Tag Archives: One Direction

I’m Just Wild About Harry

The title above is a reference to a very old song that very few of the 20,000 fans in Capital One Arena for the Harry Styles concert (September 18) would recognize. The crowd was, I’d guess, 95% female (shout out to the guys wearing “Watermelon Sugar” t-shirts; perchance suggesting they’d go where DJ Kahled fears to tread?), and they were mostly 30-something or under, with the addition of very willing moms there to share the joy with their daughters.

We had great seats (not scalped!) in the third row of the highlighted section.

I, too, was there with my younger girl, Grace (31 y.o.), and oh, such joy it was! I consider a good concert a near-spiritual experience, being in a room with a big group of people who share a passion for music, finding a sense of community in dancing and/or singing along. Harry’s fans are truly passionate, so we rarely sat down and loved sharing vocals, starting with a massive spontaneous crowd rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” during the pre-show music, after a well-received opening set by Jenny Lewis, one of many wonderful women whom Harry has asked to tour with him. (Last tour, we were introduced to Kacey Musgraves, who’ll headline Cap One herself next year.)

Our seats gave us a perfect view for “Falling,” one of my favorites songs from Fine Line.

Harry’s motto, often displayed on merch like T-shirts, totes, and hair-ties, is “Treat People With Kindness,” and his fans have taken the message to heart. The smiles, the polite lines, the constant “‘scuse me”‘s were more than I can ever recall at such a large event. Everyone was masked (required, as were vaccinations or negative tests) and many had dressed up in rainbows, glitter, and boas for the occasion, echoing Harry’s status as a fashionista and LGBTQ+ ally. Speaking of kindness, during “TPWK,” I watched a stagehand hand a small-size crew T-shirt to the mother of a young (12ish) Down syndrome girl sitting in front of us. Not a moment to show off or be displayed on the Jumbotron screens. Just a nice person, doing something nice for someone else. That’s the kind of affirming night it was

Care for a free “prom photo” momento of the night out with your besties?

This concert was an adventure two years in the making. The tickets were purchased in the summer of 2019 as a Christmas present for that year, and the show, originally set for June 2020, was scrapped when the world stopped. Having had a marvelous bonding experience at Harry’s last DC date, in June 2018, Gracie and I were looking forward to this event for a very long time with a giddy, girlish glee. When her job wouldn’t let her telecommute, she had to drive down from Canada on Thursday night and leave on Sunday to make the Saturday night show. It was exhausting she’ll tell you – but SO worth it.

My fellow Harry fangirl.

I just read Close Personal Friend’s report on seeing @Harry_Styles in DC. Pics, too!

P.S. just for fun, some other shots from the show…


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We Get Out – Niall Horan at Fillmore Silver Spring, Nov. 4, 2017

I would like to write a long, chatty post, and catch y’all up on recent musical doings, but I’m preparing for some travel and time is tight. So I’m just dropping in with a link to my latest review – Irish cutie, Niall Horan, once (and, hopefully, again in the future) of One Direction. I took pics and wrote words for AXS.com.

Niall Horan at Fillmore Silver Spring.

At the show, I gave out a few CPF biz cards to a few nice fans, and I want them to see the review if they drop by the site. More soon!

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Here It Goes Again

(Days Just Past)  As a popular dorm poster once declared, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” While you could say this on any and every new morning, New Year’s Day is certainly the traditional time to commit to a fresh start in life, love and general happiness. I try not to put too much pressure on this day of new calendars and metaphorical page-turning but yeah, I’m looking to hit the reboot button and get some cool new things happening in 2016. (Note that I’m posting this on January 2, but I wrote most of it on 1/1/16.)

First off, I hope your December holidays, whatever you celebrate, were as happy as our family’s Christmas was. At our annual open house, the Fezziwig Ball, we had 81 people stop in to share food, drinks and fun. Christmas morning was the usual bacchanal of good cheer and not-entirely-cautious consumerism. I had much musical bounty to enjoy, including cool new print matter like “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Day-by-Day Trivia Calendar;” Carrie Brownstein’s memoir, “Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl;” Elvis Costello’s “Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink” (book edition; the digital download of music arrived earlier this year) and “Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting,” a massive tome that, among other purposes, serves to prove to my husband that he could have it much, much worse when it comes to how/where I store my music.

