Come With Me! Athens, GA

This past weekend, we attended the first UGA home game in Athens, GA.  We played against South Carolina, who beat us soundly the past three seasons.  This time, we WON!!  What a great game!

Of course, it was a horrid balmy 97 degrees during the game. Our seats just happen to be in the section that is the last to get any shade as the sun sets.  Our stadium holds over 90,000, and it was a full house.  My special guest wrote his predictions for this season here.

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The line to enter the stadium

The view from our seats:

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View from our seats

We traveled with the pups.  We always try to stay at the Foundry Park Inn, as they are dog friendly.  They even do a “pet setup”, which includes a feather bed, and food/water bowls.  The rooms are quite nice.  There is even a full service spa.

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Sheldon

picture of Sitting area, Foundry Park Inn, Athens, GA

Sitting area, Foundry Park Inn, Athens, GA

There is also a great music venue at the hotel called the “Melting Point”.  It is very intimate and a great place to see a band.  Athens has a great live music culture, and has produced world famous acts such as REM and The B-52’s.

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Melting Point, Athens, GA

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Stage in the Melting Point, Athens, GA

I had the most delicious victory cocktail there – a cucumber caprioska!  It is a blend of cucumber vodka, muddled cucumbers, lemon juice, and a splash of soda.  Refreshing after baking in the heat!  Sorry for the picture quality, as this was taken from my cell phone.

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Cucumber Caprioska

The rest of the weekend was spent knocking around beautiful downtown Athens with the dogs, and eating at some of the fabulous restaurants in Athens.  My favorite place is “The Last Resort Grill”.  If you ever visit Athens, this place is a must.  I would suggest reservations.  They have an awesome Sunday brunch that is packed.  If you want to be sure you get a table, get there about 30 minutes before they open and stand in line.  It is worth it!  My favorite entree is the salmon & grits.  They also have heavenly homemade cakes.

There is also another great restaurant, “DePalma”.  Order the combo breadsticks (one is onion and spinach, the other is meatball and cheese.  It is made with real bread, braided with onion/spinach or meatball/cheese.   Nice salad, and whew!  That is a tasty meal in itself,

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Last Resort Grill, Athens, GA

We did check out Herschel Walker’s new eating establishment, Herschel’s Famous 34 Pub & Grill:

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Herschel’s Famous 34 Pub & Grill

I cannot even begin to describe what a hero Herschel is to UGA football.  I dare say he is one of the BEST college athletes EVER.  His place, however, was just so-so.  Very limited menu, and the food was nothing to write home about.  But a UGA fan must pay homage to any establishment relating to our beloved running back, #34!!

Looking forward to a great college football season!  GO DAWGS!!

Thanks for reading! kxoxo

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Puppies at Sea Island, GA

These photos are from a trip we took to Sea Island, GA in early May with our Standard Poodle, Sheldon, and Australian Shepherd, Fiona.  Sea Island is a gated resort community south of Savannah, right outside of Saint Simons Island, GA.  We stayed at The Cloister.  It was our first visit, and they are 100% dog-friendly.  Unfortunately, the weather did not really cooperate, as we have had an extremely wet spring.  From the looks of things, the April showers are carrying over into our early summer as well!  As I am writing this, the skies have darkened and a huge thunderhead is forming.  Oh well…..

This was their first foray to the beach.  The both just turned a year old this past week.  We are looking forward to a sunnier day when we can all go for a swim together!

picture of Cloister Beach Club, Sea Island

Cloister Beach Club, Sea Island

picture of Cloister Beach Club, Sea Island

Cloister Beach Club, Sea Island

There is a giant sunroom at the Cloister that houses a pair of love birds.  Puppies’ first encounter with a feathered friend.  They were utterly fascinated, as was the little birdie!

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Sunroom at The Cloister, Love birds, Sheldon

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Sunroom at The Cloister, love birds, Fiona

We had lunch on the outdoor patio at the “sit down” restaurant at the Beach Club.  Being that it is right on the ocean, you can imagine how many birds are loitering about, waiting to pounce on whatever was left on the plates of diners after they’ve left their table.  Fear not!  The place is staffed by a genuine falconer!

picture of Falconer, Cloister Beach Club, Sea Island

Falconer, Cloister Beach Club, Sea Island

Can you see the little hood on the falcon?  I had never seen or heard of this practice!  But the handler would just mosey about the perimeter of the dining area, and any unwelcome birds that got even the slightest glimpse of this mighty creature would make tracks and get out of dodge!  It was really cool.

