love this movie! One of the songs from the movie won an Academy Award in February 2008 for Best Original Song.
So, we watched the movie and I decided to find the soundtrack to get Michael for his birthday. On Monday I was doing some research and found out that the couple in the movie, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, had also put out another CD, The Swell Season, which included a few songs from the movie as well as a few new ones. I also discovered that they were touring in the United States. I looked at the dates and saw they were going to be in Upper Darby, PA (20 minutes from our apartment) at the Tower Theater the very next night (last night)!!
To make a long story short, I was able to find tickets on Craigslist for less than half the price, and I was able to find someone to cover both of our shifts at our jobs for Tuesday night (we were both scheduled to work).
Yesterday after school I got home and told Michael he was getting his main birthday present early. I told him neither of us were going to work (which was a surprise-I was able to pull it off!) and that we had plans. After attempting to get a little homework done, I gave him his present. In it were two CDs: the Once soundtrack and The Swell Season CD. Then he opened the card and found the tickets to the concert.
The concert was amazing. I can't even really give it enough credit. It was the best concert I've ever been to. The music was amazing. They had a piano, a cello, a violin, drums, guitars, and the voices all blended together so well. The set of songs they played were phenomenal. It was the last night of their tour, so they came back on stage after the Standing Ovation and played for another 45 minutes, saying they weren't in a hurry since they were finishing their tour. The opening band played from 8-9, and then when The Swell Season came on stage around 9:15, they played until midnight.
Granted, our seats were pretty far back (there were maybe four rows behind us), but it didn't matter.
As we were walking to our car afterwards, we noticed a small group of about 15 people waiting around by the back entrance, right across from the tour bus. We figured they were waiting for the band, and we thought, "What the heck? Let's stick around and see if we can see them."
We waited for 30-40 minutes, during which band members slowly left the building. And then Glen and Marketa came out. Marketa got on the bus, and as we all cheered, Glen stopped, said something to Marketa, and then crossed the street towards us. We got to meet him! And then Marketa got off the bus and came over too! We met them both, asked them to sign our CD, and took pictures with them. It was a small enough group that people were talking to them and asking questions. They were very down to earth, funny, and happy to answer questions, despite the fact that it was almost 1 am and cold outside.
Basically, it was an amazing end to an amazing night of music! I couldn't have planned it better if I had tried!! If you haven't seen the movie or heard the music, trust me, it's worth your time. (I will post a picture later tonight.)
Happy Early Birthday Michael!