As for actual playable new tunes, I am the proud new owner of  The Unthanks Memory Box, a bee-you-tee-ous collection, requested from and obtained by my British-resident (for now) PhD graduate. It includes a vinyl 7″, a CD, a DVD, postcards, recipes and much more, all letterpress printed with love. There’s even one piece signed by the band members.

My other daughter, a Toronto resident (for now), took my request for cool new music to heart by  sharing a local favorite with me, The Meligrove Band, in two formats – Shimmering Lights (vinyl album) and Let It Grow (CD).  I also got Ryan Adam’s 1989 on gorgeous sea-foam green vinyl, given to me by my 89-year-old mother. (No, she’s not as hipster as all that. She gave me a check for $25 and I ordered it for myself, but it’s no less appreciated.)

Meanwhile, my Beatles fanboy husband scored the #1’s CD/DVD set and Ringo’s photography book, and a copy of Mojo with a CD collection called Songs the Beatles Taught Us.  Also, a gift from me to him that’s really for the both of us – Laurie Anderson’s soundtrack to Heart of A Dog.

(Looking Ahead)  As this new year begins, I post here in hopes of better organizing my social media presence. I’m currently most active on Twitter (@mariannemeyer) and plan to revive my Instagram account (ClosePersonalFriend) since my high tech research team (two neighborhood teens with good taste) tell me that IG is where it’s at. Nevertheless, I remain an active Facebook user, though I intend to cull my friends list to remove people whose negativity drags me down. (Nonetheless, here’s the Facebook link if you want to reach out.)

I’m still writing as a pay-by-the-click digital lackey: Digital Music Examiner (national music news and free, legal downloads), DC Concert Photography Examiner (DC local news and concert reviews with photo slideshows) and AXS Contributor  (general tour and video news).

And then there’s this...(Read on for a Freebie)

on sale, full screen

Since nobody’s beating down my door with offers to write about music for real money, I have been exploring the world of self-publishing, both POD (print-on-demand) and e-books and plan to get way more involved in the coming year.

My first foray into the latter, e-published in December, is a simple concert photo book of Aussie pop/punk boy band 5 Seconds of Summer, shot when they opened for One Direction in 2014 at Nationals Stadium. I originally intended to create an ebook of 1D photos, and still plan to do so, but decided to start with 5SOS as a simpler effort, since I had fewer photos and, frankly, wanted to tackle the learning curve with a band I didn’t love like I do my 1D boys.

Admittedly, the 5SOS nation has not, so far, risen to my bait. I am not selling well, with mostly just friends and family shelling out the $2.99 (hey, it would cost them more to buy me a holiday latte!) or using promo download codes the iBooks system gave me to toss about. Speaking of which, the first five people who send an email to my new eddress – Marianne@closepersonalfriend.com – will get a free download code of his/her very own.

Maybe not the holiday gift you were most hoping for, but what they heck – Happy New Year, m’dears!


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1/5/15. And Here We Go Again…!

Being laid up in bed for much of January 1 and 2 (not a hangover, just an insidious cold), I quickly said goodbye to ye olde Gonna-Post-Everyday-This Year resolution, which is just as well ‘cause it wasn’t going to happen anyway. As much as I love the New School Year/Tabula Rasa element of opening up a fresh datebook for 2015, there’s something unhealthy in tying all good intentions (and we know what the road to hell is paved with) to one fixed point in the year. Why not start a brand new year of great things on May 17th (totally arbitrary date)?

That said, I do want to be more consistent in tracking my musical (and some non-) doings in this hopeful new year. Towards that end, we reset the counter for the annual O/CD Music Tally. On a visit to Best Buy on Saturday, Jan. 3, I came home with the first three music purchases of 2015:

1. ONE DIRECTION – Where We Are: Live From San Siro Stadium (DVD) Go ahead and laugh all you want; I’ve got my philosophy, and it includes giving into the joy of cute boys and happy pop music. In the post-Beatles/Monkees redefinition of what makes a Boy Band, I dare say 1D are the best yet. I thoroughly enjoy sharing them with my daughters (who are in their 20s) and by myself. Seeing the stadium show in 2014 at Nats Park here in DC was great fun. I look forward to reliving it on DVD, and “Steal My Girl” is still in heavy rotation on my current playlist. (ICYMI, Harry’s my favorite, with Liam running a close second.)

