Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s refreshingly honest Facebook post about miscarriages

I read with great interest this morning the news that Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are having a baby -- not because they're having a baby, but for the way they shared their experiences with miscarriages.
“You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child,” Zuckerberg continued. “You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience. Most people don’t discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you — as if you’re defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own.” 
Yes, on every word.


All about chemistry

So today wasn't a good day to be a Royals fan. I kept an eye on the game via the gameday mode on the AtBat app only to see the Indians pile on Jeremy Guthrie and win it 12-1.

No dazzling defense today. And I worry about Jeremy Guthrie, who I considered the Royals' most reliable starter at one point during this Royals renaissance.

But last night. Last night was fun. ... Admittedly, I had to take in that one with an eye on the gameday app as well because it was my night to put Faye to bed. Which means a couple hours worth of chasing her around the living room to get her upstairs, wrestling with her in the bathroom to brush her teeth and get pajamas on, reading a half-dozen books and then listening to the "Frozen" soundtrack while she chatters herself to sleep.

Nonetheless, I gently and quietly pumped a fist when I saw that Hosmer hit a go-ahead home run for the Royals in the top of the ninth. Then there was this, which I learned of through social media ...

It's all about chemistry. And the Royals have it. ... Now they're even playing number games during interviews.

Which brings me to the Royals' acquisition of another big fish off the trading block yesterday in Ben Zobrist. I had read the talk, but couldn't see it panning out. This is the Royals we're talking about. How long can this dream run continue? Then I saw a tweet yesterday that it was in the works and a few minutes later I received an alert that the deal was done. My jaw dropped. I love the deal, and I love that the Royals got him and Johnny Cueto ...

But I'm cautiously optimistic about the impact they'll have for the Royals and our collective postseason dreams. These kinds of blockbuster trade deadline deals -- while they may assure a team a playoff spot -- rarely get teams to the promiseland. So it seems.

Maybe that's just me recalling some bad luck for my teams. Nomar Garciparra joining the Cubs in 2004 and C.C. Sabathia joining the Brewers in 2008 come to mind.

Then again, just looking back to last season's heralded deals illustrates my point. David Price and Yoenis Céspedes were supposed to give Detroit the bump they needed to get back to the World Series, but the Tigers lost their division series to the Orioles. Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija also were supposed to lead the A's through the postseason, but the A's didn't even make it past the Wild Card game -- thanks to the Royals (chemistry!) who found a way to beat Lester and the A's. Never forget.

I get it. The Royals badly need a No. 1 starter and Johnny Cueto has the resume to deliver the goods. And Ben Zobrist can be the utility man to fill the void left by Alex Gordon's injury or provide an offensive spark the Royals need at second base.

But I'm cautiously optimistic.

On a lighter note, I'd like to take this moment to express my thanks to Cole Hamels for throwing a no-hitter over the weekend, allowing Kates and I to pick up a free pizza from Domino's Monday night. It was good.

An Apology to Bill Cosby's Victims

I came across this apology to Bill Cosby's victims on the Huffington Post tonight.

Well said ...
I have to humbly confess that I did not want to believe any of it. After all, this was Bill Cosby, of "I Spy," "The Electric Company" and "Uptown Saturday Night." "The Cosby Show" left an indelible mark on American television, and it is hard to believe that the person who portrayed the head of such a beautifully educated family such as Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable was involved in such crimes. He was America's dad. The unsealing of the deposition broke my heart. After all, this is a man who, as a philanthropist, gave away tens of millions of dollars in scholarships to those who may not have had a chance to go to college. This is a man who showed the world that there is a black upper middle class, and who shone the light on black professionals so much so that he created a spin-off show, "A Different World," in which he showed life at a historically black college or university. This is why I have struggled with these accusations. I thought of every excuse not to believe it. For goodness sake, one of the women who came forward is one year younger than myself. However, with the mounting evidence, it can no longer be dismissed.

The Best of What's Next : The Hunts

Well, I was pleasantly surprised to scroll through my daily Paste email today and see The Hunts featured in "The Best of What's Next."

I saw The Hunts when they came to play a show at the university a few years ago. I was impressed then and bought their CD. A few of their songs get regular plays on my iPod ... But they came off then as a fun little family folk band that traveled the country with no inclination of going big.