We had a great stay in Sea Island.  We love traveling with the dogs, and are always on the lookout for pet friendly accommodations.  Will keep you updated on any new places we discover.

Thanks for reading!  kxoxo

Blogger Meetup!

Hello Everyone!  Long time no see!  I cannot believe I haven’t blogged in three weeks!!!  I have had the most amazing time during my absence, and wanted to share with you what I’ve been up to – meeting and hanging out with fellow bloggers!!!  I didn’t take my camera with me on my excursions, so pardon the odd sized photos that I had to edit from my phone camera.  It’s all good!

First up is my second meeting with the lovely Aussie blogger, Rosie, from A Red Lip and A Nude Shoe.  We met for the first time earlier this year when hubby and I went to Sydney, Australia.  We so hit it off, and have been in constant contact with each other.  Because of her obsession love of Def Leppard, she decided to come to the States earlier than planned for their limited US tour (along with KISS), and brought along her childhood bestie, Tez (who is now my bestie too!).  Tez’s first time in America.  We chose the PNC Music Pavillion in Charlotte, NC to see them.

My Aussie girls landed in Atlanta on July 17 (after spending time in the Napa Valley and Seattle).  We picked them up, hung out in boring Augusta for a day, then headed to Charlotte.  Oh, did I mention, we got VIP packages to meet the Leppard boys? And sat in the second row at the concert????

We had to line up for the VIP photo op, and it started to seriously rain.  Really???  We are about to get our photo taken with Def Leppard, and we are wet as hell (I wish I had a “before” pic, because our hair was on point). Really, it was.

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Def Leppard VIP

Now, it’s our time for the photo.  Rosie adores Rick Allen (the drummer), and he remembers her from the coffee shop in Vegas from last year.  She is DONE.  Ready to head back to the Land Down Under, and there were tears.

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Def Leppard Meet And Greet

Next, we all fly to New Orleans (July 21) for some fun, and to meet up with Adj (who flew in from London). Also her first time in America!!!  I now know how to pronounce her first and last name.  She blogs at Love, Adjpants.  She is also a friend of Rosie and Tez, and now a fabulous friend of mine!  So, another  blogger I got to meet, and hang out with!!!

First stop was Pat O’Briens for some Hurricanes!  At this point, we decided we were the United Colors of Benetton Bitches!!!! Of course, you can see it, right?

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Pat O’Briens

Next, we met the sweetheart Chelsea from Tiger Love Beauty!  She lives in Louisiana, and attends LSU!!

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Blogger Meetup New Orleans

We hung out with Chelsea and her friend Ashley.  We did breakfast at The Old Coffee Pot, the French Market stalls, then gorged ourselves with the Muffuletta at Central Grocery.  I am so happy I got to meet her.  Love ya Chels!

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Blogger Meetup New York City

Then, we flew from New Orleans to New York (July 24)!!!!  Times Square selfie!  We stayed at the Marriott Marquis Times Square.  Had a fabulous time in the Big Apple!  As you can imagine, so many things to do in the city.

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Blogger Meetup NYC

I also got to meet Hannah from Hannah, Here.  Funny thing is she is from Colorado, and happened to be in NYC when I was, and the planets aligned just right, and we got to meet up!  We share a love of barre workouts (she did a Physique57 workout in NYC!) and kitties, so I was super excited to meet her.

After New York, my babies went on to Vegas and LA. I had a date with Sarah McLachlan in Atlanta, with my homies here in Georgia.  Pre-concert burgers!!!

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Farm Burger Buckhead

Sarah McLachlan is one of my very favorites!!!  She did not disappoint.  Me and my gals had a fabulous time, but they did hear about how much I enjoyed meeting all of the fabulous bloggers/friends I met this month!!!!

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The PHENOMENAL Sarah McLachlan at Chastain Park

Again, thanks for reading, and I have a TON of reviews coming up!

And thanks to Chelsea and Hannah for meeting up with me!!!

xoxoxo

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Come With Me – New Orleans

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Two weeks ago, I had a fabulous girls’ getaway to New Orleans.  One of my besties, Amie, is a hardcore fan of Tegan and Sara.  They are a twin sister indie rock duo.  I promised her on their next tour, I would go with her.  It just so happened that they were touring this summer, but opening for FUN.  While we love “fun”, we aren’t fans of FUN, the band.  So we found a few select gigs where they were solo.  One of those shows happened to be in New Orleans.  We found a great deal on a flight/hotel on Expedia, so we booked it immediately!  Her sister Brandy, who lives in Maine, decided she would join us.  And their Mom, who lives in Texas, hopped on board as well (along with her hubby).  Rendezvous in New Orleans!

