Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Ole Red Orlando

Date of Visit: December 13, 2023

I had been wanting to check out Ole Red the past several trips to Orlando and this trip we finally got around to it. We went for lunch, which turned out good with it being pretty much empty. However, it did end up meaning no live music, although they do play music videos on the screen above the stage.

For the starters, we had the Fried Pickles and the Southern Fried Cheese Curds. We enjoyed them both, but I really liked the Fried Pickles.

For the meal, Mik had the Honey Bee Hot Chicken & Waffles, which was enough for him to take home for dinner later. I had the Some Beach Fish Sandwich. Mom and Dad both had the Bluetick and Ahi Tuna burgers. It was all good other than we were not fans of the tots.

For dessert between the four of us we tried all 3 of the mason jar desserts, which included Banana Pudding, a Seasonal Cheesecake (white chocolate and cranberry), and Blake's Choice (peppermint mousse that day).The were all good, but probably the Banana Pudding was the favorite.

Overall we really enjoyed dining here and probably would do again. So often restaurants have the tables too close together to be able to get to the tables without people having to get out of their chairs and push them in and the table legs make it so Mik cannot roll up close. So it was a plus that neither of these things were issues here. It may be different when there are actually people here, but they did seem to purposely have the low top tables set up to be accessible when they were choosing were to seat us at one of the tables in front of the stage as the areas on the sides of the stage had more tables including high bar style areas.

Destination Info:

Ole Red Orlando
8417 International Dr
Orlando, Fl 32819

Saturday, September 18, 2021

North Charleston Coliseum: Blake Shelton Friends and Heroes 2021 Tour

Date of Visit: September 16, 2021

When the tour stops for the Blake Shelton Friends and Heroes 2021 were announced, I went back and forth on getting tickets for DC or the stop nearest where we now live. In the end, I'm glad we picked close to home as not only was the DC stop cancelled, but this gave us a good chance to try out the venue when it was an artist we knew Mik enjoyed.

Same as last time I attempted to get wheelchair tickets when presale started. Again, I didn't mind that they didn't go on sale (and was pleased that this venue does sell them online when they do release them). This time, though, I did find ADA semi-ambulatory seats I could buy during the presale. We decided to deal with transferring Mik instead of trying for wheelchair seats later and risk getting nothing. In particular, the venue is also old and the wheelchair sections are mostly like the view we didn't really like at Royal Farms Arena and the semi-ambulatory ones at least meant getting a closer to straight on view of the stage. Also, this time there were four of us and I didn't want to take that many spots in the wheelchair section if they even let me buy that tickets or end up having to split up, which we lucked out not having to do at Royal Farms when it was just three of us.

Our seats were in Section 116 Row K. This section and the one next to it have the top two rows designated as semi-ambulatory. The way it is shown on the seat layout map I wasn't sure which row would be the one with less steps for a transfer and kind of thought the row in front looked easiest. I ultimately ended up with K just because that was the last option to get the seat on the end of the row. Turned out to be the right choice as this row you can roll the chair right up to and was an easy transfer for us to do.

Main downside to the semi-ambulatory versus actual wheelchair seating is that you easily get your view blocked by the people standing up in front of you. Mik and I were lucky because the two people in front of us were unable to stand much and sat the whole show. The rest of the people in both rows on both sides, though, were standing like much of the rest of the arena for the whole show. When Blake came on and everyone stood up, Nora was sad because she no longer could see, but she ended up being able to stand on her seat with Kirsten putting her leg on it to make sure it stayed down.

Last year we were supposed to take Nora to her first concert (Rascal Flatts in DC area) and Kirsten had been playing her the music so she would know it. This time after so many things being cancelled over the past year and a half, we didn't tell her and she didn't even know who Blake was until Kirsten remembered she had seen The Voice and knew him as the guy that does the finger thing. Thus, I wasn't sure what she would think not knowing the music, but she was totally into it as soon as Lindsay Ell came out. However, she was like, "This isn't country." Then Blake come out and she said, "Now this is country." By the end, she was dancing and singing along as she quickly picked up the choruses. She was also making sure we all got our phones out with the lights on and sang when the artists would have the crowd sing the parts back to them.

Overall we really enjoyed the concert. Nora and I were most sad that we ended up having to leave just as they were getting ready to all come out and play, though, because Mik's butt hurt since traffic was bad and he didn't get a chance to have a break from sitting at the hotel before as we had expected. Also, we still had to try to further deal with the hotel having given away our accessible room reservation before the shift change at 11pm (going back to hating Hilton...). It was also much more pleasant to get out of there early and not wait for elevator or try to get Mik back in his chair as everyone exited, although it seemed the usher was ready to get it and block traffic from getting in our way of transferring him back in it.