Now here they are releasing a major label debut. And it sounds really good ...


The weeks that Hawk Harrelson traded Bobby Bonilla, Mark Buerhle threw a perfect game and Bryce Harper signed a baseball for a girl

Well, here's a baseball story I didn't know, from the Chicago Sun-Times ...
In 1986, Hawk Harrelson made two moves that solidified his broadcasting career.

Serving as White Sox general manager, Harrelson dumped manager Tony La Russa mid-season. Then on July 23, 1986, with the White Sox eight games under .500 and the trade deadline nearing, Hawkeroo traded 23-year-old Bobby Bonilla to the Pirates for pitcher Jose DeLeon.

Bonilla went on to be a seven-time All Star, played in six postseasons and won a World Series ring.

DeLeon, coming off a major-league leading 19-loss season, was 15-17 in a year and a half on the South Side before being traded to the Cardinals, where he quickly turned it around, going 13-10 and 16-12.

La Russa, meanwhile, went on to win six pennants and three World Series titles and is enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
I've never been a fan of Hawk and find his broadcast style terribly grating. But I'll give him some credit for his memorable call of Mark Buerhle's perfect came, which it turns out, happened 23 years to the day of the infamous trade. ... I still remember missing the game that afternoon but indulging in the glorious highlights.

Then, there's this thing that Bryce Harper did for a teenage girl who held a sign that asked him to her prom. Her reaction is priceless.


OMI Soars With ‘Cheerleader’ Remix and Aims to Keep Riding High

Here it is, folks. This is my song of the summer.
The song has topped the worldwide charts of iTunes (No. 1 in 55 markets), Shazam (11.3 million identifications) and Spotify (300 million plays), and has more than 230 million combined views on YouTube. On Tuesday, as the song hit No. 1 in the United States.
I like it far better than anything else I've heard this summer. (If I hear Jason Derulo's "Want to Want Me" or Walk the Moon's "Shut Up and Dance" one more time ...)

This song came out of nowhere. Heck, it was initially released in 2012!

And this is my other favorite song of the summer. I'm really digging the stuff I hear from Echosmith.


Rare Eastland disaster photos discovered in Tribune basement

The Eastland disaster is a well-known part of Chicago history. So I was as interested as any American history buff to read today that a treasure-trove of never-before-published photos from the disaster were discovered in the Chicago Tribune archives.
Many of these photographs have never before been published. They add fresh, striking perspectives to that fateful day as the 100th anniversary of the Eastland disaster approaches. They also provide a unique glimpse into the world of newspaper photography at a time when images of breaking news or action were rare. In 1915, and for nearly 20 years afterward, daily newspapers mostly relied on text, sketches or posed photographs because cameras and the process of taking, producing and printing photographs was limited, time-consuming and costly.
What a find.

Check out the links, including this wonderful short doc about the disaster and the Tribune's find.


We got some rain, and some more rain last night.

It started shortly after we got the girls to bed ... and it. just. kept coming. 

The thunder was some of the loudest I've heard in my life. It sounded as if the lightning was striking the trees in our back yard. Turns out, according to local Facebook posts, the lightning was hitting the water tower on the hill down the road ... So we were close.

The power got knocked out while Kates and I were still up and watching TV around 1 a.m.

All the booms and bangs, of course, resulted in Faye waking up, screaming, multiple times. After calming her back to sleep -- multiple times -- Kates just brought her to bed with us after the power went out. Even then, we pretty much just laid in bed, unable to fall to sleep with the noise of the pounding rain and thunder. ... Phoebe, as always, slept through the entire storm without a peep.

Once again, there's a lot of people clearing water from their basements today, and I thank God we don't have that problem.


Fatal heat wave 20 years ago changed Chicago's emergency response

Ah, yes, the Chicago heat wave of 1995.

I was there.

Has it really been 20 years?

My family was living in Kansas at  the time, but that was the week we swung through Chicago for a few days of vacation on our way up to visit extended family in Wisconsin.

It was my first-ever visit to Chicago, and I knew then that I wanted to live in the city, or at least be near it.