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New Orleans Park

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New Orleans Scenery

Aaaaah, the Big Easy! l adore the charming French Quarter: dirty, smelly, hot as hell in the summer, but so hedonistic!  From the sounds of the zydeco bands, to the scents of fragrant Cajun spices, to the swanky art galleries/boutiques, to the bacchanalia that is Bourbon Street, right down to the fabulous restaurants on every corner, there is no other place like it in the South!

The concert was at the House of Blues (225 Decatur Street).  Fabulous venue, fabulous show.  Amie got to hear all of her favorite songs, so she was a happy camper!

We stayed at the Renaissance Arts hotel (700 Tchoupitoulas Street).  It was within walking distance to the French Quarter (we did cab a few times, after walking a bunch and over-indulging on Bourbon Street).  Beautiful hotel, and it had the fastest elevators ever!

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Brandy, Karen, Amie in the lobby

It was Amie and Brandy’s first visit to NOLA, so we did all things tourist-y.  First stop, Pat O’Brien’s (718 St. Peter Street) for Hurricanes!  You walk in, and it opens up to a beautiful courtyard, complete with a fountain!  I believe their Hurricanes are the best (and very potent).

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Pat O’Brien’s Hurricanes

Then off to Cafe Maspero (601 Decatur Street) for a yummy muffelata (also my fave in the city).  There is usually a huge line, but we happened upon a slow time.  The restaurant is a bit old/yuck, but their muffelata is delish.  It is GIAGANTIC.  We 3 shared one sandwich (I also had their French Onion Soup – yum!).  Sorry, “no photo available” as we were starving, and devoured it before I could take a picture.  *Disclaimer* I only order the muffelata there, so I can’t speak for their other dishes.

So, during our exploration of the city, we paid homage to a couple of gay bars:  The Oz (800 Bourbon Street), and Cafe Lafitte In Exile (900 Bourbon Street).  Cafe Lafitte is the oldest gay bar in the United States!  We sat on the balcony, overlooking Bourbon Street, and they projected 80s MTV videos onto the wall across the street.  Awesome!  While we were in the area, we caught a whiff of fried chicken. Amie and I live in the second largest metropolis in GEORGIA, yet we do not have a place to get good fried chicken (so sad).  So, in true 80s style, we were “Hungry Like the Wolf”.  One of the sweet curators in an art gallery in the area told us the delicious smells were coming from a nearby diner (Clover Grill, 900 Bourbon Street).  We asked him if he had a favorite place for fried chicken, and he enthusiastically recommended Verti Marte (1201 Royal Street).  So, off to Verti Marte we went.

Laaawd.  It was a convenience store.  The food was in the back of the shop (deli setup). Fast forward to microwaved boneless chicken. Outta there.  So, we went to the Clover Grill, which we thought was the origin of the heavenly fried chicken smell.  NOT.  Double fast forward to, “We don’t have fried chicken”.  But they had chicken fried steak.  Brandy and I are, “Yeah, we’re down with chicken fried steak” (I am half-Texan after all).  AWFUL.  A Hungry Man tv dinner was tastier.  At this point, the desire to devour some fried chicken was over the top,  So, I decided to ask Google.  It pointed us to Fiorella’s Cafe (45 French Market Place).  HOLY COW!!!  The place is a bit of a dive; but, let me tell you people, it was the BEST fried chicken I have ever had!  They make it to order, so you have to wait a bit for it.  No worries, we had cocktails.  It was hot, fresh, juicy, a touch of spice, WELL worth the wait.  Again, “no photo available” (Hungry Like the Wolf, remember?).

The rest of our visit in photos:

Cafe Du Monde (800 Decatur Street) for beignets:

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Beignets at Cafe Du Monde

I was still jonesing for fried chicken (Marigny Brasseire & Bar, 640 Frenchmen Street) – again, Fiorella’s was the BOMB, but Marigny’s chicken was delish!  Highly recommend!  We also got an appetizer of boudin balls, which we had never had.  It is like little croquette balls with sausage.  I could have eaten the whole plate.