Destination Info:

5001 Coliseum Drive
North Charleston, SC 29418

Sunday, April 1, 2018

National Museum of American History: Warner Bros. Theater

Date of Visit: April 1, 2018

I had been wanting to see America's Musical Journeys movie for over a month and we originally planned to see it at the Air & Space Museum since it is closer to home, but we took too long to get around to seeing it there. Thus, we decided we better go see it at the American History before it stops playing here as well.

Before this movie, we didn't even know this museum had an IMAX. Well, it turns out that, in fact, they don't despite it clearly saying IMAX 3D Showtimes right on the movie page. Thus, we were kind of disappointed as soon as we got in the theater.

However, the theater actually is good. In particular, Mik enjoyed how they had a place for wheelchairs at both ends of two rows about half way down (there's also spots at the back). It was just disappointing that we expected a huge IMAX screen and it was smaller than most movie theaters.  Plus, it costs the same as the Smithsonian's actual IMAX showings.

We both enjoyed the actual movie. The musical journey through the U.S. as Aloe Blaac went on tour and showcasing different genres and their development was interesting and well done. Unfortunately, the 3D and visuals were not so good, but we think that was mostly due to it being meant as an IMAX movie and it didn't translate well to a smaller screen. Also, there was light (green exit sign, I think) coming from behind us that caused a glare in my glasses. Basically, we learned our lesson to just go right away when something comes to the real IMAX at the Air & Space and not go here unless it is a non-3D movie.

Destination Info:
National Museum of American History
1400 Constitution Ave NW
Washington DC

Metro Accessibility Note: Closest metro station is Federal Triangle (Blue/Orange/Silver). Smithsonian (Blue/Orange/Silver) is often also recommended as nearby for this museum and if you take the escalator exit it probably is closer or same distance as Federal Triangle, but the elevator is several blocks further, so Federal Triangle is definitely closest if you are exiting Metro via elevator. We used to just use Archives (Yellow/Green) since it was a shorter train ride for us to take Yellow instead of Blue into D.C. and it's only a little more walking. Now that we live in the District, though, we just walk since it's free as well as usually faster.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Royal Farms Arena: Blake Shelton w/ Carly Pearce, Brett Eldredge, and Trace Adkins

Date of Visit: March 16, 2018

Seeing a Blake Shelton concert is something Mik has been wanting to do for awhile, especially when the County Music Freaks tour was announced with openers he particularly liked. Because the ticket buying process is totally messed up at least for Royal Farms Arena, it was almost another one of his tours we were going to skip hoping eventually he'd play a reasonable venue nearby (or actually just go somewhere farther from home).

The main thing that made me annoyed with Royal Farms Arena is that they don't allow you to buy accessible tickets during presale. This in itself doesn't bother me, but then when they go on sale for everyone you cannot buy them online. In general, it really wasn't that difficult to call when they went on sale other than the phone number didn't open on time and the person had trouble understanding that my card was a Visa and thus kept failing to make the charge go through. It also is annoying that if you bought tickets online you got a free digital copy of Blake's latest CD and the way they handle accessible seating means you miss the special offer and it's a deal I've seen offered for several tours visiting Royal Farms Arena.

I really tried to give the venue the benefit of the doubt and that it wasn't going to be as bad as all the reviews make it sound. To some extent, it really isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Mainly, it's just a really old venue and it's age shows including that it seems there are only two sections with wheelchair accessible seats at the top on each side of the stage area (i.e. four total sections). However, what really made us frustrated with the venue right away was that we tried to enter from the first side entrance we came across the lady went as far as letting us in the door and almost scanning our tickets before realizing that the steps right behind her might be a problem (I wouldn't give the tickets because I saw steps and wanted to know if there was a ramp if we came in that way) and had to ask several people before someone finally pointed out that we had to go around to the Baltimore Street entrance to get in.

Once at the correct entrance the staff was good including being very patient with me having trouble getting the backpack off Mik's chair to be searched. The usher for our section was also good.