We stayed in a hotel on Lakeshore Drive. Walked Ontario Street, visiting my first Hard Rock Cafe and Ed Debevic's. Went to my first Cubs game. Walked Navy Pier on its grand re-opening weekend. And we visited the United Center, where I proudly stood for a picture in front of Michael Jordan's newly erected statue, and we set off an alarm when we tried to enter the arena through a not-so-public entrance.

As I recall, the heat didn't bother us. But it was prevalent.

Aside from all the firsts I experienced, some of my clearest memories of that trip are seeing the images and accounts of the heat wave on the news channels those nights.

There was that, and our drive through the neighborhood near the United Center where we encountered a group of black children playing at a fire hydrant. As my dad drove our minivan slowly past the children, it was him, I believe, who made a comment about the scene being an example of the Chicago culture. About a block later, one of us -- I don't remember who -- suggested we get a picture of it. So my mom, somewhat grudgingly, got out of the van and walked a few yards closer to the children to snap a photo of them playing. When she returned to the car, she muttered, "There, I got a picture of your culture."

It became a legendary moment in our family's vacation history.

Commercial break

Here are two commercials I saw today that caught -- and held -- my attention. Great stuff.

This one is a fascinating look at the construction of a wind turbine ...

And here's a yodeling country man who charms stressed city dwellers ...


Throwing it back at Summerfest

The week of concert experiences that I just had is now history and will be impossible to top.

Mates of State and The New Pornographers last Sunday. The Weepies on Wednesday. And I capped it with Toad the Wet Sprocket last night to end Summerfest. Holy man.

In fact, last night was something of a 1990s extravaganza at Summerfest. Bookending Toad the Wet Sprocket were Tonic and Smash Mouth, all of whom are touring together this summer.

I saw Tonic during their heyday in 1998, and I liked enough of their songs that I was interested in seeing their 5 o’clock show last night. … It didn’t work out. The band was playing at the BMO Harris Pavilion, a newer stage on the grounds that I’m still trying to like, and it was swallowing their sound. The music was way too loud and indecipherable for my tastes, so I walked away after a few songs.

After grabbing a tasty burger and a glass of Mountain Dew at the stand for Miss Katie’s Dinerone of my favorite Summerfest dining spots – I headed to the Miller Lite Oasis to stake out a spot for Toad the Wet Sprocket. I found it in the third row, just left of center stage.

A short time later, Pet Engine took the stage. I gathered that they were a popular rock band playing the Milwaukee circuit during the 1990s and they provided a strong warm-up to Toad with their original alternative rock songs. Though they clearly had some longtime fans in the crowd, I think it’s safe to say the majority, including me, warmed up nicely to them by the end of their set. They threw in a rock cover of “Rainbow Connection” for good measure, too.

Funny thing about the crowd. Looking around, I got the sense that I had finally left the teenie bopper set behind this year and was proud to be in the mix with an older, more mature crowd that knew good music. The crowd was filled with people around my age through Baby Boomers – and it was that way at all the other shows I attended during the last week, too. … Heck, the guys in Pet Engine could have been the men in the Dad Life video. That, and they had a guy playing guitar who could easily have passed for Phil Dunphy.

At 8 p.m., it was Toad the Wet Sprocket’s turn. Going in, I had no idea of what to expect.

Toad the Wet Sprocket was one of the defining bands of my youth. I got hooked by hearing their songs on the radio during the mid 90s, and I fell hard for them when my girlfriend at the time loaned me her copy of "Dulcinea." I asked for the album that Christmas and got two copies of it. ... I added "Fear" to my music library shortly after that, and the rest of their albums in later years (Here's a good read about the making of "Fear."). ... I was crushed when I learned of their break-up in 1998 – and Ben Folds Five, the only other band I truly cared about around that time, did the same a short time later.

The one and only time I saw them was at H.O.R.D.E. Fest during the summer 1998 and their performance is a blur to me. As I remember it, their set was unfairly brief, and me and my buddies were positioned far beyond the stage in the lawn section where people laid out blankets to sit on. I couldn’t even tell you what songs they played that day. …

Toad was largely dead for the better part of the 2000s. Do they still have it? I wondered.

The answer is a whole-hearted yes, and it was worth every bit of the three-hour drive from The Farm and fighting post-Fourth of July traffic to get there. … While I was on cloud nine Wednesday night just having a chance to see The Weepies, and that was a great performance, I have to hand it to Toad as the most enjoyable performance of the week.

