This past summer one Saturday morning, we were sitting on the patio drinking our coffee, when Keenan told me to mark my calendar for the evening of October 11th.
"I'm taking you on a mystery date.."
Approximately 6 minutes later he couldn't keep it a secret . He had bought tickets to a Kenny G concert!
In my whole life, I'd never actually attended a concert before. Except for when I was 16 & my family toured Washington, D.C. & we got to sit on the Capitol's lawn for the 4th of July concert...but it was free, we didn't buy tickets, & it was also last minute. So, I've never officially been to a concert.
We were both so excited for this concert- we considered it a belated anniversary celebration, and even though we probably didn't need to dress up as much as we did, it was still important for us to wear something nice to celebrate over 4 years of marriage.
I can't tell you how many times I Googled "What to wear to a Kenny G concert" and came up empty handed. (Although I found a lot of advice on what to wear to a Kenny Chesney concert, so there's that.)
You might laugh at my Google searching and my concern about what to wear, but remember at this point I'd still never been to a concert before, let alone a Kenny G (jazz) concert. I mean, what would you wear to a jazz concert?
We knew the venue, obviously. It would be at the Pabst Theater in downtown Milwaukee. I'd been there once before for my first fashion show in college. (That's me wearing an outfit I made as I accepted an award. I'm just now realizing how fitting it was that we were celebrating our anniversary at the theater where I won an award for my wedding dress that I entered in the show!)
The atmosphere of the theater was a lot different for my fashion show, because we had built a runway out into the seating area. The theater itself is totally gorgeous and ornate, with red carpeting and red velvet seats, and there's a giant chandelier in the tall domed ceiling that makes all the gold and silver leaf shine so bright. It's so pretty and I feel like I'm back in the early 1900's attending an opera!
A couple days before the concert, I bought Keenan a new shirt that he planned to wear with a sport coat and nice jeans, and I had my outfit all ready to go too. I didn't sew anything this time since I already had this dress. I thought it would be perfect for a night like this. It made my heart race with excitement for the upcoming date whenever I saw our outfits all ready to go! Does anybody else lay out their outfits in advance for special events?
We just needed dinner plans since I would be coming home from work & would be home long enough to change before we headed downtown for the evening...
The week before, on one of my work trips to Chicago, we had an unfortunate delay on the train, but I sat next to a very pleasant lady who I ended up talking with for the whole 3 hours, during which she kindly offered her suggestions for really great seafood in the Milwaukee area. One of the places was St. Paul Fish Company in the Milwaukee Public Market, and she said we HAD to try the lobster rolls. Um, OK!
Keenan and I are pretty big seafood fans (we even love sushi) and since this was just a short distance from the Pabst Theater, we decided it was the perfect place for a quick dinner before our concert. Look how handsome my date is :)
The lobster rolls were delicious! Not too salty or rich, and served inside a really thick piece of Texas Toast bread. Sadly I can't compare them to any other lobster roll since this was only my second time having one- but it was the perfect portion and it came with fries and coleslaw. I wasn't able to finish all the fries but we both agreed it was a perfect dinner! (We want to go back and try the Oysters, and the Red Grouper, and the Lobster Dinner, etc., etc...) Definitely recommend if you ever get the chance to visit- in the Public Market there are several other places to eat, buy coffee, candy and ice cream, as well as souvenirs.
I loved walking into the Pabst Theater- for one, it was really cold and I was wearing open toed shoes, but the entrance was grand. I would call the building a complex, and the theater is in a shared space with the Intercontinental Hotel as well as the Riverside Theater and a couple other small theaters. A big indoor atrium connects them all, and it was a cool space for couples and families to hang out in before and after the shows.
Keenan got to pick our seats, and I have to say they were really great! He knew I had never been to a concert before, so he wanted me to have a great view and a really nice first concert experience. We got front row seats on the balcony. I could see EVERYTHING! (but I also felt like I could fall off the balcony if I made a wrong move!) I think it's cool that the theater is still exactly the way it was built in the early 1900's though.
Before the concert started we asked an usher if he would take our photo. It's the only photo of us from that night. I'm trying to get in the habit of taking more photos of US, and not just THINGS, even if Keenan does joke that I'm like a mom whenever we go anywhere: "Ok, Smile, picture time!" :)
The rest of the evening was quite the experience. Kenny G (It feels weird to call him just Kenny, or Ken!) started his performance in the audience before taking the stage.
Do you see the tape mark in the aisle to the right of me in the photo? As the lights dimmed, a box was placed there and that lady in the polka dots & pink beret was in the spotlight with Kenny G for his first song- I think the entire hall was just as entertained by her pure joy and excitement over sharing his spotlight as we were by Kenny himself!
You can tell he's a professional entertainer. At one point he was walking around the audience giving high fives and taking selfies as he played continuously!! ( if you have the chance check out this video of him showing his "secret" to playing his amazing solos! *Not my video*)
The band behind him also each got to play their solos, and I honestly cannot pick a favorite! I'd have to say it's between 2 of them, but they are all super talented:
1. The drummer standing behind the bongos is a total comedian onstage and plays percussion and sound effects all by himself.
2. The bass guitar player right next to him (he's from Sweden and I just loved the sound of the bass guitar, you could feel it in your chest!)
I know jazz isn't for everyone but if you ever get the chance to see Kenny G in concert, I'd definitely recommend it! For me, the one-time experience was enough to make me appreciate his music and jazz music in general even more, and I'll always have fond memories of this night.
Happy belated 4th Anniversary, Keenan! Now when we listen to Kenny G on Pandora, we can close our eyes and go right back to the front row balcony seats that night at the Pabst. Thank you for planning the perfect date <3