We sat in section 103. Overall it was good and at least probably the best wheelchair accessible section (or at least as good as the one across from it). However, I was rather disappointed in that when I bought the tickets the lady made it seem like I was buying tickets for right in front of the stage. I mean, I knew it wasn't true as in we didn't have floor seats and the sections were going to be raised, but she really made it sound like it was at the front of the section and not at the top, although I kind of knew it was based on the seating charts on the arena's website. I guess what she really meant by close to stage was I was purchasing the closest possible wheelchair accessible seats.

Initially, it seemed like the view of the stage would end up being a problem because of people standing in the row in front of us. Luckily, it seems that they may not actually seel this row except as companion seats for the wheelchair row (we actually had one ticket in that row, which thankfully they didn't end up having to use because we actually had seats for opposite ends of the row). Thus, the row only had a few people. Also, the people in front quickly realized they were blocking the view and were good at staying aware to not block our view.

For the most part, the view of the stage and performance was pretty good, but the stage is set up so you mostly are getting a side view and while the openers, especially Carly Pearce, actually did pretty good at also performing to the sides Blake and especially Trace didn't as much. Because of this, it seems the farther away accessible section might have actually been preferable because the angle would've allowed you to see the stage front on, although I still think the closeness to the stage and not needing to look up the screens to really see the artists was still probably better.

Overall Mom and Mik were glad we saw this concert, but I doubt we will ever go to Royal Farms Arena again. I will admit the main reason I wish we didn't go to this concert was that after I had purchased the tickets it was announced the Oak Ridge Boys were playing The Birchmere the same night and they're like my favorite to see in concert and The Birchmere is our favorite concert venue. However, I also was disappointed in that the sound quality and really I am not the type to really notice that kind of thing except Mom and I saw Blake when he played Wrigley Field and that just was way better. Also, that tour was just plain the best ever because of Neal McCoy and not just because he's my fav entertainer, but because of how they set it up to have him perform while they did the stage changeover between sets was just the best concept ever.

Destination Info:
Royal Farms Arena
201 W. Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Birchmere: Charles Esten and N'est Pas

Date of Visit: December 26, 2017

This year has been kind of disappointing in terms of there haven't been any artists playing in the D.C. area that we were even tempted to go see. Thus, we were glad Chip continues the tradition of playing The Birchmere when he's home for the holidays and with two shows again this year.

Mik didn't particularly like the opening band, which was also Chip, but in his college band. Not that he didn't like the music, but it went long and thus the concert seemed to last longer than Mik expected. He also just found it weird that Chip basically opened for himself.

Mik's favorite part was when Chip did the walk through the room thing. Since Mik can't really turn his body to see, he lost track of where Chip was and when Chip touched his shoulder from behind I thought Mik was going to be like I’m never coming again because usually he hates when things cause him to jerk and start to tip his chair back, but instead he was smiling and like that was awesome.

The Birchmere continues to be our favorite venue and we particularly like how when they repaved their parking lot they made it so it's ramped up to the sidewalk along the side of the building so the line up before it opens really is accessible now. However, they seem to have an official policy to let wheelchairs in first and a line number isn't really needed and I'm not so sure I agree with that policy.

Hopefully next year there's more than Chip that we want to see there. (The Oak Ridge Boys are playing in March, but unfortunately it was announced after I went through the hassle of getting Blake Shelton tickets in Baltimore that night and as much as Mik has been wanting to see Blake we so would've rather got tickets for The Oak Ridge Boys here and tried to see Blake at pretty much any other venue.)

Destination Info:
The Birchmere
3701 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22305

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Birchmere: The Oak Ridge Boys

Date of Visit: August 28, 2016

The Oak Ridge Boys are definitely the ones you got to get there early for to get a good line number as we were 70 or so back since we arrived a little after 5pm and it was similar experience when Mom and I went last year. With Mik, though, they ended up noticing us and taking us through the gift shop to enter a little after they started calling line numbers. However, this time it wasn't sold out, so even if we hadn't been with Mik we easily would've gotten one of my favorite tables by the bar in the raised area to the left.

Mik liked The Oak Ridge Boys, but not as much as Brandy Clark (he's excited she's playing here again this year). They're still my favorite to see live, especially since they always change up their set list including often basing some of the picks on requests they get through Twitter before the show. Mik said he probably would only see them again if they played at The Birchmere, which is mainly because he again ordered off the specials (chicken fried steak) there are still several headliners he wants to try.

Destination Info:
The Birchmere
3701 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22305

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Birchmere: Brandy Clark and Aubrie Sellers

Date of Visit: May 18, 2016

After Mik somewhat enjoyed the Carrie Underwood concert, I convinced him to try out my favorite venue, The Birchmere. I figured even if he didn't like the show he would at least enjoy the dinner part.