Kicking off their set with “Good Intentions,” all of the elements just sounded … right.

Glen Phillips’ voice hasn’t aged, and the band sounded every bit as fantastic as when I listened to them on the radio and my CDs throughout the late 90s. Mixing in a few newer songs – which sounded as great and fit in well with the old stuff – they started to get the crowd going with “Come Down” and “Stupid.”

Then they really hit a groove with a run of old fan favorites, starting with “Way Away” and “Is It For Me.”

Crazy Life” sounded great with the crowd singing along at its loudest to that point. Next, a fast-paced “Nanci.” ...

Then they closed out “Brother” and “Nightingale Song” with extended jams, featuring a mandolin solo on the latter. And from there they rolled right into “All I Want” and “Fall Down,” wasting almost no time between the two. “All I Want” really got the crowd singing, too.

I was so wrapped up in the music and atmosphere that I had completely forgotten about “Walk On the Ocean.” It, too, was excellent and included an extended jam.

By the time, Toad left the stage, the clock was pushing 9:15, but the crowd was hooked and wanted more. A chant of “Toad, Toad, Toad, Toad …” erupted and after a couple minutes the band members returned to the stage, looking humbled but excited to play another song. By then, though, the tech crew was already setting the stage for Smash Mouth, who were due to come on at 10.

The discussion that ensued between Toad and the crew was like watching baseball players debate an out call with a crew of umpires. But Toad won out and Glen Phillips signaled to the crowd with his finger that the band could play one more song ... Even then, the crew had already turned off their mics and it took what seemed like a couple more minutes to get them back on. When they did, the band started into their encore song, but the mics weren’t turned loud enough and the vocals couldn’t be heard. Several people in the crowd began signaling the sound booth to turn up the mics, and when they did – already halfway through the song – the crowd erupted in a loud cheer.

It was such a crazy few minutes that I couldn't make out the last song.

Here's the spot-on review of the show from OnMilwaukee ... and aha! The encore song was a cover of David Bowie's “Ziggy Stardust.”
The band, featuring Glen Phillips on lead vocals and guitar, Dean Dinning on bass and vocals, Todd Nichols on lead guitar and vocals, and Randy Guss on the drums, was a straight up, no BS, rock/pop show with a characteristic absence of glitz and glamor.
The crowd was made up of a combination of die-hard fans -- many of which knew all the words to the songs -- and a good showing of Smash Mouth fans, many donning green faces and Shrek-eared headbands.
The setlist
1. Good intentions
2. Whatever I Fear
3. Something’s Always Wrong

4. New Constellation
5. California Wasted
6. Come Down
7. I’ll Bet On You
8. Stupid
9. Architect Of The Ruin
10. Way Away
11. Is It For Me
12. Crazy Life
13. Nanci
14. Brother
15. Nightingale Song
16. All I Want
17. Fall Down
18. Walk On the Ocean

19. Ziggy Stardust

(Updated 09.02.2015) Here's a late-breaking video Glen-Phillips-at Summerfest interview posted to the Summerfest YouTube Channel ...

As for Smash Mouth, I can count the songs I know from them on one hand: “All-Star,” “Can’t Get Enough of You, Baby,” “Walkin on the Sun.” … Throughout the afternoon, I had been debating in my head whether to stay for their performance. Really, Toad the Wet Sprocket was who I came to see, and I would have been more than delighted to see them and leave.

But I had a change of heart when someone started tossing “Shrek” ears to the crowd, and I realized, Oh yeah, they had that cover of ‘I’m a Believerin the ‘Shrek’ movie, too. So I figured I’d stay, at least for a little bit.

Funny thing about that crowd again. When Toad the Wet Sprocket finished their set, the crowd changed completely. All of a sudden my 30-something-to-Baby-Boomer crowd had deserted me and I was surrounded by mostly rough-around-the-edges, cigarette-smoking, beer-nursing 20-somethings. They represented the immature, cutting-into-the-tiniest-spaces-on-the-benches teenie boppers I loathe at Summerfest. The crowd I thought I had finally gotten away from. … And I got the impression they were only there because they liked “All-Star” and hearing “I’m A Believer” – the Smash Mouth version they surely think is the original, which, kids, is not even The Monkees, but Neil Diamond! – on “Shrek” when they were 10 years old.

