Close Encounters of the Musical Kind
I am a huge concert buff, especially of Classic Rock, and one of the reasons I love New York is that I have had the opportunity to watch most of my favorite artists perform live over the years. While most of these have been organized concerts that I have attended, in this post I’m going to share my unexpected and absolutely surreal musical experiences of free concerts in NYC, the first of which definitely ranks as my all time favorite live music performance ever.
Lady Gaga at Bar Sixty Five at the Rainbow Room
I have an acquaintance that has ties to the music industry, and used to reach out every once in a while to invite me for music events. I have a general rule about three strikes and you’re off my invite list, and it so happened that I was going to strike out for the third time if I did not make it to this invite to Bar Sixty Five at the Rainbow Room, so I forced myself to go. Best decision ever!
It was a late event where Lady’s Gaga’s backing band – the Brian Newman Quintet – was scheduled to play at Bar Sixty Five at the Rainbow Room – which is on the 65th Floor of Rockefeller Center -after a Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett concert at Radio City in June 2015. So off I went, sprained ankle and all, and as luck would have it ended up being herded into a friends and family area right next to the drummer. The band started playing, and soon after Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett were escorted to a table right off where I was standing, which was a crazy experience in itself. It was not long after that Lady Gaga joined the band, and she led an intimate evening full of laughter and jazz, and I happily stood within 20 feet of her all evening, swollen and sprained ankle notwithstanding!
I don’t have the best pictures and videos from this evening, but I am hoping that my photo and video dump below can give you just a glimpse of how magical the evening was, with Lady Gaga singing with a backdrop of the Empire State building.
Coldplay at the Today Show at Rockefeller Center
Coldplay performing at the Today Show is not especially noteworthy in itself given how often they have artists perform, but what I chanced upon – on my way work work no less – was an unscheduled performance by Coldplay, which means there were no long lines or crowds gathered to watch them perform. I have watched Coldplay perform at many concerts live, but catching them unexpectedly at 8am on my way to work makes this their most special performance for me, even though I could not stay for long as I had a meeting to get to.
Eric Clapton at a restaurant in Midtown
I was watching an acquaintance play at a restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, and Eric Clapton showed up to watch the band play! I was sitting just a couple of tables away from him, and although I didn’t get to watch him play that night – which I have in concerts often – it was just crazy to think that he was right there all evening.