Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Let the fun begin!! – George Strait and Martina McBride, February 22nd, 2013


So, the fun gets started early for me this year, as my first concert of the year was on Friday, February 22nd – “The Cowboy Rides Away Tour,” the final (two-year) tour by one of my all-time favorites, George Strait. Buffalo was lucky enough to get him on the first leg (2013) of the tour, but I still wonder why Texas boy George would want to come to Buffalo in the middle of winter (of course, Texas was getting hit with snow over the weekend…). Joining him on tour (lucky girl!) is Martina McBride.
In looking back at old concert photos (back when I was limited to just 24, sometimes 25, pictures on a roll of film!), I came up with the date of my first George Strait concert: August 1988. Yep, nearly 25 years ago – and he already had a bunch of hits at that time! He’s been going strong since 1981 when “Unwound” (still one of my favorites) was released, and happily it was one of many (as in two-dozen-plus!) songs he did Friday night.
Martina McBride was a perfect fit as opening act: she’s got a great voice (which fit nicely with George’s for two songs in his set) and her own selection of monster hits. She got at least a two-minute standing ovation after “Broken Wing,” and did “The First Cut is the Deepest/Free Fallin’” (who knew they meshed so well?) and “King of the Road” as if they were her own.
I’m still a little sad that I’ll never see George Strait in Buffalo again, but at least I got to see the cowboy ride away one last time.
all photos: paulathompsonfreelance.com 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thank you Lindy…and welcome Ron!

As a sports fan in Buffalo, and specifically as a Sabres fan, I’d be remissed if I didn’t address the coaching change that was both a long-time coming and a shock. Since July 1997, Lindy Ruff has been a fixture behind the Sabres’ bench, through the good and the bad, the highs and lows, and the proverbial “thrill of victory and agony of defeat.”
On February 20th, 2013, that all changed, and a new era of Sabres hockey began.
While I fell off the Lindy Ruff bandwagon a few years ago, that didn’t mean I thought he was a bad coach – it just seemed like his message had gone stale with these players, and therefore with the fans as well. Should he choose to go somewhere else and coach – which he is likely to do, and with success – I wish him the best of luck…as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of the Sabres!
Filling in on an interim basis is Rochester Amerks (former?) coach Ron Rolston. He’s got a wealth of coaching experience, a couple of NCAA titles, gold medals in the IIHF U-18 tournaments and has made the Amerks look good for the past 1-1/2 seasons. WGRZ.com has a great profile on Rolston.
So it’s a new day for Buffalo hockey – and it all starts tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens – February 5th, 2013

For the third year, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is hosting NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens, an amazing light and sound show that literally puts the Gardens in a whole new light. February 5th was Photographers’ Night for the show, and it was a great experience. If you have some time over the next couple of days, check it out – the show runs through Saturday, February 16th. (all photos paulathompsonfreelance.com)