As the kid next to me predicted, they opened with “Can’t Get Enough of You, Baby,” and it sounded decent. But, oh were they loud. … I endured a couple more songs – that I didn’t recognize – before jumping from my spot on the bench and vacating the area. As I walked away, I thought I heard “Everyday Superhero,” which sounded all right, and Then The Morning Comes,” which I really enjoyed in its day. ... As I got closer to my car I could hear them across the parking lot playing “Why Can’t We Be Friends.” Oh yeah, I realized, they covered that one for a modest hit, too.

I really should have left when Toad the Wet Sprocket finished.

And gone to see Kansas instead. Here's there's performance of Dust in the Wind.”

Adding to my annoyance, I was craving a Taco Bell fix and found the closest location. But when I pulled up to the drive-thru, the cashier told me the restaurant wasn’t serving food because its sewer was backed up. Lovely. 

So I headed for the McDonald’s down the street. But their was no microphone in sight to place my order at the drive-thru. When I pulled up to the window, thinking I could place my order there, the girl I saw through the window ignored me.

Finally, I found a Taco Bell two more miles across town. I decided to pull up even though the line of cars in the drive-thru nearly extended beyond the parking lot. I was able to place my order soon enough, but then the line slowed to a snail’s pace. It took me almost an hour – an hour! – to get my food, as part of the search that started more than 90 minutes earlier just to fix a little Taco Bell craving. The struggle was real.

At least Toad the Wet Sprocket rocked.


A night with The Weepies

Dreams came true last night.

Kates and I saw The Weepies play. Live. In concert. Finally.

Needless to say they've held a special place in our hearts for almost a decade.

Some background. The Weepies entered our consciousness around 2006 after “World Spins Madly On” appeared in an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” – back when it was the show to watch, kicking off our weeks every Sunday night. Then, there was a conversation with some close friends about The Weepies’ so-great sound. I downloaded “Say I Am You.” And “Happiness.” Kates and I played the albums almost non-stop that winter of 2007-2008 while we were expecting Phoebe.

We played the music to soothe Kates, too, as Phoebe was preparing to enter the world. I had downloaded “Hideaway” just weeks earlier as a pre-release single in anticipation of the album of the same name – which was released a couple weeks after Phoebe’s birth – and it was an instant favorite. More than any of the others, the memory of that song playing during Kates’ labor is embedded in my mind. In an interesting twist, we realized later that the song includes a lyric, “Hear a phoebe sing his only song.”

Be My Thrill” was the soundtrack for and conjures up memories of our anything-but-easy transition to Missouri. At the same time, the upbeat title track and “Sunny Days” are two of my favorites in the band's entire catalog. They will never cease to cheer me.

Finally, “Sirens” arrived in April, after months of anticipation and teasers on The Weepies’ Facebook page. And, like its two predecessors, I downloaded it the day it was available. And also like its two predecessors, it took me a few listens to warm up to it. Several of the songs I ranked as threes during that first run-through were upgraded to fours and fives by that evening. A couple weeks ago, Kates and I were playing the album as we cleaned up dinner in our kitchen, and Kates marveled, “I like all of these songs. Of course, I do. It's The Weepies.”

Read up on The Weepies – the duo formed by singer-songwriters Deb Talan and Steve Tannen – and you’ll learn the storylines behind each of their albums, and “Sirens,” like the others, is packed with emotion. “Sirens” was created on the backdrop of Deb’s battle with with Stage 3 breast cancer.
This is from their current bio …
“… At 16 songs and almost an hour long, SIRENS shows a band at the height of its powers.
… The prophetic ‘No Trouble’ was written prior to learning Deb’s diagnosis. ‘I don’t need no trouble, but sometimes trouble needs me,” sings Steve; Deb’s vocals were recorded during her first weeks of chemo. The couple continued to write and record throughout treatment, with Deb providing several key vocals far into the year, including title track “Sirens,” captured in one take on a day where Deb really only had one take in her; her vulnerability is tangible. “We just kept going,” says Deb. “We also have 3 small children, and were homeschooling, and the effects of chemo blew whole days out of the water.” The band was able to use their limited studio time as an escape, leading to some of their most joyful tracks ever, including the genre-bending “Fancy Things” and the upbeat “Early Morning Riser,” aided mightily by a fantastic rhythm section and horns. There’s plenty of heart and comfort for long time Weepies fans too – the deceptively simple “My Little Love,” the gorgeous “Brand New Pair of Wings” and the straight ahead poetry of “River From the Sky.”