The way seating works at The Birchmere is at 5pm they open and you get a line number at the box office when you come in. We always aim to get there about 4:45pm and the line outside really varies in the length depending on the show, such as we were like 100 last month for Vince Gill and The Time Jumpers and last year for Brandy Clark we were in the first 10. Also, the first time we went we didn't know to arrive before it opened and were near the end of the numbers for The Oak Ridge Boys and really there isn't a bad place to sit.

After you have your line number you can hang out in the bar area that they use for Flex Stage shows. There are some tables to sit at, but depending on the show they can end up all claimed quickly. From the bar you can order drinks and chips and salsa while waiting for them to start calling line numbers to go in for the show around 6pm.

This time we were about 30 from the front, but they ended up waving us over to go in right before they started calling numbers. As someone who has experience with the line numbers, I find this a little unfair considering most of the seating is accessible since you just have to move a chair from the table. However, it does make sense that it is less disruptive to just have you go in first and have your spot before it gets crowded and harder to maneuver.

I usually go for one of the tables on the raised areas to the side, but since we've never tried the center area, we decided to try one the end of one of the front long tables right in the center. The view was probably better than some of the side places I've ended up choosing before, but those side spots right next to the bars mean no heads in the way. Mik found the lighting to be too bright, so next time I think he'd probably like the raised areas on the side better, too.

This time he went with the shrimp tempura on the specials menu. He also enjoyed the soft pretzels and crab dip appetizer that I order almost every time we come. His favorite was probably the chocolate lava cake he had for dessert, though.

Mik ended up enjoying the music, especially the opener Aubrie Sellers (I had been excited she was added after we had tickets because I had chosen Brandy Clark's show over another Aubrie Sellers was opening because I prefer The Bichmere over other venues). However, even before the show he had declared he had to come back because there were at least four headliners (the entree part of the menu) he wanted to try. I guess I'll be getting tickets for him to go with to see The Oak Ridge Boys and Chip.

Destination Info:
The Birchmere
3701 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22305

Friday, February 26, 2016

Carrie Underwood The Storyteller Tour: Stories in the Round at Verizon Center

Date of Visit: February 25, 2016

Five years later and Mik still has only been to two NBA arenas, but he has now seen his first concert at one (and probably last). I had been trying to see The Swon Brothers for over a year including going to the Opry when they were supposed to play and then their date to play there got changed to another month. When they were announced to be opening for Carrie Underwood I was tempted to get tickets. However, I don't like arena concerts and wasn't really interested in seeing Carrie Underwood live, although I like her music. When I told Mik he got all excited because he loves Carrie Underwood, so we decided to get tickets.

We had tickets in the wheelchair row of Section 416. Finding the elevator was a little confusing, but there were plenty of staff to help direct. We actually would've found it from the first person's directions as he said it was over under the Green Turtle sign, but when I told Mom and she went over there she didn't notice because it's an entrance to the arena and easy to miss with the security there. The second person we asked actually escorted us over to it. On the way down we found a closer elevator that is more obvious right on the concourse and I definitely recommend avoiding the Green Turtle one because it's just too crowded of an area with people coming in and not being any space when someone was trying to exit elevator before we could get on.

Our seats in Section 416 were actually surprisingly good. The view was good and Mik especially liked how they showed the performers on the screens. What was really cool, though, is they cover the rows in front of the handicap section, which means they don't sell those seats to keep people from standing up and blocking your view as tends to happens at concerts. The usher wouldn't even let people stand there for a photo more than thirty minutes before the concert started. He also tried to keep people from exiting the section through the handicap area, which really was annoying because the stairs end right by the seats so they should be turning to the regular aisle to exit but they would come past whenever he wasn't watching.

Only thing Mik didn't like was there were no cup holders in the wheelchair section, which he was aware of from going to Wizards games, but this time I noticed that the regular seats do in fact have them, which is when the lack of cup holders at sports venues really annoys him. It was also is a little awkward with them having black curtains blocking the entrances to the sections, but I get it serves a purpose for the lighting effects of the show.

We both really enjoyed The Swon Brothers and it was worth going just for them, but we really should've left when Mom joked that now we can go when they were done (Her and I did that after Mickey Guyton last year.).

I like Easton Corbin's music, but we both found his performance just mostly bad. It sounded bad for a the majority of it and he wasn't as entertaining. Mik said it was so boring that he almost fell asleep. We both agreed they have the opening acts in the wrong order.