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Fried Chicken at Marigny Brassiere

Our last day, cocktails at Court of Two Sisters:

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Court of Two Sisters

I am going back to NOLA in a few weeks for Joey’s birthday.  Any recommendations?

Thanks for reading!  kxoxo

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Come With Me – New Orleans 2

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My second visit to New Orleans this year!  My husband’s birthday was October 22, so I figured we should go there to celebrate it since I had such a great time on my last trip!  We’ve been there together before, but it was usually for the Sugar Bowl, and left little time to just hang out in the city with no agenda (GO DAWGS!!!).

We stayed at the Hotel St. Marie (827 Toulouse Street), which is one block off of Bourbon Street in the French Quarter.

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Hotel St. Marie New Orleans

It is a quaint hotel in a central area with everything within walking distance.  It has a nice courtyard and a pool.  We lucked out and got a balcony room with a street view.  When they found out it was Joey’s birthday, they sent up a bottle of champagne, complete with a standing ice bucket.  We enjoyed it on our our little terrace!

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Our together selfies turned out bad, so we took individual photos!

This is an older, historic hotel.  I think soundproofing is non-existent.  We are both heavy sleepers and can sleep through anything (it’s a gift), so the noise didn’t bother us.  It wasn’t until the daytime that I realized how loud the street sounds were.  I’m not sure if the rooms that aren’t on the street side are any better, but if you are a light sleeper, I would not recommend staying here.

First order of business, muffuletta at Central Grocery (934 Decatur Street).  Cafe Maspero (601 Decatur Street) was my go to place for the heavenly muffuletta.  So I had to see what the buzz was about at Central Grocery.  It is an Italian grocer, and the smells are wonderful when you walk in.  There will be a line no matter what time (they close at 5:00).  You go to the counter, tell them what you want, and pick your drink (and chips if you desire).  The sandwiches are already made and packaged (half sandwich, cut in two, full sandwich, cut in fourths, or veggie).  It is a store, so there is not a restaurant setup.  There is a cramped area in the back with a community table and bar seating against the wall.  It is close to Jackson Square, so you could go and enjoy it outside.  The overall sandwich was magnificent, but I like Maspero’s bread better.  It’s softer.  However, it was DIVINE!!!

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Muffuletta from Central Grocery

After our fabulous lunch, we knocked around, visiting a few bars.  My favorite was the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal Street).  The bar actually overlooks the beautiful street.

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Carousel Bar, Hotel Monteleon

The actual bar ROTATES like a merry-go-round.  Joey timed it, and it took 14 minutes, 38 seconds to make a full circle.  *side note – I did not realize it was moving until the hubs informed me.*

We had the birthday dinner at Irene’s (539 St. Philip Street).  It is a more “fine dining” type of place.  The food and service were excellent!  Perfect for a special occasion.

The next day, we tooled around the French Quarter a bit, but took a detour into the Treme neighborhood (via taxi) to visit Wilie Mae’s Scotch House.  If you read my previous post about NOLA, you know I am all about some good fried chicken.  Willie Mae’s did NOT disappoint.  It is a bit of a dive with terrible service, there is a long line every day to get in, but with good reason.  The chicken is unbelievable!!!  Cooked to order, crispy, perfectly seasoned, with a bit of a kick.  Joey was a bit skeptical about wasting a meal in New Orleans on fried chicken, but as he was eating it, he proclaimed, “This is even better than a steak dinner”.  We got there a bit late, and they were out of dark meat (his fave), but he raved about how moist/juicy/tasty the white meat was.  Word of warning if you go – they are only open until 5:00, and they often run out of chicken/sides.  So get there a bit early.  Mac & Cheese and Collards were sold out :(

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Fried chicken with fried okra and a cornbread muffin

Back in the French Quarter, we did Pat O’Briens (I know it’s touristy, but I love this place).

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I really love Pat O’s!

Also Bourbon Street.  There was a guy doing “slight-of-hand” magic tricks (which I LOVE).  He was pretty good.  He used us in one of his tricks, and it ended up involving a dove.  Coincidence?  Y’all know about my little baby Ducky.  I thought it was funny that Joey ended up with a dove.

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Could this be Ducky’s cousin?

Our last day, we did the jazz brunch at The Court of Two Sisters (613 Royal Street).  Beautiful courtyard dining.