After The Weepies had officially finished the album, and Deb was in recovery, they continued to record remotely with their phenomenal backing musicians for fun, eventually adding a cover of Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly” and a version of Irish balladeer Mark Geary’s “Volunteer” to the final album. “No one song could capture that year,” says Steve. “16 seems like a lot to release at once, but each song reflects a different angle of that long, suspended moment. They hang together like a bunch of photographs from a certain time. It was intense, but there was beauty and inspiration, too. Deb made it back. And we’re still here.”
Through the years, The Weepies had risen to the top of our concert bucket list, but their tours are rare and short, and they haven't come to Kansas City. If not for our move, we might have seen them two or three times by now as they often have hit Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago. … But, this past spring, after the band released yet another tour schedule that didn’t quite come close enough to us, Kates suggested we go to them, as part of our summer excursion to Wisconsin.

It happened that their last stop of the tour was a Homecoming concert in Iowa City. We’d be at The Farm, so Kates and I worked it out to leave the girls with her parents while we drove the three hours south to Iowa City, attended the show, spent the night there and returned to The Farm the next day. We bought the tickets, made a reservation for a one-night stay at a bed and breakfast in Iowa City and did just that.

*     *     *

We arrived in Iowa City about 3:30 yesterday afternoon, and found our overnight spot, The Brown Street Inn. It was the first bed and breakfast to show up when Kates searched the internet and it appealed enough to us that we booked a room. Initially, I had reserved the Yellow Room, but when we checked in, the innkeeper asked if he could move us to another room because they were having some plumbing issues. Kates and I didn’t mind, and he led us to the Red Room, a spacious and elegant room -- painted in red, of course -- at the end of the hallway on the house’s second floor. I was thrilled because it was the room I was most interested in booking, but it was unavailable when I made my initial call to the place.

The innkeeper also was quick to pull out a map of Iowa City's downtown and recommend all sorts of dining options within walking distance of the house and the concert venue. … Around 6 p.m. we headed downtown. Gifted with a cool but beautiful evening, we walked the five blocks or so to Iowa City’s downtown, along the picturesque, history-filled, brick-paved streets. All along, Kates and I fantasized about walking through The Weepies’ neighborhood and wondered, if any, what house belonged to them.

We walked through a part of the University of Iowa campus and ended up at Oasis, a highly-recommended Mediterranean joint for supper. I had a beef kafta in pita bread, and Kates had a chicken skewer. The service was slow, but the food was worth the wait … I should also add here that I ate more than my share of beef for the day. Shortly into our drive down, Kates and I grabbed lunch at a convenience store food mart and I bought a cheeseburger that came with a patty so big I joked I was eating a whole cow.

*     *     *

After dinner, we made the short walk to The Englert Theatre, where the show was scheduled to begin at 8. A crowd was gathered outside, the marquee proclaimed The Weepies were performing and we were indeed at the right place.

The theater was a historic and intimate venue with just more than 1,000 seats. As the story goes, the theater opened in 1912 and survived the deaths of its two earliest operators and a massive fire, all before 1926. By the 1990s, like so many other venues of its kind, the theater was divided and retrofitted for two small movie screens, fell into disrepair and was eventually shutdown. A community group rallied, though, and raised enough funding to rehabilitate the theater and reopen it in 2004 – for its first live performance in more than 60 years. Pretty cool.

Lucy Wainwright Roche provided the opening act and proved herself worthy. She delivered a handful of soft folksy songs that were a welcome prelude to The Weepies music. Even better, she wasted no time charming the audience were engaging and hilarious stage banter. After performing her first song, she proceeded to share that she had been touring almost non-stop for years and driving in her car, alone – so she had “a lot to talk about.” She shared funny observations about serving on grand jury duty and her dog, and answered every random question any audience member shouted at her. She also led a wonderful singalong on a cover of Bruce Springsteen's “Hungry Heart.”