All along Mik wasn't exactly planning to stay for the whole concert. He just wanted to hear Carrie Underwood perform at least one song. After the first song, he was ready to go. Mostly he was ready to go early because he was tired and also didn't want to deal with the post-concert crowd on the metro.

Mik said that he may have lasted longer if Easton Corbin hasn't been uninteresting, but mostly the lights were just way too much once Carrie Underwood went on. Thus, he's never going to another big concert except maybe for just the opener. However, he has been reminded he likes live music (He used to spend the whole WIT Grand National rallies listening to the performers.) and we're going to take him to our favorite venue, The Birchmere, to see Brandy Clark in a few months. Of course, another Nashville trip with balcony seats for the Opry is on our to do list, too.

Destination Info:
Verizon Center
601 F St
Washington, DC 20004

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Date of Visit: October 4, 2015

Mik had a choice between the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum or the George Jones Museum for today. He choose for us to go to the Hall of Fame because isn't familiar with George Jones. Also, he thought maybe he could first learn a little about him there and then be interested in the George Jones Museum like he was with the Johnny Cash Museum.

Mik wasn't too interested in the videos playing and the particular music selections in most of the exhibits (it was a lot of Johnny Cash actually, which even I was beginning to get tired of).  He did particularly enjoy the selections in the "Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll: The Cosmic Genius of Sam Phillip" exhibit, though. He also liked that it was nicely laid out to be able to roll into the listening booths and select the songs.

I couldn't get him interested in the many listening booths in the "Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats" exhibit, but how can you not listen to the original Honky Tonk Man?

As expected, Mik's favorite part was the cars including Webb Pierce's silver dollar convertible. Taylor Swift's sparkly guitar also really caught his attention.

Accessibility Notes:
  • To get up to the entrance is a ramp on the side of the building to the right of the main entrance that isn't entirely obvious, but also not that hard to notice.
  • The elevator situation for navigating between the levels is again not entirely obvious, but it actually can be extremely confusing. Everyone starts by taking the elevators to the third floor. The signage that points to continue to the second floor only leads you to steps. We were going to head back to the elevators we came up, but I noticed an elevator by what is currently the exhibits on Eric Church and Stringbean. This worked no problem other than Mom decided to continue down to the first floor to go to the restroom and then couldn't get back up because you need your ticket to get back up and I had them all. The second floor and museum visit ends at the Hall of Fame and again it's steps. This time you're closer to the first set of elevators. The elevator locations are pretty conveniently close to the stairs, but they really should have some signage to tell you where to go, especially from the 3rd to the 2nd as that elevator is easy to miss.

Destination Info:
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
222 Fifth Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Opry Country Classics at the Ryman Auditorium

Date of Visit: October 1, 2015

How I got Mik to even agree to go the Opry I don't know, but he went and despite finding it too loud enjoyed it enough that he is not ruling out ever going again. His main problem was it was too loud and I don't remember it being that loud when Mom and I went last December, but we sat in the balcony that time and it may be louder on the main floor.

The location and view of the seats on the main floor were pretty good. The only annoying thing was the usher had people come into our row from our side when there seats were actually closer to the other end of the row. It's hard enough letting people into your row regularly, but the way the wheelchair spot is at end of row makes it even harder.

Destination Info:
Ryman Auditorium 
116 5th Ave North
Nashville, TN 37219

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Johnny Cash Museum

 Date of Visit: October 1, 2015

Mik knew about at least some of Johnny Cash's music (mainly "Walk the Line"), but he was interested in visiting the museum when I mentioned it when planning our Nashville trip because he did not really know much about Johnny Cash. The museum is small, but it did provide a good overview of Johnny Cash's life and career (music, TV, film).

Throughout there are interactive iPad displays. These were interesting, but they were mostly too high for Mik to use. The ones at the beginning with videos of Johnny Cash performing songs in each decade of his career Mik couldn't really reach, but would've enjoyed more than one song from if only the headphones weren't too big as that was the aspect he found too frustrating.

Mik's favorite part was the area about Johnny Cash and the Bicentennial in Washington, D.C. He really enjoyed watching Johnny Cash read "Ragged Old Flag." He also liked watching the "Hurt" music video at the end.

The admission price is a little steep at $17/person, but it was still a worthwhile experience. It just would've been better if the iPad displays were easier for Mik to use or at least the headphones fit better for him.

Destination Info:
Johnny Cash Museum
199 3rd Ave South
Nashville, TN 37201