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Rays of Sunshine: Reflections on Illuminations week

Corianne's picture
on November 20, 2010 - 8:34pm

Illuminations Week

“It’s always this time of year, that my thoughts undo me.” (Well, the times of year that I see Josh)…

I feel blessed to have had the Illuminations week I did. Although I have been lucky enough to attend various Josh events in the past, for a while now my Grobie friends and I were “Remember(ing) When it Rained” when we went to GMA Summer Concert Series at Bryant Park in 2008. It had been a long time since last seeing Josh so I was excited. The week was very special and filled with multiple Josh events! Everything was well worth the wait and I am one happy Grobie.

To start, I went to the Before We Begin concert in New Haven, Connecticut on Saturday, November 13. Seeing Josh in my home state again and all my Grobie friends again was wonderful. I took my sister with me and this was her first Josh concert ever and she had a blast. We went all out in our bright green and pink boas! I was thrilled to see Josh again, especially in such a small, low key setting that made me “Remember” the very special concert for PBS at Rose Hall in 2008, reminding me that “time can be transcended” when I heard Josh sing again.

I love when artists talk to the audience in addition to performing at concerts. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing and watching Josh sing, but I always feel that I get to the know the artist better when they are open enough to talk and banter with an audience like Josh does. The entire show was phenomenal, but two moments that stood out to me were when he sang “War at Home” and “Gire Con Me Questa Notte.” When Josh offered to sing War at Home, the audience was so excited and he gave such a touching performance. This was one of the first songs I listened to when the album was put up digitally on FOJG, and besides being so excited to hear the song performed for the “first time live in a way it may never be preformed again,” as Josh called it, I also was moved because this song is so powerful. I was also moved by his performance of “Gira Con Me Questa Notte” which was beautiful and really showed the strength of his voice.

After the concert we went outside and formed a line in the hopes of seeing Josh. As he so often does, he took the time to stop and sign autographs, even though it was cold. He engaged in a short conversation with everyone who approached him, joking with my sister about New York City (where she lives) and complimenting our boas. I was very “Thankful” to have my NOEL CD signed.

After the concert, I was so excited I could hardly sleep. My excitement stemmed from the remaining joy and jitters from the concert and the anticipation of going to Good Morning America and the signing for the Illuminations release at Barnes and Noble on Monday. After a little sleep since the “Bells of New York City” were calling me, I finished packing, uploaded some pictures and video from the concert, and left for New York. The trip down with my sister was okay except that we had a tire blow out. Thankfully we were okay and everything worked out and I tried to get a couple of hours sleep before getting up early to head over to Good Morning America.

Once outside of GMA my friends and I, as well as the others who were there waited outside for a couple of hours and Josh came a little late after sleeping in. :) When we were finally let in at the studio, they packed us in but everyone was in great spirits. Josh came out and talked to the crowd before filming. Although I always love seeing him perform, I was excited when they surprised us at the end by telling us that they were shooting a special holiday performance for a future airing. They brought out a snow machine and all holiday decorations in addition to dropping the temperature by MANY degrees in the studio. Josh sang “Bells of New York,” and they shot the entire song three times. By this point with Good Morning America and the concert, I had seen Josh sing six songs from the new album!

After GMA we caught Josh by the stage door on his way out. I wanted to snap a picture of Connie with Josh since she was kind enough to give me one of her tickets to GMA. We got it and it came out great!

Next, my leg stretches throughout the previous week were put to the test. There was no time for “Wandering” and I quickly ran over to Barnes and Noble and luckily was able to purchase one of their Exclusive copies of Illumination to be signed. I already had ordered the Exclusive Fan Edition from the FOJG store, and was getting the copies from the tickets I purchased for the Before We Begin Tour, but I figured I would need another for my collection. : ) As I went to get on the end of the line I was so happy to see that my friend Linda, who I met at GMA Summer Concert Series at Bryant Park in 2008, was first in line! The time waiting on line actually went quite quickly. We were tired and were laughing at the adult book section Barnes and Noble wound us through to get to Josh. Then it was our turn. As always he was so gracious. He shook everyone’s hand and asked who he could make their CD out to. Having a personalized CD from Josh means so much to me. I told him how wonderful the show in Connecticut had been and he thanked me and said he had fun. I told him I looked forward to seeing him on the road on the upcoming tour and he said how much he was looking forward to touring as well.

I was on cloud nine. I still am. I took the train from Grand Central back to New Haven and listened to Illuminations twice. At times, I had to refrain myself from singing out loud for all the other people on the train.

When I got home and unpacked, I went to my computer to the boards to see what everyone else was doing and post some of my pictures. While doing this, I decided to get the ITunes version of Illuminations, because I wanted the song “Feels Like Home.” There have been many covers of this song and my favorite cover version is Chantal Kreviazuk’s. When I was a young teenager, her version of this song used to give me hopes for the kind of relationship I hoped to have one day and I thought it was beautiful. Hearing Josh sing it is even more beautiful, and I don’t say that because I am biased, it’s true. It is such a simple song that has so much meaning and beauty to it, so I am beyond thrilled that Josh decided to cover it. I sincerely hope to see and hear him sing this song live in concert. (Just in case you’re reading Josh!). : )

What a phenomenal week Illuminations week has been. A “Smile” has not left my face. Even though I wish my Josh events were not over, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Illuminations all week. The special thing about this album is how wonderful each song is. I listen to this album all the way through over and over. There are no songs I want to skip and I still cannot decide on a favorite. Perhaps when Josh takes this album on tour, some of the live performances will help me to decide. Either way, I am fine not picking a favorite, I can listen to them all non-stop.

Thanks for a great week and great memories Josh!

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