The 1D DVD was on my Christmas list, so it was inevitable I would buy it when Santa didn’t deliver (he had bigger fish to fry) and, with a $35 gift certificate from Best Buy (we bought a new fridge and got beaucoup bonus points), I was ready to take a chance on some new stuff, too. Two album that I’d been hearing a lot about caught my eye, especially in cool packaging and at low prices:

2. BANKS – Goddess ($8.99) The jewel case was a sharp, dark red, which gave this CD an edge over FKA Twigs, whose album cover is a mess. Though I’ve had a taste of Banks’ music on my drives with Sirius XM radio, I was surprised by how not very excited I was to hear the whole thing. Played in the kitchen, while hubby was cooking, it made for a pleasant background experience. Revisited last night with headphones while I was falling asleep, there were some interesting blippy/bleepy arrangements but it didn’t have the original spark of a Lorde or an Adele, both of whom could be comparison points. When Banks strips away the excess stuff and you can hear her unadorned voice, it’s actually quite good, but it’s mostly buried in tracks that slither and slide around, never quite finding a hook or a groove.

jpeg 3. ROYAL BLOOD – S/T ($7.99) Been loving this gothic beauty of a cover since I first saw it, and the title kept popping up on Top Ten lists, so I figured why not? By the song titles – “Blood Hands,” “You Can Be So Cruel,” “Ten Tonne Skeleton” – I should have guessed that this was going to skew harder than my usual taste, but I can use a good kick in the head once in a while, and these guys have a knack for putting some blues and grunge in their heavy sound, more like a White Stripes or The Edge with more edge than a metal band. No regrets.

And this just in…

4. BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB – So Long, See You Tomorrow  If you’d been around the electronics department of Reston’s Target store this afternoon about 5pm, you would have heard me squeal in sheer delight. In the clearance area, where most of the stock consisted of odd lot toys and old iPhone cases, I found this album – on vinyl! – for a mere $5.06 (down from $19.99). This particular Target store hasn’t had vinyl in months and even when it did, it was powerhouse names like Beatles, U2 and Justin Timberlake. Yet somehow, this scrappy little Canadian band, which I happen to know and like, had found its way to me. I really did give a gasp of joy, like I had won a small, sweet lottery prize.

Little things. Happy things. Welcome to 2015.

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More stuff to see (with more stuff to come)

This post is a place-maker of sorts. I’ve got news to share and stories to tell, but it’s late, SNL is on and I’m distracted. Here are the latest bits and pieces posted on various web locations, along with a promise to return and be more linear…

News item on Christian Lopez Band’s video premiere on Country Music Television.

Profile of Arkells for AXS.com (a new outlet).

Free music from a new artist, Cody Nicholls.

Catching up with One Direction – new videos, songs and news.

Review of Sondre Lerche’s album, “Please.

Thanks for your patience!

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I went. I saw. I wrote about it.

It’s a rainy Wednesday night here in the Adirondacks (vacation time!) after what was a delightfully busy week, last week, beginning with the massive One Direction lovefest at Nationals park (it was raining then, too) and ending with a mighty impressive Arcade Fire show at Verizon Center.

Throughout these adventures, I was handing out bizniz cards right and left, telling folks they could catch up with me here at CPF. So, if that includes you, dear reader, thanks for dropping by and welcome! (That applies to new CPFs and old ones, too.)

And so, here are  links to the places I’ve been recently and some thoughts on same:

Arcade Fire at Verizon Center

One Direction at Nationals Ballpark stadium   (I also did up a page on 1D for WhatchaGonnaPlay)

5 Seconds of Summer (opening for 1D)

Also, on Saturday night, I saw a great young talent, Christian Lopez, at “my local,” Jammin Java, and he’s got a page on WhatchaGonnaPlay, too.

All of the above links have a bunch of photos included, so I’m being lazy here and not posting pics here. But since I know that you want it (that’s what makes you beautiful), here’s a pic of 1D to bring a smile…


Five cute guys on a big stage.



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Love – and music – is all around

Happy Valentine’s Day to all my Close Personal Friends. The boys and I have a little message for you…1Derful

The hubby and I had an early, musical Valentine’s treat this past Tuesday, when he and I saw the amazing Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings at the Lincoln Theatre in DC. She’s a cross between Tina Turner and James Brown, a cancer survivor and the current queen of classic soul. You’ll recognize some of those phrases if you check out the review and photo gallery I wrote for examiner.com. Here’s a teaser…


I’m looking at you, kids!

Have a great, love-ly weekend!

