I underrated Philadelphia as a kid. I decided it was old, small and dull. It wasn’t a “real” city (AKA not New York). However, over the last few years, I have really grown to love Philly and visit every chance I get. I made it to the City of Brotherly Love twice in one week over winter break and further solidified my appreciation for the city.
Firstly, I made a very last minute trip to the The Academy of Music to see Les Miserables with my grandparents, who were kind enough to offer me a ticket when they saw that there were some available. The showing was part of Kimmel Center’s and The Shubert Organization’s Broadway Philadelphia 2018, which brought a range of Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning shows to the area’s theaters. This was so unexpected because I was invited an hour before my grandparents were leaving to go, plus I did not think I would be lucky enough to see my favorite musical with them again!
Unsurprisingly, the show was powerful, emotional and passionate. Nothing makes my heart tremble like hearing the first few notes from the pit at the beginning of the show. Beforehand, we stopped at an incredible restaurant called Bud and Marilyn’s, which was packed. I enjoyed a scallop dinner and unique take on a pecan pie for dessert.
This last minute adventure turned into one of the most memorable nights of winter break and I am so thankful I got to spend it with my grandparents.
My second trip to Philly was for a concert at The Fillmore. I was at the smaller portion of this venue, The Foundry, over the summer to see a small guitar-singing duo. My familiarity put any worries, which I always get before any live performance, at ease. I was almost as excited to see Milky Chance as I was to see the incredible Tash Sultana, because I discovered and saw this group in Australia as well. This alternative/indie rock band is not Australian, but German.
I met up with my roommate from Australia, Sierra, three hours before the show and to our surprise, there was barely a line. Although I was dreading the long wait, it was a warm day out and time went by far more quickly than I imagined it would. The opening act was a Scottish guitar-playing gent named Lewis Capaldi who was accompanied by a pianist. He told us his specialty is writing sad songs, and said his goal was to make us depressed. Well, he did a great job at that and has a robust voice. Although he was quite enjoyable, I thought the job of the opening act was to pump up the crowd and not bring them down!
Anyway, The Blossom Tour absolutely blew me away. Milky Chance is the type of band that sounds better live than in recordings. Nothing beats the live sound of the band’s funky tunes beating through my veins, filling me with positive energy. I could have danced all night to the leadman Clemens Rehbein’s gritty, powerful vocals, guitarist and harmonist’s Antonio Greger’s impressive solos and percussionist and audio mixer Philipp Dausch’s intense beats all night long. I honestly was blown away by the verve that poured from Rehbein and how passionately the members played. At one point, they miscommunicated and Rehbein had them restart the song. He apologized, and gave the performance he meant to, and I appreciated every second of the vulnerability.
It is also safe to say I have never been so attracted to a guy on a harmonica in my life. The foursome (there is a drummer, too) ended with a multiple-song jam session, during which they fluidly swept in and out of intense vocals and hardcore instrument playing. It is so cool to me that a band from Germany can have such success around the world, and they deserve every bit of it.
From Les Mis to Milky Chance, I saw some awe-striking performances. It is mind-boggling to me that I have been to Philly five times since July, but I guess it is not so crazy considering how much fun I have every time I go.