Jennifer Lopez, Martin Haro
The one and only J. Lo, at her birthday at the SAP Center in San Jose. 6.13.19

That Badass Female Energy (B. F. E. – get it?) was in the air this year. We saw a handful of powerhouse artists do their thing this summer (🎧➡️ you know the Playlist), and then we saw Madonna.

It rained on us the night in May we saw Florence + the Machine. A lot. Traffic was a mess (but like, photogenic); the wind at the venue – the Concord Pavilion (first time there; will be back…’cause now we know) – rushed as if in a possessed frenzy to see the show, which was terrific and spiritual. Florence Welch is simply divine. What a gifted woman. She sings, she dances. She has a way. The Machine are her perfect musical match, and together they shone on their Willo Perron & Associates-designed stage. We all have a hunger, and I was at the start of a wellness vibe for summer. This was the way to kick off all of it.

For a June evening, Chelsea Handler was interesting. She was on tour to talk up her latest book, a return to the form titled Life Will Be the Death of Me.” Listening to someone talk about their therapy when one has recently resumed one’s own is…an exercise, and not a terribly fun one. I’d read a little of her book prior, so that, too, factored in going into this evening: I knew I’d get the gist of the book and also enjoy some of its stories (and some general, seasonal gossip or rant), directly from her, live, right here at The Masonic. With special guest Sarah Silverman. Yay! And, to my non-surprise, with a crowd that in typical new-San Francisco fashion managed to make it all about their drunken selves. Nay. Urgh. So. Many. Susans had to be told – by the women on stage – that the show wasn’t interactive. Twice. Keep goin’…keep goin’….

We celebrated J. Lo’s birthday when saw the multi-hyphenate do her thing – which she has been doing as a singer for 20 trailblazing years (and which she is doing live on TV as I type, on Saturday Night Live) – in San Jose during a spectacular show, a night out with a friend from work. It was a party!

Patti LuPone came to town in July to perform at the Symphony but not with the Symphony (everyone is alright). The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus featured during her “Don’t Monkey with Broadway” revue, which doubles as une frise de sa vie on stage and in the culture. We sat in the half moon that hugs the stage from behind (not…in the cringey Uncle Joe way), to her left. She sang “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” of course she did. And I loved it. What a treat to enjoy that voice and that presence that always could do and still does so much so simultaneously and so elegantly. She is not God, though. She dropped the mic at one point, but you know the show went on.

And, then, a couple of weeks later there was Robyn, whom we saw at the Bill Graham. I’d seen her at the Fillmore in Miami Beach and at a small show she did at the old Pawn Shop in Miami proper after opening for Coldplay across a few streets at the American Airlines Arena. This was 2011-2012. So to see her right here, right now was very fun. Special.

I wish all of you fun like this, with other people you love and with good folk who are there to help put on a show for the sake of being alive.

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