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Here We Go Again (Hello, 2014)

First, of course, Happy New Year to all my dear close personal friends. I will refrain from making any resolutions/promises about being a more consistent blogger; we’ve heard the words before. I even considered not posting today just to put that “every day in the new year” idea to bed right away. But hey, might as well try to Start Out on the Right Foot, yes?

It was a great Christmas here at CPF headquarters and I hope the same was true for you. Music, of course, played a huge part in it. There was the compiling of the annual “Cool Yule” holiday mix (send a note if you’d like a digital download)…

Cool Yule 2013: Elf on the Decks

Cool Yule 2013: Elf on the Decks

After that, it was the Big Show, Santa bringing lots of melodic joy, like the new Elbow Live CD/DVD set (imported from the U.K. by Grad School Girl) and the One Direction movie on BlueRay (yes, I am a fan!). And a friend with good connections slipped me a leaked download of the new Bruce Springsteen, so that’s a triple hit of  favorites. (If there’s any new Elvis Costello out there, it would be a home run.)

Despite best intentions, I didn’t write much for publication (2014, I’m gonna change that!) but I had a fun Saturday afternoon just passed, hanging with my former

RDGLDGRN hit the field.

RDGLDGRN hit the field.

neighbor and current upcoming rock star “Gold” and his band, RDGLDGRN, when they hosted a pickup soccer match for friends and fans in No.VA. That became a quick story and slideshow for examiner.com.

Then, on the following (Sunday) night, I needed to make a trip to Vienna, VA on other business and wound up stopping at my favorite local joint, Jammin’ Java, which was hosting a local band event. Got there just in time to catch some tunes from Lightspeed Rescue, a band I became acquainted with when I judged a J2 Mid-Atlantic Band Battle some time ago.

Lightspeed Rescue at Jammin' Java

Lightspeed Rescue at Jammin’ Java

Also on the bill that night was a singer/songwriter named Marshall Cunningham, who had a kinda Jason Mraz style (without the annoying skat detours)…


and Contest Williams, a good-natured comic-rap act which featured the buff lead singer from LSR in a supporting role…

Contest Williams

Contest Williams

The headliner of the show was a muscular pop trio called Carlton, though I’d seen them before when they played a Band Battle under the name Mercury in Summer…Carlton

All told, a great night of local sounds (Carlton is now West Coast-based, but has a strong base here) made sweeter by the fact that it happened unexpectedly.

I’ll be back at Jammin’ Java on Tuesday and Thursday of next week, judging two nights of the 10th (!!) Band Battle (I’m “a prize,” too – writing a bio for the winning act), so there shall be new pics and posts coming.

Maybe even tomorrow, if I get/keep my act together.

Here’s to a wonderful, musical 2014!


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Where I’ve Been, What I’ve Seen, What I’ve Written

Hey there, CPF people. I’m not sure how many of y’all (as we say in Virginia) follow the articles I write for examiner.com or the postings I make to the Set List Site, WhatchaGonnaPlay, where I share concert photos and actual set lists from shows I’ve seen. (I would love to hear if you do via the comments section or direct email.)

Being busy elsewhere often keeps me from this here blog and I don’t want to be repetitive. But since I can’t assume that you know what I’ve been up to,  I thought I’d do a little catch-up summary here to remind you where else you can find my work…

Over at examiner.com, I write two columns. One is for reviews and previews of DC area concerts. Since my last posting here, the following have run:

Glenn Tilbrook at Jammin Java

Sept. 20 weekend preview – Travis, Virgin FreeFest, Laura Veirs, The Selecter

BOY at the 9:30 Club


Atlas Genius at Fillmore Silver Spring


I also have a Digital Music column, where I write about free, legal downloads and review albums and, as in the case of the One Direction movie (which I thoroughly enjoyed. So there!), other music-related stuff:

Freebies from Matt Pond, Army of Me, Wolfcolony,  samplers from the Mountain Oasis EDM fest, and the ATO label

“One Direction: This Is Us” movie review

And then, as I mentioned, there’s Whatcha Gonna Play, the set list site. I’ve been very lucky lately in that I’ve gotten lists from every show l’ve been to in the past month, and I’d love for you to check ’em out:

Glen Tillbrook


Atlas Genius, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (below) opening


And here’s a link you won’t find anywhere else yet. While I’m still working on the examiner.com review of this show, you can see the set list and pics from Wednesday night’s 9:30 Club appearance by Noah and the Whale.


I hope this collection of links offers you something new to see or at least explains my absence from CPF. I’ll try to be better about staying in touch.

Hope you’re well!

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