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Court of Two Sisters

Then, off to the airport.  Here are some scenes from the streets of the French Quarter.  Some were gearing up for Halloween.

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New Orleans

It was such a fun trip!

Thanks for reading!  kxoxo

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Tori Amos Unrepentant Geraldines Tour Atlanta Review

Hello my lovely readers!  If you have read my bio on any of my social media, you would know I classify myself “Tori Amos Obsessed”.  I had the pleasure of seeing her on August 19 in Atlanta, GA.  After getting home the next day after that fabulous performance, I went online hoping some other fans who attended that show might have shared their thoughts.  NONE.  So, for what it’s worth, I want to give MY Tori Amos Unrepentant Geraldines Tour Atlanta Review.  If you are not a Tori fan, feel free to skip this, and we’ll catch up later!

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Me & Essa Tori Amos Concert Atlanta GA

My lovely companion is my sweet friend Essa.  It was her first Tori concert, and I am honored that  we experienced it together.  Please forgive the grainy photos – I only had my phone camera with me.

This show was at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.  It is an absolutely beautiful venue, complete with the cool box seats elevated near the front of the stage.  We were in the mid-level mezzanine seats, towards the right side of the stage.  So my pictures are not up close and personal with Tori.  On a side note, we stayed at the Embassy Suites Galleria, which is  literally right next door to the venue.  We actually walked back and forth without having to worry about a cab.  Sweet!

We got ourselves some wine, found our seats, and eagerly waited for the show to begin.  Oh, the anticipation!!!  The lady next to us actually got to do the meet and greet with Tori, and showed us the pictures.  So jelly!!!

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Tori Amos Setup Atlanta GA

We noticed there was no set up for her band.  Just keyboards and her trademark Bosendorfer.  Then, from the right side of the stage, she appeared!  Resplendent in her flowy top, killer heels, and flaming red hair.  She did stop and shake hands with some fans who were right up next to the stage.

The one thing that I find truly amazing about Tori is that during her tours, she never does the same set list.  Every performance is a different set of songs.  I honestly don’t know how she does it.  Different lyrics every night would be hard enough, but being responsible for the accompanying music also???  However, she did start each show this go round with the same opening song, “Parasol”.  She only did two new songs from Geraldines.  The rest of the set was classic, old school favorites.

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Tori Amos Set List Atlanta GA courtesy of @toriamos

Being a performing arts venue, the acoustics were unreal.  The accompanying light “show” was perfect and really enhanced each song.  What blew my mind was that this tiny, lone woman with only her big old grand piano and keyboards, totally commanded that stage.  Her voice never wavered as she hit all the high notes and sang her ass off.  She sounds just as good live as her studio recordings.  She is a mesmerizing performer with her dramatic hand gestures, perfectly timed hard “slaps” on her piano, and the maniacal, down and dirty piano playing (Little Amsterdam, Father Lucifer, Cornflake Girl, Precious Things).  Then she just as easily slows things down and makes your heart feel like it’s just going to bust wide open with emotion (Baker Baker, Pandora’s Aquarium, Scarlet’s Walk).  And straddling her bench to play piano with one hand, and keyboards/organ with the other, simultaneously?  Get out.

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Tori Amos Atlanta GA

Kinda hard to see in my blurry pic.  Lizards Lounge is where she does her take on two cover songs.  She told us that “Out Here On My Own” (Irene Cara/Fame) was a song she played a lot in piano bars back in the day and it was a personal favorite of hers.  Then during “Rocket Man” (Elton John), she dropped the F-bomb when she got a little tangled up in the opening lyrics, saying, “okay, okay, okay” and laughing until she got herself straightened out.  That alone proved to me that she is indeed human, and can make a teeny mistake.  Like I said, it was blowing my mind that she did so many different songs each show.

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Tori Amos Atlanta GA

During the changeover, her keyboards were swapped out for her Hammond Organ.  “The Beekeeper” was goose-bump-inducing haunting.  Seriously.

Essa and I were extremely pleased with the songs we got to hear.  “Floating City” is from her Y Tori Kant read days, so it’s a rarity.  “Your Cloud” is probably my absolute favorite Tori song, and I got a little teary when she played it.  She also was a bit choked up afterwards, saying she didn’t really play that song very much these days.  “Winter” pushed Essa over the edge.

It was a fabulous evening, and I wish I could go to more shows when she tours in the US.

Again, thanks for reading!  kxoxo

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