The Weepies took the stage around 9 – with a powerful backing band that we later learned included Elvis Costello’s drummer and Joshua Radin’s bassist Jonny Flaugher! – packed everything they could into a set that last about an hour and 45 minutes.

At a couple points during the show they joked with the audience about the number of songs they could play. Deb joked they had about 125 on their list, and later added that the concert could last two days long. In our minds, Kates and I were saying, Yes! Yes! Keep going! After all, I had been thinking along those lines as I listened to the albums again during these last couple days leading up to the show – that they could play any collection of their songs, and I would have been pleased.

To our delight, they opened with “Gotta Have You” – arguably Kates’ favorite from their catalog. And they followed it with the aforementioned favorites “Hideaway” and “Be My Thrill.” “My Little Love,” accompanied by some audience hand-clapping, was the first of a whopping 11 tracks from the “Sirens” album, and all of them only raised my admiration for the new album.

While the set was filled with our favorites, I did leave a little sad about the absence of other gems like “Sunflower,” “Orbiting,” “Please Speak Well of Me,” “Add My Effort,” “Be My Honeypie,” “Hard to Please,” “How You Survived the War,” “Riga Girls,” “Suicide Blonde,” “Living in Twilight,” “Stars,” “Somebody Loved” or “Keep It There.” Indeed, the concert could have gone on for two days. … I also had hoped they might throw in their cover of “Learning to Fly,” but it was not to be.

Their songs are so simple and so sweet with acoustic guitars, luscious harmonies and Deb's beautiful and unique voice being the hallmark of their sound. Playing guitars that were about as big as her small frame, Deb’s voice sounded as crisp and strong as ever, and it was especially fun to see Steve rock out on faster-paced jams like “Vegas Baby” and “Never Let You Down” – a love song, he told the audience, he wrote and then handed to Deb who “edited the hell out of it.” Together they showed the same synergy and chemistry we’ve always heard on their albums. … There’s a reason so many of their songs rank at or near the top of my iTunes library’s most played count. They could sing the phonebook and we’d listen.

“World Spins Madly On” – which I might say was the one song I wanted to hear more than any other – and “Volunteer,” with Steve singing the lead vocals on both, were just as beautiful and compelling live as they sounds on their respective records. And Deb punctuated the first part of the set with her lead vocals on the equally somber but lovely “Just Blue” and “Somebody Loved.”

They could have easily left the stage for good at that point, and – unlike a lot of bands I’ve seen through the years – actually had me believing they might be done when Deb introduced “Somebody Loved” as their last song. But the crowd wouldn’t let them go, and the house lights didn’t come on. … When they did come out for an encore, Deb stepped to the mic and said the band decided they wanted to leave us with a little skip in their step. So they doled out a great jam of “Early Morning Riser,” backed with a rousing trumpet, and then “I Was Made For Sunny Days.” I got so excited when I heard the opening guitar strums of “Sunny Days” that I nearly leaped out of my seat.

If I have any beefs about the show … The percussion was overpowering at times and didn’t lend itself well to the intimate setting and acoustics of the theater; there were several times I thought the loud punch of the drums took away the charm or tone of some of the more mellow tunes. There also were times that Steve’s harmonizing vocals – which help make The Weepies’ sound so intoxicating – seemed to get lost among the noise of the instruments.

Those beefs were minor things, though. Kates and I had an amazing night together, and we can finally cross The Weepies from our concert bucket list.

So the question now is: Who takes over the top spot on our concert bucket list? The answer: Sara Bareilles.

Here’s the setlist …
1. Gotta Have You
2. Hideaway
3. Be My Thrill
4. My Little Love
5. Fancy Things
6. Can’t Go Back Now
7. Vegas Baby
8. Painting By Chagall
9. Crooked Smile
10. Sirens
11. River from the Sky
12. Wild Boy
13. Brand New Pair of Wings
14. Never Let You Down
15. Antarctica
16. World Spins Madly On
17. Same Changes
18. Ever Said Goodbye
19. You Are Unraveling
20. Nobody Knows Me At All
21. Volunteer
22. No Trouble
23. Just Blue
24. Somebody Loved

25. Early Morning Riser
26. I Was Made for Sunny Days